“Thoughts become things” according to Mike Dooley. They are things according to many current authors linking quantum fields and our brains (or should I say “minds”?). Our thoughts are certainly energy that is detectable, measurable and effective! The so called “new age” construct that we create our own reality through how we think and act, imagine and project our thoughts, ideas, visions into the world is becoming main stream science for those who are open and willing to explore these not-necessarily-self-evident concepts.
Then whether we believe this approach or not would seem not to matter; it’s not a matter of faith but a matter of science. We don’t believe in gravity; it’s a fact that objects near the earth respond to a force by falling to the earth. “Thoughts are things” is not a belief system but as real as gravity. There’s a lot of empirical evidence to back this up.
Therefore we really do have to be very aware of our thoughts, to monitor them, to assess and characterize them and to channel them in the direction we choose if we want to live a certain way. And this is particularly true if we want to change, improve the way we are living – evolve!
The way I look at this we need to be of “two minds.” We need our “active mind” to get us through the day. Part of this mind keeps us alive, running our physical bodies and responding to external stimulations as they pop up. And part of this mind is making decisions on a myriad of inputs; some decisions are almost automatic, based on habits and some are actual choices we are motivated to make based on priorities and plans. Then there is the second mind, the observer mind that assesses our life from another level. This could be called the “meta-mind” because it operates at the meta-level lifting out of the routine operations to passively monitor how we are doing. This could also be called the “mindful mind.”
Another common expression these days is “change your mind and change your life.” This could be the corollary to “thoughts become things.” These are easily expressed phrases, quickly becoming platitudes. But underlying their seemingly obvious simplicity things get a bit dicey. How many of you are sticking to your resolutions for 2013? That mind that runs on autopilot and habit consumes a huge percentage of our waking mental activity. It is not until we begin to assess how we are spending this “mind time” that we realize how much thought-energy is wasted. Don’t feel bad if you are already falling short on those resolutions. The routines you were living through in 2012, while not “hard-wired” into your brain, are a set of well worn pathways through neural networks laid down years ago. They are difficult to rewire!
The endless loops that play and replay in our minds are wasted energy. The knee-jerk emotional energy we expend on all the little, and sometimes big, annoyances in our lives is pretty much wasted – this emotional energy seldom accomplishes anything!
This is where the second, meta-mind comes in. We cannot change our minds, change our habits, change our responses unless we monitor, assess and evaluate the rightness and usefulness of those responses in the first place, when they occur.
A perfect example happened to me today. I was practicing qigong. My meta-mind should have been in high-gear, right? I was present, mindful, deeply into the practice. There were some people in the neighbor’s backyard talking and I could ignore them. Then our Lhasa Apso, Tara, came on the scene. At first she was attentive but quiet. Then as she detected the outside disturbance she let out a piercing bark. I almost jumped out of my skin! Then I scolded her for disrupting my practice. It took me several moments to re-collect myself and get back in my rhythm. Later as I was reviewing this I realized my reaction was not only out of habit but also unfair. Tara’s breed is from Tibet where Lhasas were raised as temple watchdogs. Their job was to alert meditating monks and masters if there was an intrusion into the monastery! Well, Tara was doing exactly what she was bred and raised to do! And she doesn’t have a meta-mind (at least as far as I can tell) so I had no right or reason to scold her! I’m the one with the meta-mind but it didn’t wake up until after my unfairness.
Exercising this meta-mind is no easy thing. This is why it is called “practice.” And it is through this practice that we can begin to “think new thoughts.”
How’s your 2013 practice coming along?