The important thing is for us to be able to choose our thoughts. It’s a skill… God, yes ! It’s a skill, and does not need a religion. It is an acquired skill like any other, and needs practice. Only, it is unusual for us to begin to do so; we are so used to going downstream, after the thought is upon us and we are with it. Hence, to remain upstream, before the thought emerges, is truly uphill; and clearly, scarce. Most people I know do not have it. One, yes, a singular, who I know has it, took a life time to acquire it.
We learn to choose to think during our schooling years. But thoughts are informal ” matter ” to the mind. They rush in to fill… anytime, all the time. They arise on the back of emotions rolling incessantly, of feelings sensed subconciously, whereof thoughts are automatically triggered. Then, the conscious faculty becomes aware of the thought, but not before being already taken up by the accompanying emotion – the subconscious and the subrational flare in our vitality.
We can choose our thought, even the informal ones, without the subrational emotion and its the vital surge. Yes, we can choose the thought … in the rational light of the intellect, in the full knowledge of the meaning it includes, known or unknown. In time, the thought in the mind will release its meaning and spill out in the form of emotion.
We can choose our thought… to examine it. Or, just to be happy ! If only we would.
Refresh your memory of that magnificent movie, “Imagining Argentina.” It’s about times we are forced to live in our minds because the world outside is too dangerous, humiliating and evil, and ugly to our bones.