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.

7 thoughts on “Escaping From Thoughts – Fast”

    1. I am quite sure that this would fit with Christianity. You are simply shifting your attention deliberately from worried thoughts to sensations of breathing. If you are driving and getting distracted by worried thoughts then you automatically pay attention to sensations in order to drive safely, so this process is really no different. It is just that you are doing so deliberately.

      In the end, if a technique helps you live a more Christlike life, then it would fit with Christian beliefs. “By your fruits you will know them.”

      Hope this helps.

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          1. The short answer is nude is OK if you are practicing in the shower. 🙂

            A more philosophical way of looking at this from a Christian perspective is that the intention one brings to meditation is the clothing for one’s soul.

            If one’s intent is wholesome, then one might say that the soul is appropriately clothed. The clothing for the body (which God sees through anyway) should then be such that the type or amount of clothing does not interfere with the technique. It would be like studying. You would want to make sure your clothing did not interfere with placing your attention on the material you were studying. Personally, I think meditating nude would feel chilly quite quickly unless one was in a very warm room.

            The same can be said for the posture. The posture should be whatever helps you do the technique. In general that means comfortable, but not so comfortable you are going to fall asleep, unless you need the rest. 🙂

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