In the last post I spoke of the necessity of training oneself to become aware of their semi-conscious thoughts. This post will look at some simple techniques that can be practised to bring the stream of semi conscious thought to conscious cognizance.
There is a reason why I prescribe the following techniques. The stream of semi conscious thoughts can at times be so subtle that training yourself to directly observe these thoughts can become a trying and frustrating endeavor. These techniques are relatively easy to follow and they teach you to review your thoughts just after you have had these thoughts. With enough practice you can become aware of your semi conscious thoughts as they occur. Reviewing our thoughts just after they occur is easier than being in a state of awareness as they thoughts flow through your mind.
Technique #1: Observe Your Breath
Breath is intimately connected with our thoughts and emotions. Fluctuations in breath indicate variations in our moods and emotions. Even the subtlest changes in our moods is reflected in our breath. This is no new technique. There are hundreds meditation courses that emphasize on this connection between the mind and breath. You would have already observed the fact that when you become angry your breath becomes short, shallow, and rapid. So by making use of this well known fact will help you achieve deeper awareness of self.
This technique is simple to practice. Start by observing your breath as you go about your daily routine. Observe what is your regular rate of breathing – are you a shallow breather or deep breather. Initially it takes a little conscious effort on your part to remember to be aware of your breath. But with a little consistent effort it will become second nature. After a few days of practice, whenever you observe a change in breath from normal, immediately stop whatever you are doing and cast your mind back over what your immediate thoughts had been. If you become aware of your breath sometime after the fluctuation occurred, then just cast your mind back to your thoughts just about the time the breath varied. It would be very easy to do, you just need to devote the time and effort.
Here are a few breath variations that you need to pay special attention to:
- Shallow and Rapid breathing – this kind of breathing occurs when the body is undergoing some kind of anxiety or tension.
- Sudden sharp intake and Holding of breath – indicative of fear or shock
- Tightness in Breathing – this is indicative of fear as well as anxiety
Follow these symptoms backwards to when they started and what you were thinking at that time or just before it and you will easily go to the root thought.
Technique #2: Observe Subtle Body Movements
This technique is relatively easier to follow than the previous one. It also increases your awareness of your body language. Whenever we have negative, anxious, problematic thoughts these affect not only our breathing rate but also our body language. It manifests itself easily in the body extremities like hands and fingers, feet and toes. Practice being aware of these extremities and you will be able to detect variations in mood and emotions easily.
Watch for these movements:
- Repetitive movements – like rubbing fingers/palms together, rubbing any object like chair handle, etc
- Pressing actions – wringing hands, one foot pressing another foot, clutching objects like chair handle, etc
- Nervous actions – watchout for subtle nervous actions in limb extremities
Also of use is the action of biting lips.
All of the above actions are indicative of stress or anxiety. Pressing actions are indicative of stress and continous actions like rubbing are indicative of anxious thoughts in the semi conscious thought stream. As soon as you become aware of them, just stop what you are doing and follow the action back to the time they started. You will easily know what upset you.
As you grow adept in observing your thoughts, you will notice that not only are you able to become aware of your semi conscious thoughts but also you find repetitive patterns in your thoughts. Most anxieties and stressful situations all boil down to two or three major root issues.
Being aware of your subtler thoughts will give you a deeper understanding of your personality, uncovering hidden dimensions of self that you either thought were not there or that you had already worked on the issue. It also gives you immense control over your self and the ability to manifest situations suited to your needs and evolution. Learning to be conscious of innermost thoughts of your being is the foremost step to self healing. Because, you cannot resolve a problem that you are not aware exists.
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