The mother of thought

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
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The mother of thought

Post by Larryfroot » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:30 am

Thoughts are not the problem. Even thinking itself is not the problem.

The problem - of anguish - is in the relationship we have with our thoughts.

How we feel about our thoughts dictates the content and quality of the next thought. So if we change the relationship we have around our thinking, we have changed our thinking completely. In fact by cultivating an entirely different relationship with our thoughts, the mind itself becomes calmer, pacified and healed.

If I may proffer an example.

The thought 'Life is Shit' provokes a response. This response is the relationship we have with that thought. It may be relating to the thought with frustration, anger, cynicism, sorrow and anything in between. The relationship always manifests as a pre-verbal emotion or feeling that triggers a verbal - either internally or externally - response. In many ways this relationship with our thought, this feeling response is the mother of our next thought. So the next thought after 'Life is Shit' will be based on our response to it, which is nearly always negative and will seek to justify the statement that 'Life is Shit'. And so on and so forth. That is the chain or cycle of thought. Thought, response, thought, resonse...The good news is that there is a far more appropriate relationship that we can have with the thought 'Life is Shit' than habitual negative responses. As a result a far greater degree of peace and joy is allowed to shine through our minds, through our thoughts.

But what kind of positive relationship can anyone have in response to the thought that life is shit? I mean, it isn't out to make friends, is it? It is not going to win a medal for charm, nor is it going to be held up as a role model for anything other than angst. The only natural response to it is going to be negative. Anything else and we are beginning to simply fool ourselves.

This view betrays an ignorance of the way in which our minds think. Such thoughts of life being shit are obviously based on our experience of life, but the experience itself although transitory is kept alive by the ego's need to recycle the past as conditioned fear. This fear underpins so much of our thinking, so much of our resitance to what simply is. And this fear keeps the discursive monologue alive and kicking, and in response to that we identify with the thinking. So much so that we literally end up in a condition that we believe the thoughts are us.

So no matter how desperate and aggressive the thought, underneath it we will always find fear. That soft, tender, vulnerable place is covered by the response that seeks to protect it from greater harm. Even the most aggressive attitudes are built on the foundation of fear and pain. And when this fear is manifesting as a negative thought or feeling designed to protect itself, all we then do is bring a harsh judgemental attitude to ourselves for thinking and behaving in such a way.

We have a hurt and injured mind that is frightened and confused. One can readily see this through the thoughts that it produces. It covers its vulnerability with expressions of bravado to try and control events, or it seeks the support of others through neediness, a strategy that is simply passive aggression. 'I'll show you, I'll hurt me' is the classic case in point.

And on top of this we perpetuate the cycle with a relationship with our thoughts that is based on believing them as if they were real! And on top of that we see our thoughts (and by the process of identification with thought, ourselves) in the most judgemental and critical light possible.

However by acknowledging that our minds are frightened, that our thoughts are products of this fear and are a response to the frightened and injured state of the human condition manifest in our minds, we can begin to see an alternative relationship we can have with our thoughts. A relationship based on facts and not knee-jerk reactivity. A relationship based on loving kindness and compassion towards that which is most frightened and insecure and hurt about us.

With this understanding in place the thought that 'life is shit' provokes a compassionate and understanding response. Because we now have some insight as to why these thoughts arise, and can easily see that such thoughts arise from an injured and frightened mind, trying to protect itself and bolster its defences with cynicism, or anger, or some other ingrained response.

With this knowledge we can actually open up to the thought, we can allow compassion, allow understanding, allow acceptance to flow from our hearts to the thought, irregardless of how dark or twisted that thought might be. We are changing how we relate to our thoughts, which achieves three things. Firstly the content of our mind changes as the 'mother' of our next thought will be compassion based rather than fear based. Our relationship with the thought has changed and so the thought processes that follow on from that will be transformed. Secondly the thought itself becomes transmuted into those qualities of compassion, understanding and acceptance that we bring to it. This is simply because the energy of that thought becomes one with the energy of the new relationship. It is subsumed into the qualities that we now bring to it. Lastly as the thought becomes subsumed into love so also we find that the unceasing mental chatter dies down.

And this last point brings us to acceptance, and its power in stilling the mind. Indeed, perfect peace is perfect acceptance.
Many a mickle muches a markle.

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Post by Vikings are Nice » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:18 am

Larry, that was really insightful, and seems a very useful tool in order to address a negative thought cycle.

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Post by Seancho » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:29 am

I agree, and think about it in this simple way:

The problem is not thought, but believing thought.

We think our thoughts are real. And that makes life a constant problem. A struggle. A battle. A horror movie.

But thoughts are just images. Not real.

Remember how disturbing horror movies were when you were little? Those TV images had the power to frighten the wits out of you. Nightmares for weeks.


Because you were unable to tell the difference between the story on the TV and your own real life. You were in the story. The monsters were real.

And then one day you learned the secret. The pictures on the TV are just an illusion, just pictures. Fake. A story. Not real. Not a threat. You pulled yourself out of the illusion, out of the story. You learned the trick to end your suffering. The fear drained right out of you. And for the first time you were able to watch the whole movie with your eyes open. The spell was broken.

Remember what a relief that was?

The mind is a TV. The thoughts in your mind are as real as the monster movies you used to hid your eyes from. Its the same. We are kids, trapped in an illusion. Hypnotized by pictures that have no reality.

Watch the movie with your eyes open. Do the trick.

What a relief...
If you stop believing in fear, is it still scary?

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Post by eseward » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:43 pm

Nice. :)

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Post by weopposedeception » Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:54 am

Part of a thought may be true, but it's not the whole truth.

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Post by payal » Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:26 pm

that was really helpful thanks

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Post by BrahmanEternal » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:20 am

I m still frightened by horror movies :) , even when i watch Buffy Slayer i have to cover under a blanket! Nah just kidding, i m a big boy who realized the truth. :D

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