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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

Thoughts About Thoughts

Macro view of bubbles suspended in liquid, illuminated by red lights.

Approximately 6,200 thoughts will pop into your head today, according to the latest scientific research. That’s a lot of brain blips. And if you’re like me, most of these thoughts are fairly useless if not completely counterproductive.

In sports, when athletes are performing superhuman feats and are "in the zone," they’re not engaged in any kind of rational thinking. In music, when concert pianists’ fingers are flying over the keys in a complex piece, they’re tapping into a place that transcends thought. The same holds true for spiritual seekers. When we meditate, the goal is to quiet the mind so we can bring our full attention to the miracle of the moment – and, in doing so, touch the divine.

Buddhist meditation masters have taught that we should view thoughts as bubbles rising in the water. Don’t grasp at the thoughts, don’t fight them … simply observe them and watch them come and go, and they will naturally dissipate.

This doesn’t mean that we should never use our brains. But we need to remember that our limited human minds can only take us so far. If we want to arrive at deeper, more profound realizations, we need to sit back and watch the bubbles disappear.

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