Substitute Thinking

October 07, 2010 | | Comments 0


If useless things do not hang in your mind, every season is a good season for you.”


 The writer John Updike once said: “ The writer of fiction, a professional liar, is paradoxically obsessed with what is true –what feels true, what rings true in the fabrication being assembled “.  In other words, within the admitted “fabrication” of story- telling, we, the reader, are drawn into  “what feels true” by skillful word weaving. All words, whether in “fiction” or “non-fiction” are, at best, representatives or symbols of an underlying truth. They are concepts. In a word, fiction. When we tuck into our favorite fiction, at the same time, we know that what we  are reading is an invented story about reality. We know that when we put the book down, we are then back in the real world, right? Is that true?  Or is that “real” world in our head possibly another invention? Now if this possibility strikes a cord, or “rings true” about words and fiction, we may close that book, sit back and think about it. That is, in our reflection about what is real and true, we enter, quite naturally, into thought about thought. Philosophy. Note  the cycle here and we may glimpse the wheel of Samsara  the Indian sages  describe as mans eternal turning and re- turning, or Karma.

Fortunately, there is a canary in the “shaft” of all  minds. Some of us hear  it, some of us don’t. Its song is very quiet and persistent; it never insists and yet it has all the power of truth. And if we listen to  this song of our self, we are transported out of mind and into reality, from the realm of virtual thought to  this that is, this actual, thoughtless place beyond words. And we see that there is no such thing as a “true” thought; that all  thinking is virtual. Yet we  can also know how lost we would be without words, how they can point toward the ineffable. There is even a word in Hindi that  re-presents this –“gayatri” – which means “ let me concentrate on that which illumines all “.

Where would we be without words? What kind of world would we live in if we didn’t believe our thoughts? Perhaps it would be the same one the poet Rumi sees  and  so eloquently expresses in Farsi, and which is translated  here into English words:

Something “good” or “bad”

Always comes out of “you”.

It  is agony to be still

while the spool turns

when the mind pulls the thread.

He writes from a thought- free place, using words that touch in us, through time and space, that which is also thought – free. That’s because we all recognize the timeless truth of  our being. And that while we often think we know a lot, we also see we can have no conception about reality. All this is neither “good” nor “bad” of course, except that the mind thinks it so!

Reality, like truth, is always with us now, in this un-thought consciousness which we are. To paraphrase  Jesus:

Let  the dead bury the dead.

Let concepts bury concepts.

Let  stillness  bury the words.

Let  the silence speak.

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