Your Thoughts

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.

Eckhart Tolle

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.

Fascinating.

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.

Thinking Man - Rodin

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.

19 thoughts on “Your Thoughts

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Your Thoughts: Witness your thoughts, quietly and passively without interfering or judging or pulling or pushing, ... -- Topsy.com

  2. Evan

    Well, no. Planning how to get somewhere is not useless, it’s actually quite useful. And observing thoughts and have them slow or diminish is different to attempting to stop them.

    These are my thoughts – which I guess you regard as useless. (Do you really think it is of no concern if I think your thoughts are useless?)
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Announcing: Trauma Recovery Highlights Ezine =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Evan,

      Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now is the best pointer to awareness that I’ve found. It’s the clearest explanation of why identification with thinking is greatest obstacle to clear seeing.

      Time magazine called the book mumbo jumbo. Many people, including myself, did not get it on the first reading.

      If you look at this intellectually, it will not makes sense. Shifting from deep identification with thought, to the lightness of awareness, is something we have to experience, not understand. In trying to understand mentally, we get caught in looking at the finger, and not to the moon which the finger points to.

      Clearly, this is an expansion of consciousness, not a contraction. Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti and Ramana and many other awakened have not forgotten how to plan to get somewhere. They just know that planning for future happens in the Now.

      love and peace,
      k

  3. Brenda (betaphi)

    This is lovely, K, like a gentle breeze on a beautiful day when your only thought is how good it feels. Getting the mind to mind is tricky. We give our children patience and love and space to frolic. We should be able to do the same with our thoughts. Thank you for this gentle reminder. I hope you are doing well in Atlanta.
    .-= Brenda (betaphi)´s last blog ..Shirley and Rose =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Brenda,

      Yes, exactly, it is tricky, because it is not something we can understand in the way we usually understand things. We have to patient, gentle and try it.

      I’m doing very well in Atlanta, thanks. And I’ve enjoyed your personal stories on your blog. You write with compassion and heart. Keep it up.

      love and peace,
      k

  4. Evita

    Whoa! This was an awesome, awesome article Kaushik! Where do I begin?!?

    Leaving behind thinking does seem “crazy” – at least at first thought (no pun intended 😉 But really it is that space in between that as you mention and Eckhart and so many others that leads to creativity, stillness, better decision making and so much more.

    People think that “not thinking” is somehow irresponsible…. when in fact it is so normal – it is perhaps our most natural state of being.

    And I so agree about being careful of acquiring beliefs – whether spiritual or not, if we let the ego get involved, it will latch onto anything, in which case it just becomes another way to define ourselves.

    I found on my own personal path, I first had to detach from the thoughts and beliefs that were not mine to begin with, then figure out what it is that does represent me better, and than detach from that so the ego does not get too comfortable with it. And of course it is not a done thing… I think this is something that is part of a daily journey, unless of course we reach some form of complete mastery.

    Today, I love acquiring new knowledge, but it is all more for the contemplation of being, and not for the addition of a new set of rules, routines or ways of being, or defining myself. (Or maybe it is, and my ego is just trying to make me think it isn’t 😉
    .-= Evita´s last blog ..Expanding Our Evolving Views of Homosexuality =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Evita,

      Yes, you put it so well–it’s very difficult for us to see mentally that we function much more naturally without reliance on thought or beliefs. The ego mistrusts our true basic nature. It’s even built into our language–we call it base nature. And because of this mistrust, the ego tends to cling to beliefs and morality and rules.

      As you point out, awakening for many of us is process of destruction and detachment. It is with detachment from thought and beliefs what we are not. The false begins to fall away.

      Thanks Evita for a wonderfully illuminating comment!

      love and peace,
      k

  5. Jane Haislip

    So enjoyed your thoughts on this blog. I being one that has “racing thoughts” and many other disorders find it most difficult to just be an observer of these thoughts that are constantly bombarding my mind, but this gives me some insight. I needed to read this. Thanks. Jane

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jane,

      A few years ago I went to a 10-day silent meditation retreat. It was my first time with mediation, and about a minute into the very first session of Anapana (watching the breath), I wanted to run. The mind does not want to be present or quiet–it rebels hard. That the mind is so compulsive is in itself a hint, and most of know that something in way we are if off, but we just don’t know that there is another way to be.

      I like this technique of observing thought, because it is simple and easy to integrate into our daily lives.

      Thanks, Jane.

      love and peace,
      k

  6. Amanda

    Hi Kaushik,

    What a great article! You have a beautiful way of helping us to understand the vital concept of stillness. For me, as for most of us, stilling my mind is a challenge, but one well worth tackling.

    Blessings,

    Amanda

  7. Takuin Minamoto

    Thank you, Kaushik.

    I suppose we might want to ask what is meant by the word thought in this post.

    Without thought, which is the action of knowledge (if we can put it that way), Takuin would not be able to type these words, amongst other things.

    But at the same time we can see it slightly differently. This organism known as Takuin does think, has thoughts and so on, but he does not own any of it. They are not his in any sense. Whom could own such a thing?

    We might say thought is an essential part of the human being, but the thinker (the interpreter) is not. Thought, by itself, is knowledge in operation (again, if we can use that sort of terminology).

    So in that sense it is true…there is no personality, or individual that has thoughts. They are not mine or yours to have.

    Perhaps if one tells you to stop thinking, or tells you they can teach you to stop thinking, it becomes easy to part you from your money. 😉 After all, it is a circuitous task…the one hoping to stop thought is in no way different from the thought it hopes to stop. But he/she believes itself to be somehow different or superior; i.e., the one in charge, or the thinker and creator of thought…

    But from where is thought created? Is it dependent upon the person that thinks he is Takuin Minamoto? Or is it something quite beyond that little needle in the haystack?

    Thank you again, Kaushik, for the wonderful writing…
    .-= Takuin Minamoto´s last blog ..Sitting #4 =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Takuin,

      Yes, I see your point. I don’t have thoughts, I don’t have ego, I don’t have awareness, I don’t have life. There is no owner. Thought happens. The problem is not thought, it is the deep identification with thought. It is when the idea of the thinker is believed. There isn’t a thinker so there isn’t a way to stop thought. And yet, upon passive observation, thought diminishes.

      We use the mind for many things. As you say, writing happens with the mind. We use the mind to read bus schedules, and to construct things, and to plan. But we don’t own the mind, nor does it own us. The trick is to break the illusion of ownership.

      Very clarifying, Takuin, thank you.

      love and peace,
      k

  8. Patty - Why Not Start Now?

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Kaushik. I find if I worship at the alter of creativity, then I do enter the flow and thoughts take a back seat. So I love what you say about creativity and the space between thoughts. But I do struggle with the current concepts of ego. From depth psychology, I understand the ego as the container of consciousness, and without it we couldn’t function. Which is not to say that it doesn’t run the show far too often. Yet, I don’t like to dismiss it. I think it’s getting a bit of a bad rap! I have a dear friend who follows Adyashanti, and sometimes I get confused when she talks about it. So I figure the best thing for me to do is release any worries about this, and just follow my intuition about creativity. I’m pretty sure that’s my way in.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Patty,
      I agree, there is a lot of confusing talk about the ego. The psychology-Freud description of ego is that it is the realistic, organized component of the psyche, as you say, a container of consciousness.

      What Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti and other awakened people point to is that we are very closely identified with thoughts. For most of us, there is an incessant voice in the head, the voice of thought, and this is the greatest obstacle to clarity. When we recognize that there is a voice in our heads that pretends to be us, we begin to awaken out the rushing river of thoughts. Thoughts are not good or bad–it’s the close identification with them which keeps us from seeing clearly. As we come out of this dream of false identification, we begin to see that what we take ourselves to be, is a false entity built on thoughts and beliefs and conditioning. This false entity is generally what non-dualists mean when they say “ego.”

      Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now has a pretty good explanation of the ego. “A Course in Miralces” explains it well too.

      And, as you say, in the end, it is about releasing. Release the worry, and beliefs and ideas and conditioning and pent-up emotions–and this too leads to clear seeing.

      Thanks for the insight, Patty. I hope you are well!

      love and peace,
      k

  9. Eso

    Very interesting angle, on the “inner stop exercise”.

    I like how you approached the idea that thoughts exist in multitude, yet we really have only minimal control over them. They can fire up the negative part of emotional centre in a flash, leaving us bewildered and drained, with no idea what just happened.

    I agree, that the only way to gain control over the machine, is to observe the actions which begins with noticing thoughts and emotions. I also agree, that it is very important to be “non critical”, when we first begin to observe. We are most mechanical when we are in action, so it is best to see just what these thoughts are trying to invoke, from a perspective of non attachment.

    In the old “work” the idea of “Ego” was put forward as the “many I’s” of personality, they also connect with the unending thought parade. By quieting your thoughts, you begin to take away force from all these “I’s”. The quiet can then lead you to “work I’s” that wish to contact the “real I”. Behind “real I” stands the Divine.

    I thank you for sharing this with us.
    .
    I found your site via Patty’s blog, “Why not start now ? ” , a great find BTW, so I
    think I’ll follow along, if you don’t mind. I have also included a link from my blog to your site, to share this with my followers, both anonymous and registered.

    Eso
    .-= Eso´s last blog .."There is a way" =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Eso,

      Thoughts seem to have great velocity, but they don’t have much volume. That is, it seems they come one by one, but they are disjointed, and one morphs into another, and our attention is deeply identified with thoughts that we usually don’t notice this. And so it seems we have not control, and of course this is why most of us feel tired, bewildered and drained as you said, and we don’t even notice that.

      By quieting your thoughts, you begin to take away force from all these “I’s”. Yes, exactly, beautifully said.

      Thanks for your insightful comment, and the links. I hope to see more of your insights.

      love and peace,
      k

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