Thought is an unusual thing. Despite the fact that you can think about something from ten years ago or ten minutes ago, or whether you’ve been thinking about it for a minute or an hour, your distance from salvation is always the same. You are always only that single thought away from slipping into the moment of peace that is Now.
Thought is a strange looping world. We can all find people that are living with beliefs that, from our perspective, are ridiculous. But they don’t think so. They think you’re the crazy one. They’re just as certain as you. But in actual reality there is no judging to be done. There is no need to reconcile things. They can be just as they are. The two particles of you and another person do not need to argue to a conclusion, you can each simply exist in your own way because that is what you are here to do. Your reason is to be yourself. To trust yourself. To follow your feelings. Including when that leads you to bump into others. But despite that you are not competing with any other person. We are all, each day, simply trying to reach Now. The only difference between us is how much time we’re able to spend there, not how far away we were.
There is no winner in enlightenment. Once you’re there the idea of judgment vanishes. There’s no way to race someone to Now. You are each on your own paths but ultimately you are like different arms of the same octopus. Yes your journey is yours. But if one arm is constantly judging you, other arms, other things or events, then that is an omen worth paying attention to in the world of the spiritual octopus. Because the more words you use—the more judgments you make—the deeper you will be in ego. The good news is that no matter how much you think, the Present Moment is still only one thought away. But your ability to remember that fact is seriously impeded when you’re doing all of that thinking.
So it’s like you’re one tentacle of this spiritual octopus and when you’re scared or confused you think a lot—you shoot a lot of ink into the water. Yes, it confuses your enemies but it also confuses you. You can’t see what you’re doing in the present moment. You’re in the dark, re-imagining whatever it was that made you scared in the first place. But just like you control the central ink jet even though you’re only one arm of the octopus, you’re also all the arms of the octopus when you’re living in the Now. So instead of shooting ink, your response to enemies isn’t defensiveness or an attack. It’s to hug them with infinite arms. Those work much better than conventional or nuclear arms.
Angry, worried and sad people are thinking a lot and are less likely to recognize the signals their natural wisdom is providing—like the unpleasant emotions they experience as a result, for instance. They aren’t taking that as a cue for the octopus arm to stop strangling its own blood-flow. If someone is doing a lot of thinking don’t think you can reason them out of it. That’s just more thinking. No, you have to have empathy and actually remember what it’s like to be them—to be caught up in your thinking, seeing things in distorted ways that make your life more difficult to live. If you recall, you didn’t want people telling you it wasn’t as bad as you thought. You wanted them to understand that it was as bad as you were thinking. But if you get the relationship between thinking and feeling and reality then you can help others with total confidence and sincerity.
You do know what it’s like and you do know how to get them out. But that’s not by talking them out. That’s by listening closely. Because if you’re not in a hurry to make them feel better then you’ll start to notice natural opportunities to turn the conversation more positively, in ways that lead the person to raise their consciousness and feel better, and from that head-space they’ll make better choices for their lives. So remember: you don’t lower a rope down into a hole to help someone. You jump in and show them the secret way out. You get them out of the hole of their defeating personal thoughts.
Sensei, Guru, Priest, Master, child, parent, teacher, teenager, French, Indian, female, educated, street-smart, tired, rich, whatever—you! Everyone is the same distance from enlightenment every single moment. Every thought exists after language and after creation. So by thinking about anything where you’re using words as symbols, that translation act places you one layer away from the reality and power of Now.
Remove those words, deeply observe what remains and you will soon feel yourself becoming a part of everything the way you do during an amazing sunset. You forget who you are and you just have an experience. That’s not your sunset, that’s just a sunset. And despite the fact that they happen every day and that you’ll likely experience over 25,000 of them in your lifetime, when you’re in the Now you’ll know to honour ever single one as uniquely perfectly magnificent.
As much as you’re able to, keep a quiet mind. And never worry too much. As busy as your thinking can get, it is always always always the only thing between you and the glorious salvation of the Present Moment.
Have yourself a wonderful day.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.