"Wanting to Stop Thinking is Also a Thought" is a testament to the cunning characteristics of the mind...
When traversing the spiritual path, one of the first truths that you'll encounter is that you are not your mind. What does this mean?
It means that:
- you are not your thoughts
- you are not your beliefs
- you are not the story that you tell others
- or even the story you tell yourself (that voice in your head that narrates your everyday life - the same one that's reading this to you in your head right now).
You are the one "behind" all of that...
....the one experiencing all of this right now: the perceiver of reality, the perceiver of the body that you "inhabit", and the knower of thoughts that whiz around in your head constantly.
Buddha stated that to reach the state of enlightenment, which he defined as "the end of suffering", one must give up desire.
Along the spiritual path, after seeing through the illusory and often negative nature of the mind for the first time, it's natural to start wanting to stop thinking and to desire a more calm and quiet mind.
But this is where it gets tricky, because wanting to stop thinking is just another thought, and desiring to quit thinking inevitably keeps us in the loop of suffering.
You see, another simple truth is that what you resist persists, and this applies to thoughts as well.
If I tell you to not think about a blue banana, you will of course immediately start thinking of a blue banana.
You are resisting the thought, so your mind says "Okay, I'm not thinking about a blue banana. Why did she choose blue anyway, that's so boring... a rainbow banana with glitter would have been cooler... Oh shit, I'm thinking about this banana still. Who the farts would eat that anyway?! Okay, I'm done with this banana business..."
Convincing yourself of what you aren't or don't want to be thinking about naturally focuses all your attention on the thing you're resisting.
It's the same reason why you want that ice cream even more after you said you were breaking up for good. Believe me, I know the struggle...
So what is there to do?
STOP TRYING AND JUST BE. It's realizing that thoughts are just like passing birds chirping outside. They have different tones, volumes, characteristics and patterns, but they are just flying by and soon they will be gone again. Just let the thoughts be there and don't pay any attention... like it's some annoying co-worker that just won't shut up so you tune him out to stay sane.
Once you stop putting all of your attention on getting rid of your thoughts (and desires) and instead accept the fact that they are just popping up, independent of you, you'll find that they lose their staying power, because you aren't focusing all your attention on them anymore.
When we transcend the mind, we find peace in every moment.
You can then move freely and with clarity in the world, with a still, serene mind that doesn't get in your way, make you anxious, or keep you locked in patterns that don't serve you anymore.