When, through understanding, we realize that what we long for can never be found in an object, substance, activity, relationship or state, our longing loses its direction, flows back to its source, and is revealed as the love for which we were in search.

Do We Control Our Thoughts?

My question is about controlling thoughts. I recognize that thoughts simply appear in our minds, we don't create them. But I do feel that I have choices about following them or not, with what I do with them once there here.

Hi Rupert,

You are very kind to do this for us!
 
My question is about controlling thoughts.  I recognize that thoughts simply appear in our minds, we don’t create them.  But I do feel that I have choices about following them or not, with what I do with them once there here.  
 
When a thought that causes pain (moving away from truth) arises, I’ve gotten very good at “catching” it and not letting it carry me off down that river. Is this just delusion, or does our body/mind manifestation actually have some capacity to effect change?
 
Thanks and blessings to all,
 
Julli


 
Dear Julli,

Julli: My question is about controlling thoughts. I recognize that thoughts simply appear in our minds, we don’t create them. But I do feel that I have choices about following them or not, with what I do with them once there here.

Rupert: The two statements contradict one another. All choices appear as thoughts. If you recognise, quite rightly, that ‘thoughts simply appear in our minds, we don’t create them’ and if our choices appear as thoughts, then in what sense can it be said that we don’t control our thoughts but that we do control our choices?

For instance, the thought “I’d like to go and buy a huge chocolate bar” appears without there being any individual creator or controller of the thought. And likewise the subsequent choice, which comes in the form of a thought, “That’s a great idea” or “Perhaps I won’t” appears in exactly the same way without there being any individual creator or controller.

Julli: When a thought that causes pain (moving away from truth) arises, I’ve gotten very good at “catching” it and not letting it carry me off down that river. Is this just delusion, or does our body/mind manifestation actually have some capacity to effect change?

Rupert: It is delusion! There is no separate, individual body or mind that has independence from or power over the totality. What you are suggesting is tantamount to saying that during a movie one of the characters can get up, separate themselves from the image and act upon it from their own free will.

Even from a mechanical point of view the universe is one vast web of interconnectedness. How much more when experience is understood and felt to be one seamless Presence?

There is only this seamless totality simultaneously known by and made out of Presence. There are no parts or entities, just as there are no parts or entities on an image on the screen. To change one part of the image, the whole image needs to be changed.

There are only parts or entities from the imagined point of view of a part or an entity.

However, even at a more relative level, another very simple way of seeing that the apparent entity has no control over thoughts or choices, is to recognise that if we had any such control we would always entertain happy, peaceful and loving thoughts irrespective of our circumstances.

What would happen to our desire for enlightenment in such a case. What would enlightenment even mean in such a situation?

One might well ask then what it is that seems to act, make choices or decisions, creates thoughts etc. And the answer is to look clearly and simply at our experience and see that everything arises from and is made out of the freedom of Presence.

However, if we still think and feel that we are a separate entity with free will and control, the very best thing we can do is to turn and face that Light, to offer oneself to it. Having explored, as this apparent entity, all the available possibilities, this is the highest option. All approaches are in fact a modulation of this one pathless path.

With love,

Rupert