On Thinking

I recently made some changes to my life. The change was to reduce the number of shifts I was working at my part time gig. The reason I made this change was that I realized that my brain was spending more time thinking about the gig than on my personal projects. I was losing my capacity for thinking deeply and writing. Also, the gig required that I be there at 4:30 am 4 days a week, which means that prime thinking time was compromised. When I got home from the gig, I was tired, needed a nap. My brain was shut down for most of the rest of the day, being willing only to read other people\’s books. I realized that the plan for my retirement, to build phase 3 of my life out of creative writing and addiction studies was being sidelined.

Now, this morning, I was able to focus. Thinking is a brain activity, with a spiritual component. Your brain requires energy, so I still need to sleep. I had a subtle under current of self disrespect: aren\’t you worthless just sitting here thinking? Well, I always wanted to be a great thinker. This morning I thought about how great thinkers spent their time doing just that, thinking. They may have had a seed idea but then they sat and thought and wrote down the thoughts. Media changes the way you think. For me that is scrolling through Youtube or news feeds.

Nicolas Carr wrote a book about how the Net changes the way you think, \”The Shallows\”. Page 8, \”…media aren\’t just channels of information.They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation…my mind now expects to take in information…in a swiftly moving stream of particles.\”

Honestly, I quit watching TV decades ago because I didn\’t want to be Programmed by it. Now, I face that same challenge with the Net. Unfortunately, the Net is far more addictive to the human brain. If I want to be a thinker, I need to maintain longer periods of concentrated thought and abstaining from shallow non-thinking activities. This is a tough challenge because the brain does get dopamine hits from scrolling. I need to continue to find longer piece of work, like a long blog or a book or an article, which cause me to concentrate and spend time reading and thinking. Writing then helps keep the focus of the thoughts.

Thinking is also different from just letting my default node network spin around to where ever from my past history it wants to, unguided by my conscious mind. Thinking should have a focus, a path and a conclusion or a progression. Thinking has a subject, but also thinking is objective. The process of thinking should achieve an objective end. Thinking is different from unconsciously seeking dopamine hits.

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Consciousness and Insanity

From A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers 4: \”They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him.\”

Expressed there is what most of us want: safety and being needed. Most of us also add ambition to the formula. Thus ensues competition and attack. Or maybe the men also compete for a woman.

I like the idea of joy being a song of gratitude, I can make that choice right now. Gratitude for the sense of Presence and willingness to turn to Spirit for mental and emotional comfort right now.

I slept late today. It is cooler in Texas now so getting up early for running is not so important. My first thoughts were on how easy it is to forget God. In my world at the moment is a tremendous amount of mental flak related to the split in my company and the uncertainty of where I\’ll be assigned. But none of that matters if I am employed by God and only here to serve Him.

But honestly, I am not that evolved. Fear producing hatred permeates my brain. My mind is aware of this. In awareness and consciousness, I can direct my thinking. Yes, it is a discipline and an effort to remain in observance. But just letting my thoughts spiral out of control is terrible. First awareness of my thoughts which separates me from them. In my choice, I also employ whatever is a higher consciousness (God, Spirit, Jesus) and ask Him to direct my thinking. And usually some peaceful thought comes along, some thought of trust and reliance on God. And then I am fine. 

This spiritual way of life is pie in the sky for many. Without it, I am hopelessly insane and probably would not be sober.

Loftier Thoughts

Today is day 17 of having one leg out of service. It is day 4 of going back to work. I recognize that the rest of my body is tired of hauling around the one bad leg. But work hardening is occurring and already I notice my hands are not as sore from the crutches and I\’m not a tired when I go home.

This morning, I was noticing a mental component to all this; which gave me an insight for my spiritual journey. The past 4 days I have wanted to use my disability as an excuse to work fewer hours. It is an attempt to feel sorry for myself and slack off; even while there isn\’t really a need for this. At the same time, I notice a governing drive which gets out of bed anyway, gets me into the shower anyway so I am sweet smelling and gets me to work on time anyway, and keeps me here for 8 hours anyway.

As I worked on my spiritual study this morning, I noticed the friction going on between the slacker attitude and the governing drive. I realize that the governing drive always wins even though the slacker chews at the governor\’s edges. It is a friction, a tension. But I realize that while it became apparent in reflecting on my disability, it is actually a life long issue. The same friction is apparent in the struggle to get out of bed everyday or exercise everyday or practice contemplation when I have free time.

Some people might even say that the slacker is sin and the governor is virtue. The slacker is not sin. The slacker is also not my essence. It is just a function of the illusion of this world.

Now that slacker is identified, I can use it as a tool to raise my thinking. Now I have got to the crux of the matter. A monk has a desire to know God. Over the ages, monks have retreated to deserts, hermitages and monasteries as environments that provide space to think spiritual thoughts more than worldly thoughts. As a monk in the world, I can now consider how slacker drags back governor and prevents contemplation (loftier thinking) even when I have time available for it.

When I thought about being out of commission due to leg surgery, I thought it would be an opportunity for contemplation as I would be off work. But that didn\’t turn out.

Now, with the new insight on slacker vs. governor, I want to refocus on contemplation. I want to make it happen even if I have to be a monk in the world. It must grow more each day; no excuses since I don\’t live in a monastery. Even when I did live in a monastery, I noticed all us nuns were often wrapped up in non-contemplative thinking.

Chapter 16.I

My ACIM anniversary is only 2 days away. I am on my 9th reading of the Text.

Chapter 16.I: \”…sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through me.  …I have invited Him [Guest] and He is here. I need do nothing except not interfere.\”

My ego is ferociously competitive, continuously lashing out against \”them\” who are higher on the corporate food chain. I feel a victim of \”them\” who are stupid yet have made it up the ladder. Stories about the middle class on the radio feed fuel into this inner fire.

Yet as I studied A Course in Miracles this morning, I realized there is nothing more important than living the ACIM life. I need do nothing. I am fine. Just let the Holy Spirit do His work without interfering. Continuously give my resentments to Him. Hang on to nothing. This is how I gain inner peace. This is the reality I choose to live in: Love is everywhere.

I have wanted to give a presentation on \”Creative and Breakthrough Thinking\” for awhile. Today is my day.

Nothing Bad Happened

\”Thoughts create reality\” is something I heard decades ago for the first time. While Christian denominations don\’t teach this, many other philosophies do.

For the past 14 hours or so, I have been suffering a subtle worry, a nagging fear thought: what if someone breaks into my car during the night and steals my clothes? See, my valuable papers are here with me in the hotel, but I didn\’t unload my entire car. I kept hearing the nagging fear and I kept replacing it with my ACIM lesson for today: Let miracles replace all grievances. What I am studying in Brunton today has to do with Karma and how that works.

Grievances are the hateful fearful thoughts my ego mind continuously spews out. Miracles are expressions of love. You are a miracles. In letting miracles replace all grievances, I am seeing every person as the expression of love that they truly are. I am NOT allowing my ego to draw a veil of hate and fear in front of that truth. This practice holds for all people, known and unknown. Each one that I see as an expression of love walks with me to the real world where there are only expressions of love.

Allowing grievances unchecked in my mind produces bad luck, bad karma. Retribution is for the thoughts. Regardless of what actually happens, if my mind is full of unchecked fear, I am in hell already. As it is, I deny hell its place. I insist on heaven by insisting on miracle thinking.

So I had fear, miracles and karma on my plate; plus thoughts create reality. Was that fearful thought creating a car break-in and much anger or unhappiness or blame for me? Was the daily lesson correcting the thought?

I was resistant to walking down and looking at the car. But just now, I realized that my car was parked where I could see it from my window, if only I opened the curtain.

My car is untouched.

I said thank you to Whomever for the lesson. Its not that my material possessions are important but that I direct my thinking. Its not that I prevent my ego mind from spewing out hate and fear all day, but that I calmly answer it with a corrected thought. I get these corrected thoughts from my daily spiritual reading. Corrected thoughts are literally opening the curtain/veil of the ego\’s negative mentality and seeing the real world of miracles beyond.

Beyond This World

I have always wanted to have a new thought; something the others weren’t thinking.

Do these come from: God, Higher Self, Holy Spirit, Jesus, collective consciousness, my subconscious, or created by me?

If I am quiet, will I hear one?

Thinking something different than everyone else is a major concern of mine. At work, I take and teach courses on \”Breakthrough Thinking\” and creative thinking. I do everything to be outside the box. I want love-based thinking. One thing I like about A Course in Miracles is it teaches different ways to see things. I have to conclude I am a one year old crawler when it comes to unique thinking or I wouldn\’t still be learning from established methodologies.

This morning I was reading in 12.III in the ACIM text:

  • Whenever you become angry with a brother, for whatever reason, you are believing that the ego is to be saved, and to be saved by attack. If he attacks, you are agreeing with this belief; and if you attack, you are reinforcing it. Remember that those who attack are poor…
  • To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he experiences then is depression or anger, because what he did was to exchange Self-love for self-hate…
  • Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification…
  • If you will recognize that all the attack you perceive is in your own mind and nowhere else, you will at last have placed its source, and where it begins it must end. For in this same place also lies salvation. The altar of God where Christ abideth is there. …Bring your perceptions of the world to this altar, for it is the altar to truth. There you will see your vision changed, and there you will learn to see truly.

When I run long slow distance, I am not thinking of races. I am thinking of extending my mind and becoming just a thought floating free in the universe. When I ski on the nordic track, I put ear plugs in and shut my eyes. Then I ponder my personal spiritual creed (litany). I go deep into the meaning and feel the presence of divine Silence.

    Spiritual Creed:
    Father in Jesus\’ name remind me of
    Your love for me and of my love for You.

    I hate the world because it is my fear.
    I am spirit. Know this need not be.
    Fear is lack of love. Atonement heals.
    Expanding love is my reality.
    I am not alone. Jesus is here.
    Jesus is the undoing of the dream.
    The Holy Spirit is the Voice for God.
    I hear Him speak quietly in my mind.

    In the holy instant I forgive.
    Miracles come forth as love expressed.
    Giving and receiving are the same.
    Full appreciation is my gift.
    The innocent see perfection truly.
    Christ vision is where they put all their faith.
    My mind holds only light and it shines out.
    I see God\’s majesty in all others.

    God is not symbolic. He is fact.
    Peace is always firm. Love I believe.
    Into His hands I commend my spirit.
    And so my mind awakens to His peace.
    Eternal Silence lives Its life in me.
    Still and quiet Love has set me free.

    Truth is my commitment. Thinking peace.
    Love is my intention. Silence seen.
    Love based thinking is my one desire.
    Inner peace is what I really want.

    A Season of Contemplation – Rainey Friday

    So let us get clear: my goal is to experience another plane reality; one different than the ordinary material one experienced by most people. My goal is to move to an extreme of the continuum; and see the heavenly lights. Mystics and metaphysicians, monks and witches, have all told us of other planes of reality. Even Jesus lived in another world.

    I wasn’t born in Tibet as a man who could enter a Buddhist monastery. I wasn’t born in India with access to a guru or a yogi who could teach me his secrets. I don’t have access to a Sufi. I am an American woman, living in a mid-western city, who was raised without one shred of spirituality. But in the course of my life, I became determined to attain “enlightenment.” Given the circumstances of my life, I totally believe that God has provided the means.

    Currently, I am a process safety engineer in the pesticide and herbicide business. My job is to help keep the nasties inside the plant. You can see, I am not engaged in any sort of touchy feely new age career. I am single and daily becoming less and less a participant in the social life around me. One way I hope to attain knowledge of another plane of reality is to stop participating in the ordinary one. Thus, I provide space in time and thought for “something else.” I don’t spend my thinking time on family or religion or TV or eating or sex. I spend it on contemplation. I am a physical fitness fanatic and long distance runner. As an extremely fit and slightly underweight 51 year old, I am living in a body which is distinctly outside the norms of my peer group and society in general. I am a student of A Course in Miracles. Through the Course, I hope to re-program my thinking in such a way that I remember God.

    The reality of God is the reality I seek. I totally believe that a God of love would not be inaccessible or unremembered. I totally believe that it is human ego programming which takes us out of a reality of love and deludes us into thinking the material reality is real.

    I got up this morning at 3:35 and spent an hour on spiritual study. This morning, I pondered several passages from the text for The Course:

    “The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt…Adam\’s \”sin\” could have touched no one, had he not believed it was the Father Who drove him out of paradise. For in that belief the knowledge of the Father was lost, since only those who do not understand Him could believe it. (ch 13)

    This world is a picture of the crucifixion of God\’s Son. And until you realize that God\’s Son cannot be crucified, this is the world you will see. Yet you will not realize this until you accept the eternal fact that God\’s Son is not guilty. He deserves only love because he has given only love. (ch 17)

    It is still up to you to choose to join with truth or with illusion. But remember that to choose one is to let the other go. Which one you choose you will endow with beauty and reality, because the choice depends on which you value more. The spark of beauty or the veil of ugliness, the real world or the world of guilt and fear, truth or illusion, freedom or slavery – it is all the same. For you can never choose except between God and the ego. (ch 17)

    Only the Thoughts of God are true. (ch 17)

    Every special relationship you have made has, as its fundamental purpose, the aim of occupying your mind so completely that you will not hear the call of truth. (ch 17)

    The holy instant is a miniature of Heaven, sent you from Heaven. It is a picture, too, set in a frame. Yet if you accept this gift you will not see the frame at all, because the gift can only be accepted through your willingness to focus all your attention on the picture. The holy instant is a miniature of eternity. It is a picture of timelessness, set in a frame of time. If you focus on the picture, you will realize that it was only the frame that made you think it was a picture. Without the frame, the picture is seen as what it represents. For as the whole thought system of the ego lies in its gifts, so the whole of Heaven lies in this instant, borrowed from eternity and set in time for you. (ch 17)”

    My spiritual pondering continued for another hour and a half as I did my workout. This morning, I did my workout on machines. Yes, it was pouring rain. But also, I am working on strength using the ex-bike. The treadmill is somewhat softer on my legs than road running and I welcomed a long but non-damaging workout.

    I could see myself being more interested in fitness than the glories of racing accomplishments. I have no goals and my running is divorced from grandiosity. I am attempting to use running as a spiritual tool.

    My contemplation today at work is on defining critical operating parameters. It seems that I am the only one at the site to understand what these are. So I have been pulled off all other work and assigned to defining critical operating parameters for all of our processes.

    This weekend, I will continue my experiment in solitude. In solitude, I cannot hide from the blackness within. There are no distractions from who and what I think I am combined with The Voice which tells me the truth of my Being.

    Thoughts on Thoughts

    Life is thoughts. My life is my thoughts. My body is my thoughts.

    I am always thinking.

    My entire life (what I do and say and think and react to) is based on rules I learned from others (ie. other\’s thoughts). I am a product of others, not an individual. I am not a person, but thoughts. None of the thoughts are mine. They are thoughts I\’ve collected from others and made into my life. Eating. Weight loss. Running. Work. Religion. Money. All relationships are collections of thoughts. My decisions are based on thoughts I’ve learned. None of this really matters. None of this is true or real. My life is just thoughts. I am the decision maker regarding the thoughts.

    Sometimes I think thoughts which produce conflict for me. Why do I persist in having these thoughts and doing what they say? How do I make decisions? I have not admitted to myself what it is I really want.

    I am sometimes sickened by others; either because I don\’t want their thoughts or because I know I already have their thoughts.

    As a solitary and in solitude, I have a chance to filter the incoming thoughts and release un-wanted thoughts. But, I see I continue to hang on to conflicting thoughts. I hope some day I give up lying to myself.

    God is a thought. I don\’t know if it/He is a true thought or not.