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How do I clear my head? I have countless doubtful thoughts,

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How do I clear my head?

I have countless doubtful thoughts, view & review things from multiple angles, and think myself in circles...to the point where it's debilitating. I have difficulty making up my mind.

This all started when I was a kid. I was the youngest of four (by a large gap), and was continually ignored. I was also taken advantage of by my stepfather, during which I would remain silent and escape mentally through dissociation. It's almost as if I have learned to think in dualities...as in, I'll be present and perhaps having a conversation, but also analyzing--in the back of my mind--how the words are coming out of my mouth, or thinking about all of the things I have left to do, or wondering what the other person is thinking, or whatever's happening around me.

One of my therapists had said I have 'learned ADD' though she did not suggest how to unlearn it. I'm thinking there's something to this...I have /tried/ meditation, and I have read countless books, essays...watched movies and videos otherwise, as well as listened to lectures on mindfulness.

It's as though I'm capable only of observation. Friends have tried to suggest things to me...telling me not to think and just to do...I always find myself back here, thinking myself in circles...I feel like I just haven't found the right 'key' yet.

Hoping to get an answer on this as well.
I make it sound so extreme. Truth is, the only times I have been able to calm my mind down is by doing drugs. LSD, MDMA, and marijuana have helped me 'normalize' my brain to the point where I'm thinking singular thoughts...I haven't done a whole lot of the first, two drugs mentioned, but there was a period of about 4 years in my later teens during which I would rarely go a day without smoking weed.

I don't do drugs very often these days--mayyyyybe smoke weed once a month, and the others sparingly, if at all--so that's not the issue.
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last hopeful bump
dude chill im tying
Ha, okay...I'm limiting my 4chan usage, to an hour a day. I'll stop being a pill.
OP, you sound like me, I just happened upon this board/thread after lurking for years on end and at most posting a total of 10 times, I reply because I know how much of pain basically 'overthinking' is. Observing everything else, your surroundings, people, yourself to such a degree is all part of your awareness. Honestly you know your ability to think in depth about things isn't going to disappear, although it hinders you I'd rather have this trait than not have it, you can still turn this situation on its head. I did it with meditation, I know you've said you've tried it but there really are two parts to meditation in my mind.
What I want to know is, is it that you analyze things to the point that you focus on the negative aspects too much and end up building negativity towards yourself or others inside yourself?
Yes, that's my exact problem.

My fiance has a similar trait, but seems to have the ability to think in extreme positives.

I'm currently in a job search, and am crafting a letter to let someone know I want to be their apprentice. My thoughts surrounding this have been quite negative--oh, he'll think I'm silly for not having any experience with this or don't know enough 'foundational' knowledge on the subject, his business is too small, he won't want to train me because I'm female, etc. Whereas my fiance went the exact opposite direction; the guy is in over his head with work and could probably use an extra pair of hands, he's been doing this for 15 years and would benefit from passing on his skill, you could help him grow his business by offering the service at farmer's markets, etc.

I'm totally fucking negative...

You said there are two parts to meditation in your mind...what do you mean by that?
The two keys to meditation are to just observe (no thoughts, remove your mind from the equation, like you're in your body and you can tell you're breathing but that's all), and to keep positive.
The first part initially is always tricky, you have random ideas flying in from anywhere, distractions from the outside and maybe your eyes will start blinking even when they're closed. You will know when you start to win against yourself when the only thing your body and mind does is breathe.
If you struggle to achieve this, you need to set yourself a 15 minute timer initially, and reset it every time you have a trail of thoughts significant enough for you to be frustrated by yourself for thinking. I did this, it took me a good 45 minutes of resetting the timer before I was calm enough. Persevere with this, you know that if you give up you'll have achieved nothing, you know there is a calm version of you inside yourself waiting to synchronize with you. It sounds stupid but I'm not a crazy hippie preacher. This is basically mindfulness.
The second part pretty much comes from within as soon as you begin to meditate properly, the idea is that once you're mindful, there won't be any need for negative thoughts, in fact any thought you do have whilst meditating can be suppressed with the calm and positive attitude you have created. You'll recognize this attitude and you'll fucking love it. You will step up from your pillow wanting to go put on some orange curtains and live in the mountains.
Other things include... keep your back straight, don't let yourself slouch or you'll lose your primary objective: to be fully functioning with a clear mind, because your body will want to sleep. Don't overstraighten yourself though, you'll find your own equilibrium.
Interesting. All of the suggestions you made about the physical are things I am familiar with. The only difference I see is 'to keep positive.'

How do you keep a positive mindset without intention/simply observing? Is neutral sufficient?

I suppose I'll try it regardless, as I haven't yet. Thanks for the advice thus far.
You don't even need to be positive to begin with, that's essentially why I split it into two parts, because the part about not thinking is indeed a neutral state, but you gain a positive mindset from removing the negativity from within. You might think 'so basically this geezer from a Mongolian fly-fishing forum said I'm meant to FEEL something' and get all expectant, but the only thing you'll feel is relaxed, calm, with a mind like a lake with no ripples. You will understand what is in your grasp from that point.
Also, once you're done meditating, listen to a full album by someone like Solar Fields or Aes Dana on Youtube.

A thought enters your mind
You observe it, note it as "thought"
Watch it, never let it from your mind's eye
You will observe impermance as that very thought either shifts into anothoer topic or ceases..

Anyway I can't speak on it too much but my go-to teacher has been this guy. He's very good, though he doesn't do secular meditation his insights are general enough when it comes to meditation.

>You observe it, note it as "thought"
But once I observe it I cannot focus on breathing, right? And if I'm not focusing on breathing anymore the stream of thoughts will set in. Or is it that I decide to observe a certain thought rather than just returning to breathing? Pls try to explain. Not OP, but exactly the same story, even the drugs are similar.

>But once I observe it I cannot focus on breathing, right?


>And if I'm not focusing on breathing anymore the stream of thoughts will set in

You focus on the breath or not, the thoughts still stream in. This is normal. Do not supress these.

>Or is it that I decide to observe a certain thought rather than just returning to breathing?

The idea with noting is that you're not supressing the thought, that is bad. You want to acknowledge that despite you focus on the breath, you still SEE the thought come in.

Yes, once you note it, you essentially got ahead of it and you may gently bring your focus to the breath.

Repeat this as necessary, this is the training. Do not be dsicouraged that you are getting thoughts; the primary goal is to be able to gently remain in focus with the breath. There are many techniques to stay with your object (breath) and you're allowed to be creative here as in breathing in a way that feels good to you. You will find that you can stay long with your object if youre comforatble and happy with the object. It just takes time!

Here's the analogy I always keep in my mind wheneveer meditation seems hard:

You sway left and right from the Path and if you consistently come back, eventually you will smooth out that road as you return to the Path.
There's ponderousness - doubt, questioning, existential angst - and then there's obsessive anxiety. The former is a normal part of being a young adult with more than a few active brain cells, but the latter deserves recognition as a special kind of problem. From the way you describe being unable to "turn off" these anxieties to the point where they're interfering with your life, it sounds like you're dealing in some capacity with the latter.

A good starting point would probably be to recognize that obsessive, anxious thoughts and thought cycles exist separately from their supposed subjects. You may feel like it's big existential issues that are chaining you down, but in reality all that anxiety is coming from within yourself, and merely finding a semi-rational outlet to pour itself into. I know that's not an instant cure-all, but realizing that is the first step to taking charge of it.

I may be projecting my own experiences with obsessive anxiety here, but it's a start. There are also various forms of professional therapy you can consider: anti-anxiety meds and/or antidepressants, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might be worth looking into.
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