Thoughts on Thought
An ever-deepening lesson for me is that I can’t believe anything I think! The thoughts in my head can veer unpredictably from sacred selflessness to petty spitefulness, from the exalted to the reprehensible.
I once thought that awakening meant that only the most holy and sublime thoughts would enter my mind. Now I believe that most thoughts are uninvited guests who flit from one mind to the next. I’m no longer sure that there’s such a thing as a private thought. Rather, there are thought-forms that inhabit our shared mental plane, which sneakily dress themselves up and pretend that they’re uniquely ours.
I’m not saying that everyone has the exact same types of thought-forms passing through their heads. Your customary vibrational resonance, and where you typically place your attention, will attract certain flavors of thought more than others. But we do live in a shared mental field, and the borders of mind are permeable.
If I have a horrible thought, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. Any thought can potentially enter any mind. But if I focus on a thought, I lay personal claim to it. If a stray cat yowls at my door, it will eventually wander off if I ignore it. But if I feed it, it may become a daily visitor.
I’ve even had the experience of having a thought-stream run in my head that clearly wasn’t mine. Once, during a group shamanic breathwork process, a vivid and elaborate scenario played out in my mind of me becoming a particular person’s romantic partner. But these were unlike any thoughts I’d ever had, and their vibration felt very strange.
I believe that someone was deliberately projecting these thoughts into my mind, so that I would think they were mine and take action on them. After about five minutes, the thought-stream stopped. The sender must have realized that I was wise to their trick, and wasn’t going to take the bait.
On a more routine basis, there’s entrancement that doesn’t involve another person. All on its own, my mind loves to spin out a variety of possible solutions to a problem, but never settle on a final choice. Sometimes it seems as if its main job is to keep me endlessly engaged in the mental plane for as long as possible!
Head or Heart?
The best alternative I’ve found to this mental hamster wheel is my heart. When I see that I’ve once again gotten lost in my head, I drop into my heart and check in with my inner knowing. When I can relax into it enough, it will always give me the answer I need, straight up and no nonsense.
The choice is always there: head or heart? One will run you in circles. The other will bring you home.