Are you hypnotised by thoughts?

I find myself mesmerised and hypnotised by thoughts, all the time, often without realising it. It seems many people do, and seek out ways to help themselves. With self help articles, videos, and books about calming the over-thinking brain, how to relax without your thoughts bothering you and ways to distract you from your thoughts. (For example with exercise, meditation, music, hobbies or rituals).

That’s all fine. But in my view, a lot of that is just dealing with the ‘symptoms’. And things like zen buddhism for example, gets to the root of the problem and changes the relationship we have to our thoughts.

I would argue, that thoughts aren’t meaningful or real, they’re mechanical and phantom-like. They’re a tool, and sometimes they’re the wrong tool for the job.

They have no basis in reality. They are an infinite fractal playground of ideas and concepts. We can only create a map about reality in thoughts, and a map is not the same as the territory.

Thoughts just happen, then we give them power over us, by putting our attention on them and our faith in them. And when we do this, it is possible to do the darkest things imaginable. Like kill yourself or kill and torture others. By believing such thoughts as ‘things will never get better’, or ‘ours is the true religion.’

To stop thoughts from bothering us; we don’t need to distract ourselves, we just need to stop putting our attention on them. Stop engaging with them. See them for what they are: just thoughts.

Energy flows where attentions goes.

We don’t have to listen, solve, or get away from them.

Let the thoughts come and go, even if they’re dark or scary thoughts. They can’t hurt us. Disengage, take your hands off the wheel. Drop the attention on them like it’s a hot potato. Don’t grab a hold of the thought, don’t wish it away. These are all forms of engaging with it, as if it’s means something, as if it can hurt us.

Allow the thoughts to be there, accept them, they will drift away like all thoughts ever have.

By Annie Charnley.
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Don’t let thoughts make you their bitch.

Just because thoughts appear in our awareness, it doesn’t mean we have to do what they say.

We don’t have to listen to thoughts, or engage with them or believe them.

We can instead just see them happen, not judge them, not try to get away from them, or fight them, and not follow them down the rabbit hole.

Sometimes, it can feel like thoughts are our friend or that they’re in fact ‘us.’ But in my view, thoughts are impartial tools to be used how we like.

To see that thoughts aren’t you, notice how when a thought appears and disappears, you were aware of that happening. You stay, while thoughts come and go.

Maybe you think you are the thinker of the thoughts?

This is how it intuitively feels and it evolved this way for good reason. However, take a moment to notice right now that you have no idea what thought will appear next. Also notice that you have no idea where that thought came from, where it got made, who ‘wrote’ it before you ‘heard’ it.

Maybe you think you can control thoughts?

To see how we can’t control thoughts; stop thinking, (like you would stop running when you didn’t want to run anymore).

We can seem to fight with thoughts, reject them, deny them, judge them, believe them, listen to them, engage with them, or we can not do any of that and allow and accept them instead.

I find it much more helpful to allow thoughts to appear, see them and not engage with them if I don’t want to or if they’re hurting me.

Be the master of the thoughts, not a slave to them. (Easier said than done, eh?)

By Annie Charnley.

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A prison created by thoughts.

Being attached and identified with our thoughts and the thinker can create a prison (which is an illusion), and and it can be torture to live from that place; you are not really living right now. You’re living in the past and future.

There is no peace there.

It is constant grasping and striving.

It never delivers what it promises, and it can obscure what’s happening now, if we let it.

That prison we can live from and not even realise, is dead and not real, it’s just a map, and it’s not really who you are. The map is not the territory.

Thoughts aren’t who you are. If you’re constantly in your thoughts, how can you see that they aren’t you?

Thoughts come and go, but there’s something that always stays. You could assume the thing that stays is the ‘thinker’ or the ‘observer’ of the thoughts. But do you think thoughts, or do thoughts just happen? Do they come from somewhere you aren’t aware of? Do you ‘hear’ them, then claim to be the thinker of them?

Thoughts will do things like compare, make plans, present regrets to you, judge things, and narrate what’s happening even when a lot of the time, none of that is really needed. It’s a powerful tool, but I would ague, it’s not you.

Thoughts work in time, and if I always listen to them and believe they will deliver the goods, they actually takes me out of the raw experience of reality. They takes me away from what I actually want, they’re not capable of giving me what I actually want. (What I want is: aliveness, realness, truth, meaning, presence, salvation from the prison of being stuck in thoughts and identified as the thinker of them). The list of what I want, are still concepts, when faced with the reality of those things, it is quite terrifying and magnificently mysterious and beautiful, to me.

I have spent the majority of my life identifying with my thoughts and identifying with thinking them. This might not be everyone’s experience. But it is certainly my experience and I imagine many others too.

I’ve taken the constant commentary in my head to be me, and who could blame me, it intuitively feels true and I assume it is true. But you can only see the problem from the solution. You can’t see the problem from within the problem. In other words I could only see that it wasn’t me, from having a break from the identification with thoughts.

We don’t realise that the prison door is always unlocked, it seems to me that we are not our thoughts, we are not the thinker of them. We don’t have to listen to them, believe them or act from them. In reality, we are free to use them when we need them and not use them when we don’t need them. But many of us, myself included seem to not know this, and therefore not see ourselves more clearly and not be ourselves without identifying with thoughts and the thinker.

Thoughts are only one part of the misidentification of our true nature. But it’s okay, it doesn’t really matter, all of this is just words pointing to something.

You don’t need to do anything, except maybe to be open to this idea. Things just happen all the time in us that isn’t in our control. The seeing of this might happen too, we can’t make the seeing happen, but we can experiment with it through things like meditation, isolation tanks, being in a state of flow in activity etc, and get little glimpses of it.

I’ve found this to be true, meaningful and valuable to me. I hope it is for you too, if not, that’s absolutely fine. Maybe the words are dead for you and nothing jumps out as alive, we can’t make that happen or control it.

Things just happen, and we get to experience it all.

Meditation and ‘enlightenment’ are not special.

There is this picture of what meditation looks like and what ‘enlightenment’ looks like.

And there’s a tendency for many of us to believe that that is it, and anything else isn’t it.

It can make me feel like it’s not for us, and that only certain people get it, or see it, who are special. But I don’t think that’s true at all.

MEDITATION

To me, meditation looks like someone sitting crossed legged with eyes closed, hands with palms resting on legs, sitting on top a mountain or temple, with Eastern traditional clothes on. This image is understandable because meditation came from Eastern cultures, but all that is, it’s tradition. It’s made up by humans and I think we can be mislead by it, (because of our minds interpretations).

That image isn’t all meditation is.

You can meditate while you’re doing absolutely anything, while you’re washing up, taking out the bins, wiping your baby’s arse.

What you are doing has no bearing on whether you can meditate or not. You don’t need anything to meditate except a mind. You don’t need the ‘right’ place, the ‘right’ cushion, the ‘right’ clothes.

But at the same time, of course sitting in a quiet place to meditate, can be helpful.

I just don’t want that image described above to put anyone off meditating, it’s not that image, the image isn’t it. What’s going on inside is where it is.

ENLIGHTENMENT

The image of ‘enlightenment’ can also be very misleading.

To me, the image of ‘enlightenment’ is an old guy with a long grey beard, who wears beads and Eastern loose robe like clothing.

And then the mind can seem to assume that if you don’t look like that, then you’re not as enlightened or wise as the people that do look like that.

Again, in a way, this is bollocks, it’s just tradition, it has absolutely nothing to do with actual ‘enlightenment’.

Any one could be ‘enlightened’, and no one else could tell they were, because it’s an internal thing.

This is where fake guru’s come into it. If they look the part, people can often assume they are the real deal, and that they have something special that you don’t. And follow them and hang onto their every word. This situation can get abusive. Many cults do the same thing. There’s a great documentary about fake gurus called Kumare.

You could be a welder who has tattoos and swears a lot and see the truth of who you are.

In reality the way you look externally to other people, has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on inside you. (As we know with people who are depressed and suicidal). There could be millions of people who see the truth of who they are, but you wouldn’t know to look at them. It’s an internal shift in the way you view everything.

Tradition is fine, but it’s not in the tradition. It’s in us, all the time, always has been, always will be.

You don’t need to do anything to see what you really are.The thing that is there before, during and after all thoughts, feelings and sensations. The thing that is aware of whatever is happening. You don’t need the ‘right’ clothes, the ‘right’ lifestyle, the ‘right’ hair style etc.

How I understand it, you just need a mind, and to drop your attachment to all conceptual thought. To drop the striving, searching and control you have and take a step out of your own way.

I don’t want anyone to be put off or mislead by these images, or by the word ‘enlightenment’.

The word makes it sound so special too. And in a way it is, but in a way it’s the most simple, immediate, ordinary thing there is, so ordinary, we miss it. The word ‘enlightenment’, also makes it sound like a thing to get that we don’t have already.

I think this is just what happens when the mind tries to interpret and grasp this pointing using words to something real in our direct experience. It’s quite innocent and understandable. But it is getting in our own way of seeing the reality of what’s happening.

In my humble opinion, this is the way we evolved, to think of ourselves as a self. It’s very beneficial to survival. But it’s not the reality of who we are and it causes a lot of suffering psychologically and emotionally.

The way I see it, we are all already born ‘enlightened’, it is what being is, what awareness is.

I believe we grow up forgetting who we really are, once the mind/self system kicks online, and we can start to take ourselves to be our thought systems, our bodies, our feelings, etc.

It’s not special; it’s completely ordinary.

#Thedress that made the world talk (and fight) about seeing things differently.

“The dress is black and blue!” “No it’s white and gold, you’re wrong!” “No it IS black and blue!!! Can’t you see it?! It’s right there!”

It’s fine to have fun arguing over #TheDress but people do the same thing all the time over things like religion, ideologies & opinions.

We have a society where difference – such as experiencing reality in different ways to the majority or experiencing intense emotions – is rejected and condemned and seen as pathologised or a biological illness. But our observations of reality are totally subjective, there’s literally no way two people can look at the same thing and have the exact same interpretation or know exactly what the other person sees. Even the people that agree the dress is white and gold can’t prove that they see the same shade of white and gold as another person.

Our eyes don’t see, our brains do. Brains, similar to computers are basically information processing systems. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell in the external world, gets filtered into our brains. What we’re left with, gets interpreted using our memories, experiences, associations and personality. These interpretations are what create our ideas of ourselves (the “me”), our identities, our beliefs, opinions, thoughts, feelings and the reality we perceive. This is how the human brain has evolved, no doubt to help us survive better.

So what’s bad about this natural brain functioning?

Well the consequence is that we think our reality is the only reality, but “Our truth” isn’t actually “the truth” like we seem to believe it is. Our opinions and perspectives aren’t facts, but when you treat them like they are, problems and fights occur (racism, homophobia) and sometimes to deadly levels (religion). It’s so easy to assume the reality we see is the truth because we only have our own experience that cant be compared to anyone else’s experience from inside their head and lives.

For instance, an extreme opinion might be “gays are an abomination.” That is not a fact, that’s just that person’s opinion, so it would be more accurate to say “it seems to me that gays are an abomination, but what do I know? That’s just my opinion.” It loosens you up, opens you up to new ideas and people who might not deserve your hatred and judgement just for being themselves.

You also begin to believe you can control things outside of yourself to fit with your idea of reality and when you can’t, it makes you really upset/angry/stressed.

“Our maps of the universe, our ideas should be changing all the time…It’s the way children’s brains form before they are wrecked by the school system. It’s the way that all great scientists and artists work. But once you have a belief system, everything that comes in either gets ignored that doesn’t fit the belief system, or gets distorted enough so that it can’t get into the belief system…Anybody who has a belief system that covers the whole universe, that would be the Roman Catholics, Orthodox Islam, Scientologists, CSICOP, the Marxists, the Objectivists, and most of the assholes, well, what happened is, their brain stopped receiving new signals. Or to the extent that new signals do get in, they all have to be edited to fit into the belief system.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson said don’t believe any one else’s BS (bullshit and belief systems) including your own, and I very much agree. This is because you’re believing an interpretation not a fact/truth. Similar to whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black.

“Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Reality is an illusion because we are illusions, our brains create us, not us. I believe we’re just clever enough to be aware of what it’s doing and think it’s us doing it.

Problems I’ve had when believing my own belief systems have led to low self esteem, believing I’m not good enough, and that other people know how to live life and that there is a way to live life that I’m not doing. This is destructive to me, I become jealous and really low. But it’s just a belief I have about myself, that has come into existence from experiences, memories, personality etc. It doesn’t mean it’s a fact. To question my beliefs about myself is liberating, like I suddenly realise I’ve been limiting myself, trapped in my own prison.

Problems I’ve had believing other people’s belief systems and opinions is, I doubt my own opinions and decisions. And think I’m doing something wrong or there’s something wrong with me because I’m not like them. Comparing all the time. Leading to more unhappiness and low self esteem.

It would be great if we were educated from a young age that everyone sees things differently and opinions aren’t facts, wouldn’t it?

I want to add that this is based on my own personal way of looking at things.

Things to practice fuelling your mind with:

•  Our perceptions aren’t reliable

•  Use “maybe” a lot more in speech to help us remember our opinions aren;t facts

•  Don’t believe any one else’s BS (bullshit and belief systems) including your own


I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. If you enjoyed it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.

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Jim Carey has a profound experience

“I woke up and I suddenly got it, I understood suddenly how thought was just an illusionary thing and how thought is responsible for if not all, most of the suffering we experience. And then I suddenly felt like I was looking at these thoughts from another perspective and I wondered who is it, that’s aware that I’m thinking.”

It sounds like he experienced what some call ‘enlightenment’ but only briefly. What if thoughts and who we think we are, are just a constructed illusion made by the mind? hard to imagine when you’ve grown up thinking you are you and this is it but imagine the suffering it could relieve you from.