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If Thought Stopped

“We argue with the way things are by pretending to know the way things should be”

If thought stopped, would I know it? If I was choicelessly aware, would I know it? If I were selfless, inseparable from my environment, completely attentive, absolutely free, would I know it? Could I know anything if thought stopped? Could I do anything that was not reflexive or involuntary? Would “I” even be present?

If I am not present, where am I? Am I waiting in the wings to reappear and carry on with knowing, or am I gone for good? Can I not dismiss these questions with answers because, knowing I am a believer/liar, I know enough to let these questions stand?

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When there is silence between the thoughts - are you there? This can be a practical experiment.

And when a thought arises, are you there? Can you catch the beginning of a “spontaneous” thought before it has fully formed?


It is a shock when experimenting with this to see that ‘you’ are the thought that is trying to see thought as it arises…that you are the illusory ‘thinker’ that is trying to ‘do’ this or that. That it is this illusory ‘me’ that is trying to ‘get’ somewhere, find out something, solve the ‘puzzle’…that suffers.

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Yes - we are habitually caught up, and swept along by what we “know”, our interpretations. Our mental narrative seems to be our dominant form of experiencing the world.
Our reactions are a mirror of our habitual relationship with the world.
Seeing this, what happens next?

One thing is the desire to ‘hold on’ to what was seen. Though seeing that, it can be let go. A question did arise: this thinker/thought thing that goes on almost constantly must consume ‘energy’ no? Is this the wasted energy that is needed to ‘attend’?
That is needed to “step out of the stream”? It seems so.

When we realise that we are pouring energy into an endless hole that only serves to reify its own existence, without ever filling up, then the hole’s pull seems less urgent.

The insight sees the process is mechanical and by the illusion of me as thinker it is kept in a seemingly endless ‘stream’. Freedom is the attention to it, the attending to it…as was said it is one thing to ‘do’ this when there is quiet and another when one is face to face with another…but one thing seems true is that when one is not attending, one is wasting precious energy and ‘strengthening’ the ‘stream’.

By ‘mechanical’ I mean that when I’m feeling ‘unfulfilled’ there is an attempt by ‘me’ to move away from that feeling. But why not stay with that feeling?

The feeling of “not wanting this” is perfectly designed to prompt us into not wanting it.
An itch is perfectly designed to make us scratch.

So hair shirts were a way to try to overcome or ‘stay with’ the urge to itch but not give in to it. Intentional suffering? For what?

Ah, the Way of the Fakir.

It would appear not. There might be an image of the mystical occurrence imprinted on the brain that then gets interpreted and relayed afterwards, however imperfectly. How could we have classical works of art otherwise?

Krishnamurti did say, “Run from anyone who says he knows.”


“I don’t trust experience, including my own.”

This has to be taken in context though otherwise the investigation into the limits of thought would be stifled, no?

It’s almost as if you have to proceed all the while delicately holding onto the fact that the inquiry itself is composed of the very elements of desire/benefit/what should be/conflict we are seeking to get to the bottom of. Delicate balance.

Psychological thought (I assume that’s what you’re talking about) might stop in moments of flow, an immersive state, “in the zone.” There’s not enough brain CPU left after all the intense processing to maintain a sense of self as center.

Yes, yes, no. (For a state of flow.)

More like the first, on the back burner, ready to reassume its front-burner-hood at first opportunity.

If the inquiry here is into self knowledge there has to be freedom to look. That ‘looking’ can’t have any motive but the ‘seeing’. Any motive is the self’s isn’t it? Doing the ‘inquiry’ is the self’s desire to ‘become’. Getting to the bottom’ is the self’s motive, thought’s motive, right? Trying to maintain a delicate balance is the self’s idea and all this can be seen if there are no preconditions. Just the seeing , listening, hands wide open.

Of course I may be wrong. :woozy_face:

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If depends on whether one has curiosity. There are some things one must find out, in spite of the consequences.

You are playing with the meaning of words.

I’m sure it is entertaining to go down this rabbit hole, but the right questions here are to see what is thinking and what is knowing. Your petty questions have no meaning, if you are not serious.

How would you know that if “seeing” is not real for you?

I can’t say with certainty that “any motive is the self’s” just because K said it. It may be true, but I don’t honestly know because I can’t see past my unconscious beliefs and biases.