"I still have heartburn from yesterday thinking about those people eating at the same restaurant as we were. What kind of a line is that? I guess our family all thinks too much. Must be genetic."
Yes, it must be. In my family we tend to over-think things and over-feel things. Our parents were that way. I'm that way. My siblings are that way. So are my children. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Except for when our appetite for thinking leads us to over-indulge in the junk-food of thinking, ruminating. Taking the memory of some recent or distant inauspicious event and turning it over and over and over in our minds, like a load of still-dirty laundry stuck in an eternally tumbling dryer.
Or when our vast capacity for thinking leads us to the unhealthy tendency to amplify things so that a person or event that should have been an insignificant little thorn in the rose of our life gets deep under our skin then from under out skin starts traveling back and forth at will between our brain and our stomach for significant periods of time until we, thankfully, get distracted by something else or fall asleep.
Has anybody seen the movie "What The #$*! Do We Know?"? It's the story of a woman trying to cope with her life issues but it also brings up theories on how quantum physics affects our existence. Or our perception of existence. Or something like that. But anyway, there's a scene in the film that discusses how there exist in the brain neural pathways along which thoughts travel. Having a thought over and over again creates a new neural pathway for the thought to travel along and the more it travels, the more wired the pathway becomes and the harder it is to get off the pathway and off the thought. Or something like that. Anyway, the only way to get off this aggravating neural pathway we've created by our repetitive thought is to somehow interrupt the thought whenever it comes up.
At the beginning of every yoga class our instructor tells us, "for the next hour put your minds between your last thought and your next thought."
The people in class who can accomplish this say that it's great, refreshing, like a mini-vacation.
Sadly, much as I try I can never get my mind to shut off for an hour even during yoga. When I succeed in emptying my mind for a second in the next second some rogue thought always barges in and takes over. My mind abhors a vacuum.
Which I guess would be okay if I could always fill the vacuum with this:
So what to do about all this troublesome over-thinking?
Well, I guess if I had any really good answers I'd write a book on the subject an make a million dollars.
But as it is I guess the only advice I can give to all the super-sized thinkers and deep feelers out there is to either be sure to never meet anyone who causes you any kind of inner conflict or else stay away from restaurants.
However, I've just thought of two more cosmic questions to add to my list of things to wonder about:
15. Are there people out there who don't think too much?
16. Did down-home American philosopher Will Rodgers really never meet a man he didn't like?