Thoughts flow through me like a steady flow of colours, sounds and shapes. Am I the creator of these thoughts?
As I sit and observe, I see the thoughts flowing through me. I do not initiate the thinking and yet it keeps happening as if outside of myself. I am not the thinker, but the thinking happens anyway. And as the thoughts ebb and flow I catch a thought that seems more important than the others. I call it ‘my thought’. I consider myself its creator. I take pride in its influence. I feel hurt when it is misunderstood. I identify with it; me and my thought become a single unity beyond which I cannot see.
I call other thoughts ‘your thoughts’ and I passionately object to them. I see how these thoughts are building an ever firmer wall between us.
I see the thoughts of my ancestors. I call them ‘my past’. I blame them for my inner pain but I also take pride in my story.
I read and listen to thoughts of great thinkers. I chisel my intellect according to their models. I think about them and I think their thoughts.
I listen to my friends, consider their opinions, position myself in an ever new relationship with them. We discover patterns and rankings for our common concepts, and are always busy adapting and restructuring the thought-building, the building we call our identity. The walls of this building become ever stronger, the room in which I find myself is getting smaller and smaller. This building becomes my reality.
As I sit quietly and observe, I can hardly see anything behind these walls. I see the thoughts that I call “mine” or “yours”, “good” or “bad”, “important” or “trivial”, and the more I fix them, the firmer they become and the firmer they hold me. And I’m sitting in the dark, ignorant amidst my own mental library, almost drowning in the countless concepts and ideas I have collected over the years.
As I sit quietly and observe, I realize that none of this is me, none of this is real, none of this matters.
I turn again to the steady movement that is life. All that I have called “I”, in pride and despair, my so carefully modelled identity is maybe just a temporary form that I have decided to trap myself in. And as I let go of the illusion that these thoughts are me, I see them losing their sharpness, they become brighter, more translucent.
I had always thought that a moment would come when I would stop thinking, a moment of deep sinking, in which all thoughts would just evaporate. But as much as I tried to scare them away, the thinking, the assuming, the identifying just never stopped. I never stopped.
As I sit quietly and observe, I realize I do not need to force my thoughts out of sight. They are what they are, a constant stream of images, concepts, explanations, opinions. But I am not their creator, any more than I am their slave. I am just an observer who graciously looks at the endless movements of life. I sit and observe, realizing that I cannot be explained with any concept, in any logical way, that I am beyond any opinion.
As I sit quietly and observe, I can no longer identify with one thought or another. They come and go and I no longer mind their existence, as I no longer attach myself to them, they do not subject me to their limitations. I let them go and they are getting lighter, losing their rigid shapes, their dark colours brighten up. The once hard walls are transformed into light clouds which play around me like a gentle breeze.
As I quietly sit and observe, I see the thought-building around me gradually lose all contours, and for the first time in a long time, I can see again the sky of my own inner universe. Far from the identity I had imagined, I realize that I am endless.