Since I am exploring The Work right now, I am exploring thoughts more in details.
Thoughts seem to live their own life. They arise and dissapear from and into space. When I actively look for them – for where they come from and where they go – I cannot find anything, and they quiet down in the process as well.
Awareness can engage in thoughts – fuel them or push them away. When awareness fuel thoughts, they unfold and give rise to new thoughts – a chain of assosiations. This is partly directed and partly nondirected by consious mind. When awareness push them away, they are still there and impact the personality, often in the form of impulses that are not quite aligned with the conscious self-image and worldview.
Awareness (mind/consciousness) is distinct from its content. Awareness can awake to itself as distinct from its content, and it seem to have an inherently spacious and clear nature. When awareness is aware of itself as distinct from its content, it can allow the content to arise and fade, with freedom in whether to engage in it or not. There is more overview, and more of a sense of choice.
It seems that awareness, when awake to itself as distinct from its content, can initiate and guide thoughts, to a certain extent. This is more conscious thinking, with a sense of no extra. It tends to be clear, to the point, and leaves no trace.
When awareness is identified with its content – including the thoughts – everything seems personal and unique. When awareness awakens to itself as distinct from its content, thoughts and all other processes of the personality, appear as universal and impersonal. Both seem accurate – they represent universal processes with a unique flavor.
Existence is a fluid seamless whole, beyond and embracing all polarities. Thoughts point to a limited aspect of Existence, seen from a limited view. Any thought and any internally consistent set of thoughts represent a very limited and incomplete perspective. The view we cling to is an incomplete abstraction, and when the inner/outer situation does not conform to the view – which inevitably happens, we suffer for it.
One way of working with this is to turn the statement around any way possible, and see how each of the new statements are as true (and incomplete) as the original. This loosens it up and gives us a glimpse of the more comprehensive existence beyond thoughts.
- Loosen up
The Work helps us with a structure for examining thoughts. We start with a statement, then ask four questions and do the turnaround.
We examine (a) the truth of a statement (even the most sophisticated and inclusive statement is usually seen as incomplete), (b) what believing in the thought does for us (brings suffering in many shapes), (c) what we would be without the thought (awareness with its inherent qualities of space, clarity, responsiveness), and (d) then turn the statement around any way possible (to self/other/opposite) and explore how each of these new statements are as true as the original.
This dissolves the charge around the thought/belief. The clinging to it loosens up, we see through it and can rest in more clear, spacious, responsive awareness. Instead of limiting ourselves by believing a thought, and creating a drama around it when existence does not conform with the thought, we can stay in what is – with more responsiveness and clarity. There is a sense of coming home, and there is an inherent joyfulness and compassion in it.