This reminds me of the Haruki Murakami quote: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Thoughts can be so habitual and reflexive like driving down the same familiar road. The road is well traveled and so you don’t realize how you got to your destination as you weren’t paying attention to details along the way. Thoughts are not only habitual they can be poisonous. Sometimes I feel I’m immersed in a landscape of other people’s misguided thoughts that bring about their misguided actions that bump up against my life. There’s a sea of fearful media and negative news that isn’t counterbalanced by enough positive or alternative points of view. Thank you for providing an alternative outlet to the limited “reality” that’s out there. I think it’s important to be aware of one’s thoughts and to question the conclusions that are drawn. Maybe instead of asking someone, ‘what did you do today?’ we should ask, ‘what did you think today?’ ‘Did you think anything new or different?’ A quote which has been attributed to Buddha is, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Mary Lee, you ever present the most deep and pensive viewpoints, and I thank you for that.
I’m also thrilled you quote Murakami, who is one of my very favorite authors. We have in our library everything he has ever written!
Thoughts, to me, are important to attend to – for, as you say, they end up reflexive and habitual if we fail to monitor them. Is that not the point of meditation? And yet I’m not a sitting meditator – more like a walking meditator. It’s so important to me to rein in thoughts that are counterproductive to my integrity as a human being who cares deeply for the well-being of all life, human and otherwise. It’s not that all my thoughts are crystalline and pure, but I know what they are and the power they hold. And I know my responsibility for them and their issue.