THE BLOG
02/03/2014 08:53 am ET Updated May 30, 2014

Foolproof Formula: Think Less + Feel More = Less Stress

The thinking mind is a useful and powerful tool, but it is also very limiting when it takes over your life completely, when you don't realize that it is only a small aspect of the consciousness that you are. Here is a new spiritual practice for you: Don't take your thoughts too seriously.

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The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely. The mind is incessantly looking not only for food for thought; it is looking for food for its identity, its sense of self. This is how the ego comes into existence and continuously re-creates itself.

The egoic self is always engaged in seeking. It is seeking more of this or that to add to itself, to make itself feel more complete. This explains the ego's compulsive preoccupation with future. The mind exists in a state of "not enough" and so is always greedy for more. When you are identified with mind, you get bored and restless very easily. Boredom means the mind is hungry for more stimulus, more food for thought, and its hunger is not being satisfied.

When you feel bored, you can satisfy the mind's hunger by picking up a magazine, making a phone call, switching on the TV, surfing the Web, going shopping, or -- and this is not uncommon -- transferring the mental sense of lack and its need for more to the body and satisfy it briefly by ingesting more food. Or you can stay bored and restless and observe what it feels like to be bored and restless.

As you bring awareness to the feeling, there is suddenly some space and stillness around it, as it were. A little at first, but as the sense of inner space grows, the feeling of boredom will begin to diminish in intensity and significance. So, even boredom can teach you who you are and who you are not.

The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are.

How easy it is for people to become trapped in their conceptual prisons.

The human mind, in its desire to know, understand, and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It says: This is how it is. You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret "your life" or someone else's life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many possible perspectives. It is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality is one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself. Thinking fragments reality -- it cuts it up into conceptual bits and pieces.

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Whenever you are immersed in compulsive thinking, you are avoiding what is. You don't want to be where you are. Here, now.

Your unhappiness ultimately arises not from the circumstances of your life but from the conditioning of your mind.

-- Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

For more from Eckhart Tolle, please click here.

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