Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everyone is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.
Witness your thoughts, quietly and passively without interfering or judging or pulling or pushing, and you will find they are useless. Thoughts, and their derivative beliefs, are useless.
Most thoughts are about “me”, an attempt to define you as this or that. I am like this, I am like that, I want this or that. Thoughts define you, but only momentarily, because you will also notice that they change.
Ever believe in something wholeheartedly and then later wondered how it is you could have believed in it?
Your sense of self changes constantly, in small and big ways. It is never stable or consistent, because thoughts are not stable or consistent.
Do you need your thoughts? You can see easily that you don’t need them to exist. You exist just fine in deep sleep or in flow, when you are aware and present and light.
It’s a little harder to see you don’t need thoughts to function. Look closely and see that many of your actions are spontaneous. There is no “me” driving the action; thoughts about the action come in afterward to take credit. In fact, thoughts get in the way of flow. They can make you indecisive and doubtful. Creative activity does not come from thinking. It comes from the space between thoughts.
Thoughts about yourself create the false self, what is popularly known today in these circles as the ego. The ego is not one thing—though it is sometimes useful to think of the ego as an entity. It is a bunch of thought and emotions—an amorphous nothing of swirling and changing thoughts and emotions. This is why you play various roles and why you are different now from five minutes ago; only memory gives you seeming continuity.
This is a fantastic delusion. You are conditioned to believe a lie, to believe in something that doesn’t exist. Try to find it, try to find your ego, your sense of self, try it right now. This thing that doesn’t exist runs your life. It is what needs and wants, desires and fears. What is really living life is life itself; it creates everything, including the illusion of the ego.
The key to seeing this is to notice thoughts. Be a passive witness to thoughts, observe them without interfering or judging. If you do this you discover a few things right away. You discover that thoughts are very compelling; they pull you right in. You discover it’s hard to observe thoughts. You discover that thoughts are incessant—a clackety stream of endless thunking going on in the head.
You notice you will forget to observe.
But soon you do remember and you can observe and thoughts begin to diminish. Soon you discover the lovely irony that it’s easier when you don’t put in a lot of effort. Just a little. A Chinese finger trap kind of thing.
Then the gaps between thoughts expand, and you understand, not mentally, but in a different way, you understand what Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti and people like him go on about.
You understand this has nothing to do with spiritual accumulation. To go around and accumulate spiritual
beliefs is fine, if that’s what you want, but that is the ego replacing one set of beliefs with another. This has nothing to do with beliefs at all.
If you do this, you will experience periods of difficulty and confusion. The ego will resist.
You can’t get rid of that by fighting it. What is present is what is unfolding, and what may be unfolding is seeming difficulty, so struggle against it just makes the resistance more resistant.
The trick is allowing and patience and love. Allow uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Watch them without any agenda. Notice the story lines. Notice the voice of thought. Notice that the ego always wants things a certain way. But where is the ego? Can you find it?
What you may find is your true nature—clear and present awareness.
It’s hard to see this when we are wrapped up in the delusion of “me.”
Watch thoughts. Learn to let go. Cease to cherish beliefs. Then, the only mistake we can make is to forget that we can fool ourselves.