Meditation Column: Free yourself from the confines of thought

SOURCE: METRO IMAGES

Thought defined is the result of thinking or what thinking is itself. An idea, assumption, observation, experience, memory, etc., produced by thinking or a result of brain activity that just pops up in the mind beyond the control of the thinker. The action of thinking can be purposeful; for instance, if someone asks what is one plus one, you think, the thought comes, you answer two. We spend a lot of time with that type of thinking. The accumulation of knowledge put through the thought process has led humanity to the majority of the advances we have achieved today, which includes those accomplishments we label positive and negative. The negative results are often caused by knowledge that has resulted from inaccurate information or negative programming or conditioning.

As students of meditation, we will focus on the compulsive thinking. That which comes to our mind on its own. The thinking that comes without our conscious desire or permission.

Through meditation practices, we learn or rather train ourselves to observe the stream of thought. Through observation, we automatically, almost effortlessly, drop our identification with the thoughts that come to mind. You are not the stream of thought. (See Meditation at www.wakingupwithpatrick.com.)

To be clear, many of the thoughts that come to mind do not lead to negativity. The majority of the thoughts that pop in there, which lead you into mental fantasies or mental movies of the past or present or future, do. The compulsive, often obsessive thinking that interferes with the quality of life are what the student and the teacher choose to observe. It can become worse as we identify ourselves and others by the thoughts coming to mind. You are not these thoughts, yet you may identify yourself with what they are telling you. You are not in control of these thoughts. If you were, you would stop them and find true peace.

The student of meditation learns that by observing the stream of thought without interference, judgment, condemnation, flattery, etc., everything changes. You allow the stream, stop fighting it, observe it, observe as you pile more thought on top of the thoughts. That’s when you separate from it. That’s when you effortlessly begin to realize that the part of yourself observing is you, the true self, unblemished by the workings of your mind. With practice (meditation), your conscious self comes to the forefront of your life, and a truly incredible human being emerges.

Practice meditation until you don’t have to anymore. You will know when. It will be the time you spend peaceful, feeling love and joy. Presence comes to the forefront of your life, and present conscious awareness becomes your normal state of being. Focus your attention on an object or sound, observe non-judgmentally the thoughts flowing through your mind. Repeat the practice, repeat it a thousand times until you are free from the confines of thought.

It’s a new day. ••