Table of Contents

Thinking: the sorcerer's broom

The double edged sword. Humans created language, and language resulted in thinking and human culture. By thinking I mean creating an internal narrative using words and/or images. Internal planning, reviewing, lecturing, explaining, justifying, reciting and then doing any and all of that over and over again ad infinitum. Thinking is our great blessing and curse, a key element in every aspect of human culture, needed for everything from the glories of art to the miseries of drug abuse and human trafficking. It's a curse because we can't control it. We can't stop thinking or even discipline it except momentarily. Our inability to control thinking is the root of all human misery. The spiritual quest is the only solution to the curse of thinking. The first step of the spiritual quest is overcoming the curse of thinking by practicing meditation. I have to get quiet inside before I can begin the real work of realizing human potential.

Consciousness separates us. Whether we like it or not thinking separates humanity as we know it from the rest of the world, from nature. We humans left nature behind when we invented agriculture and stopped being nomads. We can't go back. We love to immerse ourselves in nature, but we do it in controlled settings like parks, or we venture into what's left of the real wilds well equipped with the latest wilderness survive in comfort technology. Our technology has become part of us and it will never go away, no matter how much the luddites among us think they wish it would. Anyone who thinks that way is not thinking it through. The only thing that displaces technology is newer better technology, have you noticed?

Wrongheadedness is all the ways I use thinking against myself, making my life worse instead of better by thinking wrongly or too much. Sentimentality and emotion in general are classics of wrongheadedness: thinking that gins up feelings. The feelings can be of any kind. The key element is they're imaginary, figments of my thinking processes rather than responses to what's really going on. They have nothing to do with what's actually going on in my life, in the world around me. I can spend my entire life emotionally worked up, tortured by troubles that don't even exist. Worrying is another example.

Obsessive thinking. Wrongheadedness usually relies on obsessive thinking. Any time I think the same thought twice or more in a row I'm being wrongheaded, but real obsession can easily multiply that by a thousand.

The sin of loyalty. Loyalty, like pride, is a species of wrongheadedness that manages to pass itself off as a virtue. Loyalty shows its true colors in sentiments like my country right or wrong. Or yes, he beats me but he's my husband and I'll stick with him no matter what. Loyalty demands I set aside my powers of observation, critical thinking, objectivity. To be loyal I have to stick with a person or cause no matter what, even if that person or cause is criminal or abusive. Loyalty is deluded behavior, a travesty of human potential. A failure to think for myself.

The role of thinking in these stories. Leela creatively rewrites what I write consciously. I am not the artist here, though my words may make it sound that way. The artist of these stories is the artist of my life: Leela. Someone might say that's how it is for all genuine artists: the artist is just a channel for divine inspiration. But I don't know about other people, so I wouldn't say that. I do know that my artistic job is to surrender to Leela. The more I surrender the harder it is for me to tell us apart. But it's clear to me I could never do this on my own. She and I work back and forth. I'll write something, and I can be more or less off target, but I'm always off target. Leela works with me to get to the truth using muscle testing. Sometimes I get it quickly. Other times it's a long exhausting process. In both cases Leela shows me how far off base my original fluency drill was. Her improvements are often unintuitive. Her style is not the way I'm used to writing. Short hemingwayesque sentences. That's not my style. I'm often conflicted about them. I have to read her text a few times before I get it.