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Do we understand the movement of our thoughts?

Can we ask ourselves if we understand deeply the movement of thought in our being? As of yet, the answer is no. Each one of us can observe in ourselves that thought brings both order and disorder in our mind, and because we do not understand the movement of thought deeply enough, we try to bring order with more self-concerned thinking. Some of us may be shaking our heads frantically in disagreement, arguing that actually, not thinking enough may be the cause of the disorder. We agree with that sentiment, but only partially. Let us see why.

Thought can indeed bring some order to our mind, but because we do not understand the entire movement of thought, this order is only partial: it breaks down the moment thoughts get out of control, and hell breaks loose. We do not have to look far to see the truth of this fact. Just consider the state of your mind when you find yourself in a bout of anxiety or cannot fall asleep one night: no thought can end the onslaught of thoughts, regardless of how reasonable it may be. This shows that we do not understand the movement of thought completely, and therefore cannot control it with more thought.

So, how can we begin to understand the entire movement of thought? We have discovered previously that in order to understand what is, we must observe what is. So, can we begin to observe the movement of thought as it moves in our being? Now, what is it that we begin to understand as we observe each and every movement of thought?

Let us slow down. When thinking, we usually have a feeling that “I” am the “thinker” of “my thoughts,” do we not? Suppose a thought arouses fear. Does the thinker in us not separate itself from the thought, so it can suppress the thought in the hope of protecting itself from fear? Unknowingly, we are functioning like this all the time. The relentless movement of thought is always engaged in dividing the mind between the “thinker” and “thought.” The thinker, which is a part of the movement of thought - as we found out earlier - acts on thought as if it is apart from it, to gain a sense of control and security. As a consequence, thought elevates the status of the thinker to higher and higher levels. The thinker becomes such a dominant feature of thought, that the mind cannot perceive the fact anymore, that the thinker is a part of the movement of thought, not apart from it.

Let us pause here for a moment. Are we beginning to understand that our mind is operating under the illusion that the “thinker” is separate from “thought?” Can we ask this of ourselves: am I, the thinker, separate or independent from the movement of thought? When observing oneself, is the observer not the observed? See if you can find out for yourself.

Once we fully understand that the thinker in us is not separate from the movement of thought - by seeing it in ourselves, not because it is asserted by someone else - the illusion of separation between the “thinker” and “thought” begins to come to an end, and one begins to see for oneself that inwardly there is no separation between the observer and the observed, that the observer is the observed. Then there is just observation of the entire movement of thought, without the thinker making an effort to control thought.

Now, what does this discovery of the thinker being a part of the movement of thought have to do with understanding ourselves? It has everything to do with it! Let us see how: when a thought arises, we try to hold onto it if it is pleasurable, and try to get rid of it if it is painful by thinking other thoughts. Sometimes this can relieve anxiety, but at other times, the onslaught of thoughts takes us deeper into darkness as we continue to combat thoughts with more thoughts. Thus, the energy of our being is constantly squandered as one part of our mind, the thinker, tries to control another part, the thought, an action founded on the confusion that the thinker is separate from thought and can therefore control it. But as we have discovered, there is no separation between the thinker and thought.

If we fully understand that the thinker is part of the movement of thought, we begin to understand that there is no “me” separate from the thought who can act on the thought to control it. Thus, we begin to observe thoughts as they flower and wither, one after another, understanding the entire movement of thinking.

As the observation of the entire movement of thought continues with such care and attention, without judgment, non-verbally, this relentless movement begins to slow down. Then, what arises surprisingly, and most naturally, is silence. This silence is not brought about by self-hypnotizing techniques - of what many may call “meditation” - with the goal of disciplining the mind into yet another habit, albeit silence. This silence has arisen completely naturally from the mind turning inwards and understanding its own movements with freedom, without a prescription, without a method. This understanding is the true meaning of meditation. To understand oneself, one can sit by oneself and observe what is moving within, or one can observe oneself in a room full of people to see how one manifests in relationships with others. Any form of discipline that replaces old habits of the mind with new habits, however “noble” and “virtuous,” is not meditation. Habits constrain the mind and make it dull. They create resistance in one’s being to understanding what is, and a mind in resistance can never inquire and understand freely. Understanding has an inward discipline of its own, completely self-sustaining.


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