The Thinker

Posted Posted in Personality Patterns

A friend recently asked me to write about people who think too much. This is because she thinks too much. I said that’s funny timing, because “The Thinker” is already on the list. Two other friends had recently described themselves as “thinkers,” as in they know that they think too much as well. I said you know what? So do I! This is another pattern that many people fall into, especially in this fast-paced digital age. I’ve written about The Control Freak and The Perfectionist before. Just like those, The Thinker is nothing more than a personality pattern or set of patterns. As I said in a recent blog post on personality patterns, no matter how deeply ingrained they are or seem to be, they are not who you are. That is a fact. So we can accept them and look at them honestly, but it doesn’t have to be so heavy and personal. Look at it like you’re looking at a character in a movie, book, or play. I’m totally serious. I know that might sound weird, but I’m pretty sure it’s more accurate. And it makes it much easier to own the pattern and then bust yourself in the moment and let it go.

The Thinker is all about living in your head. And what’s wrong with that? Your head is not reality. So it’s just a minor problem… And when we’re constantly thinking, we’re not feeling. And when we’re not feeling (and thus releasing), all of the stresses and emotions from the day just build up until you’re full of baggage and feel terrible. And when you feel bad, what does your mind do? Think about what a problem it is that you feel bad. And what does that do? It makes you feel worse. And then the mind comments on that, and so forth and so on. It’s basically a feedback loop that spirals out of control. And you have the option of nipping it in the bud as soon as it starts. All it takes is learning what’s really going on and then practicing.

Another thing about too much thinking is that it’s usually time-based, meaning that you’re spending most of your time in the past or in the future. There is no past or future, though, so do we really want to spend our time there?? Obviously, the future isn’t here yet, and it’s always “not here yet.” The past is trickier for most people, but if you look closely, you’ll see that it’s not real, either. There’s a full blog post on the past. The main thing is that the past lives now in the feelings you’re carrying and your thoughts about what happened, including memories (which get hazier and hazier with time) and beliefs (most of which are not true, which is great news). And of course there are physical signs of the past, but these live now. The scar on my leg from that accident last summer is on my leg now. There’s still no past, though.

So what’s the big deal with living in our heads, living in the past and future, constantly thinking? It makes most people feel terrible! Some say that we tend to be depressed about the past and anxious about the future. Chill out. Take a breath. Deal with the past in terms of what you can do about it. Own your mistakes and do your best to learn from them. Make amends if necessary. Make a phone call or send an email. And if something happened in the past that affects your life now, even in a major way, then you have to live with it and deal with it… now. That handles the past.

Do the same with the future. What can you actually do about whatever you’re worrying about? Then do it. Can you control what you’re worrying about? If not, then let it go. Do what you can do and release the rest. Worrying a bunch generally doesn’t help. Don’t interpret this as saying you should be lazy or passive. Far from it, actually. You can be very, very active, but without that stressed-out attitude. It’s all about the ‘tude.

So The Thinker’s job is to get out of his or her head and into reality, which is what’s happening now. This ties in closely with the voice in the head. When you catch yourself lost in useless thought, just gently stop. Let the thoughts go and just like that, there’s silence in your head. Maybe listen to the sounds around you. It really is that simple – you just got out of your head. The thoughts will come back, but who cares? Now you know what to do – just let them go once again. It can get annoying, but don’t waste your time resisting the thoughts. I’ve done this plenty, and it just feeds them. The good news is that as you practice this stopping and letting go, the volume slowly gets turned down. After a while, this excessive thinking simply won’t be such a big deal. You’ll know that you are the one who gives the thoughts their power. Without this power, they’re just thoughts. No big deal.

Well, good luck getting out of your head! Just keep taking those little breaks when you catch yourself living up there, and you just got out, just like that. That’s how it works, and it only takes an instant. The over-thinking comes back, so you just stop again. As we like to say here a lot, wash, rinse, repeat. After a while, you’ll see that you’re headed in the right direction. And as always, let me know if I can help!

Personality Pattern Overview

Posted Posted in Personality Patterns

I’ve written before about The Control Freak and The Perfectionist, and The Thinker is next. Gee, I wonder why a Virgo with two math degrees and tight hamstrings would pick those to start? Anyway, it occurred to me as I started writing about The Thinker that it might be a better idea to first write about personality patterns in general before continuing. This is because the overall answer to each is pretty much the same – stop and bust yourself while you’re being these patterns and just let them go in that moment. And without any negative mental chatter at all. None. In other words, ditch the whole self-critizing thing (that’s just an old habit as well). Over time, these patterns get weakened. Stop, let it go, and continue living – even if you carry through with the patterned behavior or thinking! Now you’re awake as opposed to asleep, and that makes a huge difference over time.

Okay, let’s go ahead and get real… I’m pretty sure that the truth of the matter is that who you are is not a temporary body. The evidence definitely doesn’t support that. And I hate to keep being vague here on this blog about the deeper stuff, but I really do have to wait until I start my next blog, A Deep Mind, to really get into the question, “Who am I?” And trust me – we will thoroughly examine what I call “the evidence.” That won’t be until the end of the year or beginning of next year, though, due to work and licensure reasons. And that’s fine. Until then, though, we’ll operate under the assumption that who you are at the end of the day, after your body is dust, is a spiritual being. That’s what all of the spiritual teachers and wise ones have said, anyway. And there’s an absolute ton of things happening to this day that I consider to be very strong evidence in support of this idea.

So we’re a spiritual being and not a temporary body or ego (interchangeable terms to me). This means that the patterns and habits you don’t like are just patterns of the body that you find yourself in. It’s not who you are. Rather, it’s who you are not. And what a difference that makes! Rejoice! Now you can own your BS and it’s literally not personal because you’re literally not really a person. And yes, I know that you seem to be one now. I see Ashley when I look in the mirror. Slowly but surely, though, the belief that that’s who I really, really am is weakening (and yes, it does take some time, but you’re going to live anyway, so why not?). So if I’m noticing that I’m engaging in or about to engage in a pattern that I don’t like, I can stop and wake up. In an instant, I tell myself that I’m about to act in a certain way or that I’m thinking in a certain way (i.e., the pattern in question). Then I have a choice about whether or not to continue. And as we said above, even if I continue, I’m awake now and not asleep. I’m present. I’m aware. I’m doing it consciously. I have a choice. If I’m asleep, there’s no choice and I continue to live as some robot that always acts the same way. You are definitely not a robot.

I realize that these patterns are very old and ingrained. There’s no time like the present, though. The first step is to just notice them. Just pay attention and be honest with what you find. This is where the belief that you’re not really a temporary body comes in handy. It lightens everything up so we can accept our flaws. Remember that “perfect” is just a concept, unless you define it to mean “exactly as things are now.” Most people don’t define it that way, though, so they’re constantly measuring themselves up to something that doesn’t even exist. Not a good plan if you want to be happy… At least this type of pain is self-inflicted, though, so we can change our thinking over time and let some real peace in.

As we notice our patterns more and more, and we remind ourselves on the spot that we are not a bundle of patterns contained in a body, the patterns start to weaken. We can accept them and say “this is how things are now.” And then we can start to make different choices when we bust ourselves. I might catch myself after I’ve been too critical and immediately say to the other person, “You know, I really wish I had said that differently. What I really meant is (blank). I could’ve done a better job with that.” And you don’t beat yourself up at all. And that person is blown away! And as you keep practicing, eventually you’ll catch yourself right before you’re about to be too critical (I’m just using The Critic as an example, another one with which I’m quite familiar). And now you have a choice. Nothing has happened yet. You haven’t ruined the vibe yet and crushed the person you’re talking too. And you choose to say something else, or nothing at all. And the vibe never gets ruined, and the person never gets crushed. If you really need to get a point across, you put yourself in their shoes and say it a different way. And after the exchange, you reflect on the situation. And you start jumping for freaking joy! Great job, hypothetical person! You learned something, started paying attention, started busting yourself without negativity, and then you were finally able to put it into action and see real results. That’s what it’s all about. The pattern just got weakened, and you’re definitely headed in the right direction. Man, I love this stuff…

So happy practicing, and relish when you bust yourself. Be happy! Why? Because you can’t let it go if you don’t know you’re holding it, so bring it on. And as always, let me know if I can help. And let me know if you have some results. Also, if you want to explore this whole “I’m not really a body/meat suit” thing, then I’d really love to help. That’s a favorite conversation of mine. There’s no shying away from the evidence in my office; just here on this blog. Once I’m licensed and on my own, we’ll take the gloves off and really get into it. The things we talk about here at A Clean Mind, though, are enough to be totally life changing, though, so don’t be deceived by their simplicity. Again, happy practicing. I have to go unconsciously criticize someone now…

The Perfectionist

Posted Posted in My Stories, Personality Patterns

Alright, folks, it’s time to write about another pattern that many humans fall into, The Perfectionist. This one is totally me, by the way, so I speak from experience. I’ve written about the Control Freak before, so please recall that the main point of these patterns is that they are not really you! I know that it seems otherwise for many people, but it really is just a pattern. It’s just that it’s been practiced for so long that it seems totally etched in stone. No pattern is etched in stone, though.

The perfectionist pattern can be particularly crippling because we can get easily stuck. If we think something has to be done perfectly, then we often don’t do anything at all. Why start something that’s not perfect? The truth, though, is that “perfect” as most people think of it doesn’t even exist. It’s just a concept. The only way that perfect exists is if we define it so that everything is perfect, just as it is right now at this very moment. Most people don’t mean anything close to this when they think of “perfect.”

So what should the perfectionist do when s/he is stuck? Start! Just do something. Get moving. See how bad a job you can do. After all, you can make it better later, and perfectionists are good at that. I have to bust myself on this all the time. Challenges for me include all this techno stuff, like figuring out the details of a blog, search engine optimization, Facebook, and other things that I’m not all that interested in. I’m interested in figuring out individual human peace and then helping others to learn it. That’s it! But when you want to earn a living doing that, there are many other aspects. Marketing is one of them – I’m not naturally very good at that, at least not now. So it’s easy for me to be stuck wondering what to do next. When that’s happening, I make myself do at least one thing. Like writing a blog post – that gets things moving. After that, there might be some momentum to do something else.

The perfectionist can show up in the form of being overly critical of self and others, too. This is when we want to take a breath before we speak and choose our words. Do I really want to say that? Should I dial it down a bit at least? What am I really trying to accomplish by saying this? If it’s just the perfectionist rearing its ugly head, then bust it! And laugh, thankful that you’re starting to wake up and challenge these old patterns. They’re just patterns, after all. And that’s good news. And like most of what we talk about here at A Clean Mind, it just takes practice. Just be consistent and persistent, and don’t take it too seriously. And as always, let me know if I can help.

UPDATE: After I posted this, my mom emailed me and said that I definitely came in this way. She said that I was like this literally as a baby still in the crib. My stuffed animals had to be all there and arranged the right way or it was hell to pay. I apologized… She said no worries, because clearly I was too young to have a choice. It was hard-wired. She said it was pretty funny, actually. This is why these patterns aren’t really that personal – we come in with many of them. There’s no choice in that, so it makes no sense to beat yourself up about it. Now, though, it’s up to us to bust ourselves still practicing these patterns and dial it back some. We end up being much more balanced. I work on this to this day. Interesting stuff…