Friday, December 10, 2004

Where Do Thoughts Come From?

Where do thoughts come from?

This last evening, I've been watching seemingly endless thoughts appearing in mind, anger and revenge mostly, as in the midst of a family crisis, my ex-wife decided to pitch in with the 'blame game'.

It's funny this expression - pushing the buttons. The common expression is .. 'she knows how to push my buttons' .. meaning, she knows what to say which hurts the most, and upsets the most.

So a rush a thoughts running through mind, which play out this amazing story of this, and that, then this then that ... all running along, seemingly without any fuel or intention. It's like a train out of control .... careering on, yet 'who' asked it to?

They pop up into mind .... but where did they come from? I look at mind, and cannot see where they arise from. I look, but they just spontaneously appear, seemingly from nowhere. How can that be? How can 'something' come from 'nothing'?

Well, are they 'something', and do they go back into 'nothing'?

Seems like that as the rush of emotion is in full flow. But watching closely, there's increasingly less a sense of 'something' arising. Like ghostly presences, thoughts 'seem' to appear. But do they? What substance do they have? Sure, there is a sense of emotional fullness ... and bodily sensations which accompany their presence. But how amorphous they are, and how transparent. Nowhere when I look can they be found, and yet they are there. Is there an arising? Or is there not? Can't seem to apply either term to what is, with any sort of confidence. Seems like words fall down at that point.

So whether they arise or just like apparitions 'seem to arise', where did they come from? Again, no sensible answer, not one that makes sense conceptually. There doesn't seem to be a 'where' ... a place, an antecedent. Is there 'place' at all, where mind is concerned?

Looking at mind, and how it is .... just a different 'weather' today, one I'm not much used to .... but still the same mind, still the same nature, it would seem. Like watching a different football match, with seemingly different players ... but it's still just 'football', or has the same nature. Bad metaphor ..... but you know what I mean?

May all unskilful thoughts be the cause or occasion for awakening! May we use all adverse circumstances to awaken, and help others end all suffering.


Al said...

Chodpa - It's strange how we are in synch sometimes. I was reading this yesterday afternoon - be well...Al

Chodpa said...

Hi Al, many thanks for the link.


Robert said...

It's dizzying. You think the thought "Where do thoughts come from?" and that's a thought, too. I can imagine synapses firing in my head like some kind of electrical storm, as if there is intelligence in lightening (enlightening?).

Chodpa said...

We only think the thought "where do thoughts come from" outside of meditation ....

In meditation .... direct seeing ...... no further thoughts are generated by just looking .... and thoughts self liberate and subside of their own accord :-)

Outside of meditation, reflecting now, 2 days later .. did they arise at all? Where are they? ... are they any different from the dream I had last night? Where has that gone? They both had a sense of 'realness' at the time, but what substance remains of either? Both resonate, and leave an emotional echo, but was either more or less real than the other? .... both empty arisings .....

Anonymous said...

Greetings Chodpa.

This is Jacqui, from the Kagyu group. The interesting thing about being married is that you have a layer of habitual behavior that runs deeper than almost anything. My husband and I talk about this all the time. It's not such a matter of "who" is being pushed, as it is that the habitual cycle of allowing one's button to be pushed is in place.

For example, all I have to do is mention moving furniture and my dear hubby gets defensive. We've fought about it before so that is his habitual response.

I try ... often unsuccessfully ... to hear the message rather than protecting myself automatically. Is he "pushing my buttons" because he's frustrated and wants release? Is he trying to say something important but isn't doing it skillfully? How do I tell him he's being hurtful and table it for later without blowing my stack?

Kids and spouses are great dharma teachers, aren't they? :)


Chodpa said...

"kids and spouses are great Dharma teachers"

If you allow them to be !!!!