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Do We Choose Our Thoughts?

Thought Slaves—Without Consent

Do you choose your thoughts? Maybe you never thought about it. I never did until about twelve years ago when I went through a horrible break-up that happened, of all times, during the holidays. That break-up invoked some of the most self-demeaning, desperate, resentful, and hurtful thoughts I have ever been a party to in my life. The experience was painful in every way. But, as everything is divine, that pain was just the wake-up call I needed to see that I was a slave to my thoughts—thoughts that didn’t serve me at all and thoughts I didn’t choose. All of that was about to change.

Most thoughts arise without our choosing. We might think we choose our thoughts, one-by-one, but if we take a moment to observe how thoughts come up, we will see they do just that—come up, without any warning or thought put into them. There is no entity within us who chooses any single thought. There is someone, however, who is happy to take credit for the thoughts afterwards, either for making them up or for being the recipient of their cleverness. Who is this one who takes credit? It’s another thought.

It is important to make a clarification at this point. We do have thoughts that make choices. For example, I might choose to have green tea instead of dandelion tea, but that thought is still not a choice. It’s only a thought about a choice. There is a choosing thought, but there is no chooser of the thought.

So, no one chooses thoughts. Learning this might feel a little unsettling since it would now seem as if we are out of control, at the mercy of a runaway thinking train, and when we are following our thoughts, we are. But finding our balance can be experienced by becoming aware of how our thoughts get there in the first place and then not following our thoughts, but following our hearts instead, which is where balance and love exist. This is where we’ll find our true selves, too. Let me explain.

Most of our thoughts are a result of training we didn’t request. As such, and without awareness of this, what really happens each day is that we simply repeat our trained thoughts in various ways throughout our lives, applying them when we think they apply—though we also apply them when they don’t. When this happens, it’s as if the light of truth has opened up a can of whoop ass on the programmed self. It makes the programming easier to detect.

A Case in Point:

A number of years ago, I attended a board meeting for our condominium association. I was presenting my petition to stop applying chemicals to the grass, trees, and shrubs in our neighborhood. I exposed the harmful effects of these chemicals on everything from children to our drinking water. At one point, one of the board members interrupted me and said, “I like chemicals.” It was like a pin dropped, or as if a moment in time stood still. I couldn’t believe my ears. Did he hear what he said or was he just repeating training? If we look closely, we can easily see this wasn’t a statement that came from the heart or from authenticity, which is the same as creativity. That’s not a judgment—we can feel the energy of this statement and, therefore, find its origin. This was a trained thought, repeated without thought. From this moment on, it became clear to me that we are slaves to our thoughts as we take them to be who we are and how the world is. We repeat them at will, whether they apply to the situation and ourselves, or not.

Beliefs and Thoughts are Concepts, Not Truths

When we are born, everyone around us, including society as a whole, tells us what to think. We are told what to think about ourselves, what to think about other people and what to think of the world. In effect, we are told what to believe and the thoughts we have are derived from those beliefs. The truth is, these beliefs and thoughts are nothing more than concepts. Even more than that, these trained concepts are beyond the realm of love because they are programmed and repetitive.

Beliefs are the roots of our thoughts for it’s our beliefs that shape our focus when we are connected to the programmed mind instead of the creative heart. The ultimate belief, the parent belief, is the foundation of all other beliefs—I am not good enough. Most of us received this message loud and clear in a variety of ways. It is not true, but we believe it is. And because we believe it is, we live our lives attempting to overcome this belief, which never really works. You can’t overcome something that isn’t real or true.

What is real is the suffering that this parent, or foundational, belief causes us and we suffer from all of the beliefs born out of the parent belief. It is this suffering that pushes us to investigate and search for the truth. There is something deep within us that knows we are not programmed robots. There is something deep within us that knows we need to be free from the programming and the suffering.

By contrast, in the realm of love, thinking isn’t necessary most of the time. When we follow our hearts and our intuition, which are intricately connected to assist us in life, we only need to trust in ourselves and pure love. Sure, we might need the brain to add numbers or to write a grocery list, but even those thoughts are trained regurgitation of information and are repetitive in nature.  It would seem obvious that we need to move forward from here, with this awareness, and begin living a life that is authentically ours instead of living the life of some disconnected program.

Moving Forward without Thinking

You might ask, “How do we get around in the world, then, if we don’t use a system of trained beliefs?”—a system we all seem to agree on? How do we move forward from here? First, we have to take a good, honest look at our programmed beliefs and the resulting thoughts. When we do, we can say with total certainty that they don’t really work well for us. In our programmed system, we feel separate and alone. We feel disconnected. We are stressed out, unwell and unhappy. That’s because a system of beliefs based on non-love does not bring order, it brings chaos. That’s no way to live. So, breaking free means we need to see the truth about our beliefs and thoughts first.

Next, we need to stop following our thoughts. We don’t choose them, so why follow them? As we become aware of beliefs and thoughts that don’t serve us and support a happy, healthy life, we need only to practice not getting involved with them. This may seem difficult at first, but I’ll remind you that we have all had thoughts we didn’t act on. Do that now with as many beliefs and thoughts as you can each day. We may not choose our thoughts, but with awareness, we do choose not to be a part of such beliefs and thoughts. Exercise your right to choose freedom from trained beliefs and thoughts. Another way to say this is to become the observer of your thoughts, rather than a participant.

Finally, allow the real you, the loving, connected, compassionate, peaceful, joyful you to shine through. This is what happens automatically when you no longer follow programmed thinking. You get a chance to know the authentic, creative, loving, healthy you. When I say the creative you, I mean the one who creates the experience of life here on the planet in this moment. This is the real you. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it!

We have been trained to give our attention to something other than true love, something other than connection, compassion, kindness and creativity. That training can be unlearned. It is up to each one of us to do this for ourselves. As we do, the entire planetary energy shifts back to an authentic space, where healing, truth, and love exist.


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