Monday, March 22, 2010

All the mind's not a stage...

If, as the Buddha said, we are what we think, then where do we go to find the best thoughts? Inward, would be one quasi-mystical answer with an Eastern tinge, and of course there's some truth in that. But I've found that the quality of my thinking improves as I move through the world and encounter people, places, and things. Triggers abound out there.

Lately I've been wondering, how do we judge the quality of new thoughts? They arrive in our mind by the dozen, nonstop, un-vetted. If we're constantly auditioning and casting new thoughts as a director auditions and casts actors, what is our criteria for giving away parts in the theater of our own mind? Who takes the stage and why?

Is a "good" thought one that makes us feel good? Is it one that reflects our biases, feeds the psychic light show, avoids our denials, and doesn't make us nauseated the next day? Does a good thought perform well? Does it withstand the hot lights and judgmental audience and shine from within? Does it distinguish itself from other thoughts using all the tricks of the performance trade?

I could go on but my point, my discovery, is that film and theater metaphors aren't always the best way to understand or attempt to control our thoughts. I'm working on a new one, a mind metaphor that avoids any anxiety-provoking flood imagery, which makes it all the harder. You'll be the first to know...


Anonymous Hone said...

And there are the thoughts falling into the category of memories. Experience. Good and bad. Often lumped together they are synergistic, giving birth to entirely new and original thoughts.

Coincidentally, regarding this blog entry, while driving through Denver today, I happen to notice a guy walking along. He might have been mentally challenged. There was a broad smile on his face which was clearly being animated by thoughts, visions, memories... or perhaps fantasies. I couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking.

7:26 PM  

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