As I was working my brain tuned out for a moment and I noticed that as a result I was playing much more cleanly and precisely than I had been when my mind was fully engaged, thinking about what came next, anticipating the next scale pattern. I had put in enough practice time that my fingers and hands knew the exercise better than my brain. I would even go so far as to say that my over-thinking mind was getting in the way.
I had to smile to myself when I realized that because, really, what's new?
Over-thinking is and always has been a problem for me. It was a problem in my 5th grade math class. It can affect my friendships and make me feel badly about things I should be brushing off. It can cause stress and worry. It can make me mess up my Hungarian scale exercises.
I should say that this tendency isn't all bad. I think that being an over-thinker is tied to being conscientious, introspective and thoughtful. I would rather be an over-thinker than somebody who goes through life brashly and without scrutiny or reflection.
But I think there's a happy place somewhere in the middle. When I find myself over-thinking these days I try to notice it and move on. Deep breaths and prayer are a good idea here if the thing I'm over-thinking is stressful or emotional. And choosing to trust is a good idea no matter what. Choosing to trust God, choosing to trust the math equation, choosing to trust my fingers to find the right keys.