Thought control

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,696
No, not that kind. This isn't a political thread. This is about controlling one's own thoughts.

Is it possible?
For anyone?
For everyone?

When I hear someone talk of meditation and "clearing the mind" I immediately stop taking them seriously. To me that sounds like mysticism. I could sooner manipulate physical objects with my mind than clear it of thought. Are they serious? Can other people actually clear their minds? Think of nothing at all? The concept seems alien to me. My mind is a circus. Sitting in silence with my legs crossed would only give my mind a wide open space to run amok. The mental cacophony of it would be uncomfortable. I prefer to "control" my mind by setting it to a task.

I played a phone game with my daughter last night where you're on a sled careening down a mountain and you have no control. Well actually you do sort of "control" it with a rocket on the back of the sled; if you want to go right, you wait until the random moment that your sled spins so that it's pointing right and then hit the boost button. If that opportunity doesn't come, then you don't get to go right. I was thinking that's sort of analogous to how I control my mind. It's not always something I can steer; it's something I can just poke/prod in the direction I want it to go (if I can remember what direction that is). If it wants to go in a different direction, it wins. Progress in the direction I want (or my employer wants) is halted.

Some people's religious beliefs and indeed my own personal code of ethics dictate that some thoughts are off limits. For years I have mentally self flagellated for my mind's total disregard for the boundaries. But I'm starting to wonder if it's really something I ever had any control over. If I struggle and fail to banish the chorus of "My Sharona" blaring at max volume in my head for 6hrs straight and drowning out more important thoughts, then how could I hope to abstain from a quick mental act of infidelity?

As I type this I have another song stuck in my head. It's one you've never heard. It's one I had never heard until last night. A Nigerian woman sang it to me in a subway station in a dream. She had a deep baritone voice that most men couldn't match. It wasn't in English so I don't know the words and can't remember even what they sounded like, but the tune is stuck in my head, and if I had any musical ability, any way to play and record the song, I think it would be a hit. It was great. But alas, it will die with me. Or, more accurately, within me, probably before lunch.

I also had a dream that a neighbor lady (someone who doesn't exist in real life) asked for my help setting up a tiny home as it was about to be delivered. She was on the phone with the delivery guy, and asked what kind of trailer he had. I didn't hear his reply but She said "that won't work. My gravel driveway is uneven, you're going to need a higher trailer." She argued with him for a minute, seemed confused, and then gave up saying "yeah, I guess we will see." Then I saw the tiny home crest a hill, followed shortly by not one, but two, matching 1963 Chevy trucks driving side-by-side in perfect sync, carrying the tiny home suspended on runners between their two trailers. It was a total surprise, both in the dream and upon waking. I've never seen anything like it. The idea seemed to have come from somewhere else.

I don't think I'm receiving songs and unconventional transportation concepts via long range mental osmosis from a mysterious source in my sleep, but I have no explanation for their origin. It's my understanding that the things we dream are spawned from seeds of reality that our brains shape with artistic license. But what of these original ideas that come in dreams? I would be tempted to say that they're seeded from things we've seen or heard but can't remember, things locked away in deep memory that we can't access in waking moments. But I'm not convinced of that.

Sorry, I know this might not all seem related, and maybe it isn't, but it feels related, and it feels like my mind is not wholly mine. I feel not in control. Is this normal? Is everyone this way? Or am I the weirdo that I suspect I might be? If this is normal then why do so many people claim to be able to clear their minds? Is it just for kudos?
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
4,054
When I hear someone talk of meditation and "clearing the mind" I immediately stop taking them seriously. To me that sounds like mysticism. I could sooner manipulate physical objects with my mind than clear it of thought
Have you tried? There is much nonsense about meditation out there, but the basic premise that one can put the mind into different state in which it is not constantly “thinking” sbout something seems sound to me, and I have experienced it myself.

I am not a proponent if meditation and do not practice it myself, but I do not reject the ability to change the operation if the mind.

Bob
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
2,322
I'm not a meditator and, despite the attempts of several companions who do meditate to get me meditating, I have never successfully emptied my mind of anything, its still as cluttered and multi-tracked as ever... and you know what? I like it that way...

The nearest i ever got to meditating was when i used to go out running... there was a point when the endorphins started to kick-in where my world was just legs, breathing, and focusing on pace... that was as close as i ever got...

So i'm not a complete sceptic - if its possible to hit that point without the physical effort for some people then great for them... I just never got there...
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,911
No, not that kind. This isn't a political thread. This is about controlling one's own thoughts.

Is it possible?
For anyone?
For everyone?

...

Sorry, I know this might not all seem related, and maybe it isn't, but it feels related, and it feels like my mind is not wholly mine. I feel not in control. Is this normal? Is everyone this way? Or am I the weirdo that I suspect I might be? If this is normal then why do so many people claim to be able to clear their minds? Is it just for kudos?
Yes, you're a weirdo. Welcome to the realization you're a weirdo club. I've been there since my first conscious thought. The trick is to learn how to remove the brains fake reality processing to make you conscious of how the brain creates these thoughts and then learn how to subconsciously redirect distracting thoughts. There is no mystical solution.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
2,053
Controlling your thought processes takes practice and concentration but it is very possible. I am an electronics engineer. I specialized in electronic measurements and problem solving. I am retired now but I was very successful at my job. If I had never disciplined and focused my though processes I would not have been able to achieve what I did. Having a successful career enabled me to lead a very happy and enjoyable life.
I realize the everyone is different but I do wonder why so many people make their lives miserable because they make no effort to control their thoughts. They let their lives be controlled by emotional stress and worry.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,696
Controlling your thought processes takes practice and concentration but it is very possible. I am an electronics engineer. I specialized in electronic measurements and problem solving. I am retired now but I was very successful at my job. If I had never disciplined and focused my though processes I would not have been able to achieve what I did. Having a successful career enabled me to lead a very happy and enjoyable life.
I realize the everyone is different but I do wonder why so many people make their lives miserable because they make no effort to control their thoughts. They let their lives be controlled by emotional stress and worry.
I see we are at opposite ends of the spectrum on this topic. Here i am making the insinuation that if you claim to be able to control your thoughts then you're a fraud, and you're making the insinuation that if you can't control your thoughts it's due to a complete lack of effort and discipline. As with most things where there are polar opposites of opinion, the truth is probably both, and/or somewhere in the middle.
Have you tried?
Of course! I would be a fool if I hadn't. This is something society as whole seems to be in agreement on. It took years of self doubt and feelings of inadequacy for me to reach the opinion that it's not possible. It's just now that I'm re-opening my mind to the idea that it's just not possible for me, and in fact everyone else is not a fraud.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,696
Yes, you're a weirdo. Welcome to the realization you're a weirdo club. I've been there since my first conscious thought.
I've always known I was different. I just told myself that everyone else was the weirdo. As I get older I get more comfortable with the idea that I'm the weirdo and shed my delusions one at a time. This is the one I'm working on for now.
The trick is to learn how to remove the brains fake reality processing to make you conscious of how the brain creates these thoughts and then learn how to subconsciously redirect distracting thoughts. There is no mystical solution.
Can you expound a bit on "the trick?" I didn't understand a word of it, and even if I did, it sounds like one of those things that's: (1) easier said than done, and (2) provided as something that the means of which are either supposed to be self evident or defy explanation, so no instructions are provided. Like "the trick to riding a bike is to stay upright."
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,972
Of course you can control your thoughts, you made this post didn't you. The way you control your thoughts is by using concentration.

Perhaps the mind is like a PC, it needs to be doing something akin to idle processes when there is no focus.

And no, I have never been able to completely stop thinking while awake, but controlling thoughts is entirely possible. (but I don't think it's impossible either, I just can't do it, but there are many things I can't do that others can)
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
2,053
I learned many years ago that without some kind of mental discipline I could never achieve my goals. I experienced an emotional trauma that threatened to upset my life. I overcame it by creating mental "partitions" to keep my thoughts from interfering with each other. That way, I could concentrate fully on my job when I was at work and could solve the domestic problems at home. After using this system for a while, it became a habit and enabled me to switch between the different aspects of my life to give them my full attention. I don't know if anyone else does this but it works very well for me.
 

bogosort

Joined Sep 24, 2011
678
When I hear someone talk of meditation and "clearing the mind" I immediately stop taking them seriously.
I also used to have this reaction. The problem was that I was interpreting "clearing the mind" literally, which is of course hogwash.

I've since learned that people who take meditation seriously don't tend to speak with the precision engineers expect, and so there's a language barrier to overcome. I've also learned that there are at least two types of serious meditation practices, with at least two different "goals". In one type, which is akin to "clearing the mind", the meditator tries to relax into awareness, that baseline state of experience shared by all creatures. The universe is happening and I am aware of it. My mind is racing with thoughts about a work deadline and I am aware of it. My leg is uncomfortable from sitting in this position too long and I am aware of it. The act of relaxing into awareness has a tendency to calm the nervous system and ground perspective.

The other type is more interesting to me. It's actively exploratory, trying to deconstruct consciousness from within. I close my eyes and my mind wanders. Who's mind? Who is thinking these thoughts? Who is noticing the thinker of the thoughts? Where exactly are these thoughts being "heard"? My foot is cramping -- what's the distance between the feeling in my foot and the thoughts in my head? Where is the center of experience; where are its boundaries?

For me, this exploration is anything but relaxing; it can be exhausting. But the shift in perspective helps expose the false narratives my mind so willingly constructs.
 

xox

Joined Sep 8, 2017
609
No, not that kind. This isn't a political thread. This is about controlling one's own thoughts.


Is it possible?

For anyone?

For everyone?


When I hear someone talk of meditation and "clearing the mind" I immediately stop taking them seriously. To me that sounds like mysticism. I could sooner manipulate physical objects with my mind than clear it of thought. Are they serious? Can other people actually clear their minds? Think of nothing at all? The concept seems alien to me. My mind is a circus. Sitting in silence with my legs crossed would only give my mind a wide open space to run amok. The mental cacophony of it would be uncomfortable. I prefer to "control" my mind by setting it to a task.


I played a phone game with my daughter last night where you're on a sled careening down a mountain and you have no control. Well actually you do sort of "control" it with a rocket on the back of the sled; if you want to go right, you wait until the random moment that your sled spins so that it's pointing right and then hit the boost button. If that opportunity doesn't come, then you don't get to go right. I was thinking that's sort of analogous to how I control my mind. It's not always something I can steer; it's something I can just poke/prod in the direction I want it to go (if I can remember what direction that is). If it wants to go in a different direction, it wins. Progress in the direction I want (or my employer wants) is halted.


Some people's religious beliefs and indeed my own personal code of ethics dictate that some thoughts are off limits. For years I have mentally self flagellated for my mind's total disregard for the boundaries. But I'm starting to wonder if it's really something I ever had any control over. If I struggle and fail to banish the chorus of "My Sharona" blaring at max volume in my head for 6hrs straight and drowning out more important thoughts, then how could I hope to abstain from a quick mental act of infidelity?


As I type this I have another song stuck in my head. It's one you've never heard. It's one I had never heard until last night. A Nigerian woman sang it to me in a subway station in a dream. She had a deep baritone voice that most men couldn't match. It wasn't in English so I don't know the words and can't remember even what they sounded like, but the tune is stuck in my head, and if I had any musical ability, any way to play and record the song, I think it would be a hit. It was great. But alas, it will die with me. Or, more accurately, within me, probably before lunch.


I also had a dream that a neighbor lady (someone who doesn't exist in real life) asked for my help setting up a tiny home as it was about to be delivered. She was on the phone with the delivery guy, and asked what kind of trailer he had. I didn't hear his reply but She said "that won't work. My gravel driveway is uneven, you're going to need a higher trailer." She argued with him for a minute, seemed confused, and then gave up saying "yeah, I guess we will see." Then I saw the tiny home crest a hill, followed shortly by not one, but two, matching 1963 Chevy trucks driving side-by-side in perfect sync, carrying the tiny home suspended on runners between their two trailers. It was a total surprise, both in the dream and upon waking. I've never seen anything like it. The idea seemed to have come from somewhere else.


I don't think I'm receiving songs and unconventional transportation concepts via long range mental osmosis from a mysterious source in my sleep, but I have no explanation for their origin. It's my understanding that the things we dream are spawned from seeds of reality that our brains shape with artistic license. But what of these original ideas that come in dreams? I would be tempted to say that they're seeded from things we've seen or heard but can't remember, things locked away in deep memory that we can't access in waking moments. But I'm not convinced of that.


Sorry, I know this might not all seem related, and maybe it isn't, but it feels related, and it feels like my mind is not wholly mine. I feel not in control. Is this normal? Is everyone this way? Or am I the weirdo that I suspect I might be? If this is normal then why do so many people claim to be able to clear their minds? Is it just for kudos?
Meditation is simply the act of paying close attention to everything which enters and exits the mind while engaged in any given activity. So you can do it anytime and anywhere. Walking, running, sitting, reclined, doesn't matter. Just completely absorb yourself in whatever it is that you are doing at that particular moment.

The noise that you see within your mind is natural and you should neither feel aversion to the thoughts nor embrace them. Just pay attention to everything that you are sensing. Don't analyze, just watch the thoughts as they appear from nowhere then dissolve naturally. Pay attention to the everything; the sound and sensation of your breath, your surroundings (maybe you can hear birds chirping), every little sensation and impression.

When you start feeling worn out from the meditation session, just go back your daily affairs as usual. (Too much meditation can often be just as bad as none at all.)

So you see, it's something we already know how to do (on some level at least). It just takes practice. If your'e doing it right then you will eventually start to feel more centered and focused. Which is the whole point, really. To make the brain more stable to stresses and the like...
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,911
I've always known I was different. I just told myself that everyone else was the weirdo. As I get older I get more comfortable with the idea that I'm the weirdo and shed my delusions one at a time. This is the one I'm working on for now.

Can you expound a bit on "the trick?" I didn't understand a word of it, and even if I did, it sounds like one of those things that's: (1) easier said than done, and (2) provided as something that the means of which are either supposed to be self evident or defy explanation, so no instructions are provided. Like "the trick to riding a bike is to stay upright."
There is no trick but like most things it's a lot easier if you start practicing a controlled mind at an early age. What you learn is now to control how the body/brain generates the 'mind'. For me the first step was practicing Yoga (mental techniques) as a teen to move deeper into the subconscious control of the body. It's like moving into a lower level (what I call the lizard brain) where you can look up to the pathway to conscious awareness. With practice it becomes second nature to step back mentally to brace for what comes next from that lizard brain. Sometime you just need to go down the lower levels to keep things under control.

 

Delta Prime

Joined Nov 15, 2019
1,196
Hello there! :) When I hear one speak of meditation
I listen intently, for it's the inner voice of one's thoughts manifesting verbatiously, an insight to that particular persons thought process.
Reinforcing that I am not the only weirdo, which brings me comfort. Restructuring my priorities and values reorientating my mind towards the compelling aspects of my sense of self and ongoing
personal narrative that weaves together the variousa aspects of our lives into a coherent, unified experience.
My-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo! Ma ma ma my Sharona!. See what I mean! Darn you!! @strantor.:p
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
435
As others have pointed out meditation is very much about becoming self aware. This exploration leads to more control over your state of mind.

I do not have the discipline to practice, although it would improve my abilities significantly. But, I make my use of my nature surroundings and of my quiet evenings at home to try and reflect on the day and remove the "noise" best I can. It is more difficult to step away from external world and remove the stressors when there is a lot going on at work. These are the days when I have a hard time getting my brain to "shut up" and end up having a lot of strange dreams.

Meditation is real and there is amazing level of control that can be achieved over both body and mind with practice. Our nervious system is amazing. As an aside I always chuckle at the notion that it can be replicated with chips as we now next to nothing about how it really works
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,650
Very often, sometimes daily, usually in the middle of the afternoon or after a long hard day my brain feels like it is caught between the jaws of a vise. Everything feels tight in the head.

My remedy is to sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room, usually in my office.
I close my eyes and concentrate on nothing else except my breathing. Does that count as clearing the mind?
I can literally feel the tension fall away. All it takes is no more that 5 minutes. This is a well known technique practiced by many people.

After 5 minutes I feel rejuvenated and I can go on with what I was doing.

I don't know if it is called meditation but I know it works for me.
 

GetDeviceInfo

Joined Jun 7, 2009
1,920
It wouldn’t be considered meditating, but there are times where I can be thoughtless. Strong emotions can replace conscious thought, as can sensual stimulation. There is a place in the west coast rain forest that I like to visit. It’s there where my being is put into perspective, and thoughts are surrendered due to there insignificance.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,650
It wouldn’t be considered meditating, but there are times where I can be thoughtless. Strong emotions can replace conscious thought, as can sensual stimulation. There is a place in the west coast rain forest that I like to visit. It’s there where my being is put into perspective, and thoughts are surrendered due to there insignificance.
I get the same perspective whenever I visit the Rockies.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,617
Sometimes it's about centering your focus and clearing your mind of all of it's noise... Often it will take me ~15 minutes when reading or working on a problem to clear the cobwebs and noise to focus on what I need to pay attention to.
 

killivolt

Joined Jan 10, 2010
805
Sometimes it's about centering your focus and clearing your mind of all of it's noise... Often it will take me ~15 minutes when reading or working on a problem to clear the cobwebs and noise to focus on what I need to pay attention to.
I’ll try to be concise direct with few words. Meaningful. Following Ben Franklin you could achieve more from your daily demanding schedule, with less stress. Simple Right?

No, first you must surrender. To what exactly? The fact that your just human, but I think you would already say that about yourself, but is that voice just affirmation? Remember this is your thought experiment, but my takeaway. Just like the responses from the posts you generated from concerned caring educated individuals, like minds if you will. And where are you going with this? You say?

Ben Franklin cleared the voices around him and inside him by reaching deeper, doing so led him to a profound method of behavior which reduced his stress of a demanding life style, which he said he never perfected, but as a rule or a guide. Say what you will about him, I don’t care.

Someone who follow these principles for a week and their results, first one of his principles, I made myself reflect on what 'good' I had done that day before I went to bed.

Examples he followed and tried throughout the week. Found here. https://www.businessinsider.com/benjamin-franklin-daily-routine-experiment-2016-8#-2


Mondays Schedule:
One of the first tweaks I made to Franklin's routine was his wake-up time. I found 5 a.m. to be too early when I tried Dorsey's morning routine, so I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. I ended up hitting the snooze button for 15 minutes. I blame Monday-morning grogginess.

I then did a 16-minute morning meditation, a habit I picked up from Huffington's and Dorsey's morning routines. I chose a guided meditation that focused on setting an intention for the day.

I picked silence as my Monday virtue, which Franklin defined as: "Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."

I took this to mean fighting the urge to provide my own thoughts when they aren't necessary, staying away from negative conversations, and listening closely to others.
You can alter to achieve a goal to fit you.

kv’s, Daily meditation schedule. ( Note: However, methods are different for everyone, can be done in the shower, can be done during exercise, before studying, you just woke up first cup of coffee or not, no one else is awake, early for me could be 5:30am or 6:30am doesn’t matter and all the voices around you are silenced. Thoughts mindful thoughts are like prayers, while in deep thought I extend my mind from the top of my head a tether through the roof, into the void of space, it’s there that I find peace, I begin to harmonize in the emptiness suspended, outside of time and the frictions of the world as I look down)

kv
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,934
Meditation or mindfulness. I practice the latter.

It must be practiced because it is a learned skill. Fortunately, there are intermediate benefits, as controlling your thoughts provide immediate relief.

I start by finding a comfortable place, closing my eyes and concentrate on my breath. You want to concentrate on breathing and nothing else.

But this is difficult. And how you react is really the goal. My nose inevitably itches. So, I acknowledge the itch, scratch it and return to concentrating on my breathing. Other thoughts will intrude, particularly in the beginning. Use the same strategy as before. Acknowledge the interruption, let it go and return to concentrating on your breathing.

The next step is a body scan…

So everyone can learn how to clear their mind, if they are committed to do so. It’s not “mind control” so much as “mind awareness”.
 
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