I recently came across this statement: Without the ability to imagine, without the ability to form thoughts, we could not experience anything other than our essential being. This caused me to wonder about the definitions of “imagine” and “thought.” (I’ve learned through countless email classes that what I think are the definitions of ordinary words doesn’t always line up perfectly with what the dictionary thinks.)
Imagine: 1) to form a mental image or concept of; 2) to suppose or assume. Also, 1) to think or create (something that is not real) in your mind; 2) to form a picture or idea in your mind of (something that is not real or present). And, 1) to believe that something is probably true.
Thought: 1) an opinion produced by thinking or suddenly occurring in the mind; 2) the action or process of thinking.
So, just for ducks: Thinking: The process of using one’s mind to consider or reason about something.
Without the ability to imagine, without the ability to form thoughts, we could not experience anything other than our essential being.
It seems they’re correct when someone dismisses our concern about an issue with something along the lines of, “That’s all in your mind,” or, “You’re just imagining that,” or perhaps, “You have no reason to think that.” However, and it’s a big however, the assumption (we’re all conditioned to believe is true) is that the person sorting us out is doing something different from what we’re doing. “Oh, I see, I’m just making stuff up in my head but the person discounting my experience is not just making that up in their head?” Yeah, they are.
All of which is an enormous argument for awareness practice!
If we consider that the illusion of being separate from (other than) Life (the illusion we call egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate) can only appear to exist, appear to be real, in an imaginary past and an imaginary future, we begin to see that the (conditioned) mind is not our friend. How so? Because all of that “thinking” that goes on in conditioned mind is imagined.
We are habitually mesmerized by the endless parade of “stuff” passing through the head. We imagine that it’s “real.” For instance: I think he meant X when he said Y, I doubt I’ll get the job, I don’t know what’s going to happen if it turns out to be that, people can be so thoughtless and cruel, it’s criminal what’s being done to them, why doesn’t she just Z, if only they would…, I know when that happened to me I felt…, I won’t be able to stand it if…. Or, perhaps: Oh, look at those birds, they’re so beautiful, I bet they love having all these trees to live in, I hope nobody decides to cut down these trees, why do people cut down trees anyway, don’t they know we can’t live without trees, I should plant some trees, I wonder who plants trees around here, I could volunteer, I’d love that, you don’t have time to volunteer, you have way too much to do for that….
An experiment: You don’t have to call it meditation. Just sit down in a comfortable place for ten minutes and watch the “stuff” roll through your head. And that’s just the stuff we can see! Behind that is more stuff and more stuff, layers of stuff, stuff supporting stuff. The result is that our attention is constantly focused on the stuff.
Our essential being, true nature, the Intelligence that animates all Life, is presence, is HERE, is thisherenow. We can glimpse our essential being when we be, for even a brief moment, in the space between thoughts. There’s a big clue for us, yes?
The thoughts are taking up all the space. We’re thinking, imagining, picturing, ruminating, reviewing, planning, wondering, figuring out…. Attention is kept very busy moving from “thing” to “thing.” From stuff to stuff. Then attention shifts for the tiniest of moments to a space, a gap, in that “mental activity,” and there it is! Awareness. Being. HERE. Can you feel that frisson of excitement? Connection? Recognition? Happiness? Joy?
It’s marvelous. Presence feels glorious. Presence is glorious.
So, if we know that, if that’s our own direct experience, why don’t we attend to awareness more often? Why don’t we pursue that gap, slip through, and spend some quality time in glorious/marvelous? Why don’t we be our essential being?
Because egocentric karmic conditioning self-hate cannot appear to be real in the present, and it has spent our lifetime bamboozling us into believing that it is us.
If you spark to this whole notion, here’s something to consider: 1) Make some time each day to simply observe the mind. Again, don’t call it meditation. That just sets off the ego-maintaining process resulting in moving from just observing into identification with the ego as it gears up to “do something.” 2) As you relax into just observing, notice it drops in that “you” are the awareness observing, not the mind busily maintaining the illusion that an imaginary “world” is real.
That’s plenty. Just enjoy that process. As you enjoy it, you will likely notice you want to do it more. (Being awareness is lovely.) At this juncture you’ll likely notice that the busy mind wants to draw you into it rather than having you continuing to observe it.
Just observe that!