Oftentimes on the spiritual path we conclude (or are told), that our thoughts are the cause of our suffering. Indeed, how many times have we said to ourselves, “Grrrrr!, my thoughts are driving me crazy!! If only I could turn my @#$% mind off!” We believe that if we can just find a way to somehow prevent thoughts from occurring, we will experience peace and happiness.
However, as you know probably all too well, trying “not to think” is an exercise in futility and often leads to even more suffering. At some point, it can dawn on us that thoughts seem to come and go all by themselves, or unbidden as I like to say.
However, the really, really good news is that even though you cannot control your thoughts (neither their content nor duration), it turns out that in order to experience authentic joy, peace, and contentment, you don’t need to! All that is “required” is that you investigate one thing:
Whether or not the person your thoughts
are referring to actually exists!?
In other words, we assume, without having actually investigated it ourselves, that the “person,” the “I,” the “Me,” “the self,” that arising thoughts refer to actually exists! Again, I am not talking about the thoughts themselves, but this so called “person” or “individual” they are referring to– that needs to be looked into.
Does this “I” you believe yourself to be really exist? Or, is it more like a mirage: it appears to be there, but upon close inspection it is seen that there is no actual substance to it. It exists only by inference, and thus is an illusion.
I like this quote I came across on facebook, as it describes my experience:
“I have carefully investigated. I have observed everything from the tips of my toes to the top of my head:and I have not found anything of which I could say ‘This I am’.” –Jaya Lal Khanna
Remember, it doesn’t matter what thoughts are going on about if YOU know the “person” they are talking about doesn’t exist. It’s the belief in a separate, fictional story about a “me” that never actually existed that causes suffering. Seeing through the story, which does not require changing or stopping thoughts, is what reveals the causeless love, joy, peace and freedom you have always been.