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Tiny Wisdom: Think Less, Feel More

“Get out of your head and get into your heart. Think less, feel more.” ~Osho

Have you ever felt attached to your thoughts—like you knew you were thinking yourself in circles, but a part of you wanted to keep getting dizzy?

Now that I’m healthy and energized, three months after my surgery, I’m developing a consistent yoga practice again—and I’m feeling better mentally and physically as a result of doing that.

But sometimes, when I get to the end of the day, particularly when I know I have a lot to do, I feel resistant to making that time for myself.

It’s not even necessarily when I’m planning to work through the evening. Sometimes I’ll think, “I have a lot on my mind—I don’t feel like it tonight.”

But that’s actually a compelling reason to go. Yoga always helps me calm my mind.

So the other day, I stopped and asked myself: Am I resistant to clearing my head—and why?

I realized that I wanted to keep thinking because I felt like I was creating solutions, like I was somehow making mental progress. If I took a break to clear my head, I thought, I might miss out on discovering something useful.

In other words, I felt like sitting around analyzing, assessing, and plotting was somehow more productive than getting out and enriching my mind and body.

What a misguided notion. While there’s something to be said for thinking things through, sometimes it’s far more useful to let everything go, create some space, and than see what ideas and feelings emerge in that new place of clarity and stillness.

Taking a break in any fashion can feel like losing control—at least it can for me. But releasing control often feels far better than we imagine it will.

Creating space feels good. Connecting with our bodies feels good. Stopping the cogs in our heads—yes, that feels good, too.

And when we feel good, we increase our odds of doing good, through our work and hobbies.

I know quite a few people with absolutely beautiful minds. One thing they all have in common is that they make time to nurture them.

If we want to create and inspire, we need to create room to access inspiration.

It doesn’t come from sheer mental will. It’s from enabling a flow between our heads and our hearts so that we don’t just know our answers—we feel them, with every ounce of our being.

Photo by torbakhopper

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About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) & co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you get unstuck & change your life. She's now seeking stories to include in her next book, 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Tiny Buddha. Click here to share your story! For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter & Facebook.

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  • Suzhnz

    So good to hear this particularly today. Thank you
    LTA ~ Love To All

  • Vishnu

    Hi Lori, well said.

    Often, when we want to sit and brood or worry (or just think) about a particular problem or circumstance and try to figure out a solution, it makes a world of difference to stop thinking and start feeling and experiencing something else through yoga, exercise or just friendship. Taking a break from thinking and processing is inspiring and brings about great ideas and solutions to solving the initial problem.

  • Jonathan Lareau

    Such a simple concept, but requires discipline to implement. Clear the clutter, and solutions will come. Thanks for this Lori.

  • http://IrvingsJourney.com/ Irving Podolsky

    Dear Lori,

    Everything about our American culture is built on this premise: If we’re NOT creating  something, we’re unproductive, we’re not contributing, we’re not paying “taxes”, we’re not earning the right to live here.

    Even our vacations are rationalized with the idea that we’ve EARNED the break. And then back to work we go…if we’re fortunate enough to have that opportunity.

    Retirement? Some people can’t take it. Their self esteem crumbles. Who are they without their jobs?

    So THINKING about making something is step one in DOING something. Only then can we respect ourselves. This psychological barometer we learn from kindergarten, through graduate school and into the work place. We’re programmed to feel guilty about just BEING.

    No task accomplished, no new ideas – NO pay check.

    So of course you feel compelled to THINK HARD…all the time.

    And so do I.

    Take care,

    Irv

  • StClairMoriniere

    i love this site…. thanks for the wisdom

  • Laurie

    Boy howdy did this resonate with me today (started to get teary eyed – how’s that for a release??). Thanks for sharing xoxoox

  • David

    This is conveyed very clearly and concisely. Great wisdom. Thank you.

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    Hiya Irv, Lori.

    I believe there is a happy medium. No, not a high short person. A point between kicking back and that of keeping with the train of thought through to completion.

    I’m retired, so I welcome motivation and want to catch the express line when my thoughts come barrelling through the depot. If I stay too long with the problem-solving idea-building, though, I will later [col]lapse back into mediocrity and again look for the incoming. It becomes feast or famine.

    Flexibility appears to be the answer, as long as we maintain borders to that plasticity. If we stray too far from a practice of “stopping the cogs in our heads” we get tense. If we step too easily and quickly into creating that space we may spend an inordinate amount of time quieting down the clamor created from departing the arena of solutions too abruptly. And want to stay there just to be sure.

    Obviously, the answer lies in maintaining a set ritual for ourselves…at work or play or retired. Any departure from that should be regarded as a too-wide swing of the pendulum and immediately adjusted (not overly) so that successive swings don’t pull us out of our rhythm entirely.

    We are, after, creatures of rhythm. A solid practice of on and off states enables us to settle into a natural beat that harmonizes with the Earth.

    ~ Mark

  • Stacee

    I said to myself, “this is fantastic advice, I’m going to read this insight over and over again”….then I realized I’m still trying to fill my mind!  You hit the nail on the head that if I stop thinking, I miss out on making mental progress….but what does that help really?  I’m absolutely taking this to heart and will finally make some time to just be and begin a journey to learn to release control back to the universe.  Sometimes it just takes someone to word something the right way to “get it”. Thanks!

  • Jennifer

     Nice post, Lori. And a good reminder to occasionally hit that hard to find “off” switch. I am definitely someone who thinks way too much. When I notice myself doing it, I then try to figure out why… it’s a never-ending cycle!
    I think at least part of it is what you and some other commenters have alluded to, and that’s the drive to “be productive” and “accomplish.” I have so many goals and aspirations about who I want to be and where I want to go, and I think I think that if I think enough, I’ll get it all done. (Did you follow all that?.. ;p)
    I also believe that sometimes all the thinking is an attempt to avoid feeling. Some feelings, such as anxiety, loneliness, etc., are hard for me to sit with, and if I fill my mind with thoughts — even unpleasant ones, somehow that seems preferable. I’m finding, though, that that’s not the case. Feeling might seem scary at times, but avoiding it just makes it worse, and usually when I face it instead of running from it, I find it’s not nearly as scary as I make it out to be. And like you, when I make the time to meditate or go for a slow relaxing walk and just empty my mind, I always end up feeling more refreshed. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and I think there’s probably something we could come up with to relate that to thinking. Yoga’s worth a thousand thoughts? I don’t know– I’m done thinking for tonight ;p

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad it was helpful!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Vishnu. My sentiments exactly!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    LOL! I’ve done the same thing, with re-reading things over and over again. I’m glad this helped!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’ve done that same thing Jennifer–think about my thinking, as if it’s the most productive thing to do. I think thinking can actually be somewhat addictive (see–more thinking!)

    That’s a powerful insight, about thinking being a means to avoid feeling. I’m sure I’ve done that many times before. 

    I love what you wrote about yoga being worth a thousand thoughts. What a wonderful analogy!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. Thank you for being here David. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Laurie!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the site!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Very insightful Irv! What you wrote makes a lot of sense, about the guilt we feel about just being. I think the thinking is also a compulsion. It’s just so hard sometimes to step outside it, especially if you use your mind to rationalize staying stuck in your mind!

  • http://DreamCoach.CO.UK/ Ruth

    Excellent post Lori… sometimes I’m aware of thinking to avoid feeling, but mostly it is an addiction to thinking! I feel my mind wanting to keep pushing on… and I get really agitated at myself when I interrupt the thinking process to take some quiet time.

    The first hurdle for me is usually the agitation at having the mental pattern interrupted.. then the sneaky way the mind creeps back in and keeps ‘creating new ides’ when I’m supposed to be meditating!

    I have found that if I have a mental block though, just by telling myself I’m supposed to be meditating is a great way to get the mind to be creative again, but somehow I feel this is a wrong use of mediation.. like a kind of reverse psychology. There’s no limit to the games the mind can play!

    Or maybe it’s just like you say.. once the mind is quieter – space opens up, and creativity drops in!

    Thanks again Lori – I loved this post.

  • Barbara

    A Huge Thank You for writing and posting this!!!! I too am an Addictive Thinker!! I always want to do Yoga (love it so much), but quickly talk myself out it – telling myself I need to do___________ (insert anything. Rarely then do I do them bc I am so overwhelmed, I then end up paralyzed.
    Most importantly this I can relate to this bc my best friend of over 30 was found Tuesday morning of appently an accidental OD. A serious and repeated surgery issue had put her on pain meds.
    Her life was similar to Whitney Houston. She had work so hard all of her life to become a huge success and did. Unfortunately she never took time for herself and therefore always looked for things Outside of herself to make her happy..clothes, furniture, etc.
    I have made a commitment to finding peace within to honor her passing.

  • Donna

    So true! I really enjoyed reading this and can relate to every word! Thanks for taking the time to write the post and share it xxxx 

  • Lv2terp

    FANTASTIC! It is so easy to get stuck in thinking and analyzing to death to try to get the answer, I really love the part you wrote…” While there’s something to be said for thinking things through,
    sometimes it’s far more useful to let everything go, create some space,
    and than see what ideas and feelings emerge in that new place of clarity
    and stillness.” Thank you so much Lori for sharing your amazing gift of being able to put into words, so beautifully I might add, these concepts, feelings, etc…that are not tangible and very challenging to put “a finger on”. I appreciate you and this website GREATLY!!! :)

  • Nancy

    Awesome post, Lori!

    “While there’s something to be said for thinking things through, sometimes it’s far more useful to let everything go, create some space, and than see what ideas and feelings emerge in that new place of clarity and stillness.”  What a profound statement!

    I often find myself on that hamster wheel in my head and it’s so easy to forget the clarify and peace of mind that comes from getting off that wheel and nurturing myself, whether it be through meditation, prayer or some healthy activity…the answers always come if we still our mind and listen.

    I am so glad you are feeling strong and healthy and thanks for this great reminder!

  • http://leighpope.com/intimaciesq Jessica Pope

    Often, the part of me that thinks it’s creating solutions isn’t creating anything except a bunch of internal drama and anxiety within me.

    It’s other parts of me – not necessarily the conscious, thinking part – that finds solutions.

    When I stop thinking about it, the epiphany comes – seemingly liked a gift dropped put of the heavens!

    I think physical activity and other non-cerebral activities give that other part time to do its “work.”

    It’s still hard though, not to get stuck in my head. So thanks for the reminder Lori :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know all about that experience of the mind creeping into meditation! That’s part of why I love yoga. It’s so much easier for me to focus when I’m syncing movements with my breath. 

    I know what you mean about the wrong use of meditation–but part of me wonders, if it’s helpful, is it really wrong?

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome Jessica! I know what you mean about non-cerebral activities. That’s a big part of why I’m planning to write less when I finish my next book. I think I would benefit from a greater balance of mental and physical activities. Gardening, making crafts, and doing things with my hands always provides me with a sense of peace and presence!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much Nancy! I’m so glad I’m feeling like myself again.

    That hamster wheel can be such an addictive place sometimes. (Boy do I know that!) But what a freeing feeling to get off and just be for a while.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! Thank you for taking the time to comment. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Donna. I hope you’re having a great weekend! =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Barbara,

    I’m so sorry to learn about your friend, and I’m sending lots of love and positive energy your way. You are in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • http://www.expandedpathways.com/ Stacy

    I get myself into this place all the time and am constantly bringing myself back to nurturing myself and recognizing that how I move into flow, abundance and connection to others IS through self care, joy and play more flow.  We’re so programmed otherwise…it’s a lesson in progress for me. 

  • ChiropracticCoaches

     Sometimes in life we don’t have to rely too much on our brain. We must also use our heart. What makes us happy. Wonderful advice, Have you had any situation that you have to use heart?

  • Brian

    So true. Fantastic article.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it!