Like many of you, the effort to exert more conscious control over my thoughts and feelings have been an ongoing struggle. Although I realize the vast majority of the thoughts repeat day to day, often centering around the same issues and people, the mind is relentless in automatically playing them again and again. Not only that, the emotion associated with these stories come back to me, and I feel exactly how I felt when the original situations occurred. Some can be positive and some can be negative, regardless they are major blocks standing in the way of the peace of the present moment. Nisargadatta Maharaj summed it up concisely, "throw out all your talking concepts and words! After all, what is the mind? It is just the noise that goes on inside".
As I began through self-inquiry methods to realize what the true reasoning was for the "stuckness" of a certain repetitive and at times even obsessive/compulsive thought or feeling was, my new-found understanding didn't permanently rid me of them although it lessened the intensity and frequency. These methods described in Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender shed considerable light on the cheap little payoffs people get when holding negative emotional states. Dr. Hawkins compares it to what life could be like if these toxic states were simply let go; a new life characterized by lightness and equanimity is described in vivid detail. It makes you realize the tremendously destructive effects some common negative behavioural patterns have in an overall sense, and provides a lot of motivation to drop them like a hot potato. I've read hundreds of books on human nature so I can truly say that this book is exceptional in terms of the author's understanding and profound insight into the peaks and pitfalls of the human condition. It is obvious that he has both experienced and been able to transcend each of these behavioural patterns at each consciousness level. He shares his wisdom and practical, simple techniques so we can transcend them too.
Some meditation techniques I find very effective in staying in the space between thoughts for longer periods are the Getting in the Gap and Meditations for Manifesting DVDs by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The 20 minute ah meditation is to be done in the morning while the 20 minute om meditation is to be done at night (unfortunately I could not find the om meditation on YouTube so it is not included here). There are affirmations mixed in to both of these meditations which are great for carrying around with you through the day. The Getting in the Gap meditation can be done at anytime.
The most important thing in my opinion is to keep being persistent in your practice to stay in the gap between thoughts even though your mind may be filled with one thought after the other. When I started, distraction quickly set in and I would bring to mind another 'mind movie' as the silence felt boring and uncomfortable. Even when I got past that point I felt it was still difficult to maintain the practice without having so many thoughts come and go. I thought there was something wrong with my method as my mind wasn't empty of the thoughts like I believed it should have been. Now I know that it is inevitable and uncontrollable that thoughts enter the mind and feelings permeate the body, but the trick of it is to not indulge and expand upon them. The thoughts will come and go, but I understand the secret to success is to watch them like visitors and be conscious of the watcher of these thoughts, because they aren't really me...