Reconcilable Differences

The subject of my past few posts has been about quantitative analysis of thoughts.  This seems to be in direct contrast with the idea of mindfulness.  One concept consists of quantifying, categorizing, time stamping, and many other ways to analyze what is going through your mind.  The other concept consists of recognizing thoughts and nothing else.  That’s all there is to it.

Mindfulness is not missing the instructions on what to do with the thoughts that you have.  Meditation has been developed and refined for over thousands of years.  Practitioners are aware of the thoughts that pass through their mind and they specifically do nothing with them.  That is the fundamental basis of meditation.  How can quantitative analysis, or reasoning and rational thought, for that matter, be reconciled with mindfulness?

I expect that this question will be around for the life of this blog. This really comes down to East meets West. How can these two lines of thoughts work together to form a cohesive philosophy? I do not think that I will ever be able to answer that. However, I do not believe that the two lines of thoughts are irreconcilable. There are a number of common aspects in both lines of thoughts. I mentioned one before about appreciation. Observing objectively is another common feature.

Both ways of thinking have characteristics that I do not necessarily like, also. Sitting for long periods of time seems too foreign of a practice to be feasible. I may be able to get over that after a while, but I do not know how many other people could. It just seems to be outside the lifestyle that westerners are used to. Which goes along with my other complaint about meditation. The end goal for meditation has spiritual and religious ties that I do not agree with. I am not too sure about how all life is an illusion and consists of nothing but suffering. And rational thought can be too robotic and analytical. Emotions happen. They can profoundly influence you. Sometimes you have to just let go and let things happen.

So, it seems like the best course of action is to continue down these two paths. I can incorporate the parts that work for me and recognize the parts that don’t work. The two paths do not have to converge in order for both to be useful. A grand unified theory may come out of all these explorations, but I do not expect it. The goal is to gain the ability to control my thoughts.

Photo courtesy of AMagill 

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