Lost is often a good thing. Thought may not be so good. You can choose how to lose yourself and into what you wish to become immersed.
Choose wisely and the result will be happiness. Choose without wisdom and the result will be misery.
There are many different types of thought and you are better to switch most of them off any time you can. Unthought, you might say, is usually better for the soul than thought.
The most damaging type of thinking is worry. Fearful speculation as to your future. Guilt and regret about your past. The destructive, repetitive patterns become automatic, deeply embedded. Therein lies the route to mental illness and depression.
The most life affirming thought process is passive awareness. Drifting lost in life, drinking in the silence and wind and natural beauty. Does this even count as thought? Possibly not but it does require some mental effort to enter and remain in that state.
Another important category of thought is that mental exertion necessary to provide you with the day to day means of survival. Work thought, one might call it. It can not be avoided but it can at least be rendered less harmful. Or more positive.
Work thought for many can be a mental hell, torture of the worst kind. Largely because work for most people involves thinking thoughts and undertaking tasks they find boring, distasteful or abhorrent.
Work thought is usually made much worse by the sort of activities which it entails and the people you need to work with. Or, worse, much worse, work for.
Work should be pleasure (can be a pleasure) but for most it is a grind at best or a very hell at worst.
The young need to prepare for work by knowing themselves and understanding what type of life will bring them fulfilment as well as basic needs.
If the young ignore their soul they are unlikely to be happy adults. Some, perhaps, will get genuine satisfaction out of commerce. If they approach commercial life honestly and without greed, then there is no harm in that.
Where would we be without the village butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker? Not that butchery is a palatable occupation these days; nor ever was.
The problem of course is that even such simple traditional occupations have now become all but impossible to pursue as an individual. Eaten up as society is by chains and big business. Who wants to end up on the factory floor or, worse perhaps, the office. It is one thing to be a jolly village baker, quite another to be swallowed up into the belly of some leviathan churning out loaves by the million in glowering industrial gloom.
So if you want good work thoughts, which will enhance your life rather than lead you down the path of black depression and futility, you need to choose your occupation very carefully.
Some, like the Stylites, will find fulfillment sitting on a pillar of stone in the desert. Living perhaps on bugs and rodents and rainwater. A perfectly valid choice.
Some may find satisfaction in academia. Others may actually enjoy life in a competitive investment bank where greed is good and the wolf rules the Street.
Although that is hard to believe.
But lost in good thoughts, lost in reverie, barely aware of anything but the silence and the wind in your face. That is the right kind of lost. And the right kind of thinking. For those who seek true happiness anyway.
That is where you should spend most of your time. Hearing the crashing of waves on the deserted sea shore, being aware of the shrill cry of the gulls.
Being engulfed in the scent of the flowers in the fields around you, with thought (if it exists at all at such times) restricted to finding your path and keeping yourself upright.
Wherever and whenever possible, anneal your mind. Heat it up and let it settle in new and better ways. Shake the snow globe and let the fresh, new, beautiful white water crystals cover and heal the rigid patterns which develop as our mind seeks to automate and deaden our lives.
Meditation is the key. To put your mind into such a state that the old lines of thought melt away and life can be started from a new beginning each day. To churn up your mind and to allow it to reset itself in new and healthier patterns. To lose dull work thoughts and damaging obsession. To let go, to fly, to swim, to soar and preferably never to land.
Or if you have to land then to do so as a fledgling, a child. A being not weighed down with useless prejudice, habit and stultifying routine. A reborn adult who has replaced damaged, rigid thinking with new paths. New joy and hope. Clear spring water in place of industrial sludge. Optimism and novelty. Newness, not decay.
It can be done and for some of us this becomes our life’s work. Or at least, the most important part of our lives.
Mark Twain said “the worst things in my life never happened,” yet caused needless worry. Conversely, the best things in life often occur without any planning or expectations.
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Nice comment. Of course in the worry mode, regardless of the unlikeliness of the feared outcome, our fears are not assuaged. I guess what I am trying to say is we need to cultivate the mind so as, in a way, not to care. Or perhaps to train ourselves simply not to think about it. All very much easier said than done of course.
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I have been spending time recently practicing letting go of thoughts and opening awareness to my body and sensory inputs. Becoming aware of the field of consciousness being plucked here and there by smells,wind, sounds, light. And of course my mind is always providing a little commentary “that’s off to the left”, “that’s a plane going over”, “that is quite a distance away”. But trying and occasionally succeeding in just experiencing the perturbances of my awareness without the extras. I say all this having just spent most of yesterday wallowing in feelings and thoughts of self-pity, far from any settled mind.
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Yes, it is not all plain sailing. Although I must say I seem to have it under better control recently than at any time in my life. I seemed to have turned a corner and hope never to look back!
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Being retired does help…usually.
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Amen to that. I have almost convinced myself recently that I am retired. It certainly does help. I have one small committment to a Fintech startup in the US… But apart from that…