Eastern teachings have long defined our life's journey and purpose as one of "knowing myself". But I can't know myself if I don't "see myself" first and I have to step out of the shadows I live in to do that. What shadows? The ones created by my thinking.
The problem is the way I think and that is the single reason to the barrier to seeing myself; on the way to knowing myself. How can that be true? What can be wrong with thinking? After all it's something we all do. We are very familiar with it. We feel very safe within the confines of our thinking and that raises another question. What is my thinking keeping me safe from? Fear.
But first, having a look at the way I think is the first step to seeing myself, because who "I am" has been constructed with the help of my thinking. That construction began when I was very young, at a time when I was open, and wishing to experience this physical world of which I found myself a part. Most of my early memories have been lost as I covered them over to protect something I desperately needed to stay a part of. Part of what? Life. True life.
I came here with a clear memory of where I had come from. I wasn't suddenly born from nothing to find myself looking around a stark, bright delivery room in a hospital. While it was a sudden shock, due mainly to all the shiny metal and blinding light, it did not immediately delete my memory of where I had come from; a journey I had begun long before that cosy nine months in the womb. I was an implant into a physical being. I came here with a knowledge and understanding which has been removed with surgical precision by my thinking. It's a process which began almost from the day I was born, and as much as I struggled and resisted the pressure from all quarters around me, I was pretty much a doomed duck well before I hit my teenage years.
I was taught how to think, and after giving up the struggle in the face of overwhelming opposition around me I began using my thinking to maintain what I had become. I had no choice. I lost touch with the impulse I had been born from and become part of the mindset of humanity. Look around. Does the mindset of humanity have a lot to offer? No. I have to change the way I think and that begins with seeing the way I think. There are four easily identifiable areas of my thinking.
1: Mindless chatter: White noise as it were. At any time it fills the void in my life and is completely meaningless. At times, if I stop and catch it, it is incoherent by any definition of the word. It has no emotional target and it seems to only exist for the purpose of distracting me from the expanse of blessed silence that for some reason scares me to death, and while fear is directly bound to my thinking it can also be looked at as a stand alone subject. Stopping my thinking is the first part of a deeper process of looking at fear and the way it rules my life. So where does "white noise" come from and what useful purpose can it possibly have? When I catch my mindless chatter I can stop it. I can get some respite from it. I come in touch with the expanse of quiet stillness, but only for a moment before my thinking rushes back in to fill the void.
2: Outward Criticism: This goes on a lot of the time and it's very easy to catch. It's one of the most poisonous aspects of my thinking. I constantly judge the world around me and the people in it. I'm always comparing people to each other, or myself. Most often I compare people to myself and every time I do that I am doing one of two things. I am either elevating myself, or degrading myself, in comparison to them. I am constantly judging myself by the world and the people around me as I endlessly use my thinking to reinforce the idea of who I think am. I can also stop this aspect of my thinking if I have a mind to, and can easily admit to myself that it's a poor way to live. Why do I feel the constant need to judge the world and people around me? It serves no purpose other than to maintain the lie I've constructed about myself.
3: Self Criticism: This is by far the most poisonous aspect of my thinking. When I look at it I also need to look at the way I feel because the two are very closely connected. The problem with the connection is that when I feel something, my body produces chemicals which are injected directly into my nervous system and science has proved this to be 100% true. When I criticise myself and feel bad I produce poisonous chemicals which flood my body. It is definitely the most unhealthy part of my thinking but it's also the most cunning. I can stop this part of my thinking when it catch it but it's much harder to see. It slithers off into the dark mist and refuses to let me look at it.
4. Justification: The question is why do I feel the need to justify and defend my position? If I'm dealing with a situation in life it might be necessary but why do I spend so much time in my own head "talking myself up"? I even make up imaginary situations to put the dialogue to. I even use people I know and set them up in a scene like a director making a movie, then run it through my head. I use my thinking to construct myself from an early age, then spend the rest of my life using it to maintain an image that's simply not true.
Anyone who explores their thinking even a tiny bit will see that we hide a helluva lot of what goes on inside us from everyone around us. It's easy to check the validity of that statement. Just imagine if every thought I had became instant reality. Let's face it. If that was the case some of the people around me would be dead and they wouldn't all be strangers. But my thinking doesn't kill people so I don't worry about it. But I should worry about it because my thinking is slowly but surely killing me.