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Realizing the Unreality of Thoughts

🌺 Peace, Love, Harmony

Realizing the unreality and falsity of thoughts by Atman Nityananda / blog

Due to ignorance, rajas and tamas qualities and the ego, we identify with the thoughts that arise almost constantly in our mind and we take them for real as the external reality. As a result, we live in an illusory mind-made world and suffer unnecessarily for it. The way out of this mind made matrix and suffering is to dispel the illusion of reality and veracity of our thoughts (or, to be more precise, of our thinking).

A very effective way to disidentify from thoughts is to challenge the thoughts and deny their reality as well as their rightness or truthfulness.

It will help us to realise that thoughts are not a reality to silently contemplate the following questions:

  • What I am thinking is a reality or are they just thoughts that arise in my mind?
  • If I don’t think of it (whatever we are thinking at the time), where is it? o If I don’t think of it, does it exist?

I recommend doing this inquiring contemplation as a sitting practice and also very often throughout the day, or at least whenever we need to. By frequently contemplating these questions we will become more and more aware of the illusory nature of thoughts.

It is essential to insist on practicing for a long time this inquiring contemplation if we want to fully realize that thoughts are only thoughts and not reality. The more we realize that what we think is nothing more than an illusory mental story in our head and not a reality, the more thoughts lose their charm and power and the easier it becomes not to identify with them and let them go.

Thoughts, and especially repetitive compulsive thoughts, are associated with some desire, attachment, emotional pattern or programming. For this reason, we must, through discriminative attention and inquiry, identify the associated emotion (desire, tendency, etc.), thoroughly investigate it, comprehend it and dissolve part of its energy through prayer, visualization, EFT or any other method.  

After practicing the above questions for a long time and having realized and understood enough that thoughts are not a reality but only short-lived illusory mental formations, instead of contemplating the questions to subdue thoughts, we can alternatively utilize the reminder phrase below:

  • These are just thoughts, not a reality

Whenever thoughts are running around in our mind, we can, in that very moment, remember and be aware of their illusory nature and make them subside by simply saying ‘These are just thoughts, not a reality’. The moment we say ourselves this affirmation, we become instantly aware of their ‘illusoriness’ and they consequently lose their charm and interest and subside.

I recommend also addressing the feeling (emotion, impulse or desire) to which the thoughts are associated, especially when their manifestation is quite strong. I consider this very important and necessary because thinking (especially compulsive and automatic thinking) is caused by a desire, impulse or emotion. When we manage our emotions, our mind becomes calm and clear.

In addition, take time to investigate the beliefs that are associated with thoughts, desires and emotions. In this way we come to a deep understanding and awareness of all this, which results in freeing ourselves from these desires or emotions and, as a consequence, in stopping the occurrence of these kind of thoughts or thinking.

Freedom begins when we stop identifying ourselves with thoughts and emotions.

🌺 Peace, Love, Harmony