What Are Thoughts? – 2


Thoughts

Knowing that you can observe, witness, and become aware of your thoughts conveys that you are beyond thoughts. They exist within the extent of your awareness, appearing as and when you feel connected with the world around you. Since you are apart from thoughts, you are that observer and watcher of your thoughts

Thoughts occur in three different stages; first, when you observe your mind at any moment, your thoughts are choice-less and instinctively spontaneous. Second, after the mind becomes aware, it becomes conscious; thoughts emerge in relativity with opposites to determine any sensation or idea. The third stage occurs when you become aware of your past awareness or consciousness, subtly guiding your subconscious mind through memory about its thought processes. 

We should remember that every form of energy requires a potential force to express its kinetic field. Awareness is the supreme energy force behind our thoughts, and consciousness is its kinetic field. Awareness provides that ability to perceive, manifesting in the mind before thoughts. It can be in a state of spontaneity, witnessing the inner self, or focusing on outer sensations through sensory perceptions. Our Awareness synthesizes the information through a complex network of neural pathways passing information via neurons, making the mind conscious of operating through its cognitive abilities for its likes and dislikes.

It means that senses perceive, but aware energy configures the information our senses gather. Aware energy is present in all perceptions, inner and outer, but the intensity of this energy makes us different from one another. The mind determines its course of action purely from the intensity of its awareness. After that, if the mind is attentive, it is responsible for making the mind conscious of its perceptions. Since science is ignorant about the origin of thoughts, the philosophical exposition imparted in this article is from Spiritualism.

Spiritualism is the subject, whereas spirituality aims to process the inner spirit (aware energy) through various methods to initiate self-awareness for acquiring higher consciousness so that we transcend and evolve inwardly and outwardly to become spiritual. Improving your inner awareness has been well formulated in Yoga, which incorporates methods of coordinating all three – mind, body, and soul as one composite unit.

Conscious or not, the mind is the most phenomenal instrument in which thoughts flow like a river. On either bank of this river, you have duality in opposites; in the center is awareness, your presence, managing the flow of water so that it does not overflow. Once out from their source, thoughts scatter, one thought being freshly replaced by another, constantly changing, randomly repeating, overlapping, and stimulating, becoming the fundamental cause of your mind’s restlessness unless checked by the individual intensity of aware energy.

It flows in auto-mode from its subconscious level without requiring direct consciousness. The mind without self-awareness is limited to its physically wanting self; it remains in subconscious awareness, attaching primarily to outer identification from its likes and dislikes.

Thoughts

Due to the impermanent nature, thoughts never remain constant. They keep dancing between emotions and desires emanating from memory for the future. They exist more in an apparent state, creating illusions rather than authentically revealing their existential moment. It happens because thoughts tend to react out of emotions compulsively rather than respond to any moment proactively. 

Immediate reality exists as it is now, limited to space and time. It can be a conscious perceptual reality, which differs from one moment to another, or an observable fact that is the same to all. Also, through consciousness, we create. Further, our reality emerges from the thoughts we entertain, focus on, and choose what we wish to believe. Then we also have the ultimate reality, as Vedic philosophy declares – all that exists in this Universe is one unitary non-dual unchanging reality in unity and continuity called Brahman (spirit) or absolute energy. Similarly, the ultimate God, truth, and love are in the absoluteness in everything, but despite being the same, they vary in every individual depending on their awareness level.

The ego is an imaginary state of mind comprising nothing but ‘I-thoughts’ that bestow a definition of ownership on the individual. This ego is the core of the mind’s cognitive thoughts, rigid and conditioned by memory, creating a false identity that appears to be stable but is not. It attaches to all that it holds dear. The subject of Spiritualism awakens you to understand the actual innate, fundamental, and essential nature of your reality. A spiritual person recognizes this apparent ego simply by becoming alert, aware, attentive, and conscious, constantly observing one’s mind. It need not analyze through thoughts; it merely knows and becomes conscious.  

Knowingness and alert watching through observation become the essence rather than ‘thinking-ness.’ Pure conscious awareness through knowing is primal to thoughts but vanishes the moment desire and the memory of ‘I Am’ come to the fore, resulting in various impressions of ‘me and mine.’ When thoughts arise, they only revolve around ‘I, me, and mine.’ The absolute pure energy separates into extremes of dual opposites, not realizing all that exists is formless waves of energy, and the synthesis of any form of energy occurs when any thesis unites with its antithesis.

The mind in material existence is not self-aware; it mechanically functions on auto-mode and is hence termed subconscious. Due to living in the duality of opposites, physical existence submerges into sub or lower conscious relativity; in reality, all is but a ‘Lila‘ (play) of that Absolute oneness to experience life. The mind remains ignorant of all egoistic thoughts and their respective actions unless you experience self-awareness. Neither this nor that of any dual factor, whether it is day or night, happiness or sadness, positive or negative, has any spiritual significance; these are all parts of the same absolute energy, which remains constant and indivisible, only separated by the mind into its two extremes.

Therefore, the mind primarily comprises thoughts in duality emerging out of that indivisible non-dual energy in absolute awareness. When thoughts flow, the mind gets activated. When the mind goes to sleep, thoughts recede, as does your consciousness, but awareness always remains awake. That is why if we sleep over a problem, there is a high chance we will have a solution the next day simply because awareness is forever awake. While asleep, the mind quietly returns to its realm of total awareness. The moment you get up, the mind is instantly aware of both the inner and the outer: the material and the spiritual, the personal thinking self, and the impersonal presence of individual aware energy overseeing both selves.

You do not need to think to become aware. Our authentic nature is always present in that aware-conscious state of knowing. It originates spontaneously in choice-less thoughts before they are separated into duality by the memory and the intellect. The dual-operating cognitive mind subconsciously chooses either this or that from emotional desires.

Thoughts

Meditation is the reverse of thoughts; it sustains in a still mind. Conversely, thoughts depend upon memory support and require time before transferring and receiving data to and from the intellect. Therefore, thoughts revolve around past information about any subject, projecting them for the betterment of our future to achieve desirous goals. Meditative awareness in the stillness of the mind is dynamic; it compels the mind to focus on the present moment. The energy it consumes converges directly into the present rather than leaking into the past or future. In this manner, the mind can focus its energy on the now. 

In a meditative state, the mind becomes a prayer with intention, observation, and spontaneity. Thought, by nature, is meant more for the sake of experiencing material existence to identify, choose, and attach. It makes the mind analyze, select, and discriminate in self-interest. Therefore, in material life, desirous thoughts are the essence of your physical existence, responsible also for making the mind egoistic, restless, and forever demanding more and more for your selfish needs. When you balance the material and the spiritual, you shall relish success and peace of mind.

Three commonly followed meditation processes assist you in stabilizing the randomness of the subconscious thoughts. The first is Transcendental Meditation, which is more for therapy and relaxation. The second involves chanting with concentration to focus your mind and enhance your awareness of any subject. It arrests the monkey mind and slows chattering. The third is meditative awareness, where your mind is focused and alert, observing an object with watchfulness from one moment to the next. In this case, the mind’s ‘thinking-ness‘ is replaced with a knowingness in spontaneous awareness. 

The third method is to be in mindfulness or thoughtfulness. It insists upon being existential from one moment to the next. Focusing your mind on the present moment reduces unwanted chattering, permitting you to concentrate and contemplate whatever you wish to achieve. Your thoughts of the past and future decline, and the mind focuses on the present.

Why do we require stillness of mind in spirituality? Stillness or mindfulness in no way means stopping the mind from thinking; it merely aims at reducing the unnecessary chattering that the mind is accustomed to. If the mind is awake, we have the presence of total awareness in choice-less thinking in the present moment. All because there is usually an overload of unnecessary thoughts that hop, skip, and jump from the past, forget the present, and directly go into the future.

Therefore, the moment you move your attention from the present, the mind goes from the absolute to a dual mode in relativity. It gets compromised, thoughts go on a roller-coaster ride of this, and that begins to chatter, multitasking on what it likes and dislikes. It randomly jumps from the past into the future; the mind’s productivity decreases depending more on the outer world, with borrowed knowledge from here and there unquestioningly believing this and that, reducing self-creativity.

As mentioned, energy tends to go into randomness or entropy if not controlled. This sort of disorder created by uncontrolled thoughts is the reason for all the conflicts, chaos, contempt, and comparisons leading to anxiety and despair that we see all around.

Therefore, in most cases, the brain, when physically awake, refuses to be silent. It keeps chattering in subconscious thoughts flashing between sensations and past awareness. Such meaningless thoughts that invade the mind deplete mental energy. They usually occur when your mind is unaware in lower consciousness, creating disorder and discomfort. Instead of using the mind as an instrument, the mind uses you. You lose control, disconnect from the nature of your true self, and bend towards negativity. Such thoughts erode the presence of the mind in random behavior, and it is in such wasteful moments that you need to take control of your thoughts and become conscious of who and what you spiritually are.

Thoughts

Spirituality aspires to balance the material with the spiritual, making the mind accept both poles with grace under enhanced awareness. It understands that the opposites are separate parts of unitary absolute energy. The experiences of worldly and spiritual aspects are both equally essential for fulfillment and completeness in life. 

If selfless love for all as one is a spiritual attribute, desire becomes the most dynamic feature associated with material life. The mind is nothing but desire in thoughts; if there is desire, the energy of self-interest will not let the mind be silent. Hence, thoughts are vital for material existence; for a spiritual mind, they are excess baggage – both have a definite meaning in life. However, meditative awareness under alert observation to enrich inner consciousness towards selflessness is how to be spiritual, which is desperately lacking to alter the mind from its constant desires towards selfless love.

Excerpts taken from the book – ‘God and Beyond’ by Gian Kumar.

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