Thinking has become a habit to the point of addiction. We cannot stop it. We have turned into obsessive thinkers, incessantly thinking and worrying. But why think all the time like a chainsmoker who lights one cigarette after the other with no gaps in between? Thinking can be voluntary, it does not need to be compulsive. You can be a master of your mind, it need not be the other way around. We are slaves of our minds as long as thinking is compulsive. Compulsive thinking is not freedom, we are held prisoner. We are stuck within the confines of our minds. Thinking has become uninterrupted, like a chain, or a train of thought. We don't know how to stop our inner dialogue.
We can't look at a sunset without confirming the accepted paradigm of a sunset: "What a beautiful sunset." Maybe it is not beautiful! It will be hard for us to tell, because we are not seeing the sunset without coloring it with our thoughts. We experience projections of our minds, not reality. We are so engrossed in thinking that direct experience has become an exception. Whatever we do, walking down the street, taking a bath, watching a sunset, we are not simply there. While we are having an experience, whatever it happens to be, we are either commenting on the experience or thinking about something else. We are not directly experiencing life, we are looking at life through a mist of thoughts. We are lost in thought almost all the time. As parents, we do not understand our baby's world, we have completely forgotten what it is like to live with a silent mind, to live with silence in our brain.
What is sanity? Sanity and madness are the extremes of a sanity continuum. The one extreme is madness, insanity, and the other is sanity. What we consider normal is not exactly sanity, it lies somewhere in the middle of these extremes. As individuals and as humanity we haven't blossomed into complete sanity yet, we still have to go sane. Sanity is a healthy state of mind, and madness is a mental illness. The more thinking is of a voluntary nature, the more sane we are. When thinking becomes a compulsive and autonomous process, we become insane. The more autonomously thoughts run through the mind, the more insane we are.
Sanity is being able to determine whether you actually think or do not think at all, and exist with a silent mind. When you do think, you determine what you think of, you are able to choose the direction of your thoughts. Thinking is a voluntary process. And because it is voluntary, it is beautiful, useful, and not a burden at all. You think when you feel like it, thinking is not compulsive, it has not taken over your life. When you are sane, thinking is a tool that you use appropriately. You are not imprisoned by it. You are free from the mind.
Somewhere in the middle between sanity and insanity lies what we call normalcy, we can more or less determine the direction of our thoughts, but we cannot choose whether to actually think or not. Thinking has a certain autonomy, the process of thinking itself seems to be happening of its own accord. Thinking is compulsive in the sense that we seem not to be able to stop it anymore, though in general we are still able to determine what we think of. Thinking is still very useful, but it can also be a burden. It can be almost synonymous with worrying. And continuously thinking is tiring too. Thinking does not allow us to rest, to fall asleep naturally. To think our whole life long, every single minute of the day, is ludicrous and close to madness. Excessive thinking makes us borderline psychotics.
Insanity is taking it one step further, our thought process becomes so autonomous that it truly overtakes our life. That is madness, when thinking has become completely autonomous. Not only have we no control over whether we actually think or not, even what we think of is no longer our choice. Thoughts are happening as if by themselves, and we are unable to give direction to our thoughts. Thinking is a burden, and we think nightmarish thoughts. We are a prisoner of our mind, our whole thought process is out of control, and we have not a clue how to stop it. All voluntariness has disappeared out of thinking. It seems as if our thought process is living a life of its own.
What is the difference between talking to ourselves and thinking to ourselves? The first is considered a sign of a disturbed mind while the second is considered normal, but there's not all that much difference. In order to go sane, you will need to learn to be in charge of your mind, to be in charge of your thinking. When the inner dialogue stops, that's the end of all schizophrenia. Finally you experience your wholeness, your undivided being. In conscious silence, a human being becomes sane.
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Principles and Paradigms
» 5. Alive Silence
- Don't go Mad, go Sane!
How to not think!