This is my Church of Inner Space. This space is sacred. This conscious awareness is who and what I really am.
The consciousness that exist between this thought … and the thought that follows it …
That’s the only thing that really matters. That space and what happens in that space, that’s what it’s all about.
Do yourself a favour and try something next time you’re alone. Ask yourself: “What will my next thought be?” and then watch and wait until your next thought comes.
Having done this you probably experienced something similar to what most people experience.
The thought: “What will my next thought be?”, was followed by a few moments of no thinking before the next thought actually came.
What was that?
What was that momentary existence without any thoughts?
More often than not when we talk about consciousness and thinking we conflate the two terms to mean one and the same thing.
But it’s crucial to understand that they’re not the same thing.
The question you asked yourself: “What will my next thought be?”, that was thinking. The momentary thoughtless silence you experienced following that question, that was consciousness.
Consciousness is like a blank page while your thoughts filter across the page like the words I’m writing right now.
The words could not exist without the blank page providing that space. Consciousness provide the medium within which thoughts can exist. However, the medium and the message is not one and the same.
Your mind is your thinking. It’s the collection of all your thoughts. Your consciousness is much greater than that. It’s the background medium within which your mind can exist.
Why is any of this important?
Because while the mind is a very useful tool, it’s also our Achilles heel.
If you’re still alone, try another mental exercise. See if you can voluntarily stop thinking.
Do you control your thoughts, do you control your mind, can you reliably and constantly direct your mind to think only those thoughts that you want to be thinking? Or does your mind think whatever it wants to? Do your thoughts drift? Have you ever found yourself thinking about something, having followed a train of thought, but having no idea how you arrived at that last thought? Completely oblivious to the countless thoughts that preceded it?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you’re like me and most other people alive today. Your mind has developed itself, over the course of hundreds of thousands of years and several hundreds of thousands of generations into an autonomous thinking machine that operates completely without oversight.
So what has your mind been keeping itself busy with?
Do you know?
Shouldn’t you try to find out?
It’s undeniably a very powerful mechanism. Look at the world that we have created with this tool. We’ve gone from being at the mercy of nature’s every whim, to holding in our hands the destiny of the entire planet and every living being on it.
If the mind is that powerful, it makes sense to know what it’s getting up to while you’re not paying attention to it.
Not supervising the mind is sort of like piloting a rocket ship blindfolded.
And in our absence the mind has done many things.
It’s elevated the past and the future into inflated positions of importance, obscuring the only place you’ve ever really been and always will be; this moment, here and now.
It’s created an identity for itself, inflating it’s own importance and making you believe that it’s identity is your identity.
And it’s cultivated repetitive thoughts patterns.
But, most importantly, it’s disconnected you from your consciousness, the blank page, the medium that carries the message.
This is important if what you really want is happiness.
Because all of the above eventually leads to suffering.
And lasting happiness lies in rediscovering a connection to life that can only be found through the medium that is your consciousness.
Next time you’re alone, try this: Sit down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and see if you can focus your attention on the unthinking consciousness that exist between one thought and the next.
Thoughts will come and go. Let them come and go.
The mind thinks thoughts like the heart pumps blood. You cannot stop it. But you can slow it down.
Like you would slow down your heart rate by resting, you can slow down your thinking by observing your thoughts.
Following your thoughts won’t take you anywhere else other than where you already are. Here and now in this moment. Following your thoughts merely obscures this moment. The only place you’ll ever be.
Observing your thoughts, on the other hand, slows the mind down, slowly eliminating unnecessary thinking.
And slowly creating a gap for you to experience your consciousness.
You are not your mind. Your thinking is a function, meant to keep you alive. It’s the ultimate survival tool.
But valuable as it is, it’s not what you are. You are no more a thinking mind than you are a beating heart.
The true sacred gift of life lies not in your ability to think, no more than it lies in the blood circulating through your arteries and veins.
The sacred gift of life lies in the medium of consciousness, which must be experienced, by you, to be understood.
Welcome to the Church of Inner Space.