Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Thoughts
As Essence and Mind Become One there May Be a Complete Absence of Thoughts
As the pearl beyond price develops and as the true self is understood and integrated, there occurs another radical transformation. The identity starts shifting from personality to essence. The individual starts experiencing himself as essence, instead of the experiencer of essence. Experiences of ego death occur here. Inner aloneness is accepted. Personal boundaries dissolve. Essence begins to be experienced from the perspective of essence itself. One starts to understand and experience boundlessness, timelessness, not doing, innocence, and purity. Essence and mind start becoming one. This manifests either as complete absence of thoughts, or the thoughts themselves are experienced as the spontaneous outpouring of insight. Life continues to be a process of creative discovery. The process of learning, unfolding, and expansion never stops. Essence continues to unfold, new dimensions arise, new modes of experience and insight emerge, new capacities manifest. The process of understanding continues; however, it is not seen as a necessity, as work, but rather as the process of creative discovery itself.
Awareness of the Presence of Being Does Not Exclude Awareness of the Functions of the Psyche
When we fully experience and understand essential presence, we are aware of what some traditions term primordial presence, and this presence includes other aspects of the self. Awareness of the presence of Being does not exclude awareness of the body and its sensations, feelings and emotions, the mind with its thoughts, images, and ideas, and the totality of the functions of the psyche—such as imagination, thinking, planning, and remembering—and the rest of what ego psychology calls the ego functions. Many spiritual teachings, such as Kabala, Sufism, Kashmir Shaivism, and Taoism, share the understanding of the self as a unity that includes the spiritual dimensions and the usual psychological and physical manifestations. The complete multidimensional self can be experienced only in the fullest realization of presence. In this condition of primordial presence, thoughts, feelings and images do exist, but in a different way than they do in the conventional dimension of experience. These aspects of the self are felt to be completely inseparable from presence itself, not in the sense of two things tied together, but in the sense of coemergence. We do not experience the body as the container of the presence; nor do we experience presence as containing the body. These perceptions might appear in the course of spiritual development, but they are incomplete in that they retain the duality between presence and body. When the experience of oneself as primordial presence is complete, this presence is coemergent with the body.
The Point of Existence, pg. 30
In Reality, Things are Insubstantial, Transparent, Light and Similar to Thoughts
In the true experience of emptiness, the subjective feeling and belief in the substantiality and solidity of things is exposed for what it is, a subjective feeling based on a belief. Emptiness reveals to us that things do not possess such substantiality or solidity. Their mode of being is not what we have called existence. More accurately, their ultimate nature is not existence, but nonexistence. They appear, but are characterized by nonbeing. Experientially, phenomena appear and we perceive them along with their usual qualities, but we do not feel that they exist. They are felt to be empty of the solidity and reality that we believed they possessed. In other words, the true nature of things is that they manifest, or appear, but that is all. In appearing they do not give us the feeling and belief that they are real or that they exist in the way we have assumed. We are accustomed to believing that things exist in the way we normally experience matter, solid and opaque. In reality, things are insubstantial, transparent, and light, similar to thoughts or mental images. But they are also luminous, so they are more like light. However, even light as we ordinarily know it does not express the absolute lightness and emptiness of things. Things are actually diaphanous forms, holograms floating in nothing, glimmerings of this nothing.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 259
Seeing the Movement of Thoughts as a Feverish Activity to Get Something
When you are aligned with reality, there’s no concern about whether there’s pain or no pain. Reality is what is there right at this moment. The truth is understanding and accepting reality. An unconditional understanding of that reality is the only possible sane attitude that a person can take. And ultimately, it is not an action or an attitude at all. It is simply the truth. When you see the movement of your emotions as rejection of the present and desire for something else, when you see the movement of your thoughts as a feverish activity to experience something, to get something, to hope for something, to imagine something that is better than now, you’ll see that the feelings will stop, the thoughts will become quiet, and there will be complete emptiness. The emptiness, then, is the absence of all personality. Then it is possible for essence to be there in the most real way, in the only real way. This can happen only through understanding, only through the truth, and through nothing else. Understanding is simply understanding, not an achievement of understanding. Understanding means seeing exactly what is there. It is the action of selfless love. You can’t see what is there if you are rejecting what is there. You can begin by understanding your rejection of what is there.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 74
The Thoughts that Go Through a Person's Mind are Not Really Accidental
Self-boundaries determine even what one is able to think. While it is true that different impressions stimulate different thoughts in the same person, still these thoughts are pretty much determined by the person’s sense of who he is, that is, his self-image. So the thoughts that go through a person’s mind are not really accidental, chaotic, or disconnected, although they may sometimes appear so. They appear chaotic because a large segment of the self-image is unconscious or preconscious, and thus shapes thoughts and experiences in a way that the conscious mind cannot be aware of. This fact makes it possible for a person, by careful observation of the patterns and trends in his thoughts, to gain much information concerning his sense of identity.
The Void, pg. 15
Thoughts Come From the Soul and Go Back to the Soul
Since the soul is the site and agency of experience then everything that arises in the soul can be seen as part of the soul. Thoughts, images, emotions, feelings, sensations, perceptions, insights, knowledge, and states of consciousness are all the soul. They all arise in the soul as waves in a field, as particular manifestations within it. At this point in our discussion this might not be an easy jump, but it will become clearer as we study the basic properties of the soul. The point is that the content of experience does not only occur in the soul, but that it arises in her as her manifestations. Thoughts do not come from outside; neither do feelings or images. They come from the soul and go back to the soul, always within the soul. Even our perceptions of external objects and events are part of the soul, for our perception is an internal event even though the object of perception is external. So all these are the soul, or more specifically its manifestations. To sum up, the soul is the locus, the agent, and all the varied content of experience.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 23
When Direct Perception Has a Form It is a Thought
Thoughts are always being created, in a sense they are spontaneously arising. But they usually arise as responses from the past. However, thoughts can arise as an unfoldment of the present moment – you might see that your thought is an insight, arising right in the freshness of the moment. The thought is in touch with the very moment. It’s fresh, it’s open. When an insight has formed, when direct perception has a form, it is a thought, but it is a creative, new kind of thought.