Meditation in an Emergency

You are not your train of thought. The mind is constantly thinking. If our minds are not thinking, it’s either because we are at rest, or we have allowed something else to do our thinking for us. I do not mean this in a pejorative sense, just that when we read, or watch a video, we are allowing our minds to go along for the ride, to allow thoughts to come into our heads that our minds did not create. Which is sometimes good. But not all the time, which is where we are today. We have a surplus of content and entertainment that our ancestors could only dream of, such that at any time, we can outsource our thinking for a while to an external provider. The Internet, for example.

If you have used Twitter or Facebook at any real volume, you will be familiar with the feeling that you are being carried along by a torrent. It is very unlike the feeling of reading a novel or other lengthy text. New and surprising and punchy tidbits are coming at you constantly, at just beyond your ability to keep up. They hijack your train of thought. In a very real way, when you have been reading Twitter for too long, it becomes your train of thought. If you accept that you are your train of thought, then your social media stream can become wrapped up in your identity in a very real way. You find the thoughts of others triggering emotions in yourself, and you internalize the turmoil and commotion.

The brain is a thinking organ. I realize this sounds almost absurd, but bear with me. The brain thinks in the same way that the heart beats. It’s just what it does. If you are still for long enough, letting your thoughts emerge and float away without clinging to them, you’ll find that after a time, things slow down. We tend to give our own thoughts a lot of weight, and invest them with a lot of importance  for no other reason than we thought of them. So the brain is thinking all the time, sending out thoughts in a constant stream. But these thoughts are not you. They are just notions that your thinking organ is throwing out there because that’s what it does. You can let these go. Just as The lungs breathe, the heart beats, the brain thinks. Just because you think a thing doesn’t make it true, or even important.

a drawing of a bird

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