KHTK 1B: LOOKING vs. THINKING

August 18, 2014
This issue is now obsolete. For latest references please see: KHTK Mindfulness. The specific reference that updates this issue is The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness.
This was part of a basic series of essays, which started this blog. These essays were later revised and the original versions were deleted. However, these essays were then added back to maintain a complete record.
The basic idea introduced in this essay was that THINKING follows LOOKING and its accuracy depends on the accuracy of looking.

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LOOKING is to use your physical or inner eyes to observe what is there in the physical environment or in the mind.

THINKING is to associate and align data to arrive at conclusions.

When data obtained from looking is corrupted then conclusions obtained from thinking will be faulty.

Can we improve thinking? Yes, by practicing looking. Can we improve looking? Yes, by not adding thoughts as labels, judgments, justifications and opinions to what is there.

Rational thinking is based on looking. Looking is an activity by itself. Looking should not be corrupted by adding thoughts or interpretations to it.

As we treat looking as an activity by itself, thinking also improves, and one is gradually able to resolve the difficulties in life much faster and more often.

The focus in this issue is to practice looking without thinking. Through this practice one becomes aware of “automatic thinking.”

The basic idea is to observe something as it is, without adding anything to it.

This is the secret underlying the “2500 years old” Vipassana meditation of Buddha and of all other self-development procedures since.

Exercise 1-5

YOU MAY DO THIS EXERCISE AS LONG AS YOU WANT WHILE DOING YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES. 

1.    Observe the things in your environment. Be alert and aware without thinking or expecting anything.

2.    Look and observe something with full attention. Then look and observe something else with full attention. Continue this way.

3.    If thoughts arise in your mind then simply observe them as “thoughts arising in the mind.” Don’t suppress them. Just continue.

4.    If you notice the mind is adding to what is there, differentiate between what the mind is adding and what you observe to be there. Continue.

5.    Do this until you can comfortably observe what is there, differentiating it from thoughts in the mind, or what the mind may be adding to the observation.

6.    Do not suppress any activity of the mind. You simply observe what your attention is on, without thinking or expecting anything.

Do this exercise as often as you can while following your usual routine. Soon it will become a second nature to do so with no effort

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Comments

  • vinaire  On August 18, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    THINKING is the activity of associating data that is observed using the data already stored in the mind. Pure thinking happens by itself. It need not be controlled.

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