I can’t quit worrying. I might forget what scares me.
Doesn’t the mind feel that way? We don’t realize it, but our rational, thinking minds feel extremely fragile. All kinds of odd and hidden anxieties follow. What’s to keep us from forgetting to be afraid? If we forget our problems, what will we think about? If we don’t think, will we cease to exist? “I think, therefore I am” might become, “I don’t think, therefore I am nothing.”
It sounds a bit silly, but our egos embrace such fear. What amounts to faulty reasoning becomes a deeply buried motivating principle. Egos won’t quit thinking, because they fear weakening their own defenses, opening the gates to the marauding armies of biology, passion, and fate. Hence the difficulty we all find in meditating. How many times, in a given attempt at meditation, does the mind wander into idle thought? And when we’re not actively coaxing the mind toward stillness, thinking often runs completely unchecked. All kinds of mental phantoms haunt us because of unexamined and unrestrained thinking.
As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?” Outside of whatever material success you may owe to thinking, how much of your life has really been enhanced by it? In my opinion, thinking is overrated. There are many nonverbal states of mind that feel much calmer, richer, and filled with life.
Let’s take a good, biological, racy example. When you’re copulating, is your pleasure enhanced or diminished when your mind wanders and starts contemplating your latest project? All life is similar. Thinking takes us away from the juicy feelings of being alive.
It also increases tension, as we worry about things that might never happen, and regret actions from the unchangeable past.
Our egos convince us that thinking is such a valuable activity that nothing else should take priority. Not meditation, not sex, not life. But our egos are dead wrong. Neither they nor we will die if thought rests. Problems won’t be forgotten. Our dreams won’t unravel. Life will go on.