Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We are not our thoughts*

All methods that lead to contemplation are more or less aimed
at bypassing the thinking process.  The reason is that our thinking
process tends to reinforce our addictive process - our frenzy to
"get something" from the outer world to fuel our compulsions
or to mask our pain. 
If we can just rest on a regular basis for 20 to 30 minutes
without thinking, we begin to see that we are not our thoughts. 
We have thoughts, but we are not our thoughts. 
Most people suffer because they think that they are their thoughts
and if their thoughts are upsetting, distressing,
or evil, they are stuck with them.  If they just stopped thinking
for a while every day as a discipline,
they would begin to see that they do not
have to be dominated by their thoughts.

[*Please remember that the term "thoughts" in our explanation of Centering Prayer includes not just
concepts or images, but feelings, sense impressions from within and without,
and even spiritual sensations. Every perception whatsoever goes under the umbrella of "thoughts."]

Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God


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