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Is thinking a problem?

DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

Thinking too much is likely to be counter-productive, but thinking itself? Are thoughts themselves a problem, and if so, why?

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Comments

  • Not thinking is usually more of a problem for the usual reasons ... ;)

    EarthninjaCinorjer
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Thinking is not the problem.
    Putting thoughts into action - be they skilful or otherwise - Is the problem.

    While a thought resides in the mind it can be malleable, like plasticine.
    Once it is manifested as word or deed.....

    Ooooh dear......

    dantepwCinorjerBuddhadragon
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Ekhart Tolle says since he woke up his thoughts dropped about 80%.

    Thoughts are useful for planning and organising but we don't need thoughts to tell us green is a horrible colour and the only true religion is Christianity.

    These thoughts have absolutely no basis in what is actually going on. But we will wage crusades over these thoughts.

    nakazciddantepw
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I think a significant portion of our thoughts are neurotic. If you observe the train of thoughts, it really gets pretty nuts sometimes. And our self is attached to those thoughts. We find them of utmost importance and find it equally important to share them.
    Read a little thing on FB yesterday that said "opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires not accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, because it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world." I found that really interesting and thought provoking. When I observe my thoughts in daily life, they really are all based on opinion. Meditation helps to bring a shift to compassion and empathy (for me) but it's mostly meant sharing my opinion more compassionately and biting my tongue more often. But I wonder what would happen were I not to offer an opinion at all unless it is an opportunity to be compassionate and empathic. Thinking about it makes my brain a bit panicked, so clearly it's quite attached to this nonstop opinion-forming process. What if I stop engaging in discussions centering around just opinion? How much will my thinking process change and my interaction with the people and the world around me? It's interesting to consider. Of course, here I am now giving my opinion about thoughts :)

    lobsterdantepwsilver
  • It depends on what kind of thought.
    According to Tendai buddhism, one moment of thought contains 3000 事象(every feature of universe?). its called 一念三千( one moment of thought, three thousand)-sorry for my bad interpretation. 10( ten realms of Dharmadhatu )x10(ten 十如是) x3(three world)=3000
    I asked my teacher before about this and he explained that" one moment of thought gathers up and make the karma of next life eventually".
    Hope this helps. so Thoughts are very important I guess.

    Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @karasti said: Thinking about it makes my brain a bit panicked, so clearly it's quite attached to this non-stop opinion-forming process.

    It's like having opinions give us a sense of who we are, a variation on "I think, therefore I am". At times I step out of it, it's like I just can't be bothered with working out what I feel or I just don't know, strange but liberating.

    karastilobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said: we don't need thoughts to tell us green is a horrible colour...

    Some greens are rather sickly though. ;)

    Earthninja
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    rigidity of experience = unnecessary force

    thinking? not good nor bad, just a status of things.

    directed thinking toward awesome (liberation, compassion, dharma) ? very good

    thinking is a higher faculty but the intellect can become immense and burdensome, blotting out the rest of our experience like a thumb in the eye of the sun.

    What's Buddha got to say?

    Right Resolve (or Right Intention) is the second of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path, and belongs to the wisdom division of the path.

    The definition
    "And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve."

    — SN 45.8

    More at access to insight <3
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-sankappo/

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Is thinking a problem?"

    Only if "I" think "I" am actually thinking the thought...

    For the most part we go about life not thinking about thinking (just thinking) but when we start to think about thinking, we then realise (thanks to yet another thought) that thinking is taking place. That is, "Thought itself is the thinker" it takes a thought to recognise a thought (or the fact one is actually thinking)....

    Which lead me to this conclusion "I am just a thought who thinks I am thinking I am just a thought!"

    Thoughts wholesome or unwholesome are only problematic if "I AM" fully involved...

    Thoughts can be quite bothersome-like bouts of internal verbal diarrhoea
    feeding feelings and emotions of the 'what if this happens' fear
    O.o

    Tis said that in life "Shit often Happens" my life had it all on tap
    monkeys partying inside my head .......like a loo full of crap
    :(

    Nothing whatsoever should be clung to, tis what the Buddha did say-
    As phenomena arise, "I" now welcome them, but....."I" don’t get in their way."
    B)

    sovasilverEarthninjaWalker
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    beautiful words

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    It's like anything else - Don't overdo it.

    dantepw
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    It's like having opinions give us a sense of who we are, a variation on "I think, therefore I am". At times I step out of it, it's like I just can't be bothered with working out what I feel or I just don't know, strange but liberating.

    Exactly so. <3

    It is discursive, unfocussed, conflicted, emotive, meandering, day dreaming, woolly thinking that we can allow to unravel and dissipate with meditation and mindfulness.
    Most of us are controlled by our dukkha, ignorance, fears, hopes, conditioning, experiential being etc.

    However ... those allowing an emptying, a space, a settling etc are increasingly thinking with a resonance and attunement with the core Buddha Being.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @SpinyNorman

    Thoughts are not the problem. Identifying with them...is!

    From my zafu, thinking itself is as neutral an activity as any other sense gate activity right up until I start identifying with my thinking.

    Then, thinking assumes a position of dominance over all of my other senses gate data as ego conditioned impulses and habituated behaviors begin to rule the day.

    Of course, simply allowing our thoughts to naturally unfold alongside all of our other sense gate data, goes a long way towards correcting a myopic identification with our thoughts.

    EarthninjaShoshinlobster
  • Without thinking would there be medicines, enough food, enough shelter or enough clothing for the human population?

    But without thinking would there be genocide, wars, murders, thievery?

    No, thinking is not a problem unless it is wrong thinking derived from wrong view(michaditthi).

    silverEarthninjaJeffrey
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I like what you said, @pegembara. Life would be simpler. Pros and cons either way.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I think that I don't think so, so probably.

    EarthninjaShoshin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @how said: Of course, simply allowing our thoughts to naturally unfold alongside all of our other sense gate data, goes a long way towards correcting a myopic identification with our thoughts.

    Yes, they are just thoughts, after all. You don't have to believe everything you think. ;)

    lobsterShoshin
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 2015

    This is from the zen platform sutra.

    "No-thought" means "no-thought within thought." Non-abiding is man's original nature. Thoughts do not stop from moment to moment. The prior thought is succeeded in each moment by the subsequent thought, and thoughts continue one after another without cease. If, for one thought-moment, there is a break, the dharma-body separates from the physical body, and in the midst of successive thoughts there will be no attachment to any kind of matter. If, for one thought-moment, there is abiding, then there will be abiding in all successive thoughts, and this is called clinging. If, in regard to all matters there is no abiding from thought-moment to thought-moment, then there is no clinging. Non-abiding is the basis.

    So according to that, abiding in them is the problem. Although, "I think therefore I am" one could say describes abiding in them because one who does not abide does not make notions of "I am".

  • I think, therefore I think that I am. Thoughts thinking that they are.

    Earthninja
  • I just read the korean monk's article "thoughts are most fatal "

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    The way we humans think is subvocalising talk to "ourselves"
    It's insanity lol.

  • "Quiet your mind. You don't have to think through every moment before you live it."

    You are living through every moment with or without you thinking about it; or whether you enjoy it or not.

    You can choose to fight it or welcome it. It is all up to you.

    "I teach about suffering and the way to end it"
    Shakyamuni Buddha

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2015

    .

    @Earthninja said:
    The way we humans think is subvocalising talk to "ourselves"
    It's insanity lol.

    Speak for your self @Earthninja :lol:

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Earthninja said:
    The way we humans think is subvocalising talk to "ourselves"
    It's insanity lol.

    I used to think that talking to one's self was a little crazy, now I just find it highly amusing.
    ;)

    EarthninjaShoshinMichaelMasoEllis
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Especially watching it happen!
    Then you watch another thought say" I shouldn't think that"
    Hahah. No wonder we get confused.

    MichaelMasoEllis
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I talk to myself all the time.

    It's helpful and everybody gets along.

    ShoshinsilverfedericaMichaelMasoEllis
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @ourself said:
    I talk to myself all the time.

    It's helpful and everybody gets along.

    Mental asylum takes on a whole new meaning :lol:

    Earthninja
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @ourself said:

    The following is possibly not very "Buddhist" to some but I liked it.

    I understand this is a Buddhist forum.

    I am a student of Buddhism. So I can appreciate its teaching.

    I understand the need to not stray to far off the path of Buddhism when posting here. As it may cause some confusion for those who are unfamiliar or not interested in other meditative traditions.

    However...

    Buddhism holds no proprietary rights to Reality / Dhamma.

    Buddhism also is not the only meditative tradition which leads to Reality / Dhamma.

    "The Venerable Acariya Mun taught that all hearts have the same language. No matter what one's language or nationality, the heart has nothing but simple awareness, which is why he said that all hearts have the same language. When a thought arises, we understand it, but when we put it into words, it has to become this or that language, so that we don't really understand one another. The feelings within the heart, though, are the same for everyone. This is why the Dhamma fits the heart perfectly, because the Dhamma isn't any particular language. The Dhamma is the language of the heart. The Dhamma resides with the heart."

    Source:

    Straight from the Heart

    Ajaan Mahã Boowa Ñãõasampanno

    Page 13

    http://www.forestdhamma.org/books/english/

    We use whatever means or methods necessary to know who we really are.

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @Earthninja said:> The way we humans think is subvocalising talk to "ourselves"
    It's insanity lol.

    It can certainly be weird! I notice a lot of my thinking is to do with "replaying" the past and "rehearsing" the future, but this reduces considerably when I manage to be mindfully in the present.

    Earthninjalobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I once read something, the gist of which I give below, for pondering:

    Whenever we get onto a bus, and then a few stops later, the loony gets on, we all fervently hope and pray s/he won't sit next to us... their meaningless ramblings, mutterings, random statements and verbal, loud exclamations make us writhe with embarrassment and shame, that we should silently denounce such an individual, while recoiling from their presence and wishing them elsewhere, anywhere but next to us....

    With a sense of "thank god for that!", we see them sit on their own, at the front, ranting and railing against an unseen individual, holding forth and preaching to no-one in particular, other than a perception of their own.

    Good, that's ok, then, we sigh with relief.
    And return our gaze, out of the window, alone with our thoughts.

    Our rambling, random, sometimes ranting, resentful, wishful regretful thoughts, or our considerations on what to have for dinner, what Janet said yesterday about her husband, what Mike does in his spare time, how can he enjoy fishing, when all you do is sit, and look at water, holding a stick with string, in your hand, come rain, come shine, I mean, where's the sense in that? Joshua wanted to go with him the other day, but he would never sit still that long... his schoolwork isn't going well, I think I should speak with his maths teacher about extra tuition....mind you, I'm hopeless at maths, I remember MY school days and how much I dreaded the lessons...Miss McCarthy hated me I'm sure...Vanessa was the star of the class...I wonder what she's doing now... whether she's married.....maybe I should look on "Friends reunited" to see if I can find her....Oh, here's my stop...!"

    Yes, the loony verbalising his thoughts is obviously so much more crazy than we are....

    lobsterVastmind
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Mental asylum takes on a whole new meaning :lol:

    Hmm... Whomever put the idea in your head that talking to yourself means you're crazy did you no favours.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Crazy would be somebody else talking to you in your head. ;)

    David
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Mental = Relating to the mind. Asylum =A place offering protection ...I said nothing about being crazy :)

    David
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Crazy would be somebody else talking to you in your head. ;)

    Isn't this how one receives/digests the words of others @SpinyNorman ?

    You have just read this which means I am -in a sense- talking inside your head-So whose crazy now ??? ...By using this logic, one could say anyone who reads or hears the spoken words of others is more or less a nutjob......just saying :lol:

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin said: You have just read this which means I am -in a sense- talking inside your head-So whose crazy now ??? ...By using this logic, one could say anyone who reads or hears the spoken words of others is more or less a nutjob......just saying :lol:

    Oh no, a strange voice in my head!! ;)

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Oh no, a strange voice in my head!! ;)

    Welcome to the club :lol:

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Yes, they are just thoughts, after all. You don't have to believe everything you think. ;)

    To believe or not to believe??? Who makes the choice ? ...Who selects which thought to go with and which thought to drop ?

    "Some people think thinking is good...some people think it's not-
    either way if one's not careful, they could end up losing the plot !"

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin said:Who makes the choice ? ...Who selects which thought to go with and which thought to drop ?

    That must be another voice in my head....oh, no!! Where's my tin-foil hat?!

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    That must be another voice in my head....oh, no!! Where's my tin-foil hat?!

    That's a "Thought Crime" @SpinyNorman ....1984 The "Thought Police"

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Crazy would be somebody else talking to you in your head.

    Especially if it raises a valid point.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Crazy would be somebody else talking to you in your head. ;)

    @ourself said:
    Especially if it raises a valid point.

    "Valid Point".....Hmm..."Thoughts" using the human brain as a biologically grown medium, to communicate with each other/itself (ie, Thinking=movement confined to the brain)...How clever (some might say deviously clever of them)....

    Wow...Just think ,,,The physical body just a slave to the mental/thought process.....now that's some food for thought (If ever "I" thought so.... ) :)

    But I guess @SpinyNorman could also be right.....

    they are just thoughts, after all. You don't have to believe everything you think. ;)

    I think I'd better end here and go sell crazy some place else :)

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I'd say it's more the brain using thoughts than thoughts using the brain @Shoshin. Consciousness may use brain as a medium but thoughts are just mental tools.

    EarthninjaShoshin
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    I think that "crazy" simply describes whatever anyone thinks is unacceptable social behavior. Just another line drawn in the sand separating self from others or our tribe from other tribes.

    EarthninjaShoshin
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    Thinking too much is likely to be counter-productive, but thinking itself? Are thoughts themselves a problem, and if so, why?

    No problems...only attachment and liberation.

    The thought is just a flowering of a deeper process.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @ourself said:
    I'd say it's more the brain using thoughts than thoughts using the brain Shoshin. Consciousness may use brain as a medium but thoughts are just mental tools.

    Sadly @ourself, my crazy theory does hold some elements/threads of truth...
    We humans at times seem to be nothing more than obedient puppets on a thought pattern's string... One as only to think of depression & anxiety-where thought more often than not is pulling all the strings ....

    And only when one understands the thought process can one begin to untangle one self from the actual thought....Hence "One does not have to believe everything one thinks"

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @Shoshin said:
    And only when one understands the thought process can one begin to untangle one self from the actual thought....Hence "One does not have to believe everything one thinks"

    Nobody said one does. However, thoughts help make sense of things and so though one does not have to believe everything one thinks, one can see what makes sense as compared to what doesn't.

    Belief is the problem, not thought.

    Do you mean the single thought or the thought process when you say "actual thought"?

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @ourself said:

    Hence "One does not have to believe everything one thinks" was in relation to depression & anxiety...not in response to your post :)

    I'd say it's more the brain using thoughts than thoughts using the brain @Shoshin. Consciousness may use brain as a medium but thoughts are just mental tools.


    Do you mean the single thought or the thought process when you say "actual thought"?

    The single thought pattern that one ( the "I") more often than not become entangled in...

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Oh ok. I'm more talking about what comes next.

    Not identifying with thoughts or even the thought pattern we can still make use of it and figure out every day solutions.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    True @ourself ...one's ego (focus of attention) can be used as a convenient analytical tool by Awareness :)

    "Awareness is fundamentally non conceptual - before thinking splits experience into subject and object...It is empty and so can contain everything including 'thought' It is boundless and amazingly it is intrinsically 'knowing' !"

    Don't ask me where I came across this Zen gem but it really rang a bell when "I" first read it...so much so... the bell hasn't stopped ringing... (or perhaps that's just the tinnitus playing with the mind :) ) ....

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