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Breaking the Addiction to Thinking


"To the ego, the present moment hardly exists.

Only the past and future are considered important.

The present moment holds the key to liberation.

But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are your mind."

Eckhart Tolle

You may have noticed that the mind (the voice in your head), spends most of it's time thinking about the past and future; what will happen, what has happened, what you should do or what you shouldn't do in order to be happy. Even when we try to stop thinking and just relax, our mind continues it's constant barrage of mental projections, which end up tying us into knots of stress and exhausting us in the process. If we look, it can feel like we are compulsively addicted to thinking, with no way to shut down our busy mind and give ourselves some rest.

The truth is, we are addicted to our thinking, and actually believe ourselves to be the voice in our heads. In this case of mistaken identity, we falsely identify with the voice's litany of opinions, judgments, and worry's, and convince ourselves that the answer to all of our so-called problems lies in the future, when we have done this or that, or acquired that or this; the new job, the better relationship or the bigger bank account. Yet, even when we get what we think will make us happy, the satisfaction we feel is very short-lived, and before long, the mind is once again thinking about something in the future that will make it happy.

The path out of this madness, and the way to break our addiction to thinking, is to first notice when we are lost in thought, and thus not present; when we are worrying or thinking about the future or the past. In this noticing, we actually become present here and now, at least for a moment, and give ourselves the opportunity to actually enjoy what is in front of us. The more we notice when we are lost in the stream of thought, the more often we 'wake up' out of the mind to find ourselves in the only space we will ever visit; the here and now. And the more we live here and now, the more we will see that everything we need to be happy is always, already present. The question is; are we actually here to appreciate it?

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