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THE LIGHTNESS OF LIFE WITHOUT THOUGHT
I would like to put a proposition to you.
Have you ever noticed that when you analyse your thoughts, your feelings or your emotions, you cause a disturbance to your body? It is this disturbance which then makes your body susceptible to disease.
I'll talk more about that later. For now, please also consider this:
Your thinking, your emotions, and your feelings are all the same thing. Three different names for the same happening. When you are emotional you are actually thinking, although the thinking is appearing in your body as a feeling. Emotions and feelings, are names given by thought. The naming of a feeling is a thought process. It is just another aspect of thought.
It is really important to see that thinking about what we are feeling, thinking about our emotions, and thinking about the thoughts in our head, is the cause of our suffering.
This process creates a thought-burdened brain.
It causes you emotional and mental pain.
It causes you:
• to be locked into habitual patterns of behaviour
• to feel separate from the world and those around you
. to feel you are in complete control
Ask yourself this. Do you make your heart beat? Do you determine that your next breath will happen? Do you determine when you will fall asleep or wake up? Do you make a thought happen? Or do ideas just appear in your head by themselves?
Let's get back again to the idea of analysis causing a disturbance to your body
The overuse of the thought process disturbs the peace and harmony of our body, which in turn causes disease. Our body is a self-correcting, self-healing system, and this thinking process is a disturbance affecting its ability to maintain health.
Many people believe that if you didn't think, you would be brain dead. They believe You could not function out there in the world with all of its problems
without learning from your past mistakes. And they believe that this learning requires analytical thinking processes.
However, this isn't the case. There appears to be two different sorts of knowledge. One is destructive to the brain. While the other has no impact or disturbing nature at all!
Here is an example of one type of knowledge which you are experiencing just now.
You are sitting in a chair reading this piece of paper. You know that. You also know that it is daytime or night time. You know you have clothes on. This is factual knowledge. Factual knowledge does not present a problem at all. By its nature it is light, and does not disturb the brain. Therefore, it does not disturb the body.
I'm sure you'll agree that this sort of knowledge is not destructive to us.
Now let's look at the other sort of knowledge. The sort that causes the problems for our body.
This knowledge is the sort which we use when the thought or thinking process is happening. We might use our memory to make a judgement such as ...
I don't like this,
1 hate the cold weather,
Or we might analyse a situation which causes us to be emotional. For example:
Why did they say that to me?
1 cannot stop thinking about what you said.
What am 1 going to do about this problem?
This process is heavy. It actually disturbs the brain cells themselves. It generates feelings in the body and emotional reactions. This disturbance is being shown in current scientific research into the connection between the body and the mind. It's called psychoneuroimmunology.
As a matter of habit, we are conditioned to respond to situations from the basis of this heavy reactive knowledge. 1 say 'reactive because when we make a judgement we are reacting to a situation, instead of simply noticing it. Again, when we analyse an event, we are reacting to it. rather than just noticing it.
This reactive process is heavy. This knowledge is heavy.
On the other hand, when the brain is quiet, yet has the light factual knowledge, responses to daily life are totally different. We can respond from this light knowledge thereby freeing ourselves from the burden of reactive knowledge We can meet and respond to daily life with this kind of brain.
Please take a moment to put this question to yourself: Do you know when you are thinking?
If you say "yes" then can you tell me what thinking feels like? You must be able to tell me or how else would you know that you are thinking. It must have a feeling for you to be able to recognise its existence.
Please take some time to look at this within yourself.
1 believe this thinking/ analytical process is the source of all emotional and mental pain. It paralyses people and prevents them from living a peaceful, fruitful and joyous life.
For all those seekers of knowledge who believe that knowledge itself is intelligence, 1 respectfully ask you to consider that intelligence is not analytical thinking.
If you are caught up in the habit of analytical thinking, please observe your habit. Don't 'judge it. Just notice it. Experience the quietness and ease that comes with that noticing. That's intelligence.
1 suggest we question, examine and observe the process of analysis and
Now the big questions.
Is it possible to live our life without this thinking /analytical process happening in our brain?
Is it possible to meet our daily life free from thinking so our actions, our speech, is meeting everything anew? Free from the past?
When you think you are using memory. You are filtering what you see in front of you with the memories of the past and therefore every action you take is a repetition of some old pattern. When you think about your thoughts, emotions, and feeling you actually make them worse and give them strength.
When you don't analysis them they have very little impact on you. They have very little energy.
How will you know when thought is happening?
You will know that you are thinking when the following things happen:
• your mind is always chattering ~ that voice in your head.
• you always think about what you are doing, are going to do and about what is happening in front of you.
. you dream, visualise and use your imagination.
• you have emotions and can describe feelings in your body. These emotions and feelings arise throughout the day as you work and relate.
• you are guided by your emotions and feelings and thoughts above anything else.
• you will have the feeling of being separate from the thoughts and emotions happening within you. You will feel you are being objective. You say "I am aware of..."
you must know what is going to happen and why it is happening before you act.
This thinking process is also your sense of ego. The feeling of being separate from what is in front of you. Thought creates the feeling of me or 1 or you being separate from what you can see in front of you.
Most people believe that their emotions are different from them. Separate from them. They believe that the feelings in their body and the thoughts and ideas in their heads, are separate from them. Thinking gives the feeling that you are the observer. That you are separate from the ideas, emotions and feelings happening in you. 1 am thinking about... I am feeling... 1 remember when... 1 am feeling angry, etc
This happens because you are caught in the thought process. Being caught in the thought process causes suffering.
For me the great human tragedy is that we don't see the fact that thinking, emotions and feelings are the same. We don't see that they are one whole process. It is this process that must come to an end with careful and passionate attentiveness before a whole new way of living can come about. This new way of living will be a life free of suffering.
If continued, this destructive process of thought movement causes the following outcomes:
• a reactive and emotional person.
• an analytical and judgmental person.
. someone who is caught up in the past and cannot live today.
• the feeling of fear, doubt and uncertainty because you have to know what is going to happen.
• someone who is controlled by their emotions.
• a strong sense of ego, that is, someone who is in control of their thought and feelings.
• the absence of a sense of joy, love and happiness. Indeed, if these are experienced they seem to be momentary and dependent on circumstances.
• sickness and ill health. Thinking, emotions and strong feelings are the cause of blocked energy flows. They disturb the cellular structure and physiology of the body. Two familiar examples are worry leading to an ulcer, and stress leading to suppressed immune system.
Can you relate to any of these outcomes?
Can you agree that these thought processes disturb your body?
Do you agree that it is thought that causes these destructive outcomes?
The paradox here is that there is nothing wrong with what you are thinking, or the feelings and emotions you are experiencing. But you need to leave it at that. It is the thinking about - analysing of - the thought and feelings which is the problem. That's what 1 mean when 1 refer to getting caught up in the thinking and emotions. This continual analysis is the cause of your suffering.
Can you possibly notice this?
Is it possible for you to simply observe the fact that you are feeling something? Notice it without thinking about it. Without labelling it with a name.
Observe the fact that you have an idea in your mind. Just notice it.
Try not to change what you observed. Quietly acknowledge its existence and note what happens.
For me the great tragedy today is that analysing has created the world of therapies. The psychiatrist, the healer, the group therapist, the new age movement, encounter groups and gurus. The thing they have in common is that they all offer to 'fix it'.
Therapies and groups restimulate the thinking process and therefore strenthens the sense of you and your ego. You get the sense of being in control. But indeed we are not in control. Our thinking is just deceiving us.
A philosophical debate may be entertaining and it may give us a feeling that we understand the reasons we feel the way we do. However, it has no other value unless you acknowledge that you are thinking, and therefore all your responses whether verbal or action are conditioning from the past.
We only get involved in one of these therapies when we want to change something in our life, or change something within ourself. In other words, we have judged something to be bad and want it to be some other way. It may be the way we think or feel.
However, there is nothing wrong with the way we think or feel. The problem lies in the way we react to what we think or feel. Your observation facility has been distorted by thought. So any other thought only adds to the distortion. Therefore help in the form of ideas, beliefs, and systems are locking you into more suffering.
Sadly, we take new feelings and emotions and experiences to be the hallmark of a change. But it is not. It is just a clever trick of the mind. The observer who experienced the pain and the observer who now experiences the joy are the same. Each of these therapies is increasing your sense of ego. The sense of self. And the sense of you being different from the world.
Anyone who offers you a technique is restimulating the thinking process. The new technique is focusing attention on the very process that generated the problem in the first place.
Everyone is caught in this process. The obvious question then is: what can we do about it? How can we stop this continual thinking process?
No one can tell you how to look at a tree or how to observe the thought in your
mind or watch the emotions as they are occurring. You simply do it. You can
do it now. It has nothing to do with what has happened to you in the past or what is going to happen. It is simply a matter of watching as it is happening-
You will notice that when there is no resistance to what is happening the brain becomes very quiet. What is left is a quality of attention that allows love and peace to come about.
You will see that it is possible to meet daily life with all of its challenges with a quiet brain. It is this quality of brain that will use thought when necessary for daily mechanical routines. It produces an energy that gives freedom to action, peacefulness to speech and loving kindness to our actions. Totally the opposite to being brain-dead. Find out for yourself if it is true.
It is very interesting to note that movement of the eyes reveals the fact that you are thinking. Conversely, when you give careful attention to what you are doing your eyes are straight. Physiologically, when your eyes are straight, your brain goes quiet. When you have this quietness within you, you can still see, you can still hear, and naturally, you still know you are alive.
When you close your eyes and look directly at any thought in your mind it simply disappears. When you look straight ahead softly, your body goes very still and yet it is still breathing. Your heart is still beating. Your body is maintaining itself without the sense of you.
When you give this quality of attention through your eyes, you still have knowledge of the world around you. You still have the use of light knowledge when it necessary. You will see that the situations themselves draw the correct use of thought from this peaceful state of being. The appropriate harmonious responsive action.
Therefore 1 wonder if there is such a thing as understanding a problem from past experience.
When we approach a problem with heavy knowledge or analysis, our response is just a repetition of the same old reaction to the same problem. Hence the same old problem continues on and on.
Each situation that happens is in fact new. A problem brings with itself, the answer. Otherwise it would not be a problem. So to see or perceive a solution you must be able to look at it as it is. Hence the necessity to have a quiet brain. Your response will be immediate and will not leave a mark on the brain and you will not be burdened by the memory of the situation. It still remains in the field of light knowledge.
Test it out. Find out for yourself. You will experience peace and ha harmony in proportion to your ability to not get caught up in your thinking, your emotions, and your feelings. Simply notice them.
The quality of attention you give to this in your daily life will speak for itself. Happy noticing.
Peter Crook B.Ac