The Anatomy of a Thought-1

Thoughts are like waves, they may be inviting but they remain transient and volatile.
A while ago, I wrote briefly on the two types of meditation, namely, concentrative and contemplative. An important exercise in contemplative meditation is to reflect on the nature of a thought, and one of the most defining moments in a meditator’s life is realization of the understanding that thoughts have no essence of their own.

Thoughts are not good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral, they are just thoughts. They take one or the other form based on how we pursue and deploy them. Let’s say you are passing through the woods and you come across a dry and thin branch of a tree lying on the ground. You can use it as a walking stick, or as firewood, or to protect yourself, or, hopefully not, even to beat up some poor animal.

What you do with the stick determines whether it is good or bad. On its own, the stick has little meaning. Similarly, the wise don’t feel guilty for having unwelcome thoughts. They know they don’t have to act on it. And by action, I’m not just referring to physical action but mental too (here). When we cling to a thought or follow its track, we are performing a mental karma, and, that, in turn, is the seed of all physical actions.

Good meditators, or even mindful people, transcend their thoughts by simply watching them. Most thoughts are random and fickle; they are not worth pursuing. Upon close examination, you will discover that thoughts are highly ephemeral and if you don’t hold on to them, they disappear exactly like bubbles in water. Whenever you are bothered by any lingering thought, simply ask yourself three questions and watch it become feeble in no time.
1. From where has this thought originated?
2. Where is it traveling?
3. Where has it disappeared?

As you ponder on these, you will begin to understand the anatomy of a thought; basically, it is emptiness. They are empty. Thoughts have no definitive point of origin, no set course of travel, and no specific site of disappearance. When you see an object in a mirror, you can classify the sight as beautiful or ugly, desirable or otherwise but what happens when the mirror faces another mirror, when it looks at its own reflection, what will it see? The reflection will keep bouncing off each other infinitely. Similarly, when mind examines itself, it starts to disappear in its own vast existence.

Just like two pieces of wood can be rubbed together to produce fire and the same fire later consumes them both, intellect and concentration support the contemplative meditation but when the fire of insight arises, it consumes both giving way to pristine awareness. This is the ultimate state for a meditator ­­— not only understanding the nature of thoughts and rising above them, but living in complete awareness.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!


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