“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
Life can often seem complicated, making us feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.
But what makes it feel complicated?
Our mind’s incredible capacity for thinking and reacting has the ability to really complicate things.
Challenging events and situation will happen throughout our life at different times, some of them self imposed and others beyond our control. But how we respond to them is up to us… and it’s our response that can create the experience of complication.
Our ability to think does have many advantages, however, it also means that we spend a lot of time thinking about things other than what we’re doing in the moment.
Thinking instead of just being present.
Thoughts, emotions, reactions, limiting beliefs, fears, worrying about the future and ruminating about the past create a complicated web of stories and dramas in our mind that can go on and on endlessly.
The result: life becomes very complicated as we jump from one story or emotional reaction to another.
The stories and dramas of our life have plenty of emotional charge to keep us consumed, disconnected from others, justifying our reactions, and keeping us in a vicious cycle that ultimately drains our life-force.
As the expression goes: Over-thinking is the art of creating problems that don’t exist.
Can you recognize the over-thinking in your life?
Can you feel the underlying emotions that fuel your over-thinking?
Can you feel how much it complicates your life?
By contrast, there’s a simplicity when we start to quiet our busy over-thinking mind.
Which can be learned!
It’s difficult to even comprehend just how much we complicate our life via our unconscious compulsion to constantly think and react, until we take the time to slow down and become quiet.
As long as over-thinking and reacting happens unconsciously it will always feel like the familiar, and complicated, sense of you and your life. You might not even think of it as complicated, it might just feel stressful, frustrating or overwhelming. There’s also a tendency to blame someone or something else for the drama in our life, rather than honestly reflect on our own reactions.
Can you recognize this in yourself?
But this magical thing happens the moment we start quietening the noise of our over-thinking mind – the complications of our mind become apparent, because by contrast, they’re not there (or at least have become quieter).
The practice of quietening our busy mind is also a practice of simplifying.
The Quiet Place
Practices like meditation and mindfulness are practices of simplifying.
They teach us how to shift from a state of mind that drains us to a state of mind that rejuvenates us. From noise to quiet, and from complication to simplicity.
It’s a skill we cultivate through practices like meditation and mindfulness, but the ability to quiet our mind reaches into all aspects of our life. Remember, wherever you go and whatever you do, your experience is filtered through the conditioning of your mind – your likes and dislikes, your traumas, strongly held beliefs and biases, and your degree of emotional resilience.
It’s this inner environment of your mind that will impact your experience in all aspect of your life, because that’s the filter through which you experience the world.
If you’ve never felt a sense of inner quiet or you’re recognizing just how busy, noisy and reactional your mind is, you might be wondering if it’s actually possible to quiet that noise in your mind.
It’s important to remember that your mind does not have to be completely silent to start simplifying.
It’s a gradient of experiences… In the beginning, as you start to become quiet, there’s a corresponding feeling of simplifying. The more you practice and the quieter you become, and the greater the feeling of simplicity (and relief!).
It’s also important to remember, it does take practice. It’s like a muscle, the more your exercise it, the stronger and more capable it becomes.
Training this muscle of your mind is an investment into simplifying. Which ultimately means long term self sustainable well-being.
Observing and Reflecting
Observing and reflecting on your habitual thought patterns is also an important part of simplifying.
Become familiar with the inner environment of your mind. By observing and reflecting on your thoughts and emotions you’re like an explorer, learning to navigate the landscapes of your mind.
I invite you to take time to reflect on your own thoughts and emotions and recognize how and where your mind is making your life more complicated.
What are the emotions driving your thoughts?
Often these thought patterns are unconscious, which means there’s not much you can do about them and their impact on your life. But as you observe these habits, making them more conscious, you gain greater insight and capacity to let them go.
You gain greater ability to simplify.
If you’re ready to dive in and live from your heart, then Finding Stillness is a comprehensive meditation and mindfulness course that will teach you how to quiet your mind so you can live from the heart.