What is thinking?
What is valid/invalid/worthless, pure and rational thinking?
Why is it necessary to think?
How long should one think on a particular matter?
How do we decide that whatever decision has been taken is good and final?
Are there different patterns for thinking?
How does one actualize a thought to become a reality?
How much time and importance should be given to a particular thought?
What is a thoughtless state?
The above were some of the questions raised by a member during one of the discussion sessions held every Sunday. The following are my thoughts on the questions raised. Your response and further additions are welcome.
Thinking is an activity done by the conscious and subconscious mind. Our brain stores a lot of information that comes in through the five senses. Further there are many frames that we see every day. To these are added the various stimulations and experiences that occur on a continuous basis. We are also adding to our knowledge base by learning and interactions. When this information or its part is connected together in a particular context a thought arises. This is the basic thought from which arise further thought when during analysis, tools like reasoning, rationalism, emotion, subjectivity and objectivity value systems are applied to reach a conclusion, which may conclude the thought process or continue in a different thought related or otherwise. Thus there is always a basic thought and from it emanates many connected branches. Many basic thoughts may connect with each other for a more holistic conclusion. This conclusion then is itself a thought and may just rest there until further need or over a period of time go deep into the subconscious or even be deleted from the memory if rendered unimportant.
Thinking is necessary for an organized living. Organization and discipline help to smoothen the process of living, as it saves time and brings desired results to a well thought out plan. Action without thought may land one in a lot of difficulties and some may become difficult to unravel. Thinking will also help to lay down systems and pathways well in advance by creating various possible scenarios that may occur that may help you to be ready, to a large extent if not completely, to a possible outcome and thus avoid pitfalls in advance. Thinking is necessary to be in a state of readiness , to have goals, to achieve those goals and to have alternatives and defenses. Thinking is basic to living, to research, to study and in the attainment of knowledge. It promotes perceptions and allows one to delve deeper into the realm of the unknown and to decipher things and reach new heights, in all the subjects earthly and cosmic. A non-thinking mind may indeed become dull and loose many of its abilities and perhaps the brain will not be able to function at its best…this would be indeed a vegetable existence and then there would be no point to one being called a human. The brain can remain sharp only if it thinks and is exposed to all kinds of stimulus natural and man-made.
We have been given a brain, and it is for us to decide how to use it to its optimum, how to increase its efficiency. Every tool has to be used correctly so as to enhance life and not degrade it. Living in the realm of duality everything is relative and thus the definition of what is correct or incorrect differs from person to person depending on their environment, desires and value systems. Be that as it may, there is a better way to circumvent the problem. Here we must enter the world of absolutism. This means that there is only one. For example ‘Truth’ is just that. One cannot argue or have a discussion on Truth, it exists by itself and so what is there to say about it. Such Truths will be the same any time, place, dimension etc. They will prevail no matter what. There are such Truths in this world, these principles have been handed down to us ….the problem here is that they require will power and the ability to sacrifice ….the last of which the mind will not allow you to do. At this point the only thing one can do is to give power to your intellect and crush the mind, for the mind will inevitably lead you down the garden path to your doom. Seems harsh doesn’t it… but then isn’t that what Truth is about. Once the intellect is awakened the grey areas will progressively disappear and there will be little or no doubt about any matter, things will be crystal clear, and growth will take place at a much faster rate as decision will be reached more easily.
First of all to know if a thought is valid or pure requires that your value systems be in place, then there is a need to have the ability to discriminate. This would of course mean that one has to have the skill of rational and logical thought. Rationality will not occur unless you have detachment and do not indulge in emotionalism…the last of which actually stops one from thinking correctly and only increases impulsive reactions and thoughtless action to one’s own detriment. All these big words will require not only the analysis of your life but also putting them into practice wholeheartedly before you can reap any benefits. It will be a painful process at best and one you should be ready to take for self-improvement. Worldly and spiritual enhancement is not an easy path to travel up-to a point. Once the highest point is scaled then of course it becomes second nature and you will sail through effortlessly.
One can think on any matter only so long as alternatives are present i.e. the solutions, then it is a matter of finding the best solution in the set of circumstances that best suits you. Of course if there is no solution then there is no point in thinking about it and the matter is best shelved until such time that the environment is more conducive and there are more parameters within your control. What is important that one thinks objectively rather than subjectively, be practical and set your desires, likes and dislikes aside for the time being. Rationality presupposes the absence of subjectivity, emotionalism and impulsiveness. It is inclusive of discrimination, the knowledge of balanced and holistic thinking, an objective mindset and the use of the wisdom brought about by learning and experience, and above all, the ability to analyses with perception. Perception in itself will not be enhanced unless one lives by the absolute principles and practices them. Just talking about them or having an intellectual discussion will just not do. Life actually has to happen and you are its architect, so doing, and doing correctly is important.
No decision in life is final except that it will seem final at that point of time and will give you satisfaction and if it is correct in all its aspects you will neither second guess yourself nor will you feel destabilized or uncomfortable . The natural result of a correct decision is that you will feel peaceful and there will be no troubled feeling, especially if your act has been righteous and absolute. This is a matter of practice and one will have to continuously monitor one’s actions and thought processes until such time that one does it subconsciously. In fact you have to watch yourself.
In a dual realm one may think progressive or regressive, positively or negatively, selfishly or charitably….it’s all a matter of personality character, upbringing etc.…there will be as many ways of thinking as there are people as no two people think the same as there are many parameters and a large number of permutations and combinations. However in a pure mode there will be no pattern, for pure thought travels only in a single pattern, doesn’t take unnecessary stops and just travels in a singularity that doesn’t cater to questioning, lack of surety , grey areas , second guessing oneself or unnecessary emotionalism. Hence the decision reached will be quick precise and on point.
Much of the thoughts that we think in everyday life are not only not important but a waste of time. We waste time criticizing, in posturing, egotistical meanderings and jealous concerns or just plain rat race trying to overtake in matters mundane and irrelevant. Certain things are repetitive and don’t need thinking, others are speculative and non-value adding, still others are repressive or depressive and self-belittling, some just wishful thinking and others aimless wanderings. Many are a result of emotional reactions and unnecessary mind wars ….it’s no wonder that mankind is a tired lot and has little time for real thought and contemplation. Everyone is in a race to nowhere with little to show as achievement at the end of the race.
If one restricted oneself to only the necessary thoughts then the mind would indeed be quiet for most of the time. This peacefulness would lead to more positive oriented and well directed life and perhaps to success that adds value to not only your life but to those around you. The more unnecessary questions are raised the more will one think and the more, will one get lost in the maze of the mind. So keep useless thoughts out and increase the depth of your thoughts. Soon a lot of things will clear, paraphernalia will be removed and then one will not think, in fact the subconscious will take over and actions will be naturally correct and thought and action will coincide. There will be little or nothing to think about as all will be in the state of ‘done’.
Thoughtless is an elevated state in the spiritual progress and requires one to live a life in practice as stated above. Just intellectualizing gets one nowhere. Life is not a mental exercise…it’s all in the doing. It should enter ones daily living and has to be assimilated and lived.
There is just too much philosophy and discussion and mental posing…….just no doing! It’s no wonder mankind is in a state of regression despite all the scientific and earthly progress….Are we really progressing or systematically destroying ourselves in the name of so called progress!!