In many ways the retreat exists to help people find the answer to this question. It's been a journey that we have been on and mastered, and it is central to the masterclass and our transformational retreats.
Overthinking however is not a cause in and of itself, it's a symptom of something more fundamental and the result of what is essentially a compulsive, conditioned habit. The spoiler here being that all overthinking is unconsciously self inflicted and perpetuated in almost every minute of ever day.
Whether you are unable to sleep with racing thoughts at 3am or thinking while you are driving, jogging, cooking and sat on the toilet, the cause it never what you "think" it is.
Understanding thought more fully
In order to understand what causes us to lose our peace to constant thought, worry, anxiety or a need to compulsively plan, we must better understand what thought actually is and who or what initiates it.
In order to understand this we need to understand a bigger and slightly existential observation. This observation is that we all have access to two realities, one being simply what is happeing before we label it or give it any meaning, the other being the reality built from the ideas we have about the "what is happening" reality.
This points at the fact that there is a line where what's happening becomes what I think about what's happening or the ideas I create about it, and creating ideas about what's happening in our direct reality is a favourite pastime for most of us.
Ideas are simply polarised statements that we arbitrarily say about what is happenening or what we experience, such as "I like it" or "It's boring", or "It shouldn't have happened" or "I want one of those" or "I need a relationship to feel ok". They are essentially subjective stories that we make up and tell ourselves about the things in our life and about ourselves.
They always have a polarity, meaning that they inspire us to go twards or away from something, to chase it or avoid it. Once created or adopted an idea becomes powerful and gains our attention, one single idea can then generate many thoughts. What is a thought? It's simply the consideration of an idea. It's what our mind does automatically in order to reconcile the ideas we have, especially when we have several ideas that conflict with each other, the favourite one to quote being "I want lots of money" held together with "I don't want to work" which causes an existential problem for so many.
The basics are though that ideas generate thoughts and we gain ideas through judgement. All we have to do to judge is either create an idea about something or adopt someone elses ideas as our own simply by agreeing with it. In this way ideas are the most contagious thing in existence and they transmit from person to person in every conversation, when we consume media or through inferrence and behaviours.
What does it mean? We are all in a pattern of non staop judgement and feel bound to have a give out an opinion on almost everything.
Attached ideas create the most thoughts
Are all ideas equally likely to create thoughts then? No, some create way more than others and this is as a result of attachment. What does attachment actually mean? It means the level of truth and or importance we place on an idea.
The point to note here in the distinction between "what is actually happening" and the "idea based thought reality" is that all we can have is opinions on what's happening. An opinion being a subjective statement that is NOT true and cannot be proven and one which when tested across the whole population will gain many different answers.
This means that truth is subjective in and of itself, so we are always at liberty to believe anything to be true or important but it does not make it so. To some of us money is important, for some it's values, for others it's relationships, for others it's diet, health or being vegan etc.
Judgement and attachment together create both the fuel for thought and the triggers that inspire us to bring certain things into our attention space. Meaning that the more important and true we decide something is, the more we think about it, and the more important and true we believe an idea is, the more we get triggered into thoughts of that idea.
Back to stopping the ovethinking
As you can hopefully see by reading the above, overthinking or any kind of thinking is not the cause of itself. Thinking and overthinking are cause by creating and adopting ideas, then attaching lots of truth and importance to them, even though none of them are true or important.
The transformational journey or awakening process is all about starting to see the difference between the two realities mentioned above, then becoming conscious enough to see it happening in realtime. It often requires a real shift in perspective and to experiencetiall see that our previously heald truths are niether tru or important and that the habit of making them so is self defeating.
The journey to inner peace has been quite profound for Hannah and I. We have moved from lack of sleep and constant thinking, coupled with mind chaos and hopelessness to becoming almost thoughtless as a default state of being. Sleep is sound and our minds are now peaceful. More to the point, we are almost never triuggered into thoughts or reactions and so live peacefully no matter what is happening around us.
That is not the situation for most and making the journey to peace, first requires you to understand it's nature and start to let go of what were previously your deepest held beliefs. The challenge being that we as a species have come to believe that our ideas and opinions, which also encapsulate our life of past experiences (because all that is left of your past is the ideas about the experiences you've had) and our aspirations for the future which is all attached ideas too.
To end your overthinking is to transform and awaken
The end of overthinking is the end of the belief that everything in your life deeply matters, it's the end of the habit of making up stories about what happens and it's the end of arbitrarily needing to chase certain things and avoid others. It's the end of creating feats and desires and it's the end of dependency on the outside world for how you feel inside.
Overthinking is a symptom of a habit. The habit to judge and attach strong to things. The more you create ideas about and the more importance and truth you give those ideas, the more thinking you will do.
While we live in the idea based, thought reality our lives are full of thoughts, full of resistance and fully of consideration. We often feel trapped and unhappy because our uncontrolled thoughts and attached ideas tell us that's what we "should" be in a given situation, and we constantly re-enforce that feeling with our thoughts.
As we let go of those beliefs and see that the meanings that we've been giving to anything and everything are our own or have been adopted from others, we can take a journey to becoming more conscious and learning to see ourselves judge and attach. As we do, we have the power to choose what will and will not be important and true, under the deepest realisation that it is a self defeating decision we make in doing so.
With practice and commitment, as we let go, surrender and allow what is to be what is without deciding that it all means something, we find a progressive inner peace and freedom from our thoughts and resistance.
The retreat exists for this transformation
Everything we do at the retreat embodies this journey and is there to help all who visit take progressive steps out of the mind chaos we have been conditioned into by the life we accepted since we were born. Practices, meditations, experiences and the most intense teachings to shift the foundations of perspective work together to offer the freedom to become peaceful, thoughtless and not to involuntarily behave according to the ideas we have accumulated.