number seven: finish your thoughts
Anyone with a passing familiarity with mystical or meditative literature will probably have come across the idea that one should ‘stop’ thoughts. How exactly this might be possible is not always clear.
I will propose to the contrary: as a famous mystic once said ( I could tell you his name, but do you really care? ) Why are you so concerned with stopping thoughts? Try finishing a thought for a change. When you do, the thoughts will go away on their own.
The normal pattern for human thinking is to have dozens, if not hundreds, of unresolved thoughts in the background. Advertising takes advantage of this. I believe it’s called the zeigarnick effect. A long chain of open propositions creates anxiety. Makes it easier to manipulate people. But I digress…
Instead, take one of these hanging threads of thought, and tie it up. Select a line of thinking and finish it. Doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up later, but when you’re done with it for the time being, reach a conclusion in your own mind about it and then set it aside. Do this methodically until you actually have to look to find a thought that won’t go away.
Conversely, if you’re really obsessed with something, then follow it without any breaks at all, until it’s done. Or, as done as you can make it. You’ll either find some marvellous conclusions, or you’ll find it’s not worth the hassle. In which case, it was never worth the hassle to begin with.