We Are Nature and Thought is Not Our Enemy

We are phenomena of the physical world collectively. We are nature. Thought creates with human labor, but it does not create nature. Thought, knowledge, memory, intellect, sense of self, and identity are functions of our brain. Why would we vilify our nature unless intelligence is self-annihilating?

Because we think its bad? This is our confused nature - both confusion and annihilation do occur in nature.

A better outcome would surely be clarity and freedom from delusion?

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Thought is incoherent because it is confused, so why vilify it?

Thought isn’t aware of its confusion because it’s “normal”, what thought has been doing for so long, it can’t imagine doing anything else. But if thought were to stop, be quiet, inoperative, might something be revealed that would be revolutionary, transformative?

“To meet the present, the mind must be totally devoid of thought, so that there is observation without idea; and it is this observation without idea which gives the tremendous energy for mutation to take place. That is, the mind must be empty of all the things that memory has put into it. We need memory in order to function, to operate, to do things; we must have the past as knowledge but without letting it interfere in any way with the present, which is action, which is energy.”

Saanen 9th Public Talk 25th July 1963

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Surely the inquiry is about the right place of thought - when it is appropriate and when it isn’t. Practical thought vs psychological thought as we often refer to it here. It is not a matter of judgement. By the time we vilify or celebrate the thinking process, it is way too late. It’s the origination of thought which is of import. Does it have a basis in reality or is it mapping a helter-skelter world at the center of which lies a manufactured ‘psyche’.

As others have pointed out above, if our interest is to explore thought in a fundamental manner, we cannot use it as the instrument of investigation. We are investigating whether or not thought is feeding us erroneous information. At a very minimum we would have to find a way to not look through our individual perspectives.

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Is thought keeping us from “ meeting the present” for reasons of its own? What is it about the present moment that thought continues to obscure it? Thought has labeled Nature and takes the words as the ‘things’.
If Thought is present in the mind, the Present can’t be met?

It’s important to be aware of our thoughts and how they disrupt observation in the present.
But they are our individual thoughts, and we can change them and even pause them sometimes. Thoughts are part of our being.

That is the point as I see it. The body, its senses all operate in the immediate present. As does the brain. But with thought/ memory occupying the brain/mind, the vital Presence of the present is ‘diluted’, distorted…The “energy” of the Present, necessary for the “mutation “ is not realized.

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I’ve got to go with : No. Silence, by itself is not necessarily transformative or enlightening.

I’m going with the understanding that there are naturally spaces between thoughts - even long moments eg. sunsets, fatigue, zoning out looking at the sky/fire etc

Freedom from thought, the understanding that useless, detrimental thought is useless and detrimental (eg. rumination, longing, rambling narrative etc) comes from some understanding of what thought/self is - And this in turn allows silence to arise from awareness of our experience.

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So you’ve concluded on the basis of very brief moments of silence. Are you not open to the possibility that more extended silence might make a difference?

You can learn to hold your breath for a few minutes, but that doesn’t mean you can live without breathing. Likewise, the conditioned brain may be capable of resisting the effect of short spans of silence, but not longer lasting silence.

Freedom from thought, the understanding that useless, detrimental thought is useless and detrimental (eg. rumination, longing, rambling narrative etc) comes from some understanding of what thought/self is - And this in turn allows silence to arise from awareness of our experience.

Yes, we can learn to suspend thought for longer spans of time than usual, but it may be suppressed thought (like holding your breath), and is not the silence K was speaking of (which is not to say that this isn’t a worthwhile exercise). But the silence of thought that occurs when the conditioned brain awakens to the actuality that thought is inadequate, limited, and corruptible, stops the train of thought in its tracks.

Yes, we can be aware of our thoughts, see how they are irrational, emotional, reactive, and this self-awareness brings self-knowledge and modification of our conditioned response. But that isn’t the radical change K was talking about. As good and necessary as it is, it’s superficial.

The change K was talking about occurs when the brain is acutely aware of its dependency on thought, a limited, corruptible process, and why K raised the question, “is there another instrument rather than thought? You understand my question?”

K: "So, we are saying that the first essential quality in the investigation, in the enquiry, if there is another instrument, the first thing is, one has to be extraordinarily sensitive…We live by senses, and perhaps some have developed a particular sense. But the speaker is saying to awaken all your senses to their highest degree so that you look at the world with all your senses…How can you destroy the most extraordinary instrument that we have, the body, with all its senses; the body which is - if you have gone into it - such an extraordinary instrument. …So we must understand the nature of desire; it is very important in the investigation of a new instrument, realising the old instrument, which is thought, is not solving any human problems. So in the investigation of that, we have come upon this thing called desire. What is desire? "

When K asked if there is another instrument “rather than thought”, was he referring to the body, the senses, or to a change in the way the brain operates, greater communication throughout the brain, wholeness.

Thought doesn’t operate intelligently because its use is not determined by intelligence, but by the brain’s total dependency on thought. The brain is addicted to incoherent thought because it hasn’t the intelligence to acknowledge its condition and respond appropriately.

So what, if anything, can the brain do to lose its addiction to thought if it can’t stop thinking? Drug addicts can quit using their drug (willingly or not), but the human brain has been addicted to thought for so long that it dares not quit for fear of losing everything it knows.

By being alert to the movement of thought. Alertness, awareness, sensitivity…to the thought/image that arises with the sensation. The ‘naming’, the like/dislike, the desiring, comparing, etc. Thought is of no use in this, only its “abeyance”. Which can only come about through ‘awareness ‘?

I don’t know.

Awareness is all we have, but if the brain is not aware of incoherent thinking as it occurs, awareness isn’t enough. If the brain can’t see the error of its way, it can’t put thought in its place.

But it can see the conflict and the fear and divisiveness of thought. It can also understand that it is only the the quiet mind that can “meet the present”. That thought is locking it in the past?

Yes, but retrospectively. If you and I can’t see incoherent thought as it operates, but only upon reflection, we’re not aware of what thought is doing as it happens.

It’s that situation that for me brings about the effort to be aware of what I am thinking. An excercise to see if I can follow the thoughts as they arise. Not to be confused with ‘choice less awareness ‘.

And in trying such experiments with one’s thoughts, breath, sensations , etc and failing to be able to be aware of these but for short spans, brings home to one that this fictitious ‘me’ is NOT in control.

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Is it possible to catch an unbidden thought as it arises? to be present as the thought is forming? to catch the first words in the narrative - and eventually see what provoked the thought?

Or do we only know the past?

This is what is interesting: they’re never “bidden”, they arise on their own. They follow more or less the rules of association. The ‘me’ we consider as the one doing the “bidding” is thought’s creation of the ‘thinker’…no thinker only thought. Yes there can be an awareness of the process but I can’t say where the awareness comes from.