It’s been a regular claim of mine that suffering is caused by thinking. If this should be so, shouldn’t one do something about thinking? Who wants to suffer after all.
The typical approach to the suffering that thinking causes is to take action against it. A frequent bit of advice, for instance, is to distract oneself when negative thinking comes up.
Talk to someone! Engage in an activity! Go for a walk!
This sort of response will, at best, be a temporary relief. You can be sure that the thinking will return, and probably sooner rather than later.
There is advocacy as well for mentally responding to one’s negative thinking — talking back to the thought, and reasoning against it as it were. This is also futile, as the response will provide energy to the thinking and so sustain it. Even if one should happen to eliminate one strain of thinking, another strain will step up and take its place, and will be just as negative.
So how then does one defeat the adversary thinking? You do not attempt to defeat it, nor consider it an adversary.
But what of all my talk that thinking is toxic, that it is the only cause of suffering?
Yes, this is so. But putting up a front of resistance against thought, trying in whatever form to eliminate it, doesn’t work. Resistance is energy, and feeds the source of the resistance. If you want a long and protracted fight against something, push against it.
Do not push, on the other hand, and the fight quickly ends if it ever starts at all.
In addition the ego, the source for thinking, expands from resistance. Resistance is the ego’s favorite form of nourishment. Surrender or acceptance, however, drains the ego and diminishes it.
Let thinking be. Allow it to happen. Whatever it may say do not attempt to push it away or eliminate it. Watch it without judgment, listen to it without judgment, and let it be.
Thinking does cause suffering, sometimes immense, but that is only if one tries to manage it. If thinking is left alone, if one lets their thinking be and surrenders to it even, thinking takes on its genuine role: it opens the path to enlightenment.
Thinking, you see, represents those blocks to enlightenment within the self. Thinking are those things that one needs to let go of to experience the enlightened self, created from pure consciousness (also known as God) as an extension of pure consciousness. So thought does us a favor as it appears. One more chance to experience glorious self.
Or remain stuck.
From this orientation thinking can be considered not a foe but a friend doing us a service. We can thank it even, which is sometimes part of the ho’oponopono response. Thank you, friend thinking.
Most people, when unpleasant thinking comes up, label it as bad and react to it.
Oh no! This is horrible! Why is this happening to me!
This type of response will always, always, always lead to suffering. A way to end suffering, on the other hand, is to take on the habit of neutrally observing thinking as it comes up — listen to it and watch it without labeling — and allow the thinking to be. Say to the thinking, no matter what it may be expressing, okay.
I allow you to be, I do not resist you in any way, I surrender to you.
The majority opinion is that surrendering to something will lead to being taken over by it. This is actually rarely — if ever — so and is never so when it comes to matters of the mind and spirit. In these matters surrender leads to freedom while resistance leads to occupation.
Surrender to your thinking and it will not hold on to you, but will in fact let go. And you will be free.
Try it for yourself and see.