Regarding this Note:
Please begin by reading the “Preface to Erik’s Notes on Buddhism:” found on the main page of Buddhism ~ Thanks
What is Present Moment Thinking?
~ OR ~
Who am I?
Here are some of the fundamental facts about Present Moment Thinking:
- In all universes, I does not exist
- Body is not I; Body does not contain I; outside of the body I does not exist
- Thinking is not I; thinking does not contain I; outside of thinking I does not exist
- I am single present moment thinking only
- I am what I think
- Whatever I think naturally increases
- Thinking is impermanent
In all universes, I does not exist: If ego, the independent, self-sufficient, autonomous, self-contained ‘I’, is investigated fearlessly and unconditionally then the only thing that will be found is the present moment.
Body is not I; Body does not contain I; outside of the body I does not exist: Upon investigation, you will find that the body is not the I. No part of the body is the I. The brain is not the I. None of the glands (despite our many references) are the I. Also, the body is not housing this independent, self-sufficient and autonomous I. Nor for that matter, can this I be found outside of the body.
Thinking is not I; thinking does not contain I; outside of thinking I does not exist: Again, upon investigation, you will find that thinking is not the I, and no part of your thinking is the I, just as thinking is not housing this independent, self-sufficient and autonomous I. Nor can this I be found outside of your thinking. In fact, ‘I’ is merely a label for your present moment thinking.
I am single present moment thinking only: Or more accurately, “I” is your single present moment thinking. I, ego, self, mine, soul, spirit, are all just labels for single present moment thinking only. So what do these five words, Single, Present, Moment, Thinking, Only, really mean?
- Single means that there is never more than one moment at a time. We never have two thinkings at the same time. The past never overlaps with the present. We are never really ‘of two minds.’ There is only a single moment of thinking at a time.
- Present means now, not the past or the future.
- Moment means the smallest amount of time possible, no more and no less.
- Thinking means this moment is not dead. The present moment is your knowing, your awareness. Your present moment thinking has countless qualities: knowing, knower, feeling, sensing, categorizing, hoping, fearing, wanting, rejecting, emoting, and many, many more.
- Only means that this Present Moment Thinking is all that you will find – if you take the time to investigate what is really going on here. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? It turns out that this is great because Present Moment Thinking is not some little and insignificant thing. Present Moment Thinking is amazing beyond your wildest dreams. For more on this, see the upcoming Note: “What is the Nature of Present Moment Thinking?”
When you have the experience of thinking two or more things at the same time, really you are jumping back and forth between these single thinkings – very fast.
I am what I think: Literally means, ‘I’ is what thinking thinks ‘I’ is. This does not mean that if you think you are a donkey that you will suddenly become an ass – although, becoming an ass isn’t very hard. With a little beer or tequila, anyone can potentially make an ass of themselves. It just means that our sense of self is defined and determined by our thinking. When we increase our Positive Thinking, we become a good person and those around us see us as a good person, just as our Negative Thinking ‘makes us’ a ‘bad person.’
For this very reason, it is impossible to be an inherently bad person (a truly or totally bad person). All Negative Thinking is rooted in a lie; therefore, our Negative Thinking, our ‘badness’, is not really true. As soon as the lie is seen for what it is- a lie- the badness begins to fade away and our true nature, our Positive Thinking, begins to emerge.
Whatever I think naturally increases: This is one of the remarkable keys to the whole universe. Whatever you repeatedly think, like anger: “I want to destroy your happiness. I want to destroy your happiness…” will naturally build and become stronger. So even if you begin with a very small dislike, such as, “I don’t like it when you…” and you repeat that thinking many times, it will naturally build into you being really pissed off at that person. This is how we mysteriously just blowup at someone. Really, we have been quietly (and often times unconsciously) repeating little annoyances over and over again. Also, if you spend a lifetime repeating thinking like “I am no good. I am no good…” or “I can’t do that. I can’t do that…” – well, sure enough, you are going to be right.
The good news is that this same structure holds true for your Positive Thinking. This is why practicing Dharma works. You practice Dharma by repeating your Positive Thinking over and over. When you repeatedly give up your five Negative Thinking, your anger, jealousy, greed, pride and ignorance will decrease. When you repeatedly practice having compassion and love for others, your capacity to have compassion and love will increase. Every Positive Thinking is one level of happiness and wisdom. Whatever you think repeatedly will naturally increase.
Thinking is impermanent: This means that all thinking is temporary. Good or bad, positive or negative, all thinking seems to interdependently arise, seems to exist, seems to function, and seems vanish. So, good news, don’t get too hung up about whatever it is you are thinking. In another moment you will be thinking something else. Seriously, this is saying that you can never draw a line in the sand so deep and so damaging that it can’t be washed away. Fortunately, we can’t get stuck anywhere for very long.
Now don’t go thinking that this also means that it makes no difference what you think because it’s all going to change anyway, this would be a huge mistake. All thinking has power – when we repeat the same kind of thinking over and over, the power of that thinking builds and grows. The thinking itself is impermanent, but the power of thinking can become more and more stable.