Marcus Stegmaier, M.A.
24th August 2014


Absence of thoughts


Man and woman are sometimes troubled by thoughts in daily life. But man and woman seem to be happy when thoughts are absent or when thoughts signify positive feelings. There are many thoughts that trouble man, such as anger, fear, jealousy, envy and many more. Others, such as joy, peace and pleasure are welcome to man on the other hand. Pleasant or unpleasant thoughts are known as feelings to man. These thoughts are believed to be real by man, and he wishes to avoid or to get rid of the negative thoughts and feelings by psychological means or to become thoughtless by spiritual methods, in order to be happy. But if man is not the doer and not the thinker, as the enlightened have proclaimed ages ago, how could man ever become thoughtless or think positive forever so that he could be happy? 

The spiritual market as well as the psychological market offers plenty of methods to get rid of unpleasant thoughts and to be thoughtless as well. The goal of meditation, spiritual and psychological methods is to attain a state of ‘thoughtlessness’ in order to be happy, because the absence of thoughts, especially of feelings which are regarded as negative, is believed to be happiness. The absence however, is relative truth but not absolute truth. During the waking state, when man does not have any thoughts, he is not unhappy which is believed to be happiness, but absolute understanding reveals that the state of peace or happiness when thoughts are absent is not permanent, because it is depended on the absence of thoughts and feelings, and it is a fact of life that the absence of thoughts and feelings is not permanent. Therefore the happiness felt is relative and not absolute. Likewise the presence of positive thoughts and feelings is neither permanent nor absolute too.

Man has thoughts intermittently and not permanently – spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably – during the waking state. Man does not have thoughts every moment of the day; if he did he would become mad. The intermittent absence of thoughts is a protective phenomenon of life to man which happens to him precisely when it is meant to happen whereas the ego falsely takes credit for making the absence happen. A bodily sensation or sense-perception is non-verbal and happens instinctively, as it does to animals and did to primitive man as well. In modern man thoughts in the ‘now’ of the mind are superimposed from time to time, over the instinctive sensations and perceptions in a precise manner. These superimposed thoughts have evolved as real feelings to modern man. 

Primitive man and animals did not have any trouble with instinctive sensations and perceptions, they simply lived them instinctively, the positive and negative alikeBecause they did not know positive and negative as yet, there was no conflict for primitive man and is not a conflict for animals even today. But modern man, with his sophisticated mind, seems to be in trouble because the superimposition of thoughts over instincts, evolved as real feelings in the ‘now’ of the mind, and this superimposition makes duality, positive and negative, to appear real. The attention of the ego is the thought-filled ‘now’ of the mind, a pendulum between positive and negative, and is not aware of the thoughtless ‘now’ of life. The attention of the witnesser (evolved ego) is the thoughtless ‘now’ of life and is aware of the illusory thought-filled ‘now’ of the mind. Man’s attention shifts from the mind to life, if an understanding happens as to what ‘thoughtlessness’ really means in every situation of daily life. This is freedom from positive and negative thoughts, feelings and sensations, although they may be present in the mind intermittently.

The instinct of pain or anger does not have an opposite instinct because it is non-verbal and opposites exist only verbally. Pain has a reactive instinct, whereas the thought, i.e. feeling, of pain or anger has evolved to have opposites, the opposite of pain is pleasure and the opposite of anger is peace respectively, in man’s mind. The conditioned mind knowing the opposite prefers the bright side of life, which in fact is the bright side of mind and not life. Therefore a state characterized by the absence of verbal, i.e. dual, thoughts and feelings, is taken to be spiritual or a sign of enlightenment. However, the absence of verbal thoughts does not mean that man is more spiritual or an enlightened state. It only means that words do not happen to his mind in those periods, as a protective phenomenon of life. And if he thinks that absence of thoughts or the presence of positive feelings can be brought about by man, he needs to understand that it is impossible. 

For the enlightened, sounds that transform as words and meanings are also phenomena of nature: Words are sound and as real as a bird's singing, meaning both words and meanings are illusory and not real. And most importantly, even an enlightened is unable to bring thoughtlessness (absence of thoughts) or positive feelings about. Thoughts need to be understood as illusory and not tried to avoid or alter it, which is not possible anyway, otherwise everybody could stop or change thinking whenever he wanted to, but this is not the case. Man does not bring thoughtlessness (absence of thoughts) about. Thoughtlessness is present sometimes whether he likes it or not. However, the precision of thought-planning thoughts that happen in man’s mind spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably, make him believe that he is the thinker, which is very deceptive.

What is called thoughtlessness, which the enlightened have proclaimed, has broadly been misunderstood. Neither the psychologists who believe to change negative into positive feelings nor the spiritualists who believe that thoughtlessness means the absence of thoughts have a clear understanding of life which has been proclaimed by the enlightened sages since ancient times.They have proclaimed that the world, man and his mind are illusory and not real, and that life is timeless and thoughtless. The understanding that thoughts and feelings, as well as instinctive sensations and perceptions, are illusory in life, is thoughtlessness. Thoughts are present and absent at the same time as two sides of a coin, meaning illusory on one side (life) and appears real but it is not real, on the other side (mind), they are part of nature, and not under man’s control.

© Copyright 2014 Marcus Stegmaier, M.A.

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