Choosing Supportive Thoughts

I was recently asked this question by a dear friend: “Carl can you share your thoughts on choosing thoughts that support ‘us’ and who is that chooser?”

I must admit that my response is somewhat disjointed but I think it does get to the point I am trying to make.  Here is my response and by all means let me know your thoughts.  This is a most important question to any seeker who moves through life “chopping wood and carrying water.”

An obvious response to such a question is to choose thoughts that are upbeat and positive and in a lot of new age thought, with emphasis on the Law of attraction, we are taught to choose only good thoughts and to even make judgments about how things are going by the way we think and feel about them.  The fundamental problem with this idea of “choosing,” this or that, is that we give ourselves over to forces that somehow have control of our life experiences whether they be good or bad as we judge them.  I have often said that “experiencing life from the standpoint of “how you feel” about something is not a realistic nor a good formula for life” simply because life is a “full on” mystery and we have no control over the events that are occurring, the people who cross our paths or circumstances we find ourselves in at any given time.

What we must unlearn is that we can somehow “think” our way to a so called “abundant” life.  Any thought is likely to be against this because we are all taught that thinking is the only way to climb out of any “bad” situation we find ourselves in or the converse of this which is to think our way into maintaining the “good” situation we find ourselves in.  Most New Age teachers go so far as to tell us that they can take us out of any adverse situation by simply following the formula they themselves have experienced even though their unique experience can never be yours or my experience no matter how hard we put our mind (thoughts) to it.

I have struggled with this question for many, many years and always come back to the saying that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  In other words, “WE” are not these bodies (which includes the mind and all its thoughts) so we need not take anything in our experience too seriously because we already are spiritual.  I say we are more than the gods we create in our minds to subject ourselves too. So what thoughts support this?  That really lies at the heart of the question and what we might think supports this likely does not.

At first blush we might look at the words of Paul the apostle who encouraged us to seek after things such as, “…whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  These are all things we would identify as “good” things to seek after and think about but there is a subtlety that is very misleading.  All these things require a judgment which is the tool of ego to disassemble anything going on in life, e.g., this is good and this is bad.  The ego always picks a side and puts all the arguments in front of it to divide from those who see “good or bad” in a completely different way.

Right and wrong is the ultimate tool of distraction and ego plays this well.  Can you see this?  It would have been just as effective for Paul to have said “whatever things are not pure, not virtuous, not lovely, etc., and you could not have wound up with a greater mess than we currently have amongst humans in the world.  We are nuts with rightness and wrongness.   So what should we think if “thinking” is the nature of the human and especially what do we think that supports us?

The only answer I have found satisfactory to me is to be contrary to what the mind thinks.  That is when the mind wants to judge, don’t judge.  When the mind wants to declare something good, erase the thought. When the mind wants to uphold a particular view accept the “other” view instead.  Mind wants you to hold to an idea of good or bad; don’t do either.  Another way to say it might be “seek not to be happy but seek to find happiness in those things that, otherwise, make you unhappy.”  If you can get to this type of non-judgment and acceptance of what was once judged good or bad everything begins to “be” okay.  That is, happiness, joy and all the other things we endlessly seek resonate within as a natural condition of our non-judgments.  The mind leads away from happiness; it takes us “too” things that are supposed to make us happy but either don’t, or are very short lived.

Here is an example of a contrary thought that goes against a primary tenet of many of our judgments that says simply; “you deserve to be happy.”  Well, “no you don’t!   No one deserves to be happy. In fact no one deserves a life different from the one they are living.  Do you see that this puts unnecessary requirements on something that is simply our nature when we determine that nothing we can do, say, think or believe can make us happy.  Be happy…period.

Ultimately, you are probably gathering that I take the position that no thought is a good thought.  Ego never has a thought that does not contain the motive that I am right and you are wrong and if we were all honest with ourselves we would recognize our own complicity with this greatest of all egoic tools.  This is why I am such an advocate of limiting our thoughts.  I know this doesn’t answer the question but outside of accepting “what is” without any judgment whatsoever, can I come up with thoughts that support us.  In fact, you could say, the less we think about thoughts that support us the more likely we are to get to know “us,” meaning YOU that lies beneath the you that is merely the “thought” of you.

This leads to the second part of the question which is who is the chooser of the thoughts?  This question for me is a bit easier to answer.  My response is:  “The chooser isn’t choosing the thoughts; the chooser is experiencing the thoughts the human is experiencing and is completely unattached to any thought, thought.”  In other words, only humans react to “human thought.”

Ultimately, all I’ve got is “the thoughts that support us are the thoughts not thought.”  Silence is always the ultimate support for in “stillness, god is known” and being face to face with that which YOU are requires no description or definition of any mind based thought.  In fact, no mind could possibly conjure a description that came close to such knowing, even if the mind was working at one hundred percent.  The most thoughtful thought is the thought that contains no judgment and that pretty much negates any thought.  Don’t judge; now there’s a thought!

The Non-Gift of Giving

There is a common misconception about the act of “giving” we all tend to focus on at this time of year; likely because we hear so much about it.  We call it a time of giving and much of the speak is that “when we give we get back.”  Often we are told that our giving returns to us more than what we give. It is almost as if the idea of “getting back” is the purpose of such giving. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The human mind is always, always about finding reason for doing anything, giving, included.  It is the mind’s nature and the birth of ego is born in this idea that reasons must find their way into our existence and upon finding such we are born into an identity that supports the conceptual ideas we form our identity around.  Sometimes the idea that our “getting,” in return for our giving, is used as motivation to spur us to the action of giving. “Look beyond your means for now and you will receive as much or even more than you sacrificed in the “giving.”

In truth, like happiness, giving is our essence.  Remember that WE are Gods. Individually and uniquely, Gods.  It is our very nature at the level of the divine to give.  The Human in us says, “let there be light, so I may see” while the God that we are says, “let there be light so all may see.”  Giving is our inherent nature as the divine beings that we are and the idea that ego can out do that nature by promising to give back what is given is most absurd.  The idea that you must have returned to you what you gave is not giving; it is taking.  Think about it!

If we comprehend that our nature at the very core of our existence is “the giver” then no part of our existence looks for reasons why there must be a “payback” for our giving.  Remember the new Testament story of the old woman who gave her last penny to charity?  Jesus pointed to her and told those who had given of their abundance that she alone had given the most.  Why would He make such a statement?

We don’t know much about the old woman and her circumstances but we can assume that her ego was screaming at her to keep the penny as she herself was in as great a need for assistance as those she chose to give to.  What kept her from holding on to her last penny and giving all that she had?  She had found and accepted her true nature.  She gave without expectation because the “giver” was unmasked and could not be hidden by the “show” of giving only in quantity.  Those who gave more in quantity, still masked in an identity of receiving for their gifts, gave nothing of their true nature.  Theirs was only a gift; with the expected return.  Hers was a blessing; an act of godliness that reflected her connection to the divine within.  Hers was an act of power!

The act of giving is never about getting something in return.  All that we are, at our core essence, is never wanting or expecting anything in return.  The act of truly giving is a natural act.  It is an act of God and you are God!  Giving resonates in all of us because we have this essence already. Most of us have been taught to give of our abundance but this kind of giving only mitigates the egoic awareness that something else (inside) is the giver of all.

Do you want to know what you “get” when you give?  You get to be who you are.  In other words, you get to stop thinking about acts of giving and just “be” the giver that you inherently are. You get to shed egoic ideas of “who am I” and simply be “who you are” without any conversation at all telling you otherwise.  When we give we engage our inherent nature and that frees us from the egoic nature that is heavy and burdened.

What we feel when we are in service to others is the lightness that comes from being “who, or what we really are.”  The weight of mind created identity leaves for a short time and we feel this lightness and it feels so good we talk about it in egoic terms without really understanding what has happened.  We should all ask what is it about these acts of giving and service that makes us feel so light and happy?  The answer will almost always come back to something like, I got to shed “my stuff” and just be in this wonderfully natural state that was surprisingly without any thought.

If we must have a reason to give then let the reason be because it frees us from our “stuff” and lets us be, if only for a short space of time, the divine giver that we already are. Don’t attach reasons to the giving. Just give and the giving will engage an inherent nature that already is YOU.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Carl