We can’t imagine there could be understanding and wisdom without thinking… and yet the true answers we seek can only be found in a realm above thought that’s connected to higher wisdom.
Thinking, thinking, thinking. It’s what we do, day in and day out. We think about the past. We think about the future. We think about our problems and how to resolve them. Thinking, thought, thunk!
But for all that thinking, have we ever come to the resolution we seek? Have we ever fixed a heartache or a past mistake with thought? Or eased our concern over the future? Or found a lasting solution to a problem?
Other than the practical thought needed to do our jobs, find our way back home, or bake a loaf of bread, has all that incessant thinking and inner commenting done anything to bring us peace and contentment?
The great sages didn’t believe it did. They urged us to get beyond the thinking nature and enter a realm above it — a realm of understanding without words — a realm connected to higher wisdom.
We’re so used to swimming in our own thinking, we can’t imagine there could be understanding and wisdom without it. And yet, through the centuries, we’ve been told that the true answers we seek can only be found in that higher realm…
Stop thinking and end your problems.
— Lao Tse (604 B.C.E.)
The mind should be kept independent of any thoughts that arise within it. If the mind depends on anything, it has no sure haven.
— Buddha (560 B.C.E.)
The more a man enters the light of understanding, the more aware he is of his own ignorance. And when the light reveals itself fully and unites with him and draws him into itself, so that he finds himself alone in a sea of light, then he is emptied of all knowledge and immersed in absolute unknowing.
— Symeon, The Younger (949)
We could come into a new reality of our being and perceive everything in a new relation if we can stand still from self-thinking and self-willing and stop the wheel of imagination and the senses.
— Jacob Boehme (1575)
Nor do we think that many of our insoluble difficulties, perplexities, and unanswered questions necessarily exist because of the kind of consciousness we naturally possess, and that a new degree of consciousness would either cause our awareness of them to disappear or bring about an entirely new relation to them.
— Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
To meditate is to transcend time. Time is the distance that thought travels in its achievements. The traveling is always along the old path covered over with a new coating, new sights, but always the same road, leading nowhere — except to pain and sorrow. It is only when the mind transcends time that truth ceases to be an abstraction.
— J. Krishnamurti (1895)
Change starts with even the dim realization of being betrayed by our own faulty thoughts. Self-renewal occurs spontaneously when habitual thoughts are dropped. Few people realize how little truth they can take, but those who do will become new.
— Vernon Howard (1918)
Try an experiment and take a vacation from thinking for just a few minutes. Try it right now…
Just take a few deep breaths, bring your attention back to the present moment, and be as quiet inwardly as you can. You won’t be able to stop your thoughts, but with this little exercise you’ll be in a different relationship with them. You can see them from that higher place within you.
You may be surprised at how those worry thoughts, fear thoughts, angry thoughts, lose some of their power — if only for a moment — when you see them instead of seeing the world through them. You may even see yourself in a new way that changes everything for you.
Of course, you will only be able to stay there for a limited time. But as you slip out of this more aware state, back into your usual thinking, notice how your anxiety comes back. You can see how your thinking and your anxiety are related. This is valuable information.
Most important, now you know there’s another level of life you can be living from. If you see the value in it, you can start to make the necessary effort to spend more time in that beautiful world above thought.
Help in Reaching the World Above Thought
We’ve spent our whole lives immersed in a sea of thought. The habit of thought is very strong, and it takes effort to break its hold on us.
OneJourney founder Guy Finley has written many books and given many talks that provide directions for reaching the higher level within ourselves. Here is an article he wrote that can help you get started…
Live Above Thought
Question: My life seems like an endless string of thoughts by which I know myself. I wonder if it’s really even possible to live a thought-free life. How do I start knowing without thinking?
Answer: Christ often spoke of the futility of using thought as a foundation for knowing our True Self. He asked in countless ways, “What man, taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?” He taught his disciples to “take no thought for the morrow.”
Christ knew the great need for awakening his disciples to the realization that a life spent in only the mental realm was one of secret and sad captivity. And yet, as significant as His teachings may have been in days past, they are meaningless to us today unless we’re able to discover, for ourselves, the freedom and fearlessness of the thought-free life. Can such a lofty life level be attained? Yes!
Just as a gold miner far beneath the earth needs special lamps and tools to shed light on ore-rich rocks, we too need a way to see into the darkened inner world of our own psyche. To illuminate our inner world and work, we need to learn about self-observation and the conscious action of deliberately stepping back from our thoughts. We must become an observer of ourselves, watchful of both the content — and the intent — of everything arising from our own mind and heart.
You can do this, right now, by becoming aware — without thinking about it — that you are thinking. See that there are thoughts and feelings coursing through you. As you watch their movements, be their silent witness. Just observe.
To observe yourself, assume no position on the thoughts and feelings you see moving through you. Don’t put yourself on either side of any thought’s content. In other words, be neither for nor against any thought with any other thought. And should you get temporarily caught in the web of any thinking, then watch that event with the impartial intent and simply start over. Just let your awareness of these thoughts and feelings be there.
The foundation of self observation is a higher self awareness that puts you in direct contact with a new and superior Intelligence, a silent wisdom that immediately goes to work in your favor. For this elevated nature, incisive actions are effortless, and require no thought.
There’s a way to know, without ever having to think about it, exactly which of your own thoughts and feelings are your friends, and which are foes, a totally thought-free way to understand which of your thoughts are practical and necessary for everyday life, and which are stealing your life with unsuspected self-compromise. It’s true. You possess unsuspected powers of perception just waiting to be awakened. The following technique will help you get started:
Allow your eyes to fall on something familiar in the space where you are. Notice how your mind immediately gives that object a name. Having done this part of the exercise, keep your attention on whatever you’ve selected, and then continue to watch how more thoughts come into your mind about what you’re seeing.
Now, while you’re witnessing both that object and your growing stream of associative thoughts and feelings about it, just drop these thoughts and feelings.
You can still see the object, and you still know what it is — but now you are knowing without thinking. This is your introduction to an unconditioned relationship with life.
In this form of higher attention, of knowing without thinking, you can see that the meaning of the object before you has not changed. The difference is that now its meaning speaks directly, silently to you — instead of you listening to your thoughts tell you about its meaning.
When it comes to seeing a chair or a pencil, this new kind of thought-free state may not seem too profound. But this practice can (and should) be enlarged to encompass your whole life.
The benefits behind the ability to understand something, or someone, without having to go into thought, cannot be over estimated. If the sole cause of our conflict is in our psychic carelessness, because we unknowingly pick up and carry home with us self-compromising thoughts and feelings, then the solution we need and should seek, must be in a new kind of awareness. We need only align ourselves with its powers, which can be done.
Practice knowing without thinking. Begin today. Right now.
Let yourself see the meaning of individuals and their actions, of your behavior, of world events, of all your relationships — without telling yourself what you see. Again, let the meaning of what is before you reveal itself to you. Keep you out of it. If you don’t, then self-compromising self interest will come into and cloud the picture.
Bravely go through your day in this new way. Switch back and forth between your natural need for practical thought, as required in your business or home life, and this new state of seeing, of knowing without thinking. Be patient with yourself. For a while you may feel as though you just have to pick up some thought or feeling, even though a part of you knows you shouldn’t. Just learn to watch all of that too. And when you fail, try your best not to pick up self-judgmental thoughts.
And lastly, don’t fear anything you may see in yourself, or anywhere else. Don’t pick up these feelings either. They just want to load you down with a false sense of self borne out of an equally false sense of responsibility. No fear belongs to you, now or ever. Your higher nature knows this. And it knows what to do about all other forms of disturbance — all without thinking. Let it tell you what you need to know, and one day you’ll know what it means to live fully, safely, and securely.
Does your tradition talk about the existence of a world above thought, and the importance of spending more time there? If so, can you share a quotation about it with us? It may help others reach this higher place of peace and understanding. So, please submit your quotation to the OneJourney Living Book by clicking the link below…
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project
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