Perhaps, for many of us, but otherwise definitely not.
“I think, therefore I am”, said Descartes. “I meditate, therefore I truly am”, say we.
The main benefit of meditation is that it takes us outside the realm of the mind and therefore outside the realm of thoughts. It encourages us to seek a pristine place inside ourselves untouched by daily worries and anxieties, desires and ambitions. Meditation is therefore the opposite of thinking.
Thinking can be of two kinds. One is willed and conscious thinking that helps us deal with a particular task or idea before us. This kind of thinking is needed and helpful. The second kind is erratic, disorganized, uncontrolled and, frankly, a gibberish type of thinking that has no conscious purpose. It goes without saying that this kind of thinking is unhelpful in the very least. We often tend to experience the latter more often than the former.
Thinking is a thief. It steals from us three things. One is time. The other is energy. The third is spontaneous joy.
Thinking is often a burden. This is because rational thinking, not to mention irrational thinking, may miss the point. One buys a car to gain greater freedom of movement (a rational goal), but increasingly gets stuck in traffic and gets to suffer from pollution that his and other cars generate (an irrational outcome). Or one accumulates wealth in order to feel at ease in life without realizing that constant worry about the value and security of his riches undermine the very comfort he seeks.
Because of that, thinking is perhaps our own most formidable enemy. Equally, because of that, thinking, controlled and enlightened thinking, is perhaps our own most precious friend.
Thinking, especially concentrated and collective thinking, creates what we call reality. A national identity, a company culture or an individual character are forms of concentrated thinking that have set into certain patterns and grooves over a long enough period of time, have become easily recognizable and thus have given a nation, a company or an individual its defining traits. A prosperous nation, a successful company or a remarkable individual is one that has done better and more concentrated thinking than another.
How to become a better thinker? The way to become a better thinker is to become a better meditator. When the room is spacious, well lit and tidy, and the items inside it are organized, one can easily find the right item and move it around as needed. Because great thinking is about finding the right ideas and making the right connections between them, developing a mind that is orderly is key to becoming a great thinker. Meditation creates the spacious, illumined and pure environment inside ourselves for the mind to unclutter and organize itself – naturally.
The difference between a mentally ill patient and a healthy individual is very subtle and precarious. One is controlled by aberrant thinking, while the other happens to have somewhat more mastery over his own thoughts and mind. Also, as modern medicine demonstrates, psychological blocks that originate in deeply ingrained thinking patterns are the cause of psychosomatic illnesses manifesting themselves in the physical body.
Bad thoughts are contagious and so are good thoughts. Replace bad thoughts with good thoughts and the world around will also change to reflect your enlightened way of thinking.
Thoughts are like clouds in the sky. Worries and negative thoughts resemble dark and heavy clouds, while inspiring and positive thoughts resemble white and light clouds. Genuine meditation is like the vast blue sky without any trace of a cloud, dark or white, in its firmament.
Be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you think of.
For more articles on integrating meditation into the present-day lifestyle and for more information on starting a meditation practice of your own, visit www.GenevaMeditation.ch.