Sunday, November 6, 9927

The Thinking Disease

The number one source of human suffering is thoughts. We concoct mental pictures of having bad things happen to us and not getting what we want. We regret the past and worry about the future. We fear, hate, resent, criticize, and avoid. We can’t enjoy the Now because we are too busy thinking about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow.

Thinking is essential for steering our lives in positive directions. It enables us to build shelter, hunt/grow food, and invent many things that improve our situation such as medicine, transportation, septic systems, and electronics. But we overdo it. We keep thinking when we should be relaxing and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Why do we think so much? Because that’s what we’ve been taught to do. We spend decades in school and at home learning how to think, calculate, plan, act, and react. We are conditioned to be mentally active most of the time, observing and thinking about life instead of being immersed in it. And the fact that thinking has helped us acquire things such as money, shelter, and transportation reinforces the belief that we must keep thinking in order to maintain or improve our lives.

Our constant thinking is sapping our joy. We think in order to create future enjoyment, but when the future arrives, we don’t enjoy it; we keep thinking in order to improve the next future, and so on. It’s like a hungry lion killing a gazelle, and then another, ad infinitum, without ever actually eating. Enough is enough. The only way to enjoy being is to not think sometimes. Just as muscles need rest between workouts, the mind needs rest between periods of thought. Our lives won’t fall apart if we spend a few hours each day in thoughtless leisure. 

The idea of not thinking might seem absurd or even frightening. If we believe that we are our thoughts, then we might be afraid to stop thinking because that would seem to annihilate us. But we are not our thoughts. Thoughts are nothing more than activities that our minds do, and it is thoughts alone that constitute the false self. Hence by not thinking, all we can lose is our false self. We then purely experience, with no thoughts to cloud things. Who experiences? Our true self, that’s who! So we didn’t cease to exist when our thoughts stopped. If we didn’t exist, then no experience would be possible!