I’ve been thinking lately about ideas, thoughts, feelings and where they come from. Whether they are the monkey-mind type that erode our sense of well-being or the creative inspired ones that produce art. Poems. Books or juicy letters.
Philosopher and spiritual teacher Krishnamurti once said, You might think you are thinking your own thoughts. You’re not. You’re thinking your culture’s thoughts. About a hundred years earlier, Mark Twain said something similar, Substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources. Perhaps Krishnamurti took his idea from Twain!
So, when it comes to intrusive and unhelpful thoughts and feelings, if they are really a collection of what I am exposed to, maybe I don’t have to take them so seriously. Maybe I can step back and jump off the hamster wheel and just watch. Hmmm…that is actually liberating. It doesn’t mean I don’t take ownership of my inner life, but I don’t have to personalize them so much. I can see them as thoughts and as feelings and not me.
And when it comes to creativity, which I think about a lot as a writer, the fact that ideas are second-hand, means that I am free from coming up with the earth-shattering new breakthrough perspective that will definitely will me a Pulitzer or Nobel. Rather, I can share my particular take (which, as we established above will be a reflection of my world through my lens) on what I experience.
That means that we all have something to say. We all have our particular take on this particular place in time. And much of this exposure is unavoidable—unless you live in a bubble. But, there are things we can do to expose ourselves to things that nourish our hearts and minds—good books, good people, good music, nature. Meditation and yoga help too!
Yes, we are affected by our world and thus our thoughts and emotions are affected by our world. But we can also do our part, and plant little seeds inside of love and kindness and joy.