Escaping From Thoughts – Fast

One common complaint I hear is the sense that the person is trapped in their thoughts, especially worried thoughts.  This is a technique to train your mind to shift attention away from thoughts into your body, without trying to stop thoughts. It teaches you to get out of your head. The more skill you have shifting your attention away from thoughts to sensations the easier it will be to ignore worried or other unhelpful thoughts without having to stop them or change them.

Note that the skill of getting away from thoughts is different than the skill of staying away from thoughts. We need to develop the skill of getting away from worried thoughts before we can develop the skill of staying away from worried thoughts.  We can become skillful at getting away from worried thoughts by practicing short sessions, 1-2 minutes, frequently, 5-10 or even more times per day. The more frequently we practice the more skillful we become.

The technique in the audio track is about 1 minute long and you can download it from Soundcloud if you wish to. I have also included the words so that you can record your own version if you prefer to use that for practice.

For another perspective on this see The Mind and the TV Sets.

Audio:

Script:

Notice that you are breathing and pay attention to the sensations in your body as you breathe. Thoughts will continue to go on in your head, but place your attention on the sensations in your body. If the thoughts are too insistent tell them “Later”.

As you exhale, especially notice the relaxation in your chest as you allow the air to flow out of your lungs.

As you inhale enjoy the sensations as your lungs receive the air.

As you exhale, notice the sense of stillness as you complete the exhalation.

Do this for a few more breaths at whatever pace feels comfortable. There will continue to be stuff going on in your head. Just let that happen. The more you pay attention to the sensations the less attention you will give to the thoughts.

When you are ready to stop simply bring your attention to other sensations or back to thoughts or to whatever happens to be useful at the time.

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