Believing a thought makes me more stupid than I am, and finding curiosity for it makes me as smart as I am

Believing any thought makes me more stupid than I am. I put on blinders. And when I find curiosity about the thought, it can bring out my natural wisdom and kindness. It can make me as smart as I really am.

This is quite simple, and something we all probably notice now and then. At the same time, it’s not always so easy to put into practice. And that’s why we have training wheels, more structured approaches that can take us by the hand and lead us through it.

THE ESSENCE

We can believe any thought, and when we do, we put on blinders. We pretend it’s true even if no thought is absolutely or finally true. By believing a thought, we limit how we perceive, think, feel, and live our lives. We make ourselves more rigid in our views, thinking, and life. We limit our options. We blind ourselves to other views that may have as much or more validity for us. In a very real sense, we make ourselves more stupid than we are.

If we instead hold the thought more lightly, meet it with a more open mind and heart, and examine it to find what’s more true for us, we can access the kindness and wisdom that’s already here. We open ourselves to other options. We are more able to make good choices. We can make ourselves as smart as we already are.

It sounds simple, and the essence of it is simple. It’s something we all notice now and then. At the same time, it’s not always so easy to do on command. When we get stuck in rigid views, it’s often from a combination of fear and habits. We hold onto the view for safety, as a reaction to an unexamined and unloved fear in us. We are in often the habit of doing just that. And we may not know how to shift out of it.

That’s why we have more structured approaches that take us through this step by step to show us our own wisdom. And that’s why we have guides who can lead us through the steps, help us notice what we may not have noticed on our own, and hold space for us for our own explorations. This support is especially helpful in the beginning, and it also helps us any time we are especially identified with a thought and have trouble thoroughly exploring it on our own.

Eventually, this becomes a new habit and something we find ourselves doing more naturally and spontaneously in daily life, and we may still return to the structure when we want to explore something more thoroughly.

This is a lifelong adventure and process. There is always more to learn and discover about the process itself and from the thoughts we examine.

NOTE

I initially intended to go more into details around this (see below!), but landed on this much simpler version. It’s partly because other articles go more in-depth on different aspects of this topic, and partly – or perhaps mainly – because of an extra bad period of brain fog (CFS). It makes it difficult for me to write and wrangle with longer texts.

DRAFT ONE

BELIEVING A THOUGHT MAKES ME MORE STUPID

Believing a thought makes me more stupid.

We can perhaps most easily notice this in others. We see they believe a thought we don’t believe, we see how it influences how they see and live life, and what it makes them blind to. And we can be pretty certain we do the exact same in other ways and areas of life.

HOLDING A THOUGHT AS TRUE

We can consciously hold a thought as true. It’s part of our conscious identity. This means we are typically less motivated to investigate the belief and find what’s more true for us, although challenging life situations or inner life can bring us to it.

And we can also have part of us holding a thought as true, even if we consciously know it isn’t. Here, our perception and life will still be colored by the belief, although if we become aware of this belief pocket, it makes it easier to investigate it and help it release.

Beliefs can be more central or peripheral. Our deeper and more central beliefs may color our perceptions and life more consistently. And some may be more peripheral and come up in certain situations.

There is a fluidity in this. Different life situations tend to activate different beliefs. When that happens, we may more strongly perceive and live as if they are true. And, in some cases, we may be aware of what’s happening and be more open to questioning them.

THE EFFECTS OF HOLDING A THOUGHT AS TRUE

What happens when we hold a thought as true?

What I find for myself is that I identify with the viewpoint of the thought. This creates a sense of I and other. I am this viewpoint, and anything else is other.

I also perceive, feel, think, and live as if the thought is true. This can be more or less wholeheartedly, depending on how strong the belief is. And it happens up to a point since it’s impossible to completely perceive and live as if it’s true.

This leads to a long list of other things. For instance, if I hold a thought as true, I’ll tend to feel that I need to support, reinforce, and protect that belief. I’ll need to defend it against anything that seems to threaten it since this seems as a threat to me. This is inherently stressful.

SOME OF THE WAYS I MAKE MYSELF MORE STUPID

How do I make myself more stupid when I hold a thought as true?

I become more rigid in terms of how I look at the topic of the thought. My perception, thinking, and the options I see for how I can live my life become more rigid. I close myself off from other – often more kind, reasonable, and sane – options.

More specifically, I make myself blind to the validity in the reversals of the thought, and a range of other thoughts I may take as incompatible with the initial thought.

I overlook or dismiss other options for how to relate to the topic of the thought, and in how I respond to situations related to the thought.

I more easily get caught up in an internal struggle around the thought. I pretend the thought is true while life is always showing me something else, and that creates an internal struggle. I tend to get obsessed with the thought and ruminate on it and that’s also a struggle. In short, I get caught up in a struggle with my own thoughts, with and within my own imagination. […]

WHAT DO I MEAN WHEN I SAY *MORE* STUPID?

I mean that I make myself more stupid than I would be if I held the thought more lightly and had found more receptivity, fluidity, and curiosity.

FINDING CURIOSITY ABOUT A THOUGHT MAKES ME SMARTER

Another way to say this is that finding curiosity about a thought, and holding it more lightly, makes me smarter. It makes me as smart as I am and can be without the belief.

It helps me examine a range of different views on the topic and find examples of the validity in each one. it opens me up to new possibilities in terms of views, perception, and how I live my life.

A FEW EXAMPLES

There are literally as many examples as there are thoughts. And really, as many examples as there are thoughts held as true combined with situations where that belief is triggered in us.

THE SOLUTION

What’s the way out of this?

As so often, the way out is through.

The first step is to notice what’s happening. We may not always be able to directly find the thought we hold as true, but we can notice the stress the belief is creating in us and use that to identify the thought or thoughts behind it.

We can then examine this thought, either informally or in a more structured way.

Usually, a structured inquiry helps us be more thorough and find things we otherwise wouldn’t have so easily found, and it also helps to be facilitated by someone experienced and skilled.

I personally find The Work of Byron Katie and the Living Inquiries to be direct and effective.

There are many other approaches that can be helpful, including dialog or parts work and heart-centered practices.

DRAFT TWO

Finding curiosity about a thought makes me smarter.

When I find curiosity about a thought, it opens my mind and I can more easily access the wisdom that’s already here. I find more receptivity, fluidity, and my mind is open to more options in how I perceive and live my life.

Believing a thought makes me more stupid than I am. And finding curiosity about the thought makes me as smart as I am.

HOW WE CAN START IDENTIFYING AND EXAMINING OUR THOUGHTS

How can I find more curiosity about my thoughts? How can I explore this for myself?

Said simply, I notice my thoughts, examine them, and find what’s more true for me.

And it’s not always that simple.

Often, certain thoughts are part of my self-talk although I may not notice. And sometimes, they are here and influence my perception, thoughts, feelings, and life, but I am not conscious of them and they are not explicitly part of my self-talk. These are often more essential underlying thoughts and assumptions.

It can take some exploration to identify these, and the ball of underlying thoughts and assumptions unravels over time.

Also, examining them is not always so easy. We tend to relate to our thoughts in habitual ways, and in ways that tend to reinforce them.

So in order to identify our thoughts, and examining them in a fruitful way, we may need the assistance of a more structured approach and someone experiences who can guide us through the process.

As we get familiar with this, it gradually becomes a new habit and happens more spontaneously and effortlessly in daily life.

Even here, we may sometimes need a more structured approach and assistance from a guide, especially when it comes to identifying and exploring the thoughts and assumptions we most identify with. They may be too close to us for us to be able to effectively do this on our own. And that’s part of the beauty of this process. We help each other.

The approaches I have found most useful are The Work of Byron Katie and the Living Inquiries. Since I have worked with both for several years (16 and 8?), I mostly do it on my own, but I sometimes also have others facilitate me.

SOME BACKGROUND

I already said the essence, but I thought I would go into some more of the background. What goes into holding a thought as true? What are the effects of holding a thought as true? In what way do I make myself more stupid than I really am when I hold a thought as true? And so on.

….

INITIAL OUTLINE

  • Believing a thought makes me more stupid
    • holding thought as true
      • can hold as true consciously or somewhere else in our system
      • fluidity – which one comes up + how strong depends somewhat on the situation
    • when hold a thought as true
      • identify w. the viewpoint of the story
      • perceive and live as is true, to the extent possible (isn’t completely possible)
      • feel as if is true, think as if true, to the extent possible
    • make myself more stupid
      • when believe a thought, make myself more stupid than I am
      • bc perceive, feel, think, live as if true
      • live w/in my own fantasy,
      • close down for what’s here without it
        • empathy, sober view, receptivity, curiosity,
        • recognizing thoughts as questions about the world, unable to hold any final or absolute truth
    • some examples
      • religion
        • third-person info is true, pretend its true – stressful
      • spirituality
        • any ideas about spirituality
      • about others
        • Norwegian spiritual teacher, assumed a lot of things about me, unable to go outside of it, very strange conversation
        • Oregon spiritual teacher, asked about the initial side-effects of awakening, as if they would still be there after twenty years 
        • easier to notice when we are on the receiving end, and can then find how we do the same 
      • about oneself
        • stupid, unlovable,
    • the way out
      • not by making this into another belief
      • not by deciding to not believe, bc not possible
      • by noticing, investigation – sincere,

…..

It’s pretty easy to notice. It happens for most or all of us. And we individually and collectively tend to encourage a more open mind in some areas and not in other areas.

…..

Believing a thought makes me more stupid than I am. And finding curiosity about the thought can make me as smart as I am.

When I believe a thought, I pretend the thought is true, even if no thought is absolutely true. I become rigid in how I perceive, think, feel, and act. I am not open to the validity in apparently contradictory thoughts

And finding curiosity about the thought makes me smarter. It makes me as smart as I am.

When I find curiosity about a thought, it opens my mind and I can more easily access the wisdom that’s already here. I find more receptivity, fluidity, and my mind is open to more options in how I perceive and live my life.

….

Structured inquiry helps me be as smart as I am **

…..

OUTLINE 2

  • Believing a thought makes me more stupid than I am, and finding curiosity for it makes me as smart as I am
    • believing a thought
      • what happens, the effects
    • curiosity about that thought
      • open mind and heart, curiosity, receptivity,
      • requires this to examine, and also brings more of this
    • how we can explore this for ourselves
    • ….

…..

DRAFT THREE

THE SIMPLICITY OF THE PROCESS

How can I explore this for myself?

The simple answer is that I notice my thoughts, examine them, and find what’s more true for me.

And there is a lot more to it.

Often, certain thoughts are part of my self-talk although I may not notice. And sometimes, they are here and influence my perception, thoughts, feelings, and life, but I am not conscious of them and they are not explicitly part of my self-talk. These are often more essential underlying thoughts and assumptions.

It can take some exploration to identify these, and the ball of underlying thoughts and assumptions unravels over time.

Also, examining them is not always so easy. We tend to relate to our thoughts in habitual ways, and in ways that tend to reinforce them.

So in order to identify our thoughts, and examining them in a fruitful way, we may need the assistance of a more structured approach and someone experiences who can guide us through the process.

As we get familiar with this, it gradually becomes a new habit and happens more spontaneously and effortlessly in daily life.

Even here, we may sometimes need a more structured approach and assistance from a guide, especially when it comes to identifying and exploring the thoughts and assumptions we most identify with. They may be too close to us for us to be able to effectively do this on our own. And that’s part of the beauty of this process. We help each other.

The approaches I have found most useful are The Work of Byron Katie and the Living Inquiries. Since I have worked with both for several years (16 and 8?), I mostly do it on my own, but I sometimes also have others facilitate me.

SOME COMPLEXITIES OF THIS PROCESS

SOME BACKGROUND

As mentioned above, there is a lot more to this than we may initially assume. What goes into holding a thought as true? What are the effects of holding a thought as true? In what way do I make myself more stupid than I really am when I hold a thought as true? And so on.

So here is some more background.

WHEN I HOLD A THOUGHT AS TRUE

We can consciously hold a thought as true. It’s part of our conscious identity. This means we are typically less motivated to investigate the belief and find what’s more true for us, although challenging life situations or inner life can bring us to it.

And we can also have part of us holding a thought as true, even if we consciously know it isn’t. Here, our perception and life will still be colored by the belief, although if we become aware of this belief pocket, it makes it easier to investigate it and help it release.

Beliefs can be more central or peripheral. Our deeper and more central beliefs may color our perceptions and life more consistently. And some may be more peripheral and come up in certain situations.

There is a fluidity in this. Different life situations tend to activate different beliefs. When that happens, we may more strongly perceive and live as if they are true. And, in some cases, we may be aware of what’s happening and be more open to questioning them.

THE EFFECTS OF HOLDING A THOUGHT AS TRUE

What happens when we hold a thought as true?

What I find for myself is that I identify with the viewpoint of the thought. This creates a sense of I and other. I am this viewpoint, and anything else is other.

I also perceive, feel, think, and live as if the thought is true. This can be more or less wholeheartedly, depending on how strong the belief is. And it happens up to a point since it’s impossible to completely perceive and live as if it’s true.

This leads to a long list of other things. For instance, if I hold a thought as true, I’ll tend to feel that I need to support, reinforce, and protect that belief. I’ll need to defend it against anything that seems to threaten it since this seems as a threat to me. This is inherently stressful.

SOME OF THE WAYS I MAKE MYSELF MORE STUPID

How do I make myself more stupid when I hold a thought as true?

I become more rigid in terms of how I look at the topic of the thought. My perception, thinking, and the options I see for how I can live my life become more rigid. I close myself off from other – often more kind, reasonable, and sane – options.

More specifically, I make myself blind to the validity in the reversals of the thought, and a range of other thoughts I may take as incompatible with the initial thought.

I overlook or dismiss other options for how to relate to the topic of the thought, and in how I respond to situations related to the thought.

I more easily get caught up in an internal struggle around the thought. I pretend the thought is true while life is always showing me something else, and that creates an internal struggle. I tend to get obsessed with the thought and ruminate on it and that’s also a struggle. In short, I get caught up in a struggle with my own thoughts, with and within my own imagination.

WHAT DO I MEAN WHEN I SAY *MORE* STUPID?

I mean that I make myself more stupid than I would be if I held the thought more lightly and had found more receptivity, fluidity, and curiosity.

FINDING CURIOSITY ABOUT A THOUGHT MAKES ME SMARTER

Another way to say this is that finding curiosity about a thought, and holding it more lightly, makes me smarter. It makes me as smart as I am and can be without the belief.

It helps me examine a range of different views on the topic and find examples of the validity in each one. it opens me up to new possibilities in terms of views, perception, and how I live my life.

A FEW EXAMPLES

There are literally as many examples as there are thoughts and situations where our relationship with each of those thoughts is especially relevant.

[….]

Note: I initially wrote this in the reverse – believing a thought makes me more stupid. See below.

….

That’s why we have more structured approaches that take us through this step by step to show us our own wisdom, and also people familiar with this process who can serve as guides.

….

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