Imagine yourself lying in an operation theater with surgical lights bearing down on you. You are about to have a major brain operation. You hear the neurosurgeon through the haze of anesthesia saying, “Start the drill.”
The loud, high-pitched pneumatic whir of the powerful tool starts. You can just discern the neurosurgeon approaching your head to work on it.
As you struggle to focus on his face, you gradually realize that it’s your favorite cartoon character behind the mask! The shock overtakes the anesthesia and you pass out in an instant.
Has this ever happened to you?
Probably not, but that’s what happened to me (in a figurative sense, that is) when I was a kid.
Just like any other normal seven-year-old, I spent a few pleasurable hours every evening in intimate communion with my favorite cartoon characters. I knew every sentence of every episode of every character by heart, and these sentences were an integral part of my blood flow. I would replay them frequently in my vivid childhood daydreams. Each of them was like a fond mantra.
Of all such sentences burned into my synapses, a particular one had a profound effect on my search for the meaning of life. It was :
“You can’t be without a thought in your head for even a second.”
Come to think of it, it was pretty audacious for the cartoon’s scriptwriters to allow the character to tinker with the tender psyches of their viewers.
The fact is that there are instances, perhaps rare,when there aren’t any thoughts in your mind. If this seems incredulous to you, then please sit down quietly and watch the thoughts passing through your head.
You will notice that there is certainly an occasional gap between thoughts, and this fact is absolutely crucial to understanding who you basically are, which in turn significantly affects how happy you are in your lifetime. Notice how your thoughts pass by in a continuous stream, much like cars whizzing past on the freeway. But after watching your thoughts for some time you will begin to notice that there certainly are gaps between the thoughts…
Your state of mind in the gaps between the thoughts is the basic ‘you’. If you think about it, you will soon realize that this basic state has not changed since you were a child, and that it has been present throughout all of the events you have experienced since then. It is constant, without agitation as well as free from worry and stress of all kinds.
To get back to the freeway analogy, because you are standing at the side of the freeway watching the cars stream by, does it matter whether the cars have dents in them or not? Whether they’re painted well or not? Whether their engines sound good or not? It doesn’t. Because they are different from you. There can even be a collision on the freeway, but because you’re off to the side, you don’t get hurt.
The same thing is going on in your head. Your thoughts are the cars, and you are the silent witness. The thoughts can be about anything; you aren’t affected. You’re watching them go by, and they aren’t you.
If all this talk sounds implausible, please don’t dismiss it out of hand. Read it again. There’s truth in it.
To your happy living,
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