Thinking About thinking

Reading a blog on the experience of cooking – where two foodies separately but simultaneously ‘discovered’ the exact same recipe – started me thinking about thinking and the origin of our thoughts and ideas.

A ‘new’ recipe thought of by two people at exactly the same time invites the notion that maybe we tune into thoughts and ideas rather than create them.

We know that our radios and TVs are receivers of information, via waves that we can’t see, that output data received in the form of sounds and images, sometimes clearly and other times not. With the exception of the youngest of us, we all know these devices do not originate data – no one is crammed inside or behind the TV – we accept that these instruments receive, store and express information, they don’t generate it. Is it possible that this is true for our bodies – that we don’t generate but actually receive our thoughts and knowledge?

There are many occasions where scientists separated by continents and culture end up ‘discovering’ the same thing simultaneously, without ever having access to the same physical data, yet find themselves sharing the exact same ‘new’ thought or idea. Children are also great examples of tuning into and receiving thoughts, when from the mouths of babes comes wisdom beyond their age and experience. In the absence of true understanding, we put these instances down to wonderment, coincidence, synchronicity or weirdness.

The idea of being a receptor and not a creator of thoughts defies our current notions of intelligence to the core, implying that we are not thinkers of varying brilliance but somehow passive, mute receivers of thoughts.

Far from it, as the recipe experience shows, we may pick up on the same frequency, much like surfers sharing a wave, but the positioning, makeup, care and maintenance of our physical body has a great impact on how we access and ride that same wave.

Just entertaining this possibility of thinking about thinking as not actually being the creators of our own thoughts at all is a bit of mind bender, but if we accept for a moment that we are radio towers receiving every thought, our focus shifts away from the question of: ‘Do we or don’t we think?’ to other things, like:

  • Do we select the thoughts we receive or do we have no choice about what comes through us?
  • What relevance does the condition, position and make of our towers have to the thoughts we receive?
  • Where do these thoughts or information packages that we download come from? Who or what produces them and how?
  • Is there just one frequency of thought out there that we tune into, or like TV, are there many ‘channels’ available to us?
  • If there are many channels, are we free to access all of them or does the condition of our physical body – the way we care about what we eat, how we sleep and exercise and care for ourselves – determine the access we have to different channels?

The idea that we only think we think, that any thought, brilliant or base, doesn’t come from us but through us is a game changer. It answers so much of what is hard to understand about ourselves, our world and our thoughts – one moment sane, beautiful, nurturing; the next crazy, harming, destructive and everything in-between.

If our thoughts don’t come from us and we can’t see them coming, then noticing how they make us feel when we receive them (heavy, anxious, mean, jealous, self-doubting; or light, joyful, focussed, confident, playful) and how we then behave or act, reveals the quality of the thought we’ve tuned into. Once we tune into a thought and express it in some activity – cooking, speaking, writing – its quality is magnified through our movements and it becomes ‘earthed’, ‘grounded’ and delivered through us into the physical world.

If we accept that we only think we think, our purpose shifts from thinking to being selective about the quality of ‘thinks’ we allow to be ‘thunk’ through us.

When we loosen our grip on thinking that we originate anything, we start realising instead that as receivers of thoughts or consciousness, our only job is to be deeply responsible for the tower we embody and forever deepening our ability to first discern, tune into and then express thoughts from a consciousness that connects us with the divine intelligence and harmony that so remarkably informs and governs the universe we are universally part of.

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  • By Adrienne Ryan

    I’ve always been interested in understanding the underlying cause and effect behind what we experience in life and for this the heart is the greatest teacher any student could have.

  • Photography: Matt Paul