When I try to still still and quiet my mind is always when my thoughts come zooming in. Of course, they were always there, chattering away in my head, but when I get quiet (like when I try to meditate) is when I notice my thoughts. And what I notice is that usually it's the same old thoughts cycling over and over again. How boring and repetitive they are! Even worse is that I can't stop them. Or rather, I can, but very rarely. I have to actively focus on slowing them down, then widening the space in between each thought, and if I am lucky I may have a few moments of no-thought.
My usual repertoire of thoughts go like this, in no particular order: my hair (a big obsession of mine - so silly, I know), my work, my writing (which is currently a hobby), my mothering skills, my husband and son, my weight, finances. Add in anything current that could have taken me over for that day or period of time: clothes, things I want (like Freddy jeans), a new wrinkle or grey hair, or any current problem.
But these type of things go around my head non-stop and, also thoughts of "shoulds" - all the things I feel I should and should not do - like - should not eat that cake, should go to gym, etc. Should have been more patient...blah blah blah.
I battle to create space between thoughts when people are around, when I'm busy or when stuff is on the go. But give me a little time alone, with nothing that needs doing, and I might just be lucky enough to stop thinking for a blessed few moments. And when it happens, it's the most rejuvenating feeling in the world.
If there is one skill I wish I can impart to my son, it would be this: the art of stopping thinking when he wants to. Thinking is a brilliant tool, but, like my favourite spiritual guru, Eckhart Tolle says - it has become an obsessive and unhealthy thing and we need to balance thinking with non-thinking.