Why do we think?
Why do we constantly resort to thinking the same thoughts in an infinity loop? Is "chewing the cud" our mind's resting bitch face perhaps?
I sat in meditation today after a couple days gap and those days are always difficult as thoughts pervade every second and the millisecond in between. I tried to will myself into thoughtlessness and of course that never works beyond a millisecond. And so I gave in, and let the thoughts take over, and hoped my physiology changes with focusing on my breathing would reduce the density of thought streams zigzagging in my mind.
What is interesting is that on good days, even when I have no cohesive thought in my mind, I have silhouettes of thought streams, almost like a flash of a water print floating across. and then when I use the vagueness of the flash to push me into emptying my mind, it is almost like a different part of my head (not sure where it is, but it seems to approximately originate in the head area, so lets call it the 'silent mind') takes over. But the thought mind and the silent mind part are so seamlessly meshed together, that it is almost impossible for me to separate the two and subscribe to one over the other. Its like there is an involuntary muscle spasm that keeps flitting across the two realms in my head and I have no control over where it lands. And the irony is, just when I have a thought that I have mastered control over that annoying muscle, I know I also have lost control over it, as witnessed by the appearance of that thought in the first place! And the drama continues!
What I have found practical and useful when my mind goes back to chewing the cud, is to push my thought mind into thinking about activities and tasks rather than situations and people. I find that it pushes my personal self, from the center of the drama in my mind to a corner, a doer rather than a dreamer. And when I find it slipping, I push into it again with renewed vigor. Practice definitely helps. It is like any muscle that you train.
Another way of pushing my person to the corner of my mind's drama is by following an aspect of "mindfulness" that has become so popular now in all leadership and centering discussions. It is to let your mind just be, and not be overly concerned about where it goes. Observe without judgement, as a silent (and a little amused) bystander. Impossible as that sounds, it successfully objectifies a thought. When you are not the center of a thought, it is a weightless thought, almost like a feather. You could have a sack load of such feathers and you will find that it does not weigh you down, unlike a single thought with you in the center, where things 'happen to you' almost like you are living a parallel life within your mind. Those thoughts weigh like hammers, and imagine having a sack load of hammers on your back - a sure shot way to weigh you down!
So the real or practical journey is to move from hammer thoughts to feather thoughts! And by then we would have exercised our will power to an extent where we can start working towards thoughtlessness!