Author Topic: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?  (Read 4582 times)

Mikeler

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Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« on: November 29, 2013, 09:55:59 PM »
I was reading an interesting little book called "Stop thinking, start living" by Richard Carlson.

The main assertion in his book was that the reason people suffer depression, sadness and anxiety is that they believe their thoughts are created from outside events rather than in their own mind. They think that outside circumstances determine their happiness.

He then proceeds to advise the reader for the rest of his book to "take charge and responsibility" for the direction of their thinking by nurturing their "healthy functioning" and choosing to drop and dismiss any negativity which only makes the depression deepen and doesn't solve anything. He states that any thought which is given excessive attention only grows in size and become a so called "problem".

This got me thinking more (ironically) into the topic of control and free will over our own mind. Can we really as the author suggests, simply stop, make a choice and drop and dismiss any negative thoughts in our lives?

He states multiple times that we are the creators of our own thoughts and the sooner we realize this the happier we will become.

I'm really confused and not sure if I'm downplaying my own power in meditation by asserting that I don't control my thinking.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 02:53:53 AM »
You don't control having a thought but you can influence how much you interact with it.

Mikeler

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 03:08:51 AM »
I think that's what he was implying by saying "dismiss your negative thoughts".

I can't consciously throw them out at will, but I can choose how much attention to give to them.

dimeo

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 03:24:45 AM »
He states that any thought which is given excessive attention only grows in size and become a so called "problem".

This makes sense.  If I really dwell on something, it becomes the focus of my thoughts.   If I allow something to be a big problem to me then it becomes one.  But what if I am able to just shrug my shoulders and say, so be it, and then move on?  In a short while I may find that that previous issue was no problem at all in the scheme of things.


Quote
Can we really as the author suggests, simply stop, make a choice and drop and dismiss any negative thoughts in our lives?

 We tend to see what we look for, do we not? We can consciously direct of our attention to something for a moment. With practice I may be even able to continually keep redirecting my attention onto something beneficial for the wellness of myself and others!
For example, tonight I could sit down and choose to watch a horror movie or choose to focus on something more pleasant.   I can pay attention to the negative thoughts that pop up during the day about how this or that bothers me.  I could dwell on how I may feel wronged by what people are or are not doing what I wish them to.  I could obsess about this negativity all day!

Quote
He states multiple times that we are the creators of our own thoughts and the sooner we realize this the happier we will become.


Much of the time we know it is silly to believe thoughts are 'real' objects, that exist in the world as solid things, that arise in the world. 

And if a dog barks and I hear it ... then I say to myself "I hear a dog"... this thought was created by me.

But if you dig deeper, it can get more difficult to tell the difference, and sometimes you may have a thought that seems be arise from the world.  You might have thoughts that you believe to be true, because of what you've heard other people say.
And then we think... this is 'reality' - this is the way things are.  We believe it's no longer just a thought, but mistake it for reality itself.
 
So it is good for us when meditating observe the thought process.  Where does the thought come from?  Where does it reside?  Is it a real thing that you can observe or feel?   


Quote
I'm really confused and not sure if I'm downplaying my own power in meditation by asserting that I don't control my thinking.

Consider what this "I" is.  The teachings talk about how the concept is aggregate and inherently empty. 

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2013, 05:02:31 AM »
Thoughts are produced in the form of visual seen in the mind. This event happens without our conscious command. Its the craving that makes the mind enter this event. So if we stop the craving these images just pop in the head and pass away...

Droping negative thoughts and holding on to the positive thoughts is something i dont understand how the author proposes without telling how to do it.. Removing craving from the thoughts that were generating feelings in my mind was hard as the mind wants to react to the even that happened with anger and the depression creating thoughts are same... they are not the usual thought from which you can easily detach. They bring feelings along with them and learning to remain equanimus to feelings is hard and takes time.

dimeo

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 02:35:18 PM »
Quote
Thoughts are produced in the form of visual seen in the mind.
Either that or often (for me) it's like an inner voice talking or writing. Often a replaying of past actions or words said, or a planning / rehearsing of what will be said in the future.  Does that sound familiar to anyone?


Quote
Its the craving that makes the mind enter this event. So if we stop the craving these images just pop in the head and pass away...
Well said, the craving and clinging to the idea (as though it has substance, and matters significantly) makes it continue on, one thought attached to another.  Like an avalanche one can become quite worked up by all the concerning thoughts piling on onto the other.


Quote
Removing craving from the thoughts that were generating feelings in my mind was hard as the mind wants to react to the event that happened with anger and the depression creating thoughts are same...   they are not the usual thought from which you can easily detach. They bring feelings along with them and learning to remain equanimus to feelings is hard and takes time.

This is what I was trying to get at in my other post yesterday, "Why we practice".  It's hard to have a calm and clear mind when we are overwhelmed by strong feelings and emotions (anger, sadness, grief etc)  And it might seem like it's impossible at first, during times like this. 

It takes time and practice in advance to develop skill and confidence.  So it's good to start learning and practising while the going is easy. Don't wait until the 'stuff hits the fan' to start learning how. 

And when we face difficult situations, rather than fall influence to the situation and remain mired in samsara, we can use it to enhance our practice further!  We can then see if our meditation practice has become steady and clear.  We can learn more about ways to 'bring obstacles to the path'.  Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche has published an article on this here:
http://www.dharmadownload.net/pages/english/Natsok/0010_Teaching_English/Teaching_English_0024.htm

« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 02:51:05 PM by dimeo »

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2013, 03:56:37 PM »
Quote
Either that or often (for me) it's like an inner voice talking or writing. Often a replaying of past actions or words said, or a planning / rehearsing of what will be said in the future.  Does that sound familiar to anyone?

The inner voice is the result of self attaching to that image... all the comments and speeches (details) of the incident are gathered by the mind after attachment.


redalert

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2013, 05:03:07 PM »

This is what I was trying to get at in my other post yesterday, "Why we practice".  It's hard to have a calm and clear mind when we are overwhelmed by strong feelings and emotions (anger, sadness, grief etc)  And it might seem like it's impossible at first, during times like this. 

It takes time and practice in advance to develop skill and confidence.  So it's good to start learning and practising while the going is easy. Don't wait until the 'stuff hits the fan' to start learning how. 


Hi dimeo,

 I read your article and was curious that there was no mention of morality in the development of shamatha leading to vipashyana. I believe that if one observes the five precepts to start that this will have a drastic effect in calming the mind, and can prevent the "stuff" from hitting the fan greatly.

Hi Mike,

It has been my experience that we create thoughts for different purposes, as we move from gross to subtler realities, it is easier to see how agitating some thoughts are, and it becomes easier to not engage them as we will see their disruptive effects first hand. Remaining at a gross reality it is difficult to see the effects of most thoughts and we are more likely to engage with them out of ignorance.

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2013, 05:10:31 PM »

Hi dimeo,

 I read your article and was curious that there was no mention of morality in the development of shamatha leading to vipashyana. I believe that if one observes the five precepts to start that this will have a drastic effect in calming the mind, and can prevent the "stuff" from hitting the fan greatly.

I think this is not a true statement... according to my experience morality only helps in not having remorse in once actions and helps love oneself. Other than that morality doesnt help one bit in development of concentration and awareness so doesnt help in calming the mind.

redalert

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2013, 05:45:23 PM »

I think this is not a true statement... according to my experience morality only helps in not having remorse in once actions and helps love oneself. Other than that morality doesnt help one bit in development of concentration and awareness so doesnt help in calming the mind.

Hmmm... Do you believe that a person who spends his day killing, telling lies, stealing, boinking the neighbors wife, and then getting wasted will have the inclination or ability to sit quietly and develop the concentration required to observe the reality within?

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2013, 06:01:56 PM »

I think this is not a true statement... according to my experience morality only helps in not having remorse in once actions and helps love oneself. Other than that morality doesnt help one bit in development of concentration and awareness so doesnt help in calming the mind.

Hmmm... Do you believe that a person who spends his day killing, telling lies, stealing, boinking the neighbors wife, and then getting wasted will have the inclination or ability to sit quietly and develop the concentration required to observe the reality within?

Yes, there are soooo many indian saints who do all that and can enter samadhi with ezzzz... That is why we have all these fake saints popping everywhere who have no morality buy can enter samadhis easily and fool people with the powers one can gain with concentration.

Great example in story is Devadatta....
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 06:04:49 PM by siddharthgode »

redalert

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 06:25:59 PM »
Yes, there are soooo many indian saints who do all that and can enter samadhi with ezzzz...

Now this is not a true statement. 

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2013, 07:18:55 PM »
Yes, there are soooo many indian saints who do all that and can enter samadhi with ezzzz...

Now this is not a true statement.

believe me i know because i live here... :D
many many swamis are getting exposed by news channels everyday here. Even their sex scandals.. then they sit infront of all Tv networks and enter samadhis and show off that they feel no pain and can sit for hours infront of fire and all that.....
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 07:23:34 PM by siddharthgode »

redalert

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2013, 07:36:15 PM »
I think your missing my point, I am not only giving importance to the Samadhi aspect, I agree that many immoral people can develop concentration, but can they focus this concentration on the reality within? Obviously not, it would be a toxic unpleasant environment, this is why they only develop the Samadhi aspect of the path. It would be impossible for them to experience the ultimate truth and purify the mind practicing only one aspect of the path. "You can't fake your way in" as a native indian once told me.

dimeo

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2013, 08:01:45 PM »
@redalert
I read your article and was curious that there was no mention of morality in the development of shamatha leading to vipashyana. I believe that if one observes the five precepts to start that this will have a drastic effect in calming the mind, and can prevent the "stuff" from hitting the fan greatly.
Great point!  I guess what I was thinking mostly about is how a person's life can change instantly due to some new information, random misfortune, or the actions of other people.   But I agree, living a skilled virtuous life can reduce the chances of getting mixed up with trouble.


@siddharthgode
Quote
according to my experience morality only helps in not having remorse in once actions and helps love oneself. Other than that morality doesnt help one bit in development of concentration and awareness so doesnt help in calming the mind.

My clear mindedness during the day and during meditation is often interrupted by my mind 'replaying' my previous words, and actions over again.  I let them come and go, but I think why my (unconscious) mind is revisiting them repeatedly because of my regret, remorse, and self doubt.  So I think moral action can help to result in a calmer mind, if one is sure of the virtuousness of ones action and speech. 
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 08:08:15 PM by dimeo »

redalert

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2013, 08:16:30 PM »
Hi dimeo,

The four causes for the arising of matter:

Food, Environment/atmosphere, A present mental reaction, A past mental reaction.

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2013, 08:31:53 PM »
I think your missing my point, I am not only giving importance to the Samadhi aspect, I agree that many immoral people can develop concentration, but can they focus this concentration on the reality within? Obviously not, it would be a toxic unpleasant environment, this is why they only develop the Samadhi aspect of the path. It would be impossible for them to experience the ultimate truth and purify the mind practicing only one aspect of the path. "You can't fake your way in" as a native indian once told me.

agree

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2013, 08:36:50 PM »
Quote
but I think why my (unconscious) mind is revisiting them repeatedly because of my regret, remorse, and self doubt.

Not true... its because of the craving and aversion to the objects the self reacts with... The mind repeats a incident because it is not satisfied with incident, not because it is not satisfied with itself.....
Mind tries to block the incident if it is not satisfied with itself....

dimeo

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2013, 01:49:28 AM »
Quote
The mind repeats a incident because it is not satisfied with incident,
That makes sense... Have you ever experienced that, being distracted by thoughts which are like 'replaying' previous events, words, and actions over again?

Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2013, 04:08:48 AM »
Quote
The mind repeats a incident because it is not satisfied with incident,
That makes sense... Have you ever experienced that, being distracted by thoughts which are like 'replaying' previous events, words, and actions over again?


Yes, I still do. everyone does. Its the habit pattern of the mind.
U gradually reduce it by being mindful and being with the breath more.

dimeo

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2013, 03:49:16 PM »
Gradually reducing distracting thoughts by being mindful and focusing on the breath, humming OM, and other practices  does help.

I notice more often now that many of my distracting thoughts are not as 'loud' and 'solid' as they used to appear in the past years (especially during times of stress).   Now they seem to becoming 'quieter' and and more 'subtle'. I feel I can sit calmly and meditate for lengths of time even though I know I am facing big problems.  Possibly I see them more easily now and how they can 'consume' my awareness if I'm not earnest about it throughout the day. 

Shabd Mystic

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Re: Are you the creator of your thoughts? Can you just drop it?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2013, 06:47:08 PM »
Can we really as the author suggests, simply stop, make a choice and drop and dismiss any negative thoughts in our lives?


I can verify that this is true. In the meditation I do, "Sant Mat" or "Surat Shabd Yoga," stopping all thought is the focus (which is very different from things like "mindfulness"). Once you are able to do it while meditating, you are able to stop any thoughts that trouble you in everyday life as well (that just happens, it's not a goal).

For a long time I thought that "emptiness" referred to a mind empty of all thought.  :)

 

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