We Are Not Our Thoughts

Rene Descartes' famous idiom "I think therefore I am" just turns out not to be true at all. Well as not true as anything is not true. It's all relative. Still, that's a big idea. Understanding that we are not our bodies is a whole lot easier to come to grips with. But our thoughts are the things we identify with. We think we are our pain, our pleasure, and every thought-stirred emotion in between. Really we are the source of all of those things. They are a part of us but they are not the *true* us.

I should start with where this idea coalesced for me. It was after weeks of consistent meditation that that idea turned into more of an inner recognition of truth than just a mere idea. During my meditation sessions, where the point was not to think at all, I found myself observing a no-thought moment (few and far between in the beginning) which then created the thought (oops) "where am I when I'm not thinking?".

In essence I had this epiphany where I understood that when I stopped thinking I still existed. I still *was* even though no thoughts were being generated from my mind. I became the conscious observer. I was still there, aware and free from the persistent thoughts of my own mind.  I realized then that I was not my body and I was not my mind. I was my soul. And it turns out that my soul (and yours too, I'm sure) are curious things.

This then led me to ponder critically while not sitting on the cushion about what that all really meant. And if the body communicates through action and the mind communicates via thought, how does the soul communicate? For all communication (even communication with our own souls) we absolutely require the body. Our thoughts become ideas which then become words that come out of our mouths. The body makes this possible. Even our mind is dependent on our actual physical brains working properly. So our soul should also then communicate through the body, right?

I think the soul communicates via the mind and body. Our emotions, when not accompanied by thoughts or judgment, can be seen as an expression of the soul. While these emotions may originate in the mind and move through the body, they are also a way to generate and express the energy of the soul. That energy can be felt through the body and passed on to others with glances, conversations, and long embraces. It has the ability to heal or harm, depending on how we use it.

Together, these three systems (body, mind, soul) communicate with each other to create who we are in the material world. This, to me, is the real meaning of the sacred number three, the holy trinity in its purest form. (Though I'm still torn by the idea of the fourth aspect coalesced from all three aspects in various trinities being that our natural world is broken into four seasons, four phases of the moon, etc. Maybe it has something to do with the soul being liberated by pure consciousness after death or the mystery of the final rebirth to the godhead and the utterly unseen and unknowable. Hmm... interesting. But that's another post.)

However, the body and mind are dependent on material existence while the soul is not. It is, in fact, the animating force, the difference between life and death, and the spark. It is pure energy guiding matter and can therefore never be destroyed or cease to exist, but only be transformed. There is no death of the soul.

Now, does that mean we remain the same personalities after death? I don't think so. We are not our experiences any more than we are our bodies and it is our experiences and our physical life that create our personalities. We are only pure love that has no end or beginning. Of course, I'm not talking about love in the way most people think of it through their own selfish delusions, but that's for yet another post.

Anyway, consciousness is not thinking or doing. Which is good since I don't think anyone, if given the chance, would actually hang on to lifetimes of baggage eternally? I think we're meant to work those things out here and if our soul continues to struggle or we remain unconscious of our true soulful being, perhaps we have to come back and work some more stuff out until our souls get it right. I think we can give our souls a big helping hand by letting them take their places as the parts of us that are authentic and should be running the show - guiding the matter of our bodies and the energy of our minds to the best interest of our true selves.

The world we live in is focused on ideas and matter. This is great for the mind and the body but how do we live a life centered on the soul? How can we reach our own souls through the ever present noisy thoughts and physical stimuli? I think that's really the whole point of meditation. Once you feel your soul, there's no way to deny it's true nature any longer. You soul is not your thinking mind nor is it your doing body. It is the part of you that just is, truly the real being that is you.

Reading this isn't enough. Neither is writing it really. These are hard ideas to put into words and words alone can't do the realizations that are possible any justice. I can't tell you how many times I read or even said similar words before all of this sunk in while meditating.

Maybe the words can lay the groundwork but you need to experience it for yourself. So meditate even if it's just for five minutes at your desk every day. Just do it every day for as long as you can. Try not to think but if the thoughts do come (which they will) let them pass by. Don't dwell on anything that can get you caught in the trap of thinking. Simply observe your thoughts and let them go as easily as they came.

It sounds hard to do, and it is. But as with anything, practice makes it easier. It doesn't make it perfect because there really is no such thing in the way we think of it. But it does become more of a habit, which is what all beliefs or thought patterns are anyway. And knowing that we can become conscious shapers of our habits, thoughts, and worlds gives us all of the power in the palm of our hands. Or better said, in the center of our souls.

P.S. There's an article here from Psychology Today that is sort of relevant. The author states that our thoughts are not real, and in a sense that is true. Though I believe our mind can create just as our body can. That in fact, our minds and thoughts are the beginnings of creation in the material world. I've also been rethinking thought forms these days and I'm beginning to think there's really something to that idea. So, the idea in the article that our thoughts may have no impact is false, in my very humble opinion. Still an interesting read that might make things a bit more clear.

Musings on the Sacred Masculine

I believe one of the primary lessons of the Goddess is oneness and divinity of all life. This then means if I am Goddess then I am also God, that both exist within us as we are divine beings. While I could get this intellectually, and on psychological levels of "inner male" and "inner female" it took a very long time for it to resonate on deeper levels. 
 
For years I struggled with ideas of a male god. I didn't understand him nor did I want to based on the examples of war-mongering, vengeful sky gods that I'd been presented with in my life. I had a clear picture of the Goddess and realized he was a part of her, though that was about as far as I was willing to go. In the last few years, thanks to becoming immersed in feminist ideology, I've been realizing that the God concept needs a reworking based on the fact that the male divinities we've known for many millennium are all rooted in a system that was never meant to represent the true nature of the male human, let alone his inherent divinity.

Men in a patriarchy feel compelled by everything around them to conform to toxic versions of masculinity. Is it any wonder with the examples they've been given from gods to leaders to their very own fathers? War heroes are glorified while fatherhood is undervalued. Acquiring power and status on the material level is revered and encouraged while learning emotional skills and being altruistic is seen as worthless or “woman's work”.

The fabric of our society is based in these notions of what men are supposed to be in order to be "real men". And most often what men are supposed to be is dominating, aggressive, emotionless, isolated, etc. But of course, these qualities are not the true nature of men, nor are they the sole dominion of the male. Anyone who has a son or who has deeply and intimately been able to share a life with a man knows that there is a varied spectrum of "masculine" traits within male beings that simultaneously exists with traits thought of as more traditionally "feminine".

Recently I've begun to redefine the God for myself. He is the Green Man and the Goddess's horned lover who is nurturing caretaker to beasts big and small. He's the Buddha and the boy; a child of nature born to embrace consciousness as his birthright. He is the catalyst that jump starts life, whose body nourishes the seed and whose vulnerability all life is dependent upon.

It is in this inherent and important vulnerability that I believe we have come to know the fear-based misogyny of the patriarchy and the men it produces. Being vulnerable is frightening and I imagine men feel most vulnerable in the arms of women who represent their mothers and the deeply desired (and required!) connection of the human soul. According to the culture of domination, brute strength can trump fear every time.

And so male divinity lost its innocence and threw lighting bolts at those specters of fear produced within the shadows of the human psyche. In serving this fear, he became forced to reject all things perceived as weak - anything that reminded him of his vulnerable nature - bifurcating his spirit and sacrificing his soul on the altars of vengeful gods and blood-soaked idols.

But now that time is coming to an end. The Goddess has returned and with her comes the Innocent God who is ready to be brave in the service of love. He will do battle only with his own demons and support the Goddess as she supports him. Together they stand facing the same horizon, forming an unending, equal partnership that is the foundation for all life. 

[image source]

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