Freedom Of Thought
FREE YOUR THINKING
Freedom of thought means more than simply being allowed by others to think what you want to think; it also – more importantly – means getting rid of your OWN barriers to freely thinking whatever you want to think.
This is the first ‘mind tool’ that made me actually think, ‘Oh, this is kind of a tool, for the mind to use to help it see things more clearly’. During the beginning years of my deeply questioning things about my inner and outer world, one of the hundreds of questions that arose was the ‘ethics’ of eating meat versus becoming vegetarian. A teen girl was visiting the friend I was crashing with (this is during my hitch hiking years), and she was very self-righteous about having been vegetarian all her life, being the child of long-term vegetarians. She was very opinionated and judgmental about killing animals for food, and actually made me feel like a criminal for doing something I’ve done since birth without even thinking about it: eating meat.
I began to think about it, investigate into what it would mean to become vegetarian… but at a certain point, I wanted to stop thinking about it. This intrigued me a little, it was the first time I remember being consciously aware of wanting to stop thinking something through. We all stop thinking things through, all our lives, but this was the first time I became clearly aware of that barrier happening to me. So for a moment I put aside thoughts of eating meat versus vegetarianism, and decided to figure out what it was that made me want to stop thinking about it.
I realized I was actually AFRAID to think about it. This was one of the powerful revelations in my early transitional years… I was actually afraid to think about things? It’s natural to be afraid of doing many things… but to be afraid to even think something through? I left the vegetarianism question behind for awhile, and thought about this fear of thinking some things through. What caused that? What was the fear OF?
I listened to my brain, my gut, my heart, talked and wrote things out with myself… and the answer came quickly: I was afraid that if I thought out all the important points of eating meat, versus eating only plants, I would come to some moral conclusion that killing and eating animals was wrong, and that I would have to become vegetarian. Would HAVE to, if I discovered that it was ‘right’ to be vegetarian.
This new revelation was so clear: I was afraid of investigating things, because I was afraid not of the conclusion, but of having to OBEY that conclusion, of having to change my life, perhaps in large ways. And I realized there were dozens, maybe hundreds or thousands, of things I had always thought about… but never really followed through to conclusions, to that comprehensive, deep knowing… because I was afraid of the subsequent change those conclusions would – or ‘should’ – set into motion.
What a revelation this was! I am an extremely active thinker, wanting to see all truths and see all situations clearly and pierce through even my own delusions about them… and here I realized I thought almost nothing of true value through to a clear conclusion. And I studied others, and saw that they were doing the exact same thing: people will not think things through if some hidden, subconscious part of them suspects those things will come to a scary or uncomfortable conclusion. I see it everywhere.
As soon as I had this clear realization of this barrier, a sentence popped into my mind, and I recognized it as being some kind of a mind tool that would help me pierce through the defensive wall I’d spent a lifetime building in fear of my own thoughts and what they might lead me to ‘have’ to do:
‘Give yourself permission to NOT act upon anything you discover’.
Whew. Okay. So I don’t HAVE to act upon any of those conclusions? Even if I think they are right, moral, more ethical than the things I have been doing and want to continue to do? I have carte blanche, total freedom, to think about anything, right through to any possible conclusions I could ever reach about it… and I still don’t have to change my life around that conclusion?
It felt so much better, so forgiving and relaxing, to give myself that permission, to accept it as a right and good action… but is it a right and good action? Shouldn’t I change things in my life, if I think them through and decide they should be changed? This is a huge question… so let’s go there, let’s go right through it. This is an important question, probably the most important of these tools, so we need to talk it through and understand it, flesh it out a little more than the other tools. We need to think it through, har de har:
Thinking things through can be SCARY.
What if you come to a conclusion that will change things? Or worse, what if thinking something out loud to your own mind might even reveal something that may destroy your life as you know it, might cause you to lose belongings you have, lose your relationships as they are, lose the dreams you’ve been working for? What if these thoughts might make you a different person than you have been, might bring you circumstances you do not want, might cause people around you to no longer like you, even cause them to condemn you?
What if you love to eat meat, and you don’t want to think about the possibilities of becoming vegetarian because you might find out eating bland weeds is ‘right’ and eating scrumptious varmint flesh is ‘wrong’? What if you finally admit to yourself that you hate your job, or your spouse, or your lifestyle, your looks, even resent and hate your children or parents? What if you start thinking about doing things you know are crimes and will hurt people and land you in prison, or dead? What if you start thinking things that people simply think are weird, and may cause them to think you’re crazy and tell you to see a therapist?
Conversely, what if you finally admit to yourself that you LOVE something, or someone, or that you really want to accomplish something that you’ve always been afraid to do? What if you want success but are afraid of what may come with it? Afraid of the change, of losing control over what is comfortable? What if you face yourself deeply and find out you’re not as great, skilled, caring, strong, brave, smart, honest as you’ve been telling yourself you are all your life? Or what if you find out you’re BETTER than you’ve always assumed you were, stronger, more skilled, more resourceful, braver, kinder, more honest than you’ve always thought?
What if you look deeply, completely, fearlessly into what you are, whatever things you have done, whatever things have been done to you, into what kind of life you have built for yourself? What would that mean? What would happen? If you take a deep, clear look into anything in your life and decide whether each thing should be stopped or started, but you feel that to change it is very frightening and you won’t be able to handle it… what then?
Will thinking things through and then making changes, or not making them, make you feel even worse? Will your life fall apart? Will you enter huge pain, discomfort and embarrassment, fear and uncertainty? Will your family fall apart, starve, hate you? Will society hate you and stop helping you, will the police come for you? Will you hate yourself, be disappointed in how things turn out? Will some things, or your entire life, spiral out of your control and lead to a trapped life that you do not want and cannot predict? Is that what you’re worried about, is that what stops you from considering any thought once it enters the truly scary zone?
There is a thin but infinitely tough membrane of fear, a barrier of thought that is of your own making, that you have probably never penetrated whenever it nears the thoughts that terrify you to your core. You go through your daily routines, actually not even knowing that there is a whole list, a whole inner universe, of things you refuse to think about past that fear barrier. You avoid it so completely that you are generally not even aware this massive storage trunk of items is in you, and you sail through the day thinking that your thoughts, ideas and decisions are free and clear.
They are not. And it is time for you to start seeing that fear membrane as a real and solid thing within you. I will not go into the thousands of things we can be afraid to think through. For each of us they are different; according to your upbringing, your mind, your learning, your culture, religion, according to your unique circumstances, something you are terrified to even give the slightest thought to will be laughable to someone else, while something they are too terrified to give even a moment’s serious thought to will seem inconsequential to you. I will just give you the tool, and let it do its work, and let you discover your own new awareness of it.
I’m giving you this tool first, because it is perhaps the most powerful tool in clearing your mind, clearing up your life, and truly stepping onto the path of seeing yourself, truthfully and accurately, in the mirror. Just reading this tool will plant a seed of awareness in you, and in the future you’ll start to notice when you ‘stop’ thinking about certain things, certain angles, as they become uncomfortable. It is not enough to simply say ‘free your thinking’, because the defenses you have created into a very real barrier will not allow you to. We need to dissolve those defenses first. I’ll give you the first tool, then show you clearly how it is the only tool that can ENTIRELY dissolve your fear barrier to thinking things through. This tool is absolutely necessary to you, in order to free your thinking things through; we have so many defenses, that unless we ‘pre-forgive’ ourselves for not acting upon our thoughts, we will continue to keep solid that fear barrier. Once again, you just read it, and it starts to work:
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO NOT ACT UPON ANYTHING YOU DISCOVER.
If you begin thinking deeply about scary things in your way of life, and discover your life has been feeling totally wrong and you want something different… give yourself permission to not act upon that, to allow your life to keep going the way it has been, feeling wrong and all.
If you discover you love or hate someone or something, even want them destroyed or dead, and have never actually admitted these things out loud inside your own head… you can now think all these things freely, and give yourself permission to do nothing about it, even to keep smiling and pretending.
If you discover something that makes you want to go out and fight, help, be an activist, change and improve things, destroy things, teach things, hide from things and people, meet new people and do new things… give yourself permission to take no action at all.
If you finally admit that what, or who, you are supposed to love is actually destructive to you and you think you shouldn’t stand it any longer… give yourself permission to continue to stand it, to make no changes.
If you suddenly see clear as day that you want to move when you should stay put, or stay put when you should move, or start something, end something… give yourself permission to take no steps to act upon it.
Why? Why give yourself permission to ‘not’ act upon anything you discover, when for your whole life you have been asked, even forced, to tell your thoughts out loud, let them be judged by others as right or wrong, and then you’ve felt the incredible pressure, from yourself and those around you, to act upon your thoughts? Here’s why you give yourself this permission:
You discover yourself.
That’s it, that’s all.
You find the truth of every thought and feeling you’ve been suppressing from yourself and from others. You clarify and make real the thoughts, desires, fears that used to be only vague, repetitious, unclear mush inside your brain. You forgive yourself for any thoughts, no matter how good or horrible. You let them arrive. You watch them. They show you yourself. They show you your thoughts of others. You watch thoughts go again and then others arrive. You love them. You hate them. You love them again. You hate them again. It all becomes allowed, unjudged. You brush the cobwebs from the recesses of your mind, allow all thoughts to come and go and you no longer run them through a filter, the filter that tells you one thought is safe and the other thought will hurt you because you must act upon it. Your thoughts become fluid and free, like a fish swimming in the ocean. Your life might still bump into barriers, but your thoughts can become free.
You learn everything a human mind can think and feel. You learn everything YOUR mind can think and feel. Isn’t that enough? Until now, there has been an on/off switch: the moment you begin to agonize about acting upon your thoughts, the fear, restrictions and blindness solidify into a barrier, and you lose the ability to explore to the farthest corner of your mindspace. When you keep giving yourself permission to NOT act upon your thoughts, you allow the thoughts to come and go freely, you keep moving towards clear self-discovery.
There will still be a part of you that thinks you must make changes according to whatever you think through. A guilt-sowing part of your mind will still argue for making a change; after all, it will say, this thinking-through is important, shouldn’t it pay off somehow in the end, otherwise isn’t it a useless waste of time?
But when you evolve far enough towards a clear mind, simply the clearing will be its own reward. Until then, if you have to know that something will come of all this, more than just a clearer mind…
…your improved skill in thinking scary things through, your new freedom of thought, WILL change your life in some ways. But any changes will arrive naturally, organically. Any changes will happen in a much safer and more enjoyable way, a more true way, at a divine pace and amount, rather than with you stumbling and confused and trying to force things because your thoughts tell you you ‘should’. You don’t need to try make any changes, or fear any, because they will be done FOR you.
Thinking things through… is quiet. No one can hear you. You have been given the gift of the inside of your own head, which no one else can see or hear or touch. Why haven’t you seen the entirety of this gift before, for what it is? You can think whatever you want, even things that may get you persecuted, hurt or killed if you say them out loud… and if you keep quiet, no one will ever suspect.
You don’t HAVE to tell anyone. Who said you did? Who made you think you had to tell what you think, and to act upon it? If you think you want to make a change, or you disagree with something, someone, even a huge part of the life you are caught in, if you think you want to change your looks, life, beliefs… who told you that you must actually take a single physical, outward step to do any of that, including even telling anyone what you are thinking?
It’s like Vegas: what happens in your head, can stay entirely in your head. Ha. The difference is, what you do in Vegas can leak to the rest of your life; with thoughts, the good and the bad – whatever those mean according to you – can stay tucked in your vault. You do have the choice of what you let leak from you. It can be nothing, or truth, or lies, or any combination of all three. You don’t need to give them a single leak to the outside world. You don’t even need to raise an eyebrow, crack a smile, purse your lips, to betray a thought you might be having, even while your thoughts are flying and raging. The inside of your head is a quiet gift that is given to you; you can spend it however you want. You have that control, though you’ve given that control up for most of your life.
You will grow better at this ‘giving yourself permission to not act’, and your mind will eventually feel freer and freer to explore the territories of new thoughts. You’ll discover thoughts you’ve suppressed for years, for your whole life. Even little tricky ways you hide things from yourself, will suddenly be seen and you will laugh at being aware of the breakthroughs. When you become adept at allowing your thoughts to arrive and follow through unfiltered, by removing all effort to act upon them, things in your life will change naturally, or not, as they should, without all your messy deliberations about ‘doing’ something. This is not a passive process. This is one of the most powerful processes you can set into motion.
Since the day this first mind tool popped into my thoughts, and overwhelmingly due to it, my knowing of myself and my knowing of others has opened up ten-thousand-fold. It has allowed me to accomplish an amazingly clear awareness, in my mind and outward into my relationships and circumstances. Giving myself permission to not act upon anything I discover through my thoughts, has led to MORE accomplishment than I ever knew could happen, in terms of clarifying and purifying my mind and my relationships.
Going back to my opening story: I did think that original vegetarian question out. In dozens of details, of life, death, pain, loving animals and having compassion for them, and ethics. And after thinking it through, and giving myself permission to not act on anything I discovered, I still eat meat. And I still eat vegetables. I also thought out why that teen girl was so judgmental and opinionated, what caused her to be that way, why I was different than her, why she would make me feel as if I were doing something terribly wrong, and why I would allow myself to feel like I was a criminal for not being what she insisted was the right thing for me to be. When you’re early along the path of deeply questioning life, one small event can trigger massive changes, and that small event snowballed into many tools and many thoughts for me.
This tool will take you on a journey into finding whatever has been hidden; they are all parts of you, they are not alien beings, so what you’ll discover is all you. It will take years for this mind tool to deeply penetrate your thoughts, and it will open you up to yourself, peeling back the coarse husk of your protective thoughts to expose the luscious fruit of your innermost thoughts.
FREE YOUR THINKING:
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO NOT ACT UPON ANYTHING YOU DISCOVER