French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes wrote his famous “I think therefore I am” in 1637.
Is equating our identity with thinking and equating thinking with Being (I am) a delusion?
Is Being more than thinking? Can we be more than our mind and our thoughts?
Of course, to function as a human being would be impossible without thinking and our greatest thinkers are all considered genius in their own fields.
However, by totally equating our identity with our thinking and our thinking with the state of Being (I am) like Descartes did is probably a narrow understanding of what we really are and, probably a great delusion.
In other words, are our identity and state of Being (I am) more than just our mind and its thoughts?
As a Zen Buddhism practitioner, I would prefer to say this:
”I am aware therefore I am” or “Consciousness is Being” or “I am not just my thoughts nor what I think I am” or “Being just aware open the mind and an open mind does not produce delusions”
From day 0 to the end we have learned from our parents, from school and from society that if we think and think better and think more and more we will be better off and achieve a fantastic life. This Western view is somewhat pretty narrow-minded. The problem is that there is absolutely no correlation between thinking (quantity and quality), better life and happiness. None whatsoever. Unfortunately, all of us are or become compulsive thinkers creating a total state of separateness in which we are trapped: “Our subconscious mind whispers all the time: I am unique, I am different, I am separate and I am independent”. This ego-driven belief is pure delusion and a major source of our suffering because it does not reflect the reality of ourselves, of life and how we are interacting, interconnected and interdependent with all its components.
Our mind-made artificial self:
Our mind and thoughts create our self- identification sort of mental ID. This mental ID continuously generates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words and judgments making us living with an illusion of separateness and uniqueness. This is our superficial and societal self or outer self. This screen, not only, may impede our relationships but also could create ongoing conflicts and suffering since it separates us from others, from our social surroundings, from Nature and from reality. This incessant mental noise prevents us from finding the reality of inner stillness and serenity that is inseparable from the real Being. It also creates a false mind-made self that casts a shadow of uneasiness, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Thinking is OK and great thinking is wonderful but over thinking is not despite what the society is expecting from us. In fact, over thinking has become a dreadful affliction.
Here is an example from nature. There is nothing wrong with cells dividing and multiplying in our body, but when the process is out of control it becomes a disease. Same thing happens with over thinking.
Awakening or enlightenment is not a holly and magical state. On the contrary, it is simply having our 2 feet on the ground realizing what is real and what is not. This experience is achieved only by paying attention to the current moment, to our body, our 5 senses, our thoughts and emotions, to others and our surrounding.
It also defines the end of our dreadful slavery to incessant thinking where virtual reality is the norm. Too often, over thinking is a self-deceptive trap in which we are locking ourselves within. Ongoing awareness will get you out of it.
Our mind in a fantastic tool when used rightly and smartly. Unfortunately, this sneaky instrument is using us far more efficiently than we are using it. We should not be overpowered and deceived by it.
For example, equating our identity with our thoughts and our thoughts with our being is misleading our reality because we are more than our thoughts. Keeping a state of deep and ongoing awareness of the moment, of self, of others and of our surroundings will reveal your true being. It can be achieved only from experience and not from intellectual thinking.