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Leave Your Thoughts As They Are

Updated: May 6



Today's theme is thoughts. Everyone has likely wished at some point to control unpleasant thoughts. If it were possible to control thoughts, we could eliminate suffering by ensuring only pleasant thoughts arise. In reality, attempting to control thoughts is often challenging. So, how should we deal with our thoughts? The goal is neither to stop thinking nor to change the way of thinking; it is about not being entangled by thoughts.


Thoughts are, like a merry-go-round, sometimes appearing enjoyable. It is a seduction. They present a glamorous and tempting allure with carousels, wooden horses, carriages, beautiful lights, cute music, and decorations. It may make you think that once you hop on, it will take you somewhere, but in reality, it just goes round and round. In truth, almost all thoughts cannot accomplish anything. They create illusions that there is a solution somewhere in the midst of them.


Sometimes, thoughts are like spam emails, scams, or aggressive sales pitches. If you are not engaged in the conversation with the aggressive sales, they will give up and disappear. If you don't open the email or click the link, unnecessary suffering won't arise. Even if thoughts come, let them be; don't engage with them.


Similarly, thoughts are like farts. Just as farting is a part of our physical system, thoughts are also a part of the mental system. There are times when a fart doesn't bother us. Sometimes, it's silent, no smell. Occasionally, it makes a loud sound, and now and then, it may have a strong odor. However, if left alone, any farts will dissipate and disappear. Yet, do we find ourselves judging such as, 'This fart smells awful,' 'This fart would be embarrassing if other people knew,' I'm having frequent and troublesome farts? Unnecessarily paying attention to farts prolong their presence. Are we judging them and overly fixated on the existence of thoughts? Similarly, with thoughts, there is no inherent good or bad. Are you attaching your judgments of good or bad to your thoughts, allowing them to linger?


It's perfectly fine to have thoughts, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Pleasant thoughts are naturally welcome, of course. At the same time, it’s also essential to neither hold onto them nor intentionally let them go for worries, anxieties, regrets, frustrations, or even fears—no judgment of your thoughts so that your pattern of judging yourself is reduced. The key is simply allowing them to be without getting entangled (Sonomama). By doing so, the grip on those thoughts loosens, and liberation unfolds. Trust the process.


*Sonomama means “leaving it as-it-is” in Japanese.


Questions:

  • How do you usually deal with your pleasant and unpleasant thoughts?

  • What helps you not to be engaged in your thoughts?



Writing and Photography by K E I K O


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