A Poetic Way of Thinking About Thought

When I first saw something about the link between our thoughts and our feelings, I thought the realm of thought worked a bit like a Dr. Seuss poem:

Black thought, white thought

Dark thought, light thought

Happy thought, sad thought

Good thought, bad thought

The goal, or so I thought, was to get rid of as many of the dark/sad/bad thoughts and fill my mind with the light/white/good ones. This led to a quest for numerous positive thinking, mind control, and reprogramming techniques, most of which worked some of the time and a few of which seemed to work most of the time.

The fact that monitoring and controlling my thinking (or as I liked to talk about it then, “choosing my thoughts”) took a huge amount of my time and attention seemed a small price to pay for a bit of peace from the darkness it had always felt like I carried around inside me.

But when I had my first insight into the nature or principle of Thought – what I sometimes call “Thought with a capital “T” – I realized that the realm of thought is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – a world of pure imagination. 

To better understand how it works, think about flying through the clouds high above the earth…

If you were a pilot and didn’t understand the nature of clouds, you could be forgiven for attempting to avoid the big ones and fly around them. But if you understood what clouds really are, you would fly right through them, recognizing that solid though a cloud might seem it’s made of gossamer (well, water and/or ice crystals, but where’s the poetry in that?) and don’t need to be avoided, fixed, or changed. Sure, you might have limited visibility and experience a bit of turbulence when you’re passing through it, but if you trust your instruments there’ll be no danger to you or any of the other souls on board.

If you were a passenger on that same flight and didn’t understand the nature of clouds, you could be forgiven for looking down out the window and imagining you could walk around on fields of ethereal snow or rest on the giant fluffy mattress in the sky. But if you did get what clouds are made of and how they work, you would know that with the best will in the world, any attempt to lie down on a cloud would end with us lying down on (or under) the earth.

And this is the story of each of us in life. Before we understand the nature of Thought, we spend an incredible amount of energy trying to avoid (or at times chase or change) imaginary futures. After we start to see Thought for what it is, we simply move forward in the face of our scary looking thinking, trusting our inner sense of direction and real-time responsive intelligence to see us through any periods of mental fog or inner turbulence and back into the clear blue sky of pure possibility.  

Before we understand the nature of Thought, we try to believe that we are strong and good and capable and use those beliefs as a foundation for our lives. But “beliefs” are made of the same gossamer as all thought clouds, no safer to make our bed in than a solid looking bank of fluffy white ice crystals. So after we begin to understand the nature of Thought, we do our best to leave our beliefs up in our imagination where they belong and rest instead on the solid ground of our own true nature.

Here’s the thing:

Regardless of how they look – dark and foreboding or light and fluffy – all clouds are made of the exact same stuff and have the exact same amount of influence on the sky, which is to say none whatsoever. And in the same way, all thoughts – happy, sad, good, or bad – are made of the exact same energy and have the exact same amount of influence on our deeper nature – which is to say, none whatsoever.

In this sense, Thought with a capital T works remarkably like in this lightly adapted Rudyard Kipling poem:

You can dream—and not make dreams your master; You can think—and not make thoughts your aim; You can meet with (thoughts of) Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same.Click To Tweet

Have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!

With all my love,