The Stupidity of Thinking about Things Twice

by Chris Baker, Sunshine Coast, Australia

Just lately it has become so clear to me how much of my life I waste by thinking about things over and over again.

What I realise now is that I only need to think about a task when I am doing it, rather than multiple times before and after. For most of my life I have thought about what I am going to be doing this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week, in an exhausting way. And if that’s not enough busy-ness, I can also worry and think about things that I have already done… over and over again.

It seems quite exhausting just thinking about it. Oops, there I go again…

It is so much better for me to be thinking about what I am doing right now. And so for now that means thinking about what I am writing. But even while doing this, my mind sometimes wanders off-task to start thinking about something else.

As I bring my mind to what is happening right now I find that there is a deep steadiness that comes over me. When my mind is busy with thinking about things that have not even happened yet, there is a sense of agitation or worry that this brings, and I feel unease in my body.

The stupid thing about thinking about things that might happen tomorrow is that it is just a made up story about how things might be. But made up or not, that doesn’t stop my mind from creating a whole drama about it; say a conversation I want to have with someone tomorrow. I can think about what I might say, about how they would reply, and so on until I’ve written a script in my head. And then I go and replay it again in a slightly different way because I can think of another way that it might be.

And so on and on it goes with my mind making up stories about tomorrow, and worrying about interactions of yesterday.

I’ve read lots of books on this topic of mindfulness, or living the moment, yet despite seeing the futility of not being present, I have continued with this same pattern more or less most of my life.

Until lately that is. The stupidity of thinking about things that haven’t happened yet has become very clear to me. So clear that I now notice very quickly when I am doing that, and bring my mind back to what is happening right now. And that means coming back to feel my body. To feel a connection with myself that is missing when I go off with the fairies.

THE CATALYST FOR CHANGE: THE GENTLE BREATH MEDITATION AND OBSERVATION

The catalyst for this change has been the Gentle Breath Meditation that I have learned with Serge Benhayon, It is a very simple meditation that takes only a few minutes. How many minutes it takes, or how many breaths it takes me to come back to myself depends on how far I have wandered and how much I have become caught up in a story that I have made up.

Now that I observe myself quite closely, I can choose to come back before I have strayed too far. It may often take only a few breaths — but if it takes more than that, it is a sign that I have wandered off from my connection with myself.

And the more I practice being with me, the more easy it is to notice when I stray.

The futility of thinking about things that haven’t happened yet hits me loud and clear.

THE GIFT OF OBSERVATION

I have become an observer of myself and can now own up to what I do without trying to defend it. My mind seems to have to justify its busy life to me, the observer.

My mind is actually quite a useful tool, as long as it stays on task. While my mind is with me, it serves me well. While its attention is right with me now and focussing on what I am actually doing, that doing comes with a loving imprint that brings an easy connection with me, with my innermost (what is truly me). And when that connection is strong I can see the beauty in what is around me. I can see the beauty in everyone that I interact with.

This awareness that I have now is such a gift of love. It brings me joy and contentment and also allows me to chuckle over my own stupidity when I wander off to rewrite some future interaction I am about to have with someone.

When the time comes to have that conversation, I can be there and bring me totally to the conversation as it unfolds. I can come now without expectation of how it might be. And I surprise myself over and over again, that what I need to say is there when it’s needed, without any rehearsal, and without the waste of thinking about it beforehand.

“What a waste it is to think about things twice!”

227 thoughts on “The Stupidity of Thinking about Things Twice

  1. Thank you Chris for sharing all this – I can relate to what you say about how healing it can be to truly observe our thoughts – to see if they are running off in distractions or worry that serves no real purpose and if so to bring our mind back to the simplicity of being with the task at hand and not over-planning ahead or getting lost in worrying abut something we can’t control.

  2. ‘Oops, there I go again’; what beautiful, gentle self talk to reconnect to our true selves and purpose. Thank you Chris for the timely reminder to not over-think things but to live from the wisdom of our heart and body.

  3. How powerfully and truly we can actually respond to any situation or conversation, when we are present with ourselves and our own bodies…
    I’ve also found it futile to try to plan any conversation ‘ahead’ of time Chris – the whole notion coming from anxiousness and lack of presence in the first place, and then actually robbing the other involved of receiving ‘us’, instead receiving a rehearsed response that is not in the slightest bit authentic.

  4. Over-thinking things, if we are actually able to catch ourselves in the process (as you’ve shared here Chris), can be something we choose to learn from, and learn deeply, can’t it…
    As in, why would we second guess ourselves? Why would we need to run something from the past or the future, over and over and over in our minds, thereby disconnecting ourselves from the present moment? There will always be something underlying here to address – whether through our own exploration and/or with the support of a wise practitioner, it is well worth digging a little deeper and addressing why our mind is being ruled by nervous energy (in the over-thinking) in the first place…

  5. This is a gorgeous reminder Chris to stay present with our bodies and the joy felt when we make this choice – ‘when that connection is strong I can see the beauty in what is around me. I can see the beauty in everyone that I interact with.’

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