Thursday, May 10, 2007
The Source of Thoughts
That’s what Maharishi wanted us to say, back in 1971, as he instructed us on lecturing about meditation. It was his way of introducing what he called “The Source of Thought,” or the Absolute.
He said that people don’t know where thoughts come from, but they will agree that they come from somewhere… “somewhere deep inside.”
That was the first time I ever considered where my thoughts came from. I’d always simply assumed that thoughts just came out of my brain, the actual gray matter and electrical activity.
Maharishi got me to take a closer look. And it was then I realized that I had no idea where my thoughts came from; except perhaps as some knee-jerk reaction to outside events, though clearly, not every thing that crossed my mind was simply a reaction to the world.
Some thoughts seemed to come unbidden.
I simply seemed to “come up” with some thoughts.
Maharishi said that thoughts arose in the mind like a bubble from the depths of the ocean. They burst upon the surface of the ocean and the conscious thinking level. But there are all these antecedent levels, tiny, tiny bubbles and unconscious thoughts "deep inside."
All this came jumping into memory recently as I listened to Byron Katie on a CD of “Loving What Is.”
She had this to say about thoughts and where they come from:
One day I noticed I was not breathing.
Then to my amazement I noticed that I wasn’t thinking, that I was actually being thought, and that thinking wasn’t personal. You wouldn’t wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I won’t think today.” It’s too late. You’re already thinking.
Thoughts just appear.
They come out of Nothing and they go back to Nothing like clouds moving across the empty sky.
They come to pass, not to stay.
There is no harm in them until we attach to them, as if they were true.
No one has ever been able to control his thinking, although people may tell you the story of how they have.
Thoughts are like the breeze, or the leaves of the trees, or raindrops falling.
They appear like that and through inquiry we can make friends with them.
Would you argue with a raindrop?
Raindrops aren’t personal and neither are thoughts. ….
How can you not think about something?
It’s thinking you.
Thought appears or it doesn’t.
It’s just amazing that you think (after how many years) that you can control your thinking.
Can you control the wind too?
What about the Ocean?
Let’s stop the waves.
[You can’t stop the waves.] Except when you’re asleep they stop.
No thoughts - no waves…
So it seems to me thoughts arise in our mind from somewhere deep inside, from something that controls Nature.
I think Katie would call that God.
She used the word Nothing.
That’s a Zen thing, Nothing. (I made the “N” a capital)
Maharishi called it the Absolute, or Everything.
By whatever name you give it, thoughts come from beyond the little, conscious self .
(I made that “s” the lower case.)