Some may argue that we are being pulled to the past or future by thoughts and that, thoughts are impersonal. It is true. But can they surface in your consciousness if they are not part of your being? And yes, all of us, if not most of us, seem to be carrying the same stuffs.
What I meant by saying they are part of your being is that there is something in those thoughts that means deeply to us – attachment.
There are some methodologies which apparently help
s one such as recognition and even reciting a certain mantra. Perhaps they help to a certain extent. But in my observation and direct experience, the practice itself actually becomes a distraction of the Now moment. In fact, it can be a form of running away from the thoughts or an experience right here and now itself. Only one who has utilized this methodology would know what I mean. It somehow has a sense of ‘robbing’ away the moment presented to us, Now. Perhaps this can be said to be more of a useful practice when one is meditating in a formal seated posture without distraction.
Before I come closer to sharing what we could actually do with thoughts, I would actually suggest an essential step of non-resistance. I notice, as much as suffering can come from believing in thoughts, it can also come from resisting them. When this propels further, intense emotions tend to come on even stronger because of the ignoring attitude, until one has no choice but to break up in rage, or break down in depression – whichever way, there is no difference in the underlying cause of these emotions aside from the definition of each.
Dealing with thoughts is really facing them. What I mean by facing them, is to really listen attentively or write them down and begin the journey of inquiry of each thought which almost always direct it back to the self. The trick here is to do it with the pure intent of really wanting to know the truth, rather than wanting to reinstate oneself to a feel-good state of mind. I have observed that many fall into the category of the latter and for that, they give up the whole inquiry process altogether only to find that they get upset again when the same category of thoughts arise when similar situations happen. Some even find resistance in this methodology due to some other beliefs that they have earlier acquired in their own practice of awakening. As much as I believe there are many ways to skin a cat, this methodology seems to nail the cause which results in a natural effortless change in a person as opposed to conscious effort to change towards a more favourable concept. The former is a natural shift in beingness, the latter is more a mimicking, or conditioning towards that.
There is a difference in natural shift and conditioning. A natural shift comes about from a true realized state, whereas conditioning is part of what is trained, or made habitual out of repetitive reinforcement. Either way is perfect, except that the natural shift of change, in my personal opinion, is something authentic as it arises naturally whereas the latter is like cloning.
Self inquiry takes a lot of courage and it can be pretty scary because self inquiry takes you into a world away from what you already know through the apparent ‘morbidity’ of your thoughts – into the unknown where no one else can fit into, but you yourself.
While it is true that thoughts causes separation, yet each thought that arises, as long as you are affected by it (and only one knows whether it does or not), you could work towards understanding what they are pointing towards and it always, always comes back to you, and you alone. While some thoughts may be scary, some may hurt, and some even threaten, yet when you sincerely sit down and work with them, is there a possibility to be awaken to what you have been hiding from yourself all these while – your own freedom.