the endless stream of thoughts in the forever-searching mind

words & photo by Brian Thompson.

have you ever tried to stop your thoughts?

apart from a brief moment here or there when you might find yourself totally gapped out (isn’t it blissful?), the thoughts just don’t seem to stop. our thoughts flow like an endless stream, but every stream has a source from which it flows. every river has a reason — it's from the runoff of mountains, it’s from the spillover of marshes and watersheds, it's from melted snow and the downfall of rain.

the reason behind our endless stream of thoughts is our forever-searching mind.

we're always seeking to measure, define, evaluate, quantify, categorize, or reason with everything we experience and encounter. we're forever looking to be distracted, to be pleasured, to be fulfilled, to be kept busy somehow, or to be otherwise entertained — even if it’s with negative drama we create and invite into our lives. our minds are never able to rest just easy, unless of course it’s properly trained to do so through a practice of meditation.

this is the nature of our forever-searching mind — but the thing is, we don’t even know what we’re looking for. we stumble around as if we have a blindfold on, bumping into things, knocking things over and getting hurt while we feel around in the dark, trying to desperately find our place — but if we were to just sit still, we’d no longer get hurt.

in our never-ending search to find something we remain continually lost.

we’re forever-searching because our minds find silence and stillness deafening. it doesn’t like to be left alone with itself for more than a moment, so it manufactures thoughts to keep itself company, “i was just talking to myself,” we might say. we look to fill any empty gap between thoughts with even more stuff, with anything we can find — droplets of remembering, dwelling, planning, wishing or worry — we’re just unable to leave ourselves alone.

if a moment feels empty, we get restless. we become bored within an instant of experiencing no thought. we feel we must somehow make it more full (as if our conscious awareness wasn’t already full enough), so we heap stuff from our minds onto whatever the moment beholds, in hopes to to turn nothing into something. we bring things into being that aren’t really there. through our thoughts alone, we manufacture a reality we believe is acually there.

we stick labels onto things and then we affix judgements onto them too. we apply our knowledge in hopes to understand them better and we use logic to reason with their how’s and why’s. we measure them, we assess them, we criticize them, we compare them and try to find all of their flaws. we're always trying to discriminate between this and that, between one and the other, all while we pick out our favourites, as if our opinion is somehow law, “i like this, but not that. this is beautiful, this is not. i am right, you are wrong.”

we are habituated in our abstractions of reality, rather than with the truth of nature itself — we must transcend our intellect and move beyond our cleverness in order to be peacefully content.

as the Tao Te Ching says, “we must be aware of our own awareness.”

in order to see things as they truly are, we must first turn our mind’s eye inward. we must return to our essence. we must turn our mind back on itself so it can see its own misdoings.

we soak everything we encounter (people, places, things, sensations and experiences) in the dye of our cultural conditioning. we change their natural colour and alter their essential state — but only within the fabric our minds. we apply the filter of our life’s point of view onto how we perceive each and every thing — we never allow ourselves to see things as they truly are, which is free from the forms our mind attaches onto them.

our forever-searching minds have become a prison in which we trap ourselves. we end up believing our own projections, and we become attached to them because we think these concepts are a part of us, but they’re not a part of us, they’re a product of us — the two are not the same.

just because a thought happens to spontaneously appear does not make it true, regardless of how convincing the sensation of its emotion may feel — we must realize that our thoughts mislead us.

our obsessive habit of searching for things that aren’t really there is the cause of great suffering in our lives. we place ourselves on an infinite quest that has no end. the more we search the more exhausted we get. we’ll never be fulfilled in such a way. we need to slow down our thinking minds, we must stop the constant inner dialogue so we can appreciate things as they truly are.

underneath all of our compulsive thinking is the purity of our unencumbered being. only when we are free from the disturbances of our forever-searching minds will we realize the serenity and peace we seek.

our endless stream of thought turns us away from seeing our true essence. but it's always there, waiting. we only need to refocus our mind’s eye — engaging full awareness itself — to see through the veil of our delusions.

we must damn our stream of thoughts so we can bathe in the placid pool of stillness and rest in serenity found.

words & photo by Brian Thompson.