fbpx

As we think

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
Reading Time: 9 Minutes
Listen Now

Triggers that help you most are the ones that make you think the most…

The Dhammapada says: ‘You are what you think.  All that you are arises from your thoughts.  With your thoughts you make your world.’

So all we need to do is to change our thinking, and so will our life.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  If it were that easy all of us would have done it by now.  But apparently it is not all that simple.  There seems to be something that prevents us from changing our thoughts.  Moreover, if we had the power to change our thoughts whenever we wanted to, there would be chaos in our lives.  Only thoughts that are dysfunctional and destabilizing need to be changed.

  1. We are not just thoughts; but feelings and emotions, instincts, desires and impulses, and these are more resistant to change. Some emotions come from deeper parts of our brain over which we have no control.  When in the grip of emotion our thinking goes astray.  Without emotion our thoughts will be dry.  We need emotion for action.  But the kind of thoughts we think determines the kind of emotion we generate.  Unless we become aware of our emotions, work backwards and change the thoughts that drive them, we will be at the mercy of our emotions.
  2. Thoughts have some characteristics. One of them is tenacity.  Thoughts don’t take our permission to enter our minds.  Once they enter they rarely want to leave.  They want to make our minds their home.  They then keep attracting their friends, other like-minded thoughts, to reinforce themselves.  Over time they become strong and begin dictating to us.  They develop an identity of their own and take centre stage.  This is especially true of superstitions, political ideologies, and cultural, social and religious beliefs.  Unless we spend sufficient time analysing and understanding them, we will not be able to prevent such thoughts from becoming our masters.  In fact, we would not even realise that our lives have been taken over by such thoughts.
  3. There are different categories of thoughts. There are facts, opinions and stories.  We often mistake one for the other, leading to friction in relationships.  Many a time they collapse into each other.  ‘I like that movie’ is an opinion masquerading as a fact.  We can argue over opinions, but not over facts.  But when opinions are believed to be facts we have endless disputes.  Most of us believe our opinions to be facts, the ultimate truth, and the last word on the subject.  We think that our likes and dislikes are the truth.  If we don’t like some people we are surprised how others like them.  If we like a place we are again surprised how anyone can dislike it.  If we can get this one realisation, that our opinions are not facts, it will go a long way in harmonizing relationships.  This means that we are comfortable with anyone expressing any opinion.  We may try to convince them that our opinion is better than theirs, but if we fail to do so there are no hard feelings since our opinion is only an opinion, however dear it may be to us.  The opposite opinion may also be valid, which we will never be able to see, blinded as we are by our own opinions.
  4. But there are exceptions to this rule. We have to convert perceived opinion to fact in certain circumstances for it to make an impact on our lives.  If someone tells you that you will make it big in life don’t think that it is only his opinion.  Believe it to be a fact that will come true.  Believe that he is predicting your real future.  When your mind tells you that you are not very smart, that is an opinion.  If you take it to be the truth you will get depressed.  It is not an unchangeable truth.  If a truth can be changed then it is not a truth.  How do you distinguish a fact from an opinion?  Facts point to the truth.  Fact is one.  Opinions are many.  Opinions can be altered, can change over time.  Truth cannot.  To seek god is the purpose of life is someone’s opinion.  If you take that to be the ultimate truth, go and join a monastery you may be miserable, if you are not cut out for a monastic life.  Maybe your calling in life is to be a dancer or a scientist.  Your monastery is the dance floor or the lab.
  5. We have abstract thoughts and concrete ones. By superimposing abstract thoughts onto the concrete ones we enrich life.  Purpose and meaning are abstractions.  When we try to find purpose in concrete objects, like this universe, we can turn this universe into a divine space.  Otherwise this universe will be empty and meaningless.  Thoughts are also classified as negative and positive depending on their orientation.  Negative thoughts also serve a purpose.  Some of them protect us.  They also point us in the direction of positive thoughts.  They tell us what not to think.  We also have higher thoughts and lower thoughts.  We need such a classification to direct our thinking.
  6. Most of our thinking happens at the subconscious level. Thinking happens to us.  Thoughts appear and we immediately make it personal.  We think that we have thought the thought.  In reality we just usurped the thought that appeared from nowhere and made it ours.  We claim ownership of thoughts as though it were our personal property.  New thoughts come to us, we don’t go to them because we don’t know where they are.  We don’t know how our brain produces thoughts that we never thought of before.  But we need to create the conditions for these new thoughts to emerge.  All we need to do is pose ourselves questions and wait for answers.  If the question is intense enough the answers will come.
  7. To unlearn we have to relearn. We have to overwrite the programs already written.  We may not be able to erase the old programs.  But as long as they are in the background we are safe.  To push them into the background we have to create new thoughts and through repetition strengthen them.  They will be attacked by the old programs, which will try to dislodge them.  It is not wise to fight with the old thoughts.  It’s better to focus on strengthening the new ones.  We have to starve the old thoughts of attention.  The more we attend to the new and ignore the old we will act from the new thoughts.  Trying to erase an old, unwanted belief is to dwell on it, which will only give it strength, since attention is focused on it.  We are not endowed with the capacity to erase memories, since that would threaten our survival.  We cannot forget, but we can weaken the thoughts we don’t want by not paying attention to them.  Once weakened they will not have the energy to come to the surface of our consciousness, feed on our attention and attack us.  If we ever have a severe negative thought attack, it would be wise to get outdoors and exhaust ourselves physically before the negative thought takes us over and makes us powerless.
  8. There are certain beliefs that are very tenacious and will take considerable time to be free from. Take the example of caste.  We think we belong to a certain caste.  That is only an idea that is believed to be the truth by a certain group of people.  The rest of the world does not believe in it.  There was no such thing as caste ten thousand years ago.  Where did it come from?  It is only a thought.  But it is no ordinary thought.  It gives us an identity, albeit a false one.  It seemingly tells us who we are.  Such thoughts trap us.  But, if we truly want to escape from their clutches, we can.  When we become aware that it is only a thought and not the truth about who we are, and that we don’t need it for an identity; gradually we can come out of its tight, vice-like grip.
  9. Thinking is the key in transforming the mind. It is the precursor to doing.  A shift in perspective comes first.  If your perspective on life is about becoming famous then your feelings and actions will follow accordingly.  If your perspective on life is that service is the highest good then your actions will be in the direction of service.  Action follows feelings, which emerge from perception.  That is why we need to change our perception first.  This will allow the feelings that support the perception to arise, which in turn will lead to action.
  10. We need conceptualized thinking to guide us. Without having an idea such as honesty we cannot live an honest life.  We wouldn’t know what an honest life means without having a word for it.  Without the idea of non-violence we cannot have a non-violent world.  We see life through our thoughts.  They act like screens through which life is filtered.  So the quality of our thoughts matters.  But to relate to the world through concepts and ideas is only one of the ways, not the only way.
  11. The intellect has taken over our lives. We live more and more in a world of concepts and ideas.  The mental world is unlimited, unlike the physical world.  But to live most of our lives in a conceptual universe will create imbalance.  We are not mere minds, but bodies and spirits too.  We are not just thinking machines, but also feeling beings.  To be able to relate pre-verbally, without thinking and labeling, to the physical universe, including our physical body, is a skill we need to develop.  Non-conceptual relationship is a mystery we need to explore as it is not a mind-based relationship.  We then relate more from an intuitive space without the intermediation of thoughts.  The feelings of oneness with the universe, which some people experience, come from such a relationship.  Concepts take us away from the mysteriousness of this relationship.  To experience life without conceptualizing, labeling, naming, understanding or finding meaning will take us closer to that mysterious space.
  12. Conscious thinking is not natural to us. Life is designed for minimum expenditure of energy.  We think only when it becomes necessary, as the occasion arises.  It is not something that we enjoy doing for its own sake.  Most of our thinking is at the workplace since that gives us our bread and butter.  Even if we decide to think about our life, soon  we get bored as thoughts do not come easily.  It is easier to read other people’s thoughts and agree with them.  We have to coax the mind to yield its treasures.  It will do so grudgingly at first, but becomes generous as we show more and more genuine interest.  For thoughts to emerge from within us we need enormous patience.  We have to learn to wait.  Waiting is testing time.  If we pass this test we will be rewarded with insights.  We have to keep the question alive as long as it takes.  Perseverance is the key.  It requires a certain force for deeper thoughts to emerge from within.  This force is generated by the focus we have on the question.  This means we must be deeply interested in the question.  The deeper the spaces from where the questions come from, deeper the answer will penetrate within us.
  13. Strength of character requires certain thoughts to be stronger than other thoughts. A weak-willed person is one who is not able to resist certain powerful thoughts.  The will is also composed of thoughts and feelings.  We can be weak-willed in one area and strong-willed in other areas of our life.  We cannot keep on using willpower to overcome negative thoughts in the long run, as it consumes high levels of energy.  It is less energy consuming if we could strengthen the thoughts that are beneficial to us, so that they can resist the unwanted ones, instead of fighting with the unwanted ones all the time.
  14. We are attached to thoughts that come from within us. We believe them to be true.  To believe every thought that is produced by our mind is folly.  Unfortunately they are very convincing.  There is no guarantee that thoughts that emerge from our minds are necessarily true.  We must test them for their veracity in the same manner we test another person’s statements.  The mind is a great con man.  It can make us believe that which is false and disbelieve that which is true.  The mind is highly suggestible and is capable of believing any kind of nonsensical thoughts.  To be able to discriminate between the false and the true is a lifelong endeavor.  That is what maturity is all about.  We have to learn from the wisdom and experiences of others.  Learning by trial and error alone is a costly process.
  15. The mind sometimes resembles a battlefield. Hordes of negative thoughts will pitch tent and periodically make their onslaught.  We need to first accept them as part of the design of life and then take steps to protect ourselves.  For this we need our own army of thoughts that are strong enough to repel the invaders.  During peaceful times we have to train this army and equip them with the latest weaponry.  They will then be able to act as a protective shield and respond instantly when attacked.  We also must know the invader’s tactics and strategies and the weapons in his armory.  Once we recognise the attack patterns we can devise standard operating procedures to deal with them.  The greatest danger is when these invaders come disguised as friends.  It is during such times that we let our guard down and the fortress is breached.  It is a cat and mouse game and we need to be one up on our clever opponent, who is not to be despised, but treated as a worthy warrior to battle with.  Despise is his weapon, not ours.  We cannot use his weapons to defeat him.  It will only strengthen him.
  16. Finally and the most important is that the kind of thoughts we get depends on our identity, of who we think we are. Identity restricts our thinking and thereby our actions.  It will present before us only those thoughts that are consistent with our identity.  If we think we are intelligent, our mind will produce intelligent thoughts.  If we identified ourselves as being average, our minds will give us average thoughts.  The thoughts of a leader will be different from that of a follower, due to their identifications.  An artist cannot think like a scientist and vice versa.  To get thoughts on business you have to identify yourself as a businessman.  If you think you are a small-time businessman you will get small-time thoughts.  The self-image is critical to the nature of thoughts that the mind generates.  As your identity, so your thoughts.  As who you think you are changes, so will your thoughts.

 

Subscribe to Our Weekly Videos & Messages

More To Explore

Consistency

Consistency

Listen Now This is the pathway for back-to-back success! Way back in December, Anshul set a goal to lose 15 kg!  With three months of...

Read More
Reaction-and-response

Reaction and Response

Listen Now How can we gift ourselves this maturity to shift from reaction to response? What is the difference between reaction and response? Reaction Reaction...

Read More
Biological-Clock

Biological clock

Listen Now Your body is tuned to a system.  Hence, systematise your routine and stick to a schedule.  This will go a long way in...

Read More

The power of we

Listen Now The blow was severe…  What made them stand with strength? About 6 months ago, my family received an award from the hands of...

Read More
excitement Life awaits

Life awaits

Excitement – What are the return gifts life is expecting from us? My colleague was all excited as we were having a casual chat during...

Read More
everyday-Live

Live

Listen Now How can we live life with ‘Life’? We are living in a busy and fast world.  There is so much we want to...

Read More
We all Reach

We all reach

Listen Now If you lose the way, what will you do? My sense of direction is so poor to the point of being ridiculous.  From...

Read More
Grow but not age.

Grow but not Age

Listen Now Putting days into life is ageing.  Putting life into days is growing.  Let us grow and not age. The hardest aspect of getting...

Read More
business-Weakness

Weakness

Listen Now A way to overcome weakness. In Mahabharata, Duryodhana would repeatedly say, “I know what is right but I cannot indulge in it.  I...

Read More
Likes and dislikes

Likes and dislikes

Listen Now How to go beyond this? Guavas are like coffee: They fill the air with their heavenly smell and announce their presence. Their overwhelming...

Read More
Business, my guru

Business, my Guru!

Listen Now We all know the saying, ‘Work is worship’.  Can we translate that into our occupations? Krishna, a small merchant operating from his compact...

Read More
Do not YELL at me

Do not yell at me

Listen Now Every teen shouts back! Read on to understand why… Way back during my school days, there would be days when I wouldn’t complete...

Read More
Blind spots

Blind Spots

Listen Now Being aware of our blind spots is essential and here is a treatise on understanding it better… What are blind spots?  Blind spots...

Read More
Meri Maa

Meri Maa

Listen Now A touching letter to her mother… Every day at the end of our long phone call, there is still so much unsaid.  Every...

Read More
Funnel

Funnel

Listen Now Minimize spillage with a Funnel…  Try this one For a painter, there are options of thousands of colours to choose to begin his...

Read More
Body Gateway to the mind

Body Gateway to the mind

Listen Now We can train our mind to immediately think positive whenever we face a stressful situation. Most of the health problems are psychosomatic because...

Read More
Harmony

Harmony

Listen Now How can we invite it in all aspects of our life? Harmony is a universal word – a universal state of affairs –...

Read More
Your ROI

Your ROI

Listen Now Here is a rumination of return on investment, both on material and spiritual! A vegetable vendor pulls his cart in our neighbourhood.  His...

Read More
As we think

As we think

Listen Now Triggers that help you most are the ones that make you think the most… The Dhammapada says: ‘You are what you think.  All...

Read More
Proximity

Proximity

Listen Now How much of it do we allow? Leanardo Dicaprio won the Golden globe award for best actor in Jan 2016; he also became...

Read More
Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless Tobacco

Listen Now Tobacco, in any form, is injurious to health.  There’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product.  All habits start very small, but...

Read More
What is Freedom

What is freedom

Listen Now Celebrating our country’s freedom should go beyond just rituals…   The apartment where I reside had outsourced the August 15th, Independence Day celebrations...

Read More
life-expectations

Ways of life

Listen Now Life Expectations – He who accepts all will survive anywhere in life…   When we are interested in doing something, we are ever...

Read More
feel I am worth it

I am worth it

Listen Now When you feel this, an inexplicable fulfillment descends on you! Being a woman, I can speak for my gender.  However, I am sure...

Read More
Broken Bone

Broken bone…

Listen Now Can an unpleasant incident create so much happiness?   Resolutions are commonly made before the New Year commences or perhaps on the 1st...

Read More
Nature-mother-Giving-Back

Giving Back

Listen Now Nature, Here is a solution to be happy and peaceful…   Man is an intelligent being and lives in a society.  To improve...

Read More
relationship

Love people not things

Listen Now Relationship, Are materialistic things more important than human relationships?   Kavita aunty, a complete chatterbox and a live wire, left after a month’s...

Read More
village-one-advice

One advice

Listen Now Sometimes, one advice can turn our life around!   I was brought up in a small village and hail from a very poor...

Read More
celebrate

A new day

Listen Now We celebrate the first day of the year as a New Beginning… Isn’t every day a new day?   Every morning is a...

Read More
honesty BOOKKEEPING

BOOKKEEPING

Listen Now Honesty, If we live life with honesty and integrity we not only benefit ourselves but society as a whole. My assistant carried out...

Read More
beleive-BeYOUtiful

BeYOUtiful

Listen Now Beleive, how this youthful author found peace… No one can stop you when you believe in yourself. I remember myself being that happy...

Read More
Entangled

Entangled

Listen Now Science validates the truths which spiritualists knew long before… In Quantum physics, there is a phenomenon called ‘Quantum Entanglement’ which riled Albert Einstein...

Read More

One love

Listen Now Do we know what love is?  Love enriches our lives… During my teenage years, I did not understand what love is all about. ...

Read More

Temper

Listen Now If we lose it, we lose everything… Mr. Ram Kapoor, the HOD of the Department of Psychology stepped out of the Principal’s room...

Read More

The numbers game

Listen Now We make the mistake of quantifying everything in our lives.  But so many things are qualitative, not quantitative. I happened to read an...

Read More

Wish list…

Listen Now Here is a wish list for 2020! 5,4,3,2,1… and the calendar turns yet again. The Chinese lanterns float into the new skies. There...

Read More

Sports reveals character

Listen Now Timothy Philip Timothy Philip – ‘Tim’ Don is a triathlete from United Kingdom. A three-time Olympian, four-time ITU World Champion of triathlon and...

Read More

Prana in Food

Listen Now Eating the right food is good not only for the body but also for the mind. Can we live without food? Probably for...

Read More

Subscribe to Our Weekly Videos & Messages

Connect with us Now

TAT - THIS AND THAT

A few unanswered questions could be slowing down your progress…
Stopping you from being the infinite possibility you are created to be.
Passion OR Profession?
Contentment OR Ambition?
Work OR Family?
Success OR Happiness?
Spirituality OR Materialism?