Thoughts on Thinking

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The Thinking Place recognizes thinking as the important activity of Mankind.  Thinking is important because nothing can occur prior to a thought.   Thinking is the activity of consciousness.  I think, therefore I am; I am, therefore I think.  Well, yes.

In the most basic structure, things not thought never come to pass.  The flip side, of course, is the belief that “all that is” is the result of random movements of particles in a capricious universe.   Because of the Law of Attraction, either belief is valid – the thinker will experience the results of such belief.  The difference is between living a managed life and one bouncing around the chaos of other peoples thinking, i.e., victim of external forces.

Is it safe to assume (risking ass-you-me!)  that any person, anywhere, anytime, prefers to feel good rather than feel bad?  Good is relative, granted, and the range of  a “good” feeling is vast.  Someone’s “good” feeling may be witnessing another suffer.  That’s hardly the same “good” feeling of someone providing assistance to another.  There are degrees of every feeling and experience.  The Life experience is about moving to a better feeling existence.  A mental move to a better feeling experience is not an accident.  It is a choice – a decision, a thought, an expectation.

Nothing can improve without a thought for improvement.  Some people understand that.  Some don’t.  One of my favorite thinkers, Emmet Fox, noted that People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.  I think Fox was emphasizing that until consciousness changes it’s not possible for anything else to change.  Consciousness is an awareness of thinking and there are degrees of consciousness as with everything.  The higher degree is characterized by a greater frequency or vibration.  Higher frequencies, in a word, rule over lower frequencies.

Contemporary with Fox was Charles Fillmore, who summed up the mental process:  If you’re unhappy with your life, change you thinking.  In essence, it’s not possible to “fix” your life until you are able to “change” your thinking.

Yet how do you change thinking?  Simply by giving attention to something else that evokes an improved feeling.  Simple is not synonymous with easy.  Many of us aren’t aware that we’re thinking, let alone how we’re thinking.  As one wag noted, consciousness is a terrible thing to waste.

Quick check:  On most days are you planning your activities/experiences?  Or, are you reacting to whatever you’re sensing around you – 24 hours news, FB, other people’s opinions, etc.?  Many people bounce around their thinking, reacting to what they see and experience going on around them.  They give attention to the news, gossip, what others say and do, and make note of the differences between people (especially themselves.)   They focus on every injustice when the “bad guys” get away with it.   Or, when some people have all the luck (leaving less “luck” available for others!)

A change in consciousness is not necessarily a Road to Damascus moment with blinding Light and Voices from the Cosmos.  Most often an elevation of consciousness (thinking on a higher frequency) is more a “Eureka!” or “Aha!” moment when something is suddenly clear.  “I get that!” is often a response.  Finally learning to “follow” your hunch/instinct is a good sign.

Perhaps the finest illustration of a change in consciousness involves a very old and very widespread teaching about humans relating to one another:

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.  Buddhism.

This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do

            unto you.  Hinduism.

What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman.  Judaism.

The teaching is direct – don’t inflict on others what you don’t want to experience yourself.  We’ve got a long history of showing that this guiding principle is effective.

Take a look at the essence of the thought:  What’s emphasized?  Something painful or undesirable.  “I don’t want this to happen to me.”  Therefore, I won’t inflict this on someone else (and maybe they won’t do it to me.)  It is a sort of truce among people – let’s agree not to harm each other.  The agreement works very well.  Over time it becomes codified and passed along to each generation.  It is a belief, a faith, if you will.  It becomes a state of consciousness – individual and collective.

Take a look at the general concept expressed on a higher level of consciousness:

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them.

However one may consider Jesus, he is first a profound teacher, guiding consciousness with a shift in perspective.  This application, known as the Golden Rule, puts attention on what you desire – how you wish to be treated.  And places the responsibility for that desire on you!  Treat others as you want to be treated.  That’s a significant evolution from the old teaching.  Now as over 2,000 years ago, not everyone “gets it.”

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“I’ll be nice to you, IF you’re nice to me first.”

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“I’ll be nice to you if you’re nice to me first.”  “How I treat you depends on how you treat me.”  “I’m not supposed to like you, so I don’t have to be nice to you.”  There’s a lot of deep rooted beliefs in those mental statements.

 

If those sentiments ring familiar, then it’s possible that the principle teaching of the Great Master known as Jesus is not grasped, understood, let alone utilized.  That principle, known as the Golden Rule, is simply to treat others in the same manner which you would wish to be treated.  Those who get it, get it.  Those who don’t, can’t.

 

One of the profound effects of that teaching is that it is not about other people.  It is a formula for personal happiness.  The Golden Rule is all about you.  Everyone wants to be happy, to feel better in the moment.  Some succeed, many don’t.  Those that don’t likely think to themselves  “I’ll be nice to you IF you are nice to me first.”  The key point of the teaching is missed.  The “action” or energy element is placed on the other person.  You “react” to what this other person does, or does not do.  And if the other person isn’t “nice” to you, then you cannot be “nice” to him.  This creates antagonism and a struggle results.  Listen to others and note how people describe their daily experience as a struggle.  It’s not fate, or the gods, or capricious forces causing their struggle, but a deep seated belief that drives their thinking.

 

The Golden Rule is neutral.  It is the Law of Attraction applied to personal happiness.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Works great, unless you think that you are a worthless, no good, S.O. B., who has sinned, and deserves to be punished.  It you harbor a belief that you should suffer, then you will attract those who will help you fulfill your belief.  That’s how it works.  Until the belief changes, nothing else can.  And, that’s why there was (and remains) so much resistance to the Master’s teaching.  Changing a belief can be very difficult.  My favorite quote is from John Maynard Keynes:  “When someone convinces me that I am wrong, I change my mind.  What do you do?”  If thinking differently (which is what changing belief is) is terrifying, then cognitive dissonance occurs – that miserable state of being when undeniable “facts” challenge entrenched beliefs.  Something has to give – either re-write the facts or change belief.  Changing facts is a time consuming theatre.  Changing one’s thinking is often scary (venturing into the unknown, so to speak.)  How do you feel?  That’s a good indicator of how effectively the Golden Rule formula is being practiced.  Is there a sense of relief when an attitude is changed?

 

For the Golden Rule to be effectively applied, the fundamental question must be answered:  Who am I and why am I alive?  (There are many variations of the question, but you get the gist.)  It’s important because you cannot treat anyone else better than you treat yourself.  If you believe that you are created free and with a desire to be happy, then you convey that state of freedom and pursuit of happiness to others.  In return, you attract people and situations that affirm your freedom and happiness.   The Golden Rule in action.  Yet if the answer is oppressed “I was created to serve the tribe (hive, etc.)” then that is the manner you convey to others – who are fellow servants, suppressing individualism.  It takes a lot of effort to suppress innate identity.  History recounts the massive efforts to do that by institutions, ruling class, religions, and so forth.  Simply, if you can’t believe that you deserve or should be happy, then there’s no way you can.  The Golden Rule will make no sense.  You will treat others in the manner you perceive them treating you.  Reaction rather than action.

 

One of the reasons the teaching was so revolutionary is that it presented a way to create a happier life experience as opposed to merely avoiding more suffering and misery.  Same coin, two sides.  The more dominant “philosophy” of that era was do not do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.  In effect, don’t steal unless you want be stolen from, and so forth.  Frankly, not a bad governing approach for a society.  There is an enormous shift in consciousness with the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  One is to reduce/avoid pain and misery.  The other is to create more happiness by deliberate thinking.  A lot of folks at the time “got it.”  People still do, to this day.

 

The “problem” with Jesus’ teaching, was that it had no need for any institution or external force, to bring about a better life for the individual.  A lot of investment had gone into religion, priesthood, social expectations, family obligations and so forth – a powerful shared belief that a  “good” life was possible only by following the rules of others.  Ignore and suppress intuition and yield to the herd.

 

How entrenched is the momentum of the belief that it takes an intercession from someone or something in order for a person to earn, or be worthy, of a good life?  Martin Luther had some thoughts on the matter – long after the time of Jesus – when the Church became the only way to salvation or a better life.  The whole Protest was for direct personal access to God, via the Bible.  No institution or priesthood was necessary.  The mass media of the day, the printing press, allowed courageous individuals to get the Bible translated into common language, printed, and made available to the “common man.”

 

It can be hard to imagine, now, what a huge deal that was.  So, we can get an idea of the level of angst resulting from the Golden Rule at the time.

 

What is “wrong” with individual freedom and the pursuit of happiness that so threatens many?  Nothing is wrong with it.  So, practice the Golden Rule.  Use the Magic Word, Ashali, it’s a good tool for directing thinking to what is truly desired.  You’ll feel better.  And, isn’t that what it’s all about?