A: Thanks so much for writing to us with this simple—yet profound—question.
On the face of it, one could say that it is impossible to stop oneself from thinking...that is what humans do, after all. Even in sleep, our minds are active. But, if I understand you correctly, you may instead be asking how you can CONTROL your thinking ...? If you are anything like me, you are sometimes bombarded by intrusive or unwanted thought; your thoughts race, or go to places you don't want to go, or they seem to trap you and natter on so that you are not at peace in your own mind. That's when I want to say: just stop, already!
What I have discovered in myself is that whenever I have experienced times of distressing thought, it is because I have allowed myself to drift into thoughts of either the past or the future—either of which can produce feelings of anxiety, sadness, depression or other unpleasantness. On the other hand, when I CHOOSE which thoughts I want to entertain, I can then control which emotions are produced, whether the thoughts have to do the the past, the future or the present.
Your mind belongs to you...and you can choose what thoughts YOU think. It is good to know that you don't have to try to stop thinking altogether to get some peace. Here is a passage from The Urantia Book which expands on this idea:
111:1.5 Mind is about all you have of universe reality that is subject to your will, and the soul--the morontia self--will faithfully portray the harvest of the temporal decisions which the mortal self is making.
Mind is the cosmic instrument on which the human will can play the discords of destruction, or upon which this same human will can bring forth the exquisite melodies of God identification and consequent eternal survival. The Adjuster bestowed upon man is, in the last analysis, impervious to evil and incapable of sin, but mortal mind can actually be twisted, distorted, and rendered evil and ugly by the sinful machinations of a perverse and self-seeking human will. Likewise can this mind be made noble, beautiful, true, and good—actually great—in accordance with the spirit-illuminated will of a God-knowing human being. Evolutionary mind is only fully stable and dependable when manifesting itself upon the two extremes of cosmic intellectuality—the wholly mechanized and the entirely spiritualized. Between the intellectual extremes of pure mechanical control and true spirit nature there intervenes that enormous group of evolving and ascending minds whose stability and tranquillity are dependent upon personality choice and spirit identification. (Bolding mine)
You do not mention whether you are a Urantia Book reader/student; The Urantia Book reveals the presence of the Thought Adjuster in the mind of every normal-minded human being—this Spirit is an actual fragment of God that indwells the mind, helping to "adjust" the thoughts of that human from material mechanization to spirit identification. And each human can decide whether this Adjuster is heeded or ignored. Once we understand the function of the Adjuster, it becomes easier and easier to understand how to co-operate with it and elevate ourselves from merely mortal machinery to potentially eternal spirit progressors.
110:2.3 The Adjuster is not trying to control your thinking, as such, but rather to spiritualize it, to eternalize it. Neither angels nor Adjusters are devoted directly to influencing human thought; that is your exclusive personality prerogative. The Adjusters are dedicated to improving, modifying, adjusting, and co-ordinating your thinking processes; but more especially and specifically they are devoted to the work of building up spiritual counterparts of your careers, morontia transcripts of your true advancing selves, for survival purposes.
So we see just how important it is to become aware of the power of thought...and the power of the human will in directing it. One of the best ways to help yourself from being a victim of your own thoughts is to practice God-consciousness. And the only way to truly be conscious of God is to make the effort to stay fully present in your life, not straying too far into the past or into the future. If we do make those forays into the past or the future, we can do it consciously, for our own purposes. In this way, we become masters of our minds, instead of the other way around. Another way we can control our thoughts is by using the creative imagination, as in these helpful passages:
111:4.9 Since this inner life of man is truly creative, there rests upon each person the responsibility of choosing as to whether this creativity shall be spontaneous and wholly haphazard or controlled, directed, and constructive. How can a creative imagination produce worthy children when the stage whereon it functions is already preoccupied by prejudice, hate, fears, resentments, revenge, and bigotries?
111:4.12 Inner creativity contributes to ennoblement of character through personality integration and selfhood unification. It is forever true: The past is unchangeable; only the future can be changed by the ministry of the present creativity of the inner self.
132:7.9 That which the enlightened and reflective human imagination of spiritual teaching and leading wholeheartedly and unselfishly wants to do and be, becomes measurably creative in accordance with the degree of mortal dedication to the divine doing of the Father’s will. When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen.
Thanks again for your very "thoughtful" question...I hope that this reply has been of some help to you. Please feel free to write back anytime!!!"