Reading a blog about a friend’s experience of cooking something she thought to be original, only to find the exact same dish was simultaneously being ‘discovered’ by a colleague, got me thinking about thinking and the origin of ideas and information.
The example of a ‘new’ recipe being thought of, ‘discovered’ and created by two foodies at the same time, invites the notion that maybe we tune into ideas rather than create them, with more than one of us sometimes catching onto or receiving the same thought.
When we watch a movie, images and sounds come to us and it is interesting to ponder that this could be true on a wider scale that allows for the possibility that, like TV or radio waves, thoughts come ‘to’ us, not ‘from’ us, as we like to think.
We know this for sure about our radios and TVs, our computers and smart devices: that is, that they are receivers of information via waves that we can’t see but that they nonetheless constantly receive and then output in the form of a song, a movie, an ad, data and voice transmissions and so on. We understand that the device does not originate the data, it receives it, stores it and displays or expresses it at the push of a button, the flick of a switch or the swipe or tap of a finger.
Just like a TV, radio or telephone, we don’t originate any of our thoughts or ideas but receive and then output them.
It is like we are all radio towers designed to tune into and receive outer frequencies and waves, but the thinking we’ve been tuned into for the past few thousand years has us believing (as an unquestionable fact) that we are the originators and individual owners of all our thoughts and ideas.
The idea of being a mere receptor, not a creator of thoughts, is somehow insulting to our intelligence, rudely suggesting that we are not special, nor different, nor brilliant, but somehow passive, mute and dumb.
Far from it, as the recipe experience shows – we may pick up the same frequency as another ‘tower’ but the way we receive and then act on the information picked up is dependant on our individual makeup and the quality of our tower (each radio tower stands in its own place and comes with its own background and level of maintenance and care), and this flavours our expression of the information tuned into.
Just entertaining this possibility is a bit of mind bender, but if we play along for a moment and call it a given that we are radio towers receiving all our thoughts, then our focus shifts away from the question of are we or are we not receptors of thoughts, to something much more interesting. If we are receptors not originators of ideas, information and thoughts in general, then:
- What level of thinking, data and information are we tuned into and receiving?
- What determines the frequency we are tuned into?
- Are we ‘stuck’ on or limited to one frequency?
- How do we alter the frequency we receive?
- Is there a way of knowing the type of frequency we are tuned into?
- What relevance is the condition of the tower to the quality or type of frequency of thoughts it receives?
Einstein wondered these things – or should we say tuned into these thoughts – and talked about there being different levels of thinking available to us, memorably saying: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
But what if the other part to Einstein’s understanding is that we don’t actually create our level of thinking, we receive it, that is: we only think we think.
This is a game changer that explains so much of our behaviours, choices and everything from our crazy thoughts to our profoundly amazing ones.
Children are great examples of tuning into and receiving thoughts and ideas and so often from the mouths of babes, wisdom beyond their age and experience flows. There are many occasions where scientists separated by continents and culture end up ‘discovering’ the same thing simultaneously, without ever having access to the same physical data, yet find themselves to be sharing a convergence of the same thought or idea.
Starting to observe this phenomenon playing out in ourselves and others is a grand experiment in exploring our inner workings and our unseen connection with each other and the universe at large.
If our thoughts don’t come from us and we can’t see them coming, then to choose the quality of thought we’d like to have leaves us to feel our way, noticing how different thoughts make us feel when we receive them: heavy, worried, anxious, mean, jealous, self-doubting – or light, open, willing, joyful, focussed, definite and playful. Choosing not so much by content as by quality.
Once we take up a thought and express it in word or deed, its effects can clearly be seen and felt as they play out in ways that leave us or another feeling less, or deepens the responsibility and care we bring to ourselves and others.
We begin to know our physical selves – our body – as radio towers, that if broken or damaged with the hits and hurts of life, tune into frequencies that deliver a quality of thought very different to the quality of thoughts available to a tower cared for, maintained, tall and not only ready to receive thoughts, but aware of itself as a receiver of thoughts not by default but by design. Divine design in fact!
When we loosen our grip on thinking that we originate anything and start realising instead that as receivers of thoughts or consciousness, our only job is to care for the tower we embody so it can discern and choose to tune into and express thoughts from an intelligence that leaves us feeling not cold, confused or controlling, arrogant or dominating, but warm, wise, responsible, honouring appreciative, honest, humble and joyful in its brilliant simplicity and beauty. This way we begin to forever open ourselves to thinking about thinking that maybe we don’t really think. Now that’s worth thinking about!
By Adrienne Hutchins, BEd, Brisbane, Australia