Monday, March 21, 2011

The speed of thought

Yesterday morning, I woke up after a terrible night's sleep with the largest full-moon in 18 years (beautiful!).  The lack of sleep combined with habitual pre-travel anxiety set my mind racing at high speed around all sorts of problems, both real and imagined.

As I prepared myself for the day, it occurred to me that I was listening to myself talking/thinking inside my head, and that the speed of thought was quite fast.  I got curious about that, and remembered a lesson I had taught recently, in which we had worked on slowing down the speaking voice while reading out loud.  The lesson was very effective, as well as enjoyable.  I wondered: what would happen if I could slow down my thinking voice?

Try it yourself:

  • Decide to pay attention to the verbalized thinking that goes on in your head for a period of time today (you could be doing something else at the same time or not).
  • Can you slow down the speed of the words as you think?  How slow can you get?
  • What happens to your state of mind?  Your movements?  What does it feel like?
  • What happens if you speed up your thinking?

Much of our verbal thinking is an unnecessary expenditure of energy.  I had often thought about how I can positively affect the content of my thoughts, but noticing the speed and realizing that I can affect and change that in a positive way has been very interesting to me.

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