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Thoughts are suggestions and not commands

July 5, 2010

Thoughts are suggestions and not commands.
Decide whether to take them or not. Become the master instead of being the slave to your thoughts.

Thoughts are very powerful. One thought can make you do something. One thought can sabotage your life. You can have thousands of thoughts, but if you get obsessed with one thought it can destroy your life. Nobody tortures you like your own thoughts. If you can handle your thoughts, you can handle the whole world. The problem is that nobody teaches you how to handle thoughts. They tell you what to think, but not how to handle your thoughts. We can’t control the thoughts that come to us, but we can control what we do with them. This is the difference that makes all the difference.

Out of habit we engage our thoughts, we hold onto them. Because of our strong tendency of grasping onto thoughts, we have to practice learning to let them go. Many people are so identified with their thinking; they think this is who they are: I think therefore I am. Of course, this well-known statement by Descartes is the wrong way around: I am therefore I think. We have to realize that we are much more than our thoughts and that we don’t have to listen to them. Meditation helps to still our minds and in that stillness we experience ourselves apart from thought. As the realization – I am not my thoughts – grows stronger, thoughts start loosing their power over us.

Thoughts should be treated as suggestions and not as commands. Then you can choose whether to follow them or not. When your cell phone rings, you look at the number to see who is calling and then you decide whether to take the call or not. Do this with your thoughts. But your thoughts are more like commands, they push you, they seem to force you to listen to them. So it happens that people come to hate their thoughts.

Thoughts are a blessing. Be comfortable with your thoughts. Thoughts are needed. Don’t try to get rid of them. Don’t make enemies out of your thoughts. This will cause problems. Understand they are not real. A picture / image / thought of fire cannot burn you. Only a real fire can burn you. Thoughts are just thoughts; they are not the real thing. Being afraid of thoughts is like being afraid of a picture. The picture of a snake is not a snake. The thought of fire is not warm. The thought of chocolate is not sweet.

Have a friendly mind. If you can do this with your thoughts this is wonderful. Remain untouched by your thoughts. Be like space. Water cannot drown space. Fire cannot burn space. A sword cannot cut space. Nothing can harm it. Space accommodates everything. Space is not afraid of clouds. Consciousness is not afraid of thoughts. So don’t fight with your thoughts instead be the witness, the awareness. The open sky of awareness does not grasp at or resist the clouds of thought. Just like birds fly through space leaving no footprint in space, thoughts fly through your mind leaving no footprint in your inner sky. Consciousness accommodates everything. Nothing can harm it. Be untouched. Be unaffected. Be free.

Based on Satsang by Swami Suddhananda, Tamil Nadu, South India.

Article by Leela Verity, director of Sat Chit Anand Retreat Centre, Plettenberg Bay. /

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