Can Spiritual Practice Help us to Have No Thoughts?
Having no thoughts, or having control over thoughts, is probably one of a larger reasons why so many people decide to look into spiritual practices. The state of mind in average human is unfortunately very low, which means that it is polluted with thoughts of negativity, spite, anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, malice, violence, fear, depression…Sometimes people start to do some light form of inner work due to exhaustion with the negative thoughts and emotions, nevertheless in such lighter form of inner work only very prominent negative thoughts are observed and worked upon, whereas smaller ones are overlooked or not looked at all, and that’s because of the “healthy dose of negativity” that is tolerated in our society, or moreover – it is even deemed necessary!
In our society, things such as gossiping forms a huge part of everyday’s interactions, and not many people see it is something that is not right. Talking negative about others, putting them down, and judging them during a gossiping conversation is an everyday reality, and is just a small part of the inner negativity that is tolerated within oneself, and which has its root in negative thoughts and emotions. There are many other things to which allowances are given, seeing them as normal part of the everyday life, and so the people who do the above mentioned lighter form of inner work continue more or less on the same note, whilst working on larger manifestations of thoughts. Unfortunately, not much will change in their psyche, because what they are doing is channelling the problematic negative thoughts into those that are seen as fine and healthy. In other words, the larger manifestations can express themselves in other ways if not properly dealt with.
The origin of all negative thoughts is in the ego, in the “I”, the myself, and the way to become free of thoughts is by working on the ego. It is necessary to work on the entirety of the ego if what is intended is to be free of negative thoughts, or thoughts in general. The reason for this is because the ego does not only manifest as a thought, but it also manifest as emotion, as sensation, as movement and as instinct. The ego is a complex structure that requires serious study and profound inner work; it requires working on the ego in all its aspects, until arriving to the very core of that complex machine. If done in this way, it is not only possible to have no negative thoughts and the thoughts that make us suffer and that bring us to the point of despair, but it is also possible to have no low emotions – all of that replaced by a true peace within oneself.
It is true that by applying the inner work in daily life, by practicing meditation and some other spiritual exercises, we can arrive to the point where the ego-driven thoughts begin to diminish, and what is left is an empty mind with its reservoir of pure mental matter. Normally this mental matter or energy is sucked away by the ego driven thoughts, but when we reduce such thoughts we notice this mental energy, which is the basic energy of the mental center that can be used for various purpose. For example, we use this mental matter when we consciously use our mind to think, to plan, to organize, to visualize etc. There is a large difference between us ourselves using our mind consciously, and having our egos using it through random mental thoughts and memories that appear hundreds and even thousands of times throughout the day.
Therefore, with the inner work we can begin to have a steady control over the mind, we can begin to detach ourselves from this space of mind in which the ego manifests itself as random and negative thoughts. In the beginning we learn how to detach ourselves by doing the exercises of self-remembrance and self-observation, and later on we begin to lessen the amount of such random thoughts through the process of the mystical death, which subsequently liberates more and more of consciousness that was trapped inside the ego-driven thoughts. By so doing the consciousness will begin to expand towards the periphery of the mind, and gradually it will also expand beyond the mind itself. This is an important point in the inner work because then we have more frequent periods of having silent mind, not only during meditation but also during daily activities. A mind that is silent and tranquil is the mind that is under control of the spirit, of our true self. It is the mind that has plenitude of mental energy that we can use for our inner work.
When we reach the point in our inner work where our consciousness expands beyond the mind, we start to have more and more moments of inner calmness and tranquillity, in which it is very easy to be in the present moment, and later on when the consciousness expands beyond the head, and when we replace the lunar mind with the solar one (also through the process of the inner work), we experience detachment from thoughts and the mind that we’ve never experienced before. It is here where the first large milestone takes place on the path, where we see that that the inner work pays off and can bring us to the so much wanted state of no-thought.
Many people think that the state of no-thought is a mindless, vegetating state, but thinking in such a way indicates ignorance, because what drives the vehicle of the human machine is the consciousness (our true self), and the nature of the latter is of much higher intelligence that that of the thought. The consciousness still needs to use the thought for certain actions, however it can do so consciously and at will, rather than surrendering to the merciless ego-driven thoughts.
As the inner work continues and as we continue increasing the consciousness and decreasing the ego, we eventually arrive to the incarnation of Manas, the Human Soul, and later on to more prominent parts of our inner Being, which in themselves are a force that help us even more to be centered in consciousness, instead of being entangled in the mind, and thus contributing to ever greater ability to stay outside of the mind and to be in the state of no-thought.
The torments of the thoughts can be reduced and eventually eliminated completely, however it is not a small work, but rather a process that requires a lot of sacrifice, seriousness and correct type of efforts – the type of efforts in which the ego structure is worked upon and transformed in its entirety – in thought, feeling and sensations. This is the thorough way that leads to profound control of the mind and to permanent inner peace.
When there are no thoughts in the mind, then what exists is the reality of the outside world and of our inner world. In such state we see the reality of our inner life, beyond thoughts and emotions. We see the spaciousness, the fullness of that which is around us and also that which is within us. Without the thoughts we perceive the truth to the capacity that we are able. It is a firm stepping stone towards higher development and knowledge.
HDP, September 2020.