Keeping The Idle Mind Busy

October 25, 2016

maniwheels

An idle mind is the devil’s playground.
In psychology, they call that the ruminating mind. Nothing good comes out of this. Depressed folks usually are stuck in their minds, overthinking and overanalyzing nonstop. I’ve been there, done that, many a times.

By its own nature, my mind likes to replay events & images.
It’s like in the Pixar movie Inside Out. Old (usually negative) memories shoot back up into my awareness at the oddest of times. Then I get lost in that dream-like state until another memory pops up. Even though I’m technically awake and walking around, I’m lost in a mental movie. This is true for all humans.

What we need do then is to keep tight reigns on our mind. We don’t allow it to wander about, sniffing here and there, we’re the master! Stay on the path buddy, lovingly we should tell our mind. Treat it like our beloved pet dog.

There are a few ways to keep an idle mind busy.
We can keep it active doing something purposeful. Things like reading, writing, working, exercising, meditation, and such. Active mindful participation. This is known as the flow state.

The issue comes during downtime, which is most of our waking time.

While washing dishes, showering, driving, sitting around, watching shows are when the ruminating mind takes over. Even when we are conversing with most humans, we naturally start to discuss negative events, thus giving more fuel to our idle mind for later.

In these inactive times, we can repeat a mantra.
I got this idea from The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel about a street cat rescued by the Buddhist monk.

In one scene, there are two new students being trained by the master monks and the cat observes their actions. The students are supposed to repeat mantras over and over while doing chores.

I tried this practice today and it was life changing!
All day, I repeated the famous & powerful Tibetan mantra I told you about yesterday, OM MANI PADME HUM.

The moment I woke up, I started chanting. First it was a whisper, then I repeated it only in the mind. Not only did my mind not ruminate, I felt a positive feeling all up and down my body. My chest and arms especially felt a bright warm tingle.

I then continued this action while performing routine actions, the ultimate test. I’m happy to say that it worked as advertised!

My ruminating mind did take over for a few brief moments, replaying some mental chatter. And I almost forgot the mantra all together, even though I must’ve repeated it hundreds of times by then.

Keep Life Cheat Sheets
Luckily I have the mantra written down on my phone for those types of moments.

Football coaches Bill Walsh & Bill Belichick are famous for having super detailed written plays to cover every single scenario they may encounter on game day. They’re never caught off guard and do not rely on their memory.

The same goes for surgeons and pilots, no matter how experienced, they keep detailed checklists handy on what to do.

So, I’ve also created my own playbook for the mind, with detailed written notes on what to do in whatever scenario that I’m likely to encounter. It’s still a work in progress and I adjust it as needed.

I know that at certain places or times I will forget all my teachings and react like a human animal and not as the Inner Self. Since I always have my phone handy, I’ll scan through my notes to re-mind myself on what to do.

I hope this method helps you out as well.
Give it a try, it works for sure.

Resources:
The Benefits of Chanting OM MANI PADME HUM
The Dalai Lama’s Cat – amzn only $1.99 as of this writing!
Mani Prayer Wheel Image – Wiki