The dogs stand on the back porch, and they bark.
I know that if I shush them, shout their names angrily, and demand that they be quiet, they will advance upon whatever lurks there in the gloom beyond the trees, barking all the more, louder and louder in response to my hushing, adamant about a confrontation, intent on making sure everyone within 25 miles knows: something is there.
I also know that if I go out on the porch to them and stand in the chill of the morning and peer into the misty air, the dogs will come to me. If I go out to them and acknowledge something is there, perhaps even something nefarious, something that doesn't belong - if I just acknowledge it, the dogs will come stand quietly beside me. If I acknowledge their agitation, and praise them for doing their job and assure them everything is all right, be it a deer, or a coyote, or a wild hog out there in the dark, they will snort indignantly, bristle their hair and emit a quiet "woof" now and again ... but they will quiet.
This is like my mind with the frustrations, the limitations, the injustices, the worries. If I hush and shush my thoughts, they clamor all the more loudly. But ... if I stand quietly with them, and acknowledge they are there, they will settle. If I acknowledge the parts of me that are frazzled, overwhelmed, indignant and hurting - and maybe offer a little compassion and care - they quiet. The frenzied thoughts no longer clamor for my attention. They've done their job to alert me of a tender place in my heart that needs some gentle care, and they stand quietly with me ready to be directed toward more beneficial paths.
It's taken me a lifetime to learn ... I have to be the thought-whisperer to my own thoughts.