Sunday, December 9, 2012

A continuous loop of "no exit" thoughts.

I’m having repair work done on the house and it is sometimes stressful. Stress is often accompanied by repetitive thoughts.  Being trapped in a continuous loop of the same “no exit” thoughts is horrid (I love that word). After a few hours of this I turned to my old pal, Eckhart Tolle for advice.  I went to his free meditation and tried to steady my mind so I could take it in.   It was tough going for a while but finally I really heard what he was saying.  “When you identify with the voice in your head that never stops speaking, you become the voice and it is a dreamlike state.”  Yep, that’s it.

When that happens you can’t have a clear thought.  Everything is seen through the judgment of the mind.  Halfway through the meditation I was able to have a clear thought.

Here’s the process I used and golly gee, it worked.

I asked myself:

Why are you so strangled by this situation?
What would be the outcome if the situation continued as you imagine it?
How would the outcome impact your life?
How would that affect your day-to-day well-being going forward?

Just by stating all the facts, my anxiety level was reduced by two thirds.
Then I examined the answer to the last question:  “How would that affect your well-being going forward?”  I found that while the worst outcome would be frustrating, I could live with it.”

Then I did the one practice I’ve learned from Tolle that I find brilliant and effective.  I took possession of the situation.  I said quietly: “this thing is mine” but I didn’t JUDGE it as good or bad.  It was just there - something.  Immediately the sting was gone and I was able to dissipate the “thinking loop.”  Throughout the day, the old thoughts tried to get some traction but each time they had less and less strength.

Now here’s the bonus of this process.  When you stop judging something as good or bad, you let the thing out of the prison of negative thought and it becomes neutral. Sometimes, it becomes good. You step back and allow life to flow on.  You do not keep the situation in irons. You are interested in the outcome but not dependent on it.  It sounds hard to do but letting go of the judgment boosts your ability to step back.

This is exactly what happened to me yesterday and I wanted to share it.


  1. Brilliant advice. I get caught in these thought loops too. I have been meditating to get rid of frustrations, which seems better than my old method of going out in the yard and cussing violently while I hacked weeds to death.

    1. Oh, Carlarey, that goodness I don't sound like a know it all. I would share anything that gets us out of "thought hell" even at the risk of sounding pretentious.

  2. If there is one thing - just one thing - that I could change about myself, it would be to get rid of the loops. "Thought hell" is the perfect description, Consuelo. I appreciate your posts on things like this, being the OCD type! I'm going to try that list of questions. I tell you, once I manage to eliminate a thought loop (usually only after all danger of it coming true has passed), my brain goes searching for another. The struggles of having a brain, eh?

    1. You've described me exactly. Once I get rid of one thought loop, I immediately go looking for another.
      BUT in the last couple of weeks, I go to my protocol. Look at the thing. Own it. Stop judging it as good or bad. Usually this relieves the immediate discomfort.
      Thank you for reading my blog, Diane.