Lesson 10: Idea for the Day
My thoughts do not mean anything.
Guided Audio Narration
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Insights and Commentary
The idea for today’s lesson is similar to one we have already seen, though there is an important distinction. Previously we asserted that these thoughts do not mean anything. Now we shift this idea to: my thoughts do not mean anything.
The difference is subtle but important. In the first instance, we focused on thoughts about the world around us, seeing objects, events, and circumstances as props against which we create interpretations through our thoughts. We see these thoughts as external — they appear to judge the world, rather than ourselves. When we shift to reflecting on “my” thoughts, we move from the perception of the external to the perception of the internal.
You are likely to be far more attached to thoughts you consider “yours” than thoughts that respond to the world. If someone cuts you off in traffic and you react angrily for a moment, you probably don’t really consider the thoughts yours. You consider it a response to something outside of your control. Contrast that to a thought that hits closer to home, such as a negative belief you hold about yourself or someone you love. You may feel thoughts of guilt, blame, or insufficiency, and you identify with those thoughts.
One practice that can help you to detach from your thoughts and see meaninglessness in them is to begin to view thoughts as appearances that float in and out of your mind. Like scenes in a movie, they come and go, and do not define who you are, or what you believe.
You can reinforce this idea with a practice called Neti Neti. Neti Neti is an ancient Indian technique of realization through negation. As a thought arises, observe the thought and state “I am not this thought.” This practice works well with today’s idea, for as you cease to identify with each thought you think, you can realize more clearly that your thoughts do not mean anything.
To make this practice even more effective, cultivate an attitude of receptivity by adding the sttement: this idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.
This statement works as an affirmation that will develop openness and humility. It is important to recognize the connections amongst these ideas. Your interpretations and judgments — the meaning you attach to thoughts — reflect your beliefs. As you detach from a thought’s meaning, you detach from your beliefs about that thought. The meaninglessness of thought forces you from the limitation of your own beliefs. This prepares you to see more clearly, and, should you choose to do so, to replace those beliefs with empowering ideas more closely aligned with joy and love.