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Thoughts Can Never Be Realised

Thoughts can never be realised, and yet we spend all our time trying to realise them, or dreaming of realising them, or planning to realise them. What good – then – is a thought that can’t actually ever be realised? The only validation for the thought being there in the first place is that it stands some chance at least  being realised – there’s no point to it otherwise!

This raises the possibility of a strange type of reality – the strange type of reality that is made up of our expectations of our thoughts being realised, when they’re not going to be. This would be a very strange type of reality; if the thoughts can never be realised, if there is never any chance of them being realised, then what exactly is it that we are expecting? Our expectations are based on our thoughts, after all. It’s our thoughts which are telling us what to expect.

It’s not just that our expectations are based on our thoughts, either. Our expectations are thoughts! We’re just going around in circles here therefore – expectations have no more chance of becoming real than the thoughts which they are based upon do because they are thoughts too. We create the type of reality it is made up of the expectation of our thoughts being realised out of our ‘thoughts about our thoughts’ therefore, so what type of reality is it exactly that we are talking about here?

Thoughts don’t actually have any ‘validity’ of their own; they don’t possess any intrinsic validity or worth of their own because they have no inherent relationship with reality (since an abstract description can never have any genuine relationship with what it is describing) and if something doesn’t have some sort of relationship with reality then what kind of validity could it possibly have? It’s like ‘going out on a limb’ when that limb isn’t joined up to the tree trunk in the first place!

Thoughts start out at a very considerable ‘disadvantage’ therefore; ‘not having any relationship with reality’ is a major disadvantage by anyone’s standards! We might wonder how thought ever got past this initial obstacle, let alone go on to create some kind of viable virtual reality. The whole thing would seem like some kind of miracle – that our  thoughts could go ahead and create the reality which we live in every day of our lives, despite the fact that they start off with such a tremendous handicap.

Thoughts can never be realised it’s true, but then on the other hand who says that they need to be? All that is needed is the expectation (or perhaps the fear) that they will be and – as we have said – expectations are thoughts too, so they’re not going to be hard to come up with. If we can come up with a thought then we can come up with an expectation of that thought being realised! All the thought needs – in order to persist in the hope or expectation that it will be one day realised – is a ‘validating context’ and thought itself can provide this validating context. Thought can validate itself very easily and this is of course exactly what it does do. Thought self-validates all the time.

This is a very strange spectacle therefore – thought can continue on forever and ever simply by providing its own validating context, simply by telling itself that one day it’s going to ‘get there’. The cover for story for the thought is that it will one day be realised, just like – perhaps – a seed can one day be realised and turn into a fine big tree that will provide shelter for all manner of forest creatures, but the reality of the situation is starkly different. The reality of the situation is that the cover-story is just a cover story! The reality of the situation is that thought is simply ‘manufacturing a validating context’ for itself in order that it will be able to keep on propagating

The question that follows on from this is “Why does thought want to perpetuate itself in this way?” What is to be gained from ‘delaying the moment of reckoning’ when it is finally discovered that the thought which is being validated doesn’t actually have any validity after all? What’s the difference between learning this fact now, and learning it after an indefinitely protracted period of time? The reason we are asking these questions in this way is of course because the questions themselves contain the answer. There is a particular flavour to all of this ‘postponement of the inevitable’-type business and that ‘flavour’ is instantly recognisable as the flavour of fear. Who doesn’t know what fear feels like, who doesn’t know (with the greatest intimacy) its so-very-recognizable touch?

Thought can’t be understood in the abstract (as an abstract mechanical process) even though this is exactly what it is. It’s more personal than that. The point here is that we are all wrapped up in thought; we are generally so intricately wrapped up in thought that it doesn’t make any sense to try, in any discussion that we might be having, to separate ourselves. I am not my thoughts, it is true, but I think I am! When we say therefore – as we have said – that ‘thoughts can never be realised’ what we are really saying is that we can never be realised through them. We can never be realised through our thoughts, and yet we think we can be.

When we talk about the thought that goes on and on, fuelled by false hope, down a long, long trajectory towards the realisation or resolution that can never happen it is also the ‘mind-created self’ that we are talking about. This is the self’s journey. The mind-created self is that aspect of us that is wrapped up in thought, swaddled in thought, encapsulated by thought, from the beginning of its journey to the end and – partaking in the nature of thought as it does – it has no connection with reality, no relationship with reality, and yet it does not wish to know this about itself. We do not wish to know this about ourselves.

Saying that we won’t want to know this about ourselves has got to be one of the biggest understatements of all time! Who wants to find out that they have no connection to reality’? Who wants to find out that they are essentially ‘a guess’ or ‘conjecture’ that is actually one hundred percent wrong? Who wants to find out that who they believe themselves to be is one hundred percent mistaken, one hundred percent erroneous? Who wants to find out that all their hopes, dreams, and expectations of life are based upon a fundamental misapprehension? Clearly, we are looking at a very effective trap here because the further we go down the road of thinking that we are who we aren’t, and the more we therefore invest in it, the harder it’s going to be to see the thought-created identity for what it is and let it go. And yet this is what we are going to have to do at some point since the game of postponing the inevitable cannot be played forever.

The motivation at the bottom of this misguided journey is fear therefore, as we have already said. Fear is what puts us in this position of not wanting to see our situation for what it is, and living instead on the basis of fantasy or wish-fulfilment, on the basis of continuously having to validate whatever story it is in that we have made up for ourselves. Of all the motivations there ever could be, this has got to be the most effective at creating suffering for ourselves, therefore! The catastrophic outcome that we fear above all else is the catastrophic outcome of seeing the truth, and get the same time this would of course the best thing that could ever happen to us. As a result of falling under the influence of fear (which is of course what always happens when we let thought get the upper hand) we become ‘committed to a lost cause’, so to speak – the lost cause of the mind-created identity.

Once we distinguish between thought and consciousness – which in everyday life we don’t tend to – then we can see how this is always going to happen. It becomes readily understandable how thought would behave in the way that it does, in the absence of any consciousness to ‘shine a light’ on what it is doing. When thought has its proper ‘subsidiary or second-place function’ then it doesn’t need to ‘self validate’ – it doesn’t need to make up its own tautological reasons for being there. It has to job to do, and once it is done it, then it can withdraw gracefully in the manner of ‘a tool that is no longer needed’. ‘All is as it should be,’ in other words. But when thought takes up the dominant role, the ‘boss’ role, the reality-defining role, then there is only one direction in which things can go –the direction of consciousness being trapped in a dark capsule of mechanical thought, which it cannot help identifying with.

There is only ‘one direction things can go’ because thought can never let go of itself. That’s the one thing thought can never do – when it relies on its own logic thought can never know when its job – whatever that might be – is done, so to speak. It can never know when it is no longer needed, when stuff no longer needs to be fixed. Thought can never know its own limits, in other words. According to its own ‘internal logic’ thought’s job is never done – it’s ‘default’ job is – after all – to remain true to its own laws, its own rules, and this equals ‘tautological self-validation’. First it does what it was supposed to be doing and then it finds new reasons to stick around – it can’t (by its own volition) ever let go of it own need to carry on existing. The reason thought can’t let go of itself (so to speak) is because it can’t see its own nature and it ‘thinks that it is something when it isn’t’, which is the origin of fear. Thought can’t see the inbuilt redundancy (or emptiness) of its own nature because it has zero perspective on the matter; it has zero perspective because it is at all times stuck fast to itself, stuck fast to its own descriptions. Consciousness on the other hand can see the tautology; consciousness can see the tautology because it isn’t ‘stuck’ to anything! Another way to put this is to say that consciousness is nothing other than pure fearless ‘letting go’, just as thought is nothing other than pure ‘grasping’…

Author: Nick Williams

Nick Williams works and writes in the field of mental health and is particularly interested in non-equilibrium states of consciousness, which are states of mind that cannot be validated by standardized experiments or by reference to any formal theoretical perspective.
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