You Are Not What You Ponder In Your Head – Then Who You Are?
Thinking! Thinking! Thinking! All the time, every time, everywhere we go. And then we think this is who we are, we form self-identity with who so ever speaking in our head. But do you think that is actual you what you ponder in your head or thoughts are different from you?
Frankly, speaking even I have never thought about this before until and unless I come across a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle who is a spiritual teacher and best-selling author. In his book, there is one chapter called “You are not your mind”, where he explained how you are different from your thought.
Let’s understand this from the chapter called, you are not your mind. From where I have taken 3 quotes from the book itself and explained them in detail.
1. “Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay down.
As it is, 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy.”
I must say one of the breakthroughs of the book. Here he is telling that a lot of us have formed identities with our mind, that part of us that is always thinking, thinking about concepts, ideas, future, or past.
Thinking is important; if you think in a constructive manner or think positively there is no problem because the human has been gifted mind as a tool to use for such things only. But there could be a huge problem when you identify yourself with that thinking.
A mind is a tool, you are not your mind, you can use this tool to create, and you can use this tool to fulfill your purpose and lay down when the task is done. When you form an identity with it you miss out on what it is designed to do.
The mind uses vital energy and when you are unstoppably unnecessary thinking, it keeps draining your valuable resources. Resources that you can conserve and redeploy to different areas of life.
So that you could work longer, so you could be more present and valuable and enjoy the days and engage yourself in what you’re doing which a lot of time does not involve the mind.
2. “Identification with your mind causes thought to become compulsive.”
Compulsive thoughts there seem to be kind of the badge of honor that’s given to somebody that thinks a lot. But the reality is that one should not think more, one should think effectively and use the mind as a tool, to think about the right things, at the right time to help one to create.
Everything else should be in being, in doing, in acting, in reflecting, in being in the moment, and enjoying the moment because only from the present moment you can get the most valuable insightful information to feedback your mind.
That will help you optimize, to figure out what to do next and it will be done in a way that will be a lot different than how most people in society carry themselves.
If you look around most of the people in modern society are always trying to get to some destination or they always have resentment with their past, or they’re over-identified with their past. They feel that they can’t do what they want to do because of something that happened in their past and they don’t know that their mind has created all these stories, that tell them why the future is better than now when all that ever existed was the now.
The past has held them back and they’re constantly identifying with these stories and the thoughts that spawn from this identification become compulsive.
3. “To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important.”
Essentially the ego is a part of you that you were born with. That was given to you so that you could say battle with to spar, to help you realize just how powerful and great you are, and to value the gifts that were given to you as God-given gifts.
The ego helps you value these gifts as you overcome them as you learn to manage them and the more success you have, the more this ego will creep up and the more the ego will try to outwit. So essentially the ego does it through various mechanisms and if you understand these mechanisms then you could play the game better with ego.
Why you want to play the game with ego, well you do it so that you can understand who you are? So you can value what is important and not identify with ego because the ego is not you.
You can feed your ego by attaching to the past or constantly thinking about the future of where want to be and not valuing what you have right now with gratitude.
As you don’t value what you have, then you will form an identity with that ego because you believe that ego is you. So being at present and being in the now means letting go of that ego and actually stepping out of the mind because you see the mind as a tool not who you are.
Thinker to Observer
Eckhart Tolle says that there should be always a space between you and your thoughts or rather you are not though you are this place for the thought.
You don’t have to be in your thoughts, but you can be displaced for your thoughts. Then no matter how weird your thoughts are, it doesn’t matter that much, you don’t need to say that I shouldn’t be having these weird thoughts.
Because when you say in your mind that “you shouldn’t be having these weird thoughts” you don’t even realize that you attaching the other thought to the previous thought. And then process of thought after thought and judging previous thought starts.
You don’t have to eliminate thoughts or say that I should only have pure thoughts. And think that I am a spiritual person and now I should transcend all impure thoughts. Then what happened is if you push away certain thoughts, because they don’t fit with your mental image of who you are with this or that.
They get it and start assuming a life of their own and before you know it they invade your mind again. The true spiritual does not lie in one thought or another thought it lies in being there as displaced for your thought.
It doesn’t matter whatever thought arises in you is no more than a form of thought that arises at this moment and don’t have to resist it, but you are the space wait, you don’t have to become what you ponder in your head.
One of his lectures I was watching where he explained what is “STILLNESS?”
In his lecture, he told that you already have the stillness. And as the stillness is already there it doesn’t need to be found or even certainly not need to be created because it’s already there, but the only problem is that you may not notice it.
If there are lots of mental noises in your mind you just can’t notice that it’s there. And also you don’t notice the dimension within yourself that is far deeper than the movement of thought and then your whole identity gets bound up with a movement of thought.
He said that its mind that creates a sense of self personal history, which is going to end, maybe next year or within the next 30 to 40 years, so who you are and stillness are one and the same. And if you are not yet gone completely mad in this mad world, then you have a chance to access the stillness inside you.
He explained that you may not remember the stillness afterward because as it is not memorable. Since stillness is timeless and the mind cannot memorize it or think all that was interesting.
For the mind, the stillness is not an interesting thing, because for it the interesting thing is only mental things. But interesting is not the ultimate thing for you, it’s only unlimited to the human mind.
He described why stillness is beyond just interesting with an example, where he said that if go out and look at the tree or flower or the sunset and could you say that all these are interesting. Yes, if you try to or have been told to analyze the sunset or an oak tree or a flower, it becomes interesting, the moment you start analyzing it mentally.
He told that no doubt there is a place for that also in this dimension, but the problem if you get caught up on that dimension only, where you break things up into little bits pieces for analyzing them.
Then you are going to kill the thing first before you analyze it or it gets killed in the process of analysis as this is what happens in most of the analysis.
But if you just be an oak tree and observe it true, then what you’re looking at goes beyond interesting which is far deeper than interesting. The same is with the sunset, there’s nothing interesting about it and yet it is inspiring, there’s a depth that defies.
And if your analysis of the mind, the moment you analyze it you have reduced it to something live less.
He said that most of the people around us are trapped in this dimension where they uncontrollably analysis about their life, interpret, label things as soon as they enter their field of consciousness.
They do it to people; they do it to situations that they encounter immediately if one has some personal reactive relationship to it. They do it to nature and because of that, they can no longer perceive the sacredness that is there in nature.
Because they approach it only through thinking and that is a dreadful present. Then you end up being in the presence of your mind and don’t try to just be there.
After that, you start approaching your whole life only through that and your whole lives become reduced to a conceptual reality in the head which consists of thoughts that you have about things.
People give their viewpoints, opinions, and even so-called knowledge. Knowledge is of thought and the label and it gives the illusion that you know and all it is a thought that you have put on something.
Because of that, it loses its depth and aliveness, and you begin to relate to reality through the veil of thinking. You relate to yourself through the veil of thinking because you become a conceptual thought-based entity.
Egoic self, I with its unfulfilled personal history, its desire and fears and frustrations and its hopes that it will find the ultimate fulfillment of its unfilled and unfulfilling sense of self-based on the story in the future, which again is the thought-form that’s what the future is, normally has ever encountered it except as a thought.
And yet most of the people live unconsciously as if the next moment or the one after that is more important than this (now) moment.
The only thing that is going to be there forever with you is this one moment that you could never escape from, have never escaped from, will never escape from, that is inseparable from your life. Also inseparable from stillness because the moment you enter the “Now” with all your attention stillness arises.
The essence of the present moment no matter how mad it may appear on the surface is always stillness, it also sacredness. The only place where the sacred dimension can be found is now you have to be present to this moment.
You have to wake up to this moment to realize that life is sacred, but when you are lost in thoughts, sacred become meaningless to you. And then it could become another of the many concepts that you can play with and you could write a Ph.D. about it, without ever experiencing it yourself.
So this is the depth of now, it is inseparable from your very being in the very life and it is a sacred one life.
Eckhart Tolle quote, “To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spirituality.”