You are not your thoughts.
If you want to live as a free man, you need to realize that the thoughts that come to you without your intention do not come from you. More importantly, they do not tell you anything about yourself (who you are) or reality.
Most if not all of your thoughts are opinions or beliefs of others. Many are outright lies about the world or who you are. You did not generate these thoughts from your essence. Your memory was filled with these beliefs, stories and lies by parents, teachers, media and others who, consciously or not, wanted to control you. You only believe they are your own because you have been trained to treat them as your own.
Awareness is the power by which you live, breath, move, see, hear, smell, taste and touch/feel.
Awareness has no shape, color, dimensions, odor, weight, flavor, odor, sound or texture.
You may think this means Awareness does not exist. I will agree. The word “exist” comes from the Latin “ex-“ meaning out (as in external, exterior, ex-patriot, ex-convict, etc.) and the Latin “-ist” meaning is, be or stand (as in social-ist, commun-ist, capital-ist, etc.).
To exist is to be out or stand out. Awareness is not out in the world. It is the unseen Witness of the world.
However, you can’t deny or doubt the Presence of Awareness because denial or doubt presuppose the Presence of Awareness. You can’t imagine Awareness not Present, because imagination can’t operate without the Presence of Awareness.
Awareness is Present, without a doubt, but it does not ex-ist. Only things ex-ist.
Two basic kinds of objects or things ex-ist.
Some objects – we call them bodies – ex-ist or stand out in space and time. They have a physical location, shape, mass and density, as well as a temporal location and duration.
Your body is such a material thing; it occupies or stands out in space and lasts a finite amount of time.
Other objects (things) exist or stand out only in time. You can pinpoint roughly when they occur, but not exactly where they occur. They exist, you witness them, but they have no physical location, definite shape, mass or density.
An elephant has a definite shape, mass, density and physical location; it exists in space and time. A mental image of an elephant has an indefinite shape, but no mass, density or physical location; it exists in time but not physical space.
Likewise, thoughts occupy or stand out in time, but they do not occupy/stand out in physical space.
Awareness is the Witness of all things, the unchanging back-Ground in contrast to the things in the ever-changing foreground.
Your body changes dramatically across your life from birth to death. Your mind (thoughts) change from moment to moment.
Awareness is your unchanging essence, your true “I,” Self or Soul.
If you sit in mindfulness, simply observing the thoughts that simply occur without your intention, and which you have been taught to take as your own, you will quickly learn that for the most part, you are not the thinker of your thoughts.
If you were the thinker of those thoughts, then you could control them. You would be able to make them start and stop, come and go, at will.
You could have a moment of mental silence whenever you desired, and for as long as you desired.
But you can’t. You know it.
This proves that you have been misled. Those thoughts running roughshod through your mind are NOT your thoughts. They do not come from or belong to you.
You do not own them; and if you are not careful, they will own you.
For those thoughts come from your enemy.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are all about mastery of the mind.
If you are honest about it, you know that the thoughts that invade your mind constantly deceive you. They either build you up, only to let you down; or they simply pull you down.
How many times have you said “Its just not what I thought it would be,” or “Its just not what I expected”? Thought built you up, only to let you down.
The problem here is that you believe that you thought it would be great. Not so. You Witnessed thoughts that made that thing out to be a slice of heaven.
If you just Watch, you will see: Thoughts generally distract you from the Present, worry you about the future and berate you about the past.
They drag you into the darkness of ignorance, the endless hunger/poverty of lust and greed (i.e. addictions), and the raging fires of anger and hatred.
In short, thoughts promise you heaven, then deliver you into hell.
We can conclude that whatever produces the thoughts that invade your Awareness, it is not your ally, but your enemy.
You are on the battlefield of life. Your life and liberty are quite literally on the line. Wrong moves can lead you into suffering and slavery.
If you are lost in the jungle of thought, consumed by delusion, greed, or anger, or dwelling in the past or fantasizing about the future, you will lose the plot. You will make wrong moves.
The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Vigilance is nothing but being Present and Aware to what is really going on both inside and outside of you. To navigate life successfully you need to be Present Now. To be Present Now you have to liberate yourself from bondage in the web of thoughts.
Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don't occupy your mind, your enemy will.
Thoughts really have no power to do anything themselves or to force you to do anything. You have to agree to voluntarily (free will) perform the acts they propose.
In the New Testament, Satan tempts Jesus with worldly pleasure and power after Jesus fasts 40 days and 40 nights in the desert.
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’" Mathew 4:10
I suggest that in this story Satan is thought, and God is pure awareness, which is your True Nature.
Gautama the Buddha is said to have faced down similar temptation by Mara.
The word “Mara” comes from the Sanskrit word that means ‘causing death’ or ‘killing’; its root is related to the Indo-European root *mer meaning “die, disappear”; the English word “mortal” comes from the same root. Mara is the agent of spiritual death.
Mara sent his three daughters – representing delusion (ignorance), attraction (greed, lust) and aversion (anger, hatred) – to tempt Gautama. They stripped in front of him, promising him pleasure and power if he embraced the daughters. Gautama refused and that sealed his awakening.
These stories allegorically depict exactly what thought does to you. It tempts by giving you all the reasons you should do evil rather than good. It sells you on evil – on greed, anger, and delusion – telling you how great the results will be, and it dissuades you from good – contentment, dispassion, and wisdom – telling you how difficult and boring it will be to do good.
Fortunately, your thoughts have no intrinsic power over You. You do not have to believe or act on your thoughts.
But if you do, you are serving your enemy. Nothing is more beta, more unworthy of honor, more cucked, more weak than bowing to and serving your enemy, which leads you to self-destruction.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Mathew 6:24
You either serve good or evil, God or Satan, Truth or Delusion, Calm Awareness or Tumultuous Thoughts.
The Upanisads very clearly teach that no one can know God (the Supreme Self or Supreme Awareness) without moral purity and meditation:
The Self cannot be known by anyone
Who desists not from unrighteous ways,
Controls not the senses, stills not the mind,
And practices not meditation.
None else can know the omnipresent Self,
Whose glory sweeps away the rituals
Of the priest and the prowess of the warrior
And puts death itself to death.
KATHA UPANISHAD I;2:24-25.
The mind may be said to be of two kinds,
Pure and impure. Driven by the senses
It becomes impure; but with the senses
Under control, the mind becomes pure.
It is the mind that frees us or enslaves.
Driven by the senses we become bound;
Master of the senses we become free.
Those who seek freedom must master their senses.
When the mind is detached from the senses
One reaches the summit of consciousness.
Mastery of the mind leads to wisdom.
Practice meditation. Stop all vain talk.
The highest state is beyond reach of thought, for it lies beyond all duality.
AMRITABINDU UPANISAD 1-7
You have the potential to know and align yourself with Ultimate Reality, a.k.a. God. Don’t waste your life worshipping the Deceiver. Don’t bow to petty thoughts and emotions, like a weak woman. Don’t be a slave to vice, ignorance, greed and anger.
Be larger than that.
Be still, and know God.
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