Life is a “thinking energy”, you as a soul/being as well as you as the physical body (with the heart & brain as the intelligence centers) are a form of life-energy and hence have this inherent nature of being a “thinking” entity. Living from a place of wholeness has nothing to do with the “end of thinking”, rather it’s about letting go of the deluded, misguided, or imbalanced, way of thinking. The whole practice of trying to silence your thoughts is one of the most misguided practices you can ever follow to come to a place of wholeness – trying to silence your thoughts is just an act of suppression, it can give you some temporary relief, just like a drug would, but it also keeps you to from resolving the conflicts/problems that you may be dealing with in your life. There are people who have spent years trying to silence their “thinking”, through the force of will, and all they manage to accomplish (temporarily) is a false state of dull peace, which has a highly unnatural feel to it and requires constant effort to maintain – these practices are ways of “disciplining” yourself unnaturally, and they accomplish nothing towards inner-freedom, creativity, alignment and conscious living. The problem is not with “thinking”, the problem is in the approach we developed towards thinking, which is simply a part of the conditioning/training we receive from a largely struggle-based society.
There are two ways in which you can think, as a being
1. Relaxed awareness (or relaxed-thinking)
2. Focused thinking
Very few of us have consciously aligned with the mode of “relaxed awareness”, and hence we don’t realize the immense potential this approach has towards bringing new solutions and resolving inner conflicts. Most of us are rooted in “focused thinking”, and in many cases our focus is on negativity rather than solutions and hence we just end up creating a momentum of negativity within us (which eventually shapes into a physical reality) while standing in resistance to allowing a balanced/wholeness-based solution. Focused thinking is also a very powerful way of “creating” solutions, but only when your focus is on solutions. It’s important to understand the “right way”, of using the potential of focused thinking, in order to lead a consciously effective life. The way I see it, unless you develop the capacity for relaxed-thinking, it’s very difficult to align with the right way of focused thinking – you can see this in people who keep trying to focus on positive thoughts, and end up living in fear of problems, conflicts and challenges.
Since the capacity for relaxed-thinking is a required pre-requisite, for the capacity to use the potential of focused thinking, I will discuss the mechanics of relaxed-thinking first, and follow it up with the mechanics of the “right way” of using focused thinking.
The approach of relaxed awareness
“Relaxed awareness” is just a term I coined up because it gives an accurate description of the state of openness involved when you align with this mode of thinking – it can also be referred to as “relaxed-thinking”. Relaxed-awareness is a part of the ability to be “allowing” of what arises in the form of thoughts, and emotions, without trying to suppress it and without trying to force a solution. You can try this right now, just a for a minute let go of making an “effort” to think, and just let thinking happen if it happens. The pointer is – don’t “try” to think, don’t try to solve anything, don’t try to look for solutions, don’t try to get rid of what arises, just “be”. I hope you understand that I am not asking you to “trance out” into some passive state, neither am I asking you to be “focused” on anything, it’s just about “being” aware without the need to protect yourself from any thought and without the need to hold on to any thought. There is such a thing as become “passive”, which is just another escape mechanism, and there is such a thing as “fear-based focus” which is also another protection mechanism. Relaxed-thinking is not meant to be an escape mechanism to got into some “lulled” state of daze, neither is it about focusing, it’s about actively “being” without trying to make an effort at trying to “be”.
It’s possible that you are not able to get the pointer I am conveying here, and it’s because you may be trying to understand, the approach of relaxed-thinking, from your past training of either trying to “struggle” in some way or trying to detach in some way – which are just two extremes of the same thing, fear-based living. Even when I give the pointer of “just be”, it can be misinterpret as “trying” to be, and then you just sit and keeping making an effort to “be”, and since all your energy is focused on this effort you cannot be relaxed, and hence you cannot really “allow” what’s arising naturally in your mind. Just let go of effort, without going into a state of being “passive” – it’s a middle ground. Below are a few pointers on knowing if you are doing relaxed-thinking the right way.
- You are not trying to escape, suppress or deny any of the thoughts that arise
- You are not “trying” to think, but you are allowing thinking to happen, in any way that it wants to happen
- You are open to all the emotions that arise in you including stark feelings of fear, restlessness or irritation
- You are not distracting yourself in any way through any external stimulus (It’s very helpful if you do relaxed-thinking with closed eyes, initially)
- You are not trying to become “passive” or detached. I can only give this as a pointer, it’s up to you to be honest with yourself on whether you are trying to get passive as a means to go into a lulled sense of peace, as an escape or as some “spiritual idea”.
- You are not trying to be aware, neither are you attempting to watch thoughts rigidly, if your awareness goes towards any thought, or feeling, you allow it, and when it lets go of a thought or a feeling, you allow that also – you are not trying to control what your awareness rests on.
- You are not trying to relax or feel good, you are not trying to be fearless, you are not trying to feel some “extraordinary” state.
The tendency of the mind is to think “repetitively” about any thought that feels like a concern, problem or challenge. The mind also thinks repetitively about its true desires, preferences and interests (when I say “the mind” I am including everything – the thinking of the heart, the brain, the being). The fact that the mind has the tendency to keep repeating whatever it feels is “important” for it, ensures that the state of “relaxed-thinking” is not a state of denial – if something is important to the mind, it will keep repeating the thought unless a solution is found or unless it loses importance through an understanding or perspective. So, don’t worry about being in “denial” when you are connected with relaxed-thinking – if you are not trying to be passive and detached, the state of relaxed-thinking will never be a state of denial.
The reason why the state of relaxed-thinking brings solutions (or brings wisdom) is because in this state “you” are not trying to think from your past conditioning which may be rooted in imbalances or delusions, rather, you are allowing the intelligence of the wholeness of life to assist you in bringing a solution/balance to the thoughts of your mind. This way you are connecting with a far deeper intelligence than the mechanical intelligence of conditioned thinking. In many cases, when you connect with relaxed-thinking you may see yourself being automatically guided towards solutions (for example, you may just feel an inspiration to search something in google which ultimately takes you towards a certain solution). The other advantages of relaxed-thinking are as mentioned below
- You develop a sense of inner power, where you become free of the “grip” of your mind’s thinking (since you develop the capacity to stop “reacting” to your mind’s thoughts). The more you connect with relaxed-thinking the more open your being feels from the strong-hold of the mind’s thinking momentum.
- As you practice relaxed-thinking the mind momentum keeps reducing and finally comes to balanced-levels, in case you had a high momentum going for you before. The momentum reduces not only because your mind finds solutions and understanding, but also because you are no longer fueling the momentum through giving it your narrow focus.
- You gain access to perspectives that are rooted in wisdom and wholeness, since you are no longer holding on to an egoic perspective alone.
- Emotional accumulation of the past starts getting released when you connect with relaxed-thinking, this is because you are no longer suppressing the emotional-release that arises naturally, and you (as a being) are no longer re-creating the emotions through unconscious identification which thought-patterns relating to them.
- You start gaining an inner stability to handle any challenge because you start finding a confidence in life’s intelligence to bring you solutions in this mode of being “resistance-free”.
- You feel more in tune with your intuition and wisdom
Relaxed-thinking may feel like a completely new domain to you. It’s like developing a new habit, and it will take time before you start getting used to it, and start seeing its potential/power in bringing solutions. For a while, you may just need to work on getting to terms with the natural state of relaxed-thinking. Don’t get too impatient, don’t try to “get it right” – both of these mindsets will hamper you from truly being connected with the openness that’s needed for relaxed-thinking.
Using focused thinking the right way
“Focused thinking” is when you consciously, or unconsciously, think about a particular thought/subject, giving it the fuel of your attention and interest. The first step towards using focused thinking, the right way, is to be more conscious about it. When you practice relaxed-thinking you will become aware of all the various habitual/repetitive patterns of thought that you were giving “unconscious attention” to before. You would need to release the momentum of your unconscious thinking patterns, before you can really start using focused thinking consciously – the only way to release the momentum is to become more and more rooted in relaxed-thinking (relaxed-awareness). At one point, when you’ve released the momentum of your unconscious thinking patterns, you can use relaxed-thinking and focused-thinking in a balance, both these ways of thinking are required for an optimal life.
I will reiterate that it’s very important to find a stability in “relaxed-thinking” before you can even look at using focused-thinking the right way. It is relaxed-thinking that releases the past momentum of negativity in your mind, so that it’s more conducive to a new focus. For example, you may be rooted to a struggle-based way of thinking and your mind may have a strong momentum towards this way of thinking owing to years of unconscious attention, and in this condition if you try to change your focus to a abundance-based way of thinking you will find a lot of resistance coming from the mind (because of its past momentum). When you connect with relaxed-thinking, you can allow the past momentum of your mind to ebb away, so that your mind no longer poses resistance to your conscious focus.
Once you have released the past momentum of your mind (through relaxed-awareness), you can start using focused-thinking in a conscious manner. Below are some pointers on the optimal way to use focused-thinking to align with a solution-based focus.
- Don’t focus on blame-based thoughts, it serves no purpose
- Don’t focus on the perceived “negatives” in a situation, just observe them, and then focus on what kind of growth the situation is wanting to create in you. Always focus on thinking in terms of inner growth/maturity. Introspection is a very powerful form of focused-thinking.
- Don’t keep focusing on the problem. When you have a problem, you just need to observe it once to know its there, nothing is served by constant obsessing about it. Once you see a problem, you can also see your mind formulating a “required solution” (envisioning a reality that doesn’t have this problem). Shift your focus towards this “required solution”, and keep your focused-thinking along these lines.
- Use your focused-thinking to visualize the reality you desire, and get a sense of the light and dark nature involved in this reality – the reality of life is that every situation has a light and dark nature. For example, a relationship can bring you romantic experiences, but it will also take up your time and energy. When you are aligned with the light and dark nature of a desired reality, it can manifest more smoothly, since you are exhibiting a maturity to deal with it.
- Don’t use your focused-thinking to only focus on the light nature of a reality, such a focus may seem like “positive thinking” when in truth it’s just deluded thinking because it’s also not grounded in reality and hence is in resistance to manifesting a physical reality of your desire. Such a focus can also keep you from unearthing the resistance you may have towards the actual reality of your desire.
- Focused-thinking in balance with relaxed-thinking is most optimal for bringing better solutions and dissolving inner conflicts/resistances.
Focused-thinking is a part of being a “deliberate creator”, where you make the choice towards what type of reality you want to experience. The problem is that, when a person who is deluded about life, he/she tends to think in a delusional manner and such a person can then use focused-thinking to just focus on a deluded, or misguided, image of reality – which can just become a means of living in some form of denial or ignorance. This is the reason why it’s important to first connect with relaxed-awareness, to allow yourself to transcend the grip of your mind’s imbalanced momentum while also developing a deeper understanding of reality – the more you understand the reality of life the more aligned your thinking will be. For example, when you realize that all realities, in life, have a light and dark nature, your thinking is no longer deluded, rather it starts becoming congruent with reality.