Today we have a guest post by Mary H. Ruth, a blogger who writes Consider This – from North Carolina who responded to my earlier article on Overthinking. Her insightful comments made me want to explore the concept of non thinking.
What is the definition of non thinking?
Language represents thought, so how can one define the absence of thought in terms of language? To define non thinking in language is oxymoronic. Since asked, I’ll make an attempt, though with the caveat that everyone must arrive at their own personal definition, because the definition is essentially non-verbal.
Actually, if we had a childhood (and we all did), we know the ‘staring moment.’ You remember, the recognition of someone (or yourself) in a semi-trance, mesmerized, caught staring at mid-air. You may no longer do this as an adult – or perhaps you do – but surely you remember how it was when you were young.
Try it now: fix your eyes on a point in mid-air, and hold the gaze for a minute. There comes over you a certain non thinking. It’s almost like a dream, but you’re still fully conscious. You’re just in limbo, time-out, suspended between.
One way to look at meditation is to see it as a practice in non thinking. The difference between meditation and ‘staring moments’ is that in meditation you do actually focus thought, with intention.
Of course, sleep is the ultimate non thinking, but non thinking is really of better use to us in its conscious form.
We also practice non thinking quite a bit when driving, waiting, watching tv, and many other daily activities. It’s popularly called ‘zoning out.’
This leads us to suspect that there are levels of non thinking, just as there are levels of thinking. There’s a negative and a positive aspect to each, and we probably do best to seek a balance. Too much non thinking is the very same as too much thinking: they are unhealthy extremes.
NO definition should ever be this long! I will say, to close:
Non thinking, at best, is a strategy for keeping the mind and self in prime working order.
—-I’d like to thanks Mary for her time and insight. She did a have an important side note –
The underlying assumption here is that thinking is NOT the highest capability of the human. Rather, a synthesis of thinking and intuition and faith characterizes our species. At core, the assumption is that we are not cognizant, nor capable of being cognizant, of anything close to a totality.
We will continue this discussion with a further post on Non Thinking as a Strategy. —-