Friday, February 26, 2016

Of Conscience and Sin, Custom and Nature

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Examine your conscience and confess your sins, says the Roman Catholic Church.

What does this even mean?

Millennia of Misguidance

I spent the first 24 years of my life as a Roman Catholic in a strongly Catholic environment: heavy family and friend support, church every Sunday and “holy day of obligation” and others in between, an altar server, 12 years of Catholic schooling, and so on.

But in all this time and experience I was never told the truth. I was never told what conscience and sin truly are. I was never offered any clear-cut means on how to examine my conscience or to stop sinning.

How can I say this? As in, how can I say, “I was never taught it,” as opposed to, “I just didn’t do it properly”?

Because I’ve been given the opportunity to see in from the outside without losing the awareness of or going into denial over what went on inside.

I’ve since learned what conscience and so-called “sin” really are. I’ve since healed monumental piles of inner garbage which had held my life in darkness, that, in days prior, I’d have sinfully repeated over and over and over again no matter how many times I’d confessed them nor how much overwhelming guilt and shame I’d felt about them and hatred I’d felt toward myself for being unable to keep from doing them.

I’ve also since found out that many “sinful” things are actually perfect and healthy expressions of being human.

What Is Conscience?

I think conscience, in the form nearly every observer of Western religion knows it (though wouldn't define it this way), has been described best by Michel de Montaigne:

The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom.”

Ain’t that the truth.

Were most of us to wake up tomorrow to the authoritatively instated invalidation of all policies of religion and government and the like, people would be utterly lost.

Who am I if not what I’ve been taught? What do I do? How do I behave?

Herein lies the misguidance of religion’s teaching on conscience. We’re so hell-bent on creating and upholding arbitrary-but-appearing-true laws, rules, and regulations of a purely mental nature that we’ve become utterly lost in our minds and unwilling to open to anything contrary.

Said differently, we believe we’re attuned to the tenets of nature, of God, when in fact we’re just adhering to man-mind- and culture-defined gobbledygook seemingly applicable to some absolute nature of the present day.

This may bring up arguments such as, “But if there were no laws against killing, people would be killing each other left and right.” This type of disagreement is nonsense because it’s avoidance on the arguer’s part in facing the haphazard nature of their life beliefs. Not only do most people not have the innate inclination to kill others, but, look at us—we were given the 10 Commandments thousands of years ago and we still haven’t learned—we’ve been killing each other on a mass scale ever since. (With the one's who actually claim to have been given those commandments, ironically enough, carrying the greatest liability for mass murder. In the names of "love" and "divine justice," no less.)

The difference will not be made by written law. What can and will make the difference is our hearts. Yet our “hearts are waxed gross.”

True Conscience (with a capital “C”) is a function of heart awareness, something which simply cannot be grasped when life is wholly a function of mind.

The heart just sees and operates without judgment or force. Its speech is subtle, not seeking to overpower the racket of the ego-mind. Within the heart reside the Laws of Heaven and Earth.

It’s thus only when we bring our minds into quiet focus, when we make slaves of our minds rather than being slaves unto them, and tend to our hearts that we can come to know Conscience.

We are aided in this process by knowing what “sin” actually is.

What Is Sin?

According to the Church, not only are you born in sin—whatever that is to them, some inherent filth you acquire just for being alive—but you are sinful by nature. Should you intend to reach heaven, as opposed to spend eternity in the flames of hell, you need to confess your sins to obtain God’s forgiveness. You will sin and sin and sin (i.e.: you will live in a state of perpetual wrong-doing, guilt, and shame), but as long as you confess regularly and don’t have any particularly “mortal” sins staining your soul when you die, you’ll at least reach purgatory.

Folks, sin is in—your head.

As I’ve said before, sin can be defined as simply as “errant thought.” Thought always precedes word and action. Which means that if your thoughts change, then everything else must shift accordingly. Which means you can stop sinning.

For instance: You’ve been working the same job for 25 years. Your boss was once an asshole, and every day you’d thought nasty things of him. You’d felt lousy about this and went to confession regularly—for 20 years. But one day you stumbled upon a self-help article in which the author suggested that life is a mirror and there’s a personal lesson in the discomfort you’d been feeling related to your boss. After doing some more reading and several weeks of daily self-inquiry—wah-lah! The author was right! You had an epiphany that your boss was merely a demanding reflection of your father who you’d never stood up to. Though uneasy, you decided to lean into your discomfort and stand up to your boss the next time he tried to ream you out. And—zippy-zam! He never treated you like crap again, you never had to think about dumping your piping hot coffee on his bitch-ass face again, and you had no reason to feel guilt and shame or the soul-crushing need to make haste to the confessional booth again.

This is the way it works, ladies and gentleman. As you release traumas, fears, false beliefs, and repressed emotions, the source of what is considered “sinful” disappears. This emptying allows your heart—the space of Conscience—to open.

Consequently, the heart is also the seat of nature’s wisdom. Had we not all the inner baggage of misguidance, we'd be able to realign ourselves with what is the way of both nature and heaven. Opposite of Montaigne's words, we'd no longer need to pretend.

Examination of Conscience

I can’t help but think that this is what it means to do a true “Examination of Conscience.”

We’re very complex beings. Examination takes meditation and journaling. It takes an incredibly huge tolerance to witnessing one’s own darkness, feeling its discomforts, learning its lessons, and fully embracing the darkness as “this, too, I am.” It takes spiritual and/or psychological healers, teachers, and counselors. It takes a great willingness to be wrong and to see life from wildly unconventional perspectives.

One can and will have to chip away by moment, day, and month, but overall the process takes years of dedicated effort, especially to knock out the heavier, more repressed issues. A true Examination of Conscience is an intensive, layered endeavor—not something to mentally spend between 5 and 30 minutes on before going to a monthly, quarterly, or yearly penance service.

In Closing: A Word On Nature

As you go about your days, keep the following in mind:

You are not separate from nature.

Yes, you do have a different, higher level of consciousness than the rest of nature. But this level of consciousness does not put you above the natural world. As you can now see so readily, we are rapidly destroying the natural world because we’ve made believe for far too long that we’re somehow in it yet separate from it, because we’ve believed in man’s law rather than living in nature’s law.

And as we are a part of nature and have within us the whole of it—bits of reptile, bits of amphibian, bits of animal… and huge quantities of bacteria—so too do we feel inclinations this way and that for what may be perceived as “lower” behaviors.

But rather than experiencing and/or healthily managing them, we’ve often accepted lies as truth and then chosen repression, guilt and shame, instead. This is wrong. Oh, God. Have mercy on my soul.

Repression, guilt , and shame are not transcendence; they are repression, guilt, and shame. And they lead to behaviors being played out in excess or not at all—both of which corrode body, mind, emotion, and soul.

The hippopotamus doesn’t feel guilt or shame to be a hippopotamus; nor does the black widow in being a black widow, the begonia in being a begonia, or the E. coli in being an E. coli. They all simply be what they are.

Unload the baggage, listen to your heart, and then think and behave as you in integrity with yourself and nature would think and behave.

Become once again what you already are.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

7 Reasons Why Your Prayers Go "Unheard"

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Let’s now look at 7 reasons why prayers seemingly go unheard. Why, even though you may firmly believe that God has an “open door” policy, it appears to you he must either be out at the water cooler telling jokes or busy checking his Facebook feed. Briefly, these 7 reasons are:
  1. You’re being selfish.
  2. You’re still being selfish—and hypocritical.
  3. You’re praying in fear.
  4. You’re impatient.
  5. You’re praying in lack.
  6. You’ve already been answered or will be at a moment’s notice—the “right” moment’s notice.
  7. Your prayers are said in kindness, but you’re otherwise a miserable person.
Just before looking at each of these reasons in depth, including associated resolutions, you first need to understand what prayer is and how it functions.

What is Prayer?

Prayer is thought.

That’s it.

Prayer is thought. Thought is energy. As all is One and separation is only an illusion, our thoughts can’t and don’t connect to some “higher” being “out there somewhere.” To the contrary, our prayers, or thoughts, are energetic impulses which interact with the seen and unseen collective of energy known as the "Universe" and "God" around and within us.

The Universe then responds. Indeed, the Universe can’t not respond, because non-response would defy the Law of Cause and Effect. Whatever we ask for in life will always be responded to. It is personal perception that determines whether or not we recognize an answer… Indicating that it’s we who may be at the water cooler, not God.

It’s also vital to know that when the Universe responds, it responds in kind, or based on the Law of Like Resonance/Vibration. Meaning: If your state of consciousness while praying is joy or peace, you will get something positive in return; if your state of consciousness is fear, your negativity will be returned to you.

Also be aware that thoughts are “as is.” Each thought carries some small amount of energetic mass or it simply wouldn’t exist. What really gives our thoughts power and direction is the amount and flavor of emotional energy put behind them.

Now that we have a simple yet effective definition of prayer and prayer’s functioning, let’s look at 7 the reasons why you may perceive God as taking an extended lunch break and resolutions for each.

Reason 1: You’re being selfish.

In example and explanation of this one, let’s consider the cases when a loved one is in a near-death state. They’d just experienced a severe physical trauma and are currently in the intensive care unit, probably soon to die.

From the moment you hear of this, you shift into fear and worry mode. While this is understandable, it’s also a drop into negativity. This shouldn’t/can’t be happening. How could God let this happen? You’re impulse is to get praying that this loved one recovers to full health ASAP.

However… What if it’s not in this person’s soul path to recover? What if the person has been deeply depressed inside (which you very well may not know) and subconsciously willed his or her “accident” to happen as a means of exit? What if there’s a lesson in it for everyone else to learn to let go?

Many possible questions arise here that we may or may not ever know the answers to. What we can know is that it’s not in our place to pray for someone based on beliefs and fears which, though appearing real and valid to us personally, don't have any bearing in higher truth or hold alignment with the one being prayed for. Should their soul energy be trying to go out while we and 150+ family members and friends are praying fiercely to keep it in, we get involved in an unpleasant and unkind energetic tug-o-war.

Reason 1 Resolution:
In instances such as these, you could get as clear as you can as to what beliefs and feelings you think would arise if trauma did occur. For example, fear suggests that you don’t trust Life, while asking how God could let the event happen suggests you feel betrayed by God and blame him for this. These are triggers just waiting to be pulled and would be best worked out now, before unexpected trauma arises.

In terms of prayer, you might say something along the lines of, “May you receive the highest and best.” Sure, further difficulties and impending death may appear in complete contradiction to the average human’s view of “highest and best.” But from a cosmic perspective such unbiased kindness is remarkable since you're giving support regardless of which path is chosen. You might also learn to just be present; to be with and feel whatever it is that’s going on. Or, you might just talk to them; to be with them as they depart, in gratitude for their being here.

Whether a medical emergency or other, the key is to remove from one’s self the selfish behaviors. These are mostly, if not completely, based in fears and false beliefs. Though experience will always bring up surprise triggers, it’s of prime importance that we take time regularly to examine the motivations of our thoughts and behaviors. Ask yourself: Would I think, say, or do [this] if I weren’t identified as… a Catholic? a republican? a military officer? a [whatever]? Then release it, and just be what you naturally are. Your heart will guide you.

Reason 2: You’re still being selfish—and hypocritical.

This one can be described with the instance of the parents who repeatedly tell their kids to quit smoking while continuing to smoke themselves. Before bed each night they pray that their kids quit because they don’t want them to grow up with the same horrid addiction or die an early death. God, please. Don’t let our children become like their parents.

This version of being selfish, and hypocritical, is all about avoidance and blame. I don’t want to face my own struggle, so I’m going to tell you what to do so it gives the appearance I’m doing something worthwhile.

Reason 2 Resolution:
Stop smoking. Heal yourself (however that may come to pass for you) and walk your talk.

People listen to the words of folks like Jesus and the Dalai Lama because they live their word, and their words are strong. Yet while their words are strong, their actions are even stronger. Yet while their actions are even stronger, the energy behind their words and actions is the strongest of all. Because they are in integrity with themselves.

If you don’t like what somebody is doing, praying for them selfishly and hypocritically is useless. First and foremost, you must be in alignment with yourself. Which does not mean you must be the next prophet. If you want your kids to stop smoking, then you must heal within whatever compels you to smoke and then kick the habit yourself. Extraneous healing is unrequired. Just be aware that, if the kids are 12 years hooked, there’s no guarantee they’re going to up and quit. Maybe and maybe not. But as you’re of a similar karmic resonance as family, you will be making it much easier for them.

Walking works, talking shirks.

Reason 3: You’re praying in fear.

When I mention general issues that need to be healed, I typically mention 4 things: fears, false beliefs, repressed emotions, and traumas. While each of these is quite distinct, they all ultimately boil down to one: fear. Everything that is not truly positive and uplifting carries within it the seed, if not a full blown forest, of fear.

Remember that “like attracts like.” If you’re praying in fear and worry and all that negative slop, fear and worry and all that negative slop are what you’re going to get back.

Reason 3 Resolution:
Because fear encompasses everything, there’s no one-size-fits-all means of resolving it. You could meditate daily, get psychological counseling, journal out your concerns and look for holes in the “logic.” The list of tools is extensive, and you’ll need to figure out which ones work for you.

To start, I recommend daily meditation. Try starting with 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes before bed. Or whenever is comfortable for you, but just make sure you’re consistent. The starting point is to make peace with emptiness and get some perspective as a life observer—meaning you witness what is impartially and without interaction. We live in a fast-paced, sensory-barraged world. If you can’t step away from it all and just be at peace for a couple minutes when there’s nothing particularly pressing going on, you’ll never manage to be rational when hell breaks loose. You’ll end up praying in fear and worry and all that negative slop and attract to yourself all sorts of unhappy things.

Reason 4: You’re impatient.

You were born into a me-me-me-now-now-now kind of culture. Unless you’ve been living in the bush with a pride of lions since age two, chances are exceedingly high you’ve got some amount of selfish impatience in you—a swift and certain answer to your prayers notwithstanding.

So, you say a hurried prayer for this or that and… nothing. You pray again, and… nothing. Again… nothing. You feel unheard and miserable. You feel like you’re running out of time. You need an answer now. And… nothing.

Reason 4 Resolution:
Realize that the Universe does not work on a time scale, but the Universe does work on an energy scale. Which aligns perfectly with the Law of Like Resonance/Vibration as discussed earlier. Although things appear to the mind to be linear, to change with timing, all supposed “timing” is merely humans placing a mind-created number filter over what was, is, and will be now. There existed no clock until we’d made one.

In the case of impatience, well, the thought of impatience is quite ridiculous because what you’re seeking to get through prayer cannot come to you until you align energetically with it... Unless you’re aligning with “hurry,” in which case you will manifest “late.”

“When the questioner is ready, the answer appears.” To say, "When the time is ripe," is a complete misnomer.

Plus, to focus on a time base rather than an energy base, you’re again playing a negative energetic tug-o-war. In fighting what is you halt life’s effortless flow into your awareness by clinging to “what is not.”

Otherwise, you may wish to pull out a pen and paper and figure out why you think you need whatever it is you think you need so badly. What fears and false beliefs are hiding inside demanding for an immediate response?

Reason 5: You’re praying in lack.

Imagine that you’re quite sick. And you’re poor. And you don’t have a job or insurance. It appears to you that you’ll never manage to heal if some miracle doesn’t come along—like 5,000 dollars unexpectedly dropping into your lap to pay for help. The persistent thoughts of your circumstances keep you in an equally persistent state of the “don’t have” brand of fear.

You pray: Oh, God, I need help. Oh, God, I’m hurting so badly. I really messed up big time. I’ll never get out of this one. Please, help. Please. Oh. God. As the days pass by, similar prayers continue. All the while, you sail on your downward spiral seemingly unheard by God.

Reason 5 Resolution:
Most people are thoroughly misinformed about what prayer is—thought—and how prayer/thought functions. They thus pray for things for which they have no awareness they are praying, only to be thoroughly disappointed with how things unfold.

Read into the prayer a little bit. I need help. I’m hurting so badly. I really messed up. All you’re basically telling the Universe here is: I’m a helpless victim. My life is FUBAR. If you’re sending messages like this out to the Universe, you’re going to remain a helpless victim FUBAR.

You have free will, and God does not interfere with that. If you’re certain that you’re beyond help, God cannot help you. Again, it’s the Law of Cause and Effect. If you want a positive effect, you must put out a positive cause.

God, my body is experiencing a misalignment. Please guide me toward the cause of this imbalance that I may see and heal it. And/or: I willingly release the programming in my consciousness that causes me to experience [insert specific concern here]. Then watch for guidance, which might come from within; maybe from a friend, enemy, or stranger; maybe written in the clouds. (I’m not kidding.)

Reason 6: You’ve already been answered or will be at a moment’s notice—the “right” moment’s notice.

You pray (and pray and pray and pray) the same thing but can’t seem to get an answer.

Reason 6 Resolution:
There’re multiple concerns here. The first is related to perception-formers such as belief, expectation, and assumptions. You will see what you expect or assume to see. If, for example, you’re carrying a strong subconscious belief, and thus have the expectation, that “God doesn’t answer people like me,” you may never perceive your prayer as being replied to. These bogus ideas must be worked out. (Be aware that the belief, "God doesn't answer people like me," and "God has an 'open door' policy," as mentioned in the introduction, are not mutually exclusive. People carry contradictory beliefs by the zillions.)

A second item is that not only might your prayers already have been answered, they might have been answered before you’d even prayed. Additionally, but an important item unto itself, your prayers may not be specific enough.

If you pray, say, God, what’s the cause of my suffering? the questioning is so generalized and the answer is already known to you. Like maybe it’s your stomach that’s been aching you for three weeks now and has had you worried. You know your stomach is aching, and you know it has you worried. So what are you really praying for or about? Oh. God, my stomach has been causing me pain and suffering lately. Please guide me toward the mental-emotional cause of the issue that I may heal it.

Thirdly, we must realize that life is on our own terms. If we’re sick and want to give our power away to a doctor every time we have so much as a runny nose, we’re never going to get better because we’re resonating with the energy of “helpless victim in need of a savior.” It’s totally fine if we pray for answers, but we must then start educating ourselves or taking some other action, whatever of 984,568,955 things this could mean.

Of the stomach example, the doctor is likely going to give us some pills, yet pill popping is the choice of ignorance. What life may really be calling our attention to is the metaphysical nature of things: that our stomach is not somehow removed or separate from everything else in life and that our pain has a higher purpose. As both sages and quantum science teach us, life “out there” doesn’t exist. It’s all a hologram of what’s “in here.” The stomach is a physical representation of the mind’s ability to “hold and digest” life experiences.

This is vital. It’s absolutely not something a doctor will tell you, but it is something God will guide you toward. The answers (at least some of them) to your prayers will be made available just as soon as you get to work.

Understand this, dig deep down inside and heal the traumas or fears or whatever’s holding the negativity and you may well find healing. And it may be spontaneously, too, because, as like attracts like, you’ll no longer carry the embedded negativity that had been attracting disease to you. Your stomach will resonate with wholeness so you’ll get wholeness.

Reason 7: Your prayers are said in kindness, but you’re otherwise a miserable person.

By now, recalling the collective of what you’ve so far learned, you could probably make some sense of this one yourself

If you can manage to be positive during prayer but are miserable otherwise, you’re playing a game of energetic tug-o-war in which the negative side always has the upper hand. Praying positively for 5 or 50 minutes per day can’t offset the other 15+ hours you spend the rest of your days in a snit in.

And really, if you’re in this boat then you’re probably not positive during prayer time either. You’ve either got a nice, big facade you’re putting up for yourself (and God), or, though you really do shift to a deeper sense of peace during prayer, you’ve still got so much negative junk stored away inside that your overall vibratory resonance still remains low. Once again: Like attracts like. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. We are masters at hiding from ourselves what discomforts us.

Reason 7 Resolution:
I know it hurts, sometimes fantastically, but we have to be honest with ourselves. Not some shallow "honesty" wherein we’re able to basically continue on as we have been, but the honesty in which we open to the possibility of being wrong about everything; to the possibility that, if we are wrong, the truth may drive us to leave our religion, job, family, etc. because our initial alignment to those things was not done in integrity; to the possibility of crying frequently and uncontrollably until healed.

These things we must face are not easy. Further, they’re heavily repressed and ignored by most of our culture, and those who walk this path are typically shunned.

But this path is also both the road out of hell and the road that will take you into a direct line of communication with heaven.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

(Unsolicited) Marriage Advice

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

No one likes unsolicited advice.

Everyone knows this.

Yet when two people get married it seems that all the common courtesy of withholding unrequested advice gets flushed down the toilet. Once the rings are exchanged, everyone's got something to say.

The subtle implication of this uncalled-for counsel is that it's not truly out of love or kindness as the giver may perceive, but quite the opposite: the need to prove something.

Deeper Concerns

Have you looked at divorce statistics lately? The divorce rate is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of all marriages. And I don’t know what your perception reveals to you, but it’s patently obvious to me that a great many more marriages are forced, that they would have ended long ago if it wasn’t for silly yet life-halting beliefs like, God will smite me if I divorce, and, Even though we’re supremely unhappy, we must stay together for the kids; for subconscious worries like, But if I divorce my dictator of a wife, how will I prove to myself I’m a victim?; and for semi-conscious concerns like, What will others think? (Psst—They’re probably just as unhappy as you and will condemn you if you get divorced because they don’t have the balls to go through a divorce themselves. We only judge when we’re unhappy and refuse to change.)

But many won't admit (if, in the unlikely case, they even consciously realize) that their marriage isn’t made in heaven or that it’s breaking down or any similar thing. They’ve got a wildly uncomfortable itch but are too afraid to scratch it.

I can’t quite see this itchy bump in the middle of my back. I’m hoping like mad it’s just a hive, but, damn—if it turns out I scratch open some pus-filled abscess, not even God will be able to save me.

Irresponsibly Dumping Out Advice

What a delightful opportunity, then, an infrequent wedding invite is.

I’ve waited 10 years for this! The opportunity to prove that I’ve learned something about marriage and life and happiness!

But nothing’s been learned. Nothing really valuable, anyway. Hence, why the advice “must” be given: Self-“proof” without the hard and uncomfortable work of in-looking and self-development.

This is made clearer by the fact that the advice is often given in a humor-like, I’m-not-really-serious-but-I’m-really-serious kind of way, for behaviors like these are guilt and shame, personified. The unwarranted counsel giver realizes on a half-conscious level that:
  1. S/he’s breaking the cardinal rule of unsolicited advice: Don’t give it, and
  2. S/he ain’t been livin’ up to that shit his- or herself.

Ideated Or Integrated

So many people, too many people, have the idea lodged in their minds that to have something intellectualized is to know all there is about it.

This is just not so.

The mind offers us nothing but a theoretical framework, a starting point. It is then by our action or non-action that we chose to either transform these concepts into experience and wisdom or just stow them away with all our other de-act-ivated mental data.

Marriage takes work. Work with other, yes. But it takes self-work. Because all that’s “out there” is a reflection of what’s “in here.” Most often, marriages don’t work (whether they’ve reached the separation stage or not) because people refuse to accept in themselves the triggers that are pulled wittingly or unwittingly by their significant others. People opt for blame, anger, and resentment instead.

Dumping out unsolicited advice ends up being a matter of course. It’s a way to dump on others whatever it is the counsel donors haven’t experienced as true themselves but think they can prove it so by “teaching” it to others.

Surely, if I can give the advice, then I’ve learned the lesson. And if I've learned the lesson then I can just try to ignore the discomfort because, well, it's just the way life is—uncomfortable...

The Buddhist and the Hotdog

You ever hear the one about the Buddhist monk at the hot dog stand?

When the attendant asked him what he wanted, the monk said, “Make me one with everything.”

“It’ll be three dollars.”

After the monk paid with a five but the attendant didn’t give him his two dollars return, the monk asked, “Where’s my change?”

The attendant told him, “Change comes from within.”

Choose Your Destiny

Marriage can be bliss. Marriage can also be an utter disaster.

It really just depends on how long one wants to give self-directed advice to a mirror rather than proving out (or disproving and accepting) so-called advice for one’s self experientally.

It really just depends when the individual wants to change within.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"But I'll Die If I Stop Thinking!"

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Here in the US there used to be a TV show called, “Kid’s Say the Darnedest Things.” I’m thinking maybe we could introduce a similar new show, only with adults as the focus instead of kids. Because adults unwittingly say some absurd and humorous things, too.

For example: Picture the average mature, rational, intelligent, grown-up as he or she says:

"But I’ll die if I stop thinking!"

I know. Right? How outlandishly comical is that?

…You don’t get it, do you? Let me explain…

A Thoughtless Insight

Folks… You are not your thoughts. You are not your thoughts, and I can guarantee that you will not die if you stop thinking. Indeed, should you choose to even so much as pause your thinking process, it may well be one of the few times in your whole life up to this point that you will actually, consciously, experience life!

Because, notice, we’re thinking all the time. Yet this thinking is not even about, say, calculating the supply and demand of resources for feeding the world’s starving millions. This thinking is more on the lines of complaining to ourselves about Tuesday’s unexpected visit by Aunt Jane while we’re in the midst of buying groceries on Friday.

Are you really going to tell me, can you really tell me in all honesty, that you’re going to die if you stop thinking? No, you won’t die if you stop thinking about Aunt Jane, nor in the rare case are you going to die if you stop thinking about how to save the planet.

This is made all the more humorous by the fact that you believe you’ll die if you stop thinking yet rarely if ever in your life have you dedicated conscious, steady attention to your heart beat, your breathing, or the breakdown of food proteins into distinct amino acids—all these mission critical things you’ve never paid a moments mind to yet you’re still here. It’s a miracle!

”I Am My Thoughts”

Another equally false (and absurd) idea along these lines shows up in the phrase:

It’s who I am.

What is “it’s”?

My thoughts. I am my thoughts, so my thoughts are “who I am.”

If you are your thoughts, you wouldn’t have the ability to change unless acted upon by an involuntary, internal thought force. (Or an external thought force, for you folks familiar with ELF waves and mind control. But that’s kind of impertinent here.) Your thoughts would define exactly who and what you are and how your experience of life presents itself in any given moment. If your thoughts changed, then there would necessarily be a corresponding shift in your speech, behavior, and perspective. You would have zero free will.

Yet, while the aforementioned will seem true more or less regularly, have you not had thoughts with which you’ve not engaged or taken action in regard to? Further: If what you truly are is the thoughts you think, how would you ever even know that there is something other than what you are thinking in any given moment? If in all moments you are fully identified with, if in fact you are, exactly what you are thinking?

I do acknowledge (and as I note just below), we do get quite involved in our thinking at times. No matter, most of us "merely" wade into the state of lunacy; we are not actually engulfed in it full-time.

Involuntary Information

We can look, too, at the involuntary nature of thoughts. They just seem to pop up unrequested. Like why the hell do you care about Aunt Jane while you’re busy at the supermarket trying to figure out whether you want to buy the blueberry waffles or the waffles with sprinkles?

While on one hand, yes, why the hell would you care? On the other hand, when these Aunt Jane thoughts come up and push your past-experience frustration triggers, don’t you regularly lose your train of thought? Don’t you give the thoughts attentive, supportive energy… which is to say that on some level you do care… only to get to the checkout register and realize as you’re emptying out your cart: Oh. Blueberry waffles. I thought I got the sprinkled ones?

Of this involuntary nature, it seems thoughts just happen, that we have no control or direction over them. They’re just there and generally all the same; same color, different hue.

In a way this is true, but it’s mostly true simply because we’re engrossed in “my thoughts, who I think I am.”

Sure, your thoughts are just there and, sure, your thoughts are basically the same all the time. But they’re only this way because you have done nothing to consciously change your experience in regard to them.

There are no good reasons whatsoever—only the 14 million bad subconscious ones you’ve made up in fear and false belief—that you have to attach to, follow, or agree with any of the trillions of random thought forms that will occur to you during the course of your lifetime.

Even better is that not only can you reduce both the number of thoughts and the off-centering impact they have on you, but you can even change them. The latter of which is not to say that you change the thoughts—you don’t—so much as you alter the mental filter settings which determine the level of rationality of the thoughts that do pass through into your awareness.

Which means, thankfully, that even though Aunt Jane has been pestering you since you were 9 years old—you’re now 50, by the way—that she need not pester you to your (or her) grave.

Aligning with Conscious Awareness

Throughout our lives we change things. Maybe our hobbies, our preferred political party, our hair color, or whatever. So change is possible; this change necessarily prompted either by an altered mindset or a deeper impulse (the latter of which implies the former).

Within this change lies two possible paths—the path of false change and the path of true change. More or less:
  • False change, no matter how true it may seem to us, is something like changing ones political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Both sides are based in dualistic, us-vs-them thinking, so there’s never a true touching down on a solid, reality-founded surface.

  • True change, though when we move this way its reasoning may be unconscious to us, is something like having a desire to listen to more peaceful music after a lifetime of listening to hate-fueled death metal. We make the active decision to listen to something new because something within us, something ever so subtle and still, is calling out for this change to occur. There’s no duality about it, for the drive arises from deeper within. This may come as a felt urge rather than with any specific thoughts.

This true change can only occur if we are something—or, at the very least, have access to something—beyond anything we might believe to be “who I am”… the “who I am” that we’ve now clarified as being naught more than a discordant stream of limiting nonsense.

What we need to be on the lookout… Pardon me… Let me restart…

What we need to be on the lookin for is a “something” without thought; “something” neutral, innocuous. This “something” would be foundational, having the nature of still, silent observation. It is “something” that is immutable and can see the endless change of life and the countless thought forms without ever engaging in them. This “something” is recognition without attachment, an eternal witness.

We can call this “something,” Conscious Awareness.

Access is simple: Place your attention on the space between your thoughts.

That’s it. (You won’t keel over dead. I promise.)

Because it’s only when we settle our mind into the background of life which is ever-present, real, and unchangeable that we can get a clear perspective of who we truly are.

I am still, therefore I am.

“I think, therefore I am,” said Descartes.

Such is the trouble with much of Western philosophy: too many thoughts and not enough space between them; fuel for the mind to spin its wheels endlessly and aimlessly rather than fuel for the enlightenment of mankind.

But there is someone who had it right. Said he: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, yet whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33)

We have no sight of who we truly are because we’re lost in fabricated identities. We believe incorrectly that whatever thoughts they are we’re attaching to as “who I am” are simply validating an absolute truth.

This is just not so.

It’s thus only when we allow ourselves to begin dying to the “who I am,” it's only when we begin detaching from unconscious thought and acknowledging our inner conscious space, that we can really begin to learn who and what it is we truly are.

And of the comical absurdity of, "But I’ll die if I stop thinking!" Yeah. We'll get that, too.

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 4/19/13 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”