Meditation and Thinking

all thinking is a construct – a projection. The internal dialogue itself is imagining a conversation that will never take place. When we say were thinking, it’s almost always imagining ourselves interacting with the result of our thoughts in the future.

even now as I’m writing this – I’m imagining myself reading it tomorrow and wondering if it makes sense. My current thoughts are wondering what my future self will think about this letter. Will it make sense? Is the grammar right? To think about how to form the words in our thoughts, we must imagine ourselves reading what we are writing.

Craftsmen also do this. A sculptor isn’t “thinking”about what they are doing now… There imagining what the statue will look like as they strike the chisel now. And even striking the chisel now is based on every former strike and how the marble of similar shape split and averaging those former experiences together. It’s a memory and fantasy.

And you don’t need drugs to see this this is what it means to be awake. Being awake is recognizing you never were even aware that there was a present to be in. And when you meditate and just get aware of your actual thoughts instead of thinking about how your future self (the fake self that is a dream of the future) will read this… You are present in the present!

You’re not in the future or in an imaginary person’s head, hearing your words, looking at the statue, writing the surfboard you’re shaping, or playing the game your coding. But most of our thoughts are imagining what the future would be like if we took the current course of action. Very rarely do we stop to ask the question, “what is happening right now?”

Thinking is fun, and necessary, and addictive, and unavoidable, but you can take a break from it if you want to. If you don’t control your thoughts – they control you. This is the state that most of us are perpetually living in. If I’m honest, I think I’ve only been fully present 10 or 15 times in my life. This is new for me – but I can finally see it.

God is the “I am” (the now, the present) because his thoughts are not our thoughts… He is perfectly aware and awake! Meditation is medication – it is awareness and being present, just like God. And we we are in the present like God is, we can actually meet him as he is – rather than as the imaginary results of our current thoughts or actions. We don’t try to impress him, we don’t try to avoid him, we simply experience and enjoy him. This is what it means to be present with the Lord.

Meditation is simply being awake and aware. It lets you control your thoughts and simply relax your brain. This is why people use drugs, or by fancy houses, or tried to “win”, or seek to be loved… They think they will finally get to rest if they can just achieve the thing they are chasing.

But you can rest right now. It is free – and it is within you. It was placed there by God himself.

Meditate. It is everything you are after. Calm your mind. Stop it with the silly ambitions and fantasies. Stop it with the stupid regrets and bitterness. Be present.

The Lord our God is one. He is present. He  is the truth (that sets you free from your chattering mind.) he is the truth because he is literally the truth. He is truth personified. He is the present now, not your thoughts – the mind you can’t quiet. Quiet your mind and you will see him face-to-face in the present – here and now.

Jesus is the life because you’re not in the dream. You’re finally living right now and aware of the fact that you are alive – and not asleep – not distracted with your thoughts but just present and alive. Most of us move through life constantly dreaming about what would happen if we did this, or how things would be if we never did that, or who we might be if it weren’t for so-and-so. This is all a useless waste of time. We have no idea what it would be like or what it could be like because very rarely have we ever actually been.

all sin is sin because it keeps you trapped in the mind – “I’m going to do X because later it will make me feel like Y…”. this is the trap. This is what sin does – it makes you focus on a past that never happened, or future that never will. You focus on your desires more than your reality. It literally is a lie.

Let’s take a look at how this works out in some of our favorite sins:

  • greed – “if I have this, then imagine how people will look at me and go wow…”
  • Vanity/ambition/pride – all of these are imagining or remembering how you think you will feel in your imagined future, or how you used to feel or would have felt in the past. You looking forward to a future that will never happen, or looking back into a past you cannot return to. And it keeps you from doing anything in the present.
  • Vengeance –  “one day I’ll make you feel pain” but you can stop feeling the pain right now by simply being present and accepting the truth.
  • Murder – “if I kill you, I’ll feel this way later” but you can never anticipate all the feelings you will have because our imaginings rarely turn out the way we expect them to.

sin is deceitful because it has you stuck in the past that you cannot change or influence, or stuck in a future that will never happen. Sin is simply not being present – it’s being asleep – thinking that “I’ll feel better tomorrow if I do this today…” But it rarely turns out the way you imagine it will.

Sin always over promises and under delivers because sin is simply your imagination. Be awake and present and you might find you have already obtained all you ever wanted or needed. Be still and know that he is God. Then you will know the truth. You will know Jesus, God himself. He represents the truth in your imagined future – if you can take the time to stop and be present with him today.

Thinking is just imagining. Einstein said “imagination is more important than knowledge.” This is true because “knowledge” is just thinking somebody else’s thoughts again, or remembering your own thoughts again. Knowledge itself is a brain bulimia – you’re bringing up the things you’ve already digested but not thinking about how to get closer to the reality that is the core of the thing you’re thinking about.

Imagination is making a “image” of something new. It’s reassembling your experiences together in a new way, a new combination of all your past experiences of the present.

Getting stuck in your knowing – being “right” – is refusing to be present and imagining your former thoughts again. “Knowing” is the opposite of thinking – it is simply the act of remembering your former construct. And if you weren’t present and aware when you had the original thought – you are dwelling on something fake, something you simply imagined, something you once dreamt about and simply want to dream about again.

Wake up O sleeper. Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you…

In the present.

One Reply to “Meditation and Thinking”

  1. This is some heady and in places challenging thinking. It’s hard to *exactly* wrap the mind around all of it, but it makes sense to me that this is so, because you’re pointing out that when the mind traffics in “thinking” rather than “presence”, it misses the mark on ultimate reality. So, it makes sense to me that words, thinking, may fail here. As Buddhists would say, the thinking is (at best) the finger pointing to the moon, but isn’t the moon itself.

    “They think they will finally get to rest if they can just achieve the thing they are chasing.” So true. We waste so much time making everything into a chase. At the end of the documentary about him, “The Heretic”, Rob Bell says, “Everything you are working and striving for, you already have. You’re loved exactly as you are.” It’s Watts in “Music and Life”, as well.

    You write, “The Lord our God is one. He is present. He is the truth (that sets you free from your chattering mind.) …Quiet your mind and you will see him face-to-face in the present – here and now.” This reminds me of, “You cannot think your way to God.” (who said that? I can’t recall). This was HUGE for me. For a long time, I expected that one could think their way to God, and because I failed at it, I struggled with faith. It seems so blindingly obvious in hindsight, to the point that I feel foolish that it took me so long to realize it, but it is what it is. Once I stopped trying to “think” my way, and just focused on *experiencing* the presence of God, everything changed for me.

    Jesus, the Prince of Peace, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I wonder if he isn’t talking so much (or at least, not *only*) about the afterlife, about rest when you die, but about rest in the here-and-now… God’s Kingdom *here on earth*, as it is in Heaven. Mary Oliver, in an interview I heard, said something to the effect that she doesn’t so much concern herself anymore with what’s going to happen to her after she dies, because she thinks that the point of *this life* that she’s *now* in is to work to make this earth, in some small way, a bit more of God’s Kingdom as it is in Heaven, and then to *be present* in this world she has been gifted to be a part of, to focus her attention on this earth in presence and gratitude. That’s what she feels she is called to do in *this* life, knowing that the *next* life will take care of itself when it comes.

    Oliver says that “attention is the beginning of devotion”, and it seems to me that this is true. “I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed…Tell me, what else should I have done? …Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

    Your section on sin… there were parts of that which I couldn’t clearly get what you’re saying, but I think it’s that whole “words fail” thing again. It does make me wonder… is staying trapped in the mind of past/future bad because it is (and it leads to) sin, or is sin bad because it keeps you trapped in the mind of past/future? Is it the being trapped in past/future that is itself the sin, and it “just” manifests itself in these outside actions, or is it the actions themselves which are the sins, and they lead to the trapping? Or is it even pointless to try to distinguish?

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