What are thoughts?
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Thoughts are magical. Whether rainbow unicorn sparkly or hellish dark magic, you can’t deny that the human ability to think is pretty darn incredible, and can be a hard concept to grasp.
What is a thought?
In basic terms, the physical manifestation of a thought occurs when energy, triggered by our senses or nervous system, pulses through neurons in the brain. When this happens, the neurons that are activated create pictures/stories in our mind. (The mind is the brain in action.)
An active mind is in the state of firing off thought. In his book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” Dr. Joe Dispenza explains that neurons that fire together, wire together. This is how a single thought will lead to a story-line.
Even with this down to earth, technical explanation of where a thought comes from, it’s pretty obvious to me that there is more to thinking than just see/hear/taste/touch/smell something and think about it.
Thought leaders like Eckhart Tolle believe in a collective, or universal mind, where thought exists outside of us. When the energy in our brain is at a certain frequency that corresponds with thought energy outside of us, it will attract that energetic field, and that attracted thought will manifest in our mind.
I know. Sounds trippy. But here’s how I make heads or tails of that. Everything around us, in us, that is us, is energy. This is not myth, this is proven science.
But can that energy infiltrate our mind, so that we in essence pick up thought out of thin air? AS of right now, this is where the frontier of science ends, and belief begins. And I think this is something you have to experience for yourself in order to believe it.
In her book “Big Magic” Elizabeth Gilbert relays a story about what she defines as a thought exchange with good friend and fellow author Ann Patchett. Gilbert had the idea for a book that never took off. Not long after lunching with Patchett, where a friendly kiss was exchanged, Patchett contacted Gilbert to relay the plot to a story she was writing (State of Wonder). This was essentially the same story Gilbert had thought of, but struggled to turn into a novel.
Coincidence, or energy transference?
As far as we know, we are the only creatures on the planet that are capable of the highest form of thought. Other animals create primitive thought, that is their sensory factors transmit information into their brain, which creates some sort of reaction that creates action.
But as humans, our higher evolved brain allows us to not only have those primitive reactions, but to also observe and think about those reactions. We can ponder the wonders of our body, and the automatic functions. We can observe ourselves think, and notice when we have a reaction that doesn’t really align with the person we want to be, and then we can overthink that, and observe ourselves one again overthinking.
Because of this ability, this self awareness, we can actually chose to create thoughts intentionally. If someone gives us the side eye, we can chose to either think they were trying to offend us, or we can chose to think that was just the way they happened to glance at us, or we can chose to recognize that we truly have no freaking clue what they were thinking in the moment they looked at us, because that is one power we’ve not mastered yet: truly knowing what another brain is thinking.
Recognizing that we have no control over what someone else thinks is a vital step in being able to end needless suffering and anxiety.
In my next post we’ll explore the chemical reaction that thought creates in the human body: emotion.