Table of Contents

Thinking: the sorcerer's broom

The double edged sword. We humans created language, and language resulted in thinking and human culture. Thinking is our great blessing and curse, a key element in every aspect of human culture, needed for everything from the glories of art to the miseries of drug abuse and human trafficking. It's a curse because we can't control it. We can't stop thinking or even discipline it except momentarily. Our inability to control thinking is the root of all human misery. The only cure for obsessive thinking is surrendering to Leela, to god in me. Only she can give me relief.

The internal monolog is the most pernicious part of thinking: the unstoppable inner narration. Internal planning, reviewing, lecturing, explaining, justifying, reciting then doing it all over and over again ad infinitum. The silent soundtrack of insanity. The insanity that's already there inside each of us, just waiting for something to set it off.

Due diligence. While the curse of thinking is a misery only progress with love can relieve, by the same double edged token Leela demands my due diligence for every bit of progress. If by failing to think things through I take some foolish action, or indulge in some harebrained inaction fueled by deluded magical thinking, Leela will happily egg me on to make sure I get a full value lesson out of my stupidity. Again and again I've learned how not to live by making mistakes.

Consciousness creates separation. Whether we like it or not consciousness creates a separation between us and the world, humans and the rest of nature. That separation is a core element in being human, the basis for all human culture. It enables us to step back, take a look, figure out what to do. But we took the separation too far, becoming alienated from nature. We came to see the world as our possession, forgetting we were part of it. Our nomad ancestors knew only too well they were part of nature, living or dying by its rules. We turned our backs on nature when we invented agriculture and stopped being nomads. We started exploiting the world, treating it as our property rather than a sacred living being. And that set us on the path to exploiting each other, to slavery, drug abuse and no end of a human misery.

Wrongheadedness is all the ways I use thinking against myself, making my life worse instead of better by thinking wrongly or too much. Sentimentality and emotion in general are classics of wrongheadedness: thinking that gins up feelings. The feelings can be of any kind. The key element is they're imaginary, figments of my thinking processes rather than responses to what's really going on. They have nothing to do with what's actually going on in my life, in the world around me. I can spend my entire life emotionally worked up, tortured by troubles that don't even exist. Worrying is another example.

Novelty addiction. One of the most insidious ways thinking works against me is by triggering the relentless grasping for novelty that seems to be part of us. It's an addiction that surfaces once all our basic needs have been met. I always think I need something new to distract me, some new thing to watch or eat or acquire, something fresh to read or listen to or do. But I don't need any of that new stuff, and the unthinking quest for it is a heavy curse, driving me to pointless consumption of useless things and empty, debilitating entertainment. Leela's answer to novelty addiction is refinement: making what I already have, things I already do, just a little better. Steady refinement is the key to human nobility. Refinement is what I use to cultivate the things that are best about me, aka my human potential. Making progress with love is a process of slow, steady refinement with occasional breakthroughs.

Obsessive thinking. Wrongheadedness usually relies on obsessive thinking. Any time I think the same thought twice or more in a row I'm being wrongheaded, but real obsession can easily multiply that by a thousand. Infatuation is a prime example of obsessive thinking.

The sin of loyalty. Loyalty, like pride, is a species of wrongheadedness that manages to pass itself off as a virtue. Loyalty shows its true colors in sentiments like my country right or wrong. Or yes, he beats me but he's my husband and I'll stick with him no matter what. Loyalty demands I set aside my powers of observation, critical thinking, objectivity. To be loyal I have to stick with a person or cause no matter what, even if that person or cause is criminal or abusive. Loyalty is deluded behavior, a travesty of human potential. A failure to think for myself.

The role of thinking in these stories. Leela creatively rewrites what I write consciously. I am not the artist here, though my words may make it sound that way. The artist of these stories is the artist of my life: Leela. Someone might say that's how it is for all genuine artists: the artist is just a channel for divine inspiration. But I don't know about other people, so I wouldn't say that. I do know that my artistic job is to surrender to Leela. The more I surrender the harder it is for me to tell us apart. But it's clear to me I could never do this on my own. She and I work back and forth. I'll write something, and I can be more or less off target, but I'm always off target. Leela works with me to get to the truth using muscle testing. Sometimes I get it quickly. Other times it's a long exhausting process. In both cases Leela shows me how far off base my original fluency drill was. Her improvements are often unintuitive. Her style is not the way I'm used to writing. Short hemingwayesque sentences. That's not my style. I'm often conflicted about them. I have to read her text a few times before I get it.