58. What is beyond thought? Questions for reflection…
You’ve come this far and you’re probably looking for something. If what you are looking for is peace, balance, calm, and a deeper understanding of yourself, what you have written can be useful to you. If your curiosity is not yet attracted by these topics, I suggest a few questions that would provoke interest and reflection. Do we often think more than necessary and healthy for us? Is it normal not to take care of our mental life, but to take care only of our body? Is it normal to be more interested in the outside world than the inside? If positive, pleasant thoughts do not make us think on them much, then what happens when they become negative and intrusive? Do we realize our thoughts? Do we sometimes think about our thoughts? Can we exist without thinking, even for a second?
59. What is thinking?
Thinking is an essential part of our existence. We learn to think like children and this follows us throughout our lives. However, thinking can be overdone, as with all other habits.
Sometimes, in the dynamic life we lead, when we think about many things, thinking can become a mixer, creating chaos in our head, scattering us into 1000 pieces. It can create redundant, unlikely future hypothetical situations in which we are expected to figure out what would happen, what we would do. It may just cause concern that we will not have control over events.
Apart from this process, which is similar to a chess game, it often happens that we remember things from the past. These memories can be negative and unpleasant. They can make us feel sorry, we can feel guilty, we can be afraid, they can make us sad.
Sometimes the imagination can also surprise us unpleasantly with certain thoughts. An example of this is mental disorders. People with mental disorders seem to suffer the most from the influence of thoughts. For others, however, it cannot be said that they have only healthy and constructive thoughts. Therefore, what is written here would be useful for everyone.
60. Thinking and different professions
In some professions, rational thinking is a core activity, but this does not mean that all other people think less or are healthier. There are also activities in which the mind is not leading. Many artists share that it is not created with the mind, but with the heart and that they are guided by intuition and the muse. However, creators are rarely successful if they do not think rationally enough or if they do not have someone to guide them.
61. Respect the reason
We cannot deny that the high intelligence and the amount of knowledge and experience with which the mind works are an important part of how successful in this world you are. The mind and the result of it – thinking, are necessary for us to survive and realize ourselves. Evolutionarily, the reason is the next step that distinguishes us from animals. But thinking has become a double-edged sword. It makes us successful and at the same time often harms us, destroys us, our peace, and happiness.
62. An important conclusion
While thinking we need to seek balance! Whether thinking is rational or irrational, smart or not, positive or negative, it happens at all times, whether we want it, whether we like it, or whether we realize all of it.
It is a fact that thinking is a constant process and that rarely the flow of thought leads us to a better mood and state of mind.
And don’t we want to be balanced, calm, rested, happy?
63. The mind as an equal part of consciousness
Let us turn our attention to consciousness, in particular, to reflect on the connection between thinking and consciousness.
When we are blinded by the beauty of a picture or a sight, when we are completely devoted – to listen to a song or to enjoy the sounds of nature, when we have strong pleasant sensations in the body, when we are out of breath from what we perceive and experience – then thinking stops for a moment.
If you haven’t paid attention, you can check the next time it happens to you. We can challenge ourselves by focusing our will on what we see, hear or feel with an effort of will and a little discipline. If this is not enough and we still have the presence of thoughts, we can simultaneously focus our attention on all three sensory experiences – on what we see, hear and feel. It is worth noting that if the eyes are closed, we see again, but darkness – the inside of the eyelids. If the eyes are open, it would help to cross them – so we will not be forced by something specific, to occupy our attention, but we will perceive everything we see as a whole.
64. Often the consciousness ”sticks” to thinking, but it also lets the control out.
From these experiments, which anyone can do by themselves, it turns out that the perception of pictures, sounds, and sensations somehow fills the capacity of consciousness and leaves no room for thought.
It also becomes clear that without the effort of the will and some discipline, by inertia, the consciousness falls into a state of thinking. It “sticks” to the thoughts and follows them. Each thought leads to another and so on to infinity. Very often we identify with our thoughts and blindly follow them, believe them and act on them even when they are irrational. So they have a very strong impact on our lives. And isn’t it rational to keep useful and productive thoughts and to transform harmful and unhealthy ones?
One thing is for sure – whatever we have decided to change in our thinking, we must first realize what thoughts fill our daily lives and only then act. If we do not want to change anything in our thinking, we may be of a different opinion once we understand what we think every day. In both cases, we have good reason to give it a try.
65. The eye that can see everything in our inner world
“Consciousness” does not mean just thinking. Thinking is a manifestation of consciousness, but according to the exposition here consciousness is something more.
It also includes that part of us that perceives our experience directly, as in the example above. Even the process of thinking, which is part of our reality, can be perceived by the mind as something that is happening at the moment, as we perceive a picture, music, or sensations in the body.
And indeed, everyone could realize what thoughts are spinning in his head at a given moment, therefore our thoughts can be realized by us. This is another reason to think that consciousness is more than just thinking.
To be more specific – when we talk about the awareness of thoughts, we mean their perception as something that is happening right inside us. For example, one may observe them, another may have a feeling for them – the list does not end there.
The perception of thoughts is something specific, so it is important to find the way that is easiest and most convenient for you.
That part of us that is directly aware of our reality without thinking is also real. We identify with it and reside in it when we realize our flow of thought. We do not change it, we just realize it. Of course, we try not to think about it, because that would create a new stream of thought – from thoughts contemplating the thought we are aware of.
Awareness must be gentle, unobtrusive, like a thin shell around the flow of thought, otherwise, it becomes an obsessive and dominant thought and compromises the whole idea of realizing the flow of thought, which is simply filled by this thought for the realization of thoughts.
66. More often to grasp what we think
In practice, in the beginning, at certain intervals, we feel that we are thinking about something, and we simply register the fact. We strive to make this interval smaller and smaller and more often to capture what we think.
The ability to be aware of our thoughts and our inner world, in general, can be built as a habit that is with us almost all the time. This would deepen our understanding of ourselves.
It should be mentioned here that our goal is not to consider and analyze the thoughts we are aware of, because this would create a new flow of thought and eventually our consciousness will be stuck in thinking again.
The idea is just to be directly aware of the thoughts and to distance ourselves at least a little from them because this is what helps us to better understand ourselves and to explore what we are beyond thinking.
67. The ultimate goal of the practice
Important explanation! Realizing thoughts in real-time, directly at the moment they take place, is not the first step, but rather the ultimate goal of practice.
In the beginning, the very thought of awareness is still crude, dominant, and often replaces the whole stream of thought. As a first step, we can realize our thoughts retrospectively, which means – to realize what we thought a while ago, not now.
With practice, the thought of awareness becomes easier and gentle and it distracts the flow of thought not that often. At some point, this thought becomes a background and can be said to disappear completely, growing into a direct awareness of the flow of thought, without the thought of awareness itself. For example, there may be a sense of the space in which thoughts flow is presented, where the thoughts arise, exist, and disappear.
It is also possible with the help of intuition and imagination to create an internal visualization of this space. This process is specific to each person and like all other skills is improved by trial and error. It is delicate and gentle, without violence against itself, not at any cost, driven mainly by curiosity and sensitivity to the inner world, and what helps a lot is the will and perseverance.
68. Differences between people as a result of thinking
Finally, a major difference between consciousness and thinking is that thoughts are something changeable, they appear and pass, and consciousness is something permanent and always present in us throughout our lives.
And yet – consciousness is very similar in every person.
The states in which people find themselves while realizing their thoughts are very similar, even though we are physiologically different and have grown up in a different environment.
We are very similar in that we are deeper, beyond thought. Many differences between us arise as a result of thinking, which in principle classifies, divides, and governs. For example, political views, ideologies we believe in, religious beliefs, or belonging to different groups with which we identify, etc. – all this exists in the realm of thinking.
I believe that when people are aware of their thoughts and do not identify so strongly with them, they would be more successful and happy.
In addition to improving self-understanding and the possibility of desired change, this would improve our performance in life and in particular at work, would improve the quality of communication between people, would improve reactions, would regulate emotions, would make people calmer, more balanced, and happier.
I believe that this practice would reduce the need for people to fight each other, increase the understanding that we are the same rather than different, and improve the life of society as a whole.
The white flame symbolizes the hottest fire. This is the color of the sun and stars in the sky.
“White fire of emptiness” or “White flame of emptiness” is a metaphor that aims to help us understand three important things. Adhering to them during the practice described in this chapter could potentially make it easier and accelerate the results.
The first thing is that, in the context of thoughts, we can try to reach a state where we temporarily feel “empty” of thoughts.
The second thing is our belief that what comes out of our inner core, when in its primary and pure form, is a single content. This is different from what we typically perceive as the content of our inner world, like various thoughts and emotions. When consciousness pours from our inner core to our inner periphery, it cools down and crystallizes into specific forms – for example, our thoughts and emotions. Because of this reason, within ourselves, we observe specific things, like our thoughts. When observing them, it helps to have the mindset that they are made up of something that has taken shape but is filled with the same content. In other words, the building blocks from which thoughts are constructed are the same.
The third and final thing, regarding the metaphor “White fire of emptiness” or “White flame of emptiness,” is that it can be visualized with the help of visual imagination, which also aids and simplifies the practices described in this chapter. Besides visualization, we can work with internal sensations and feel how the idea described through the metaphor happens within us. With our rational mind, we can build the conviction that by visualizing and feeling ourselves and our inner world as the white fire of emptiness, we manifest this white fire in our reality, and why not in the external world, just as fireflies do on summer nights.