Did you ever stop to ask yourself where your thought was before you thought it? Or, where it went once you stopped being aware of it? Is there a difference between a thought, any ole ordinary thought and imagination? I wonder if thoughts and imagination come from the same place? I wonder where that place is?
Our thoughts and our imagination affect our reality constantly. If you hear an unusual noise outside and you are home alone at night – your imagination may go straight to fear of an intruder. If you then call the police or find your pepper spray. Or, if you have a restless, sleepless night for worry of a break in, then your imagination has surely shaped your reality. An extreme example, but you get the idea.
Or, you may imagine a scarce world, even though many would look at your life and think it to be abundant. Your imaginary scarce world shapes your reality. Maybe you spend a lot of time pinching pennies or don’t spend money on fun activities. Your whole life has been shaped by your imagination. And, what’s really wild – you don’t even attribute it to your imagination, you think (there’s a thought) its real. You’re convinced the imaginary thought based world you have constructed is absolutely real. And, it’s not. That’s what the Buddha is talking about in the quote above.
I’ve read of many studies concerning fact versus fiction when it comes to our experiences and the way we perceive them. Eyewitness accounts are notoriously incorrect. The truth is we change the facts all the time to fit our version of reality.
Imagination plays a big role in our decision making. It’s interesting we have apparently entered an era of false facts and fake news. Or, I guess we could say an era where imagination rather than reality is prevailing. Maybe imagination is coming out of the closet? It’s probably not a very good idea to base our choices on someone else’s imaginary false facts. This past presidential election is a case in point.
So, here we all are. Absolutely everything begins with an imaginary thought and we don’t know where those thoughts come from or where they go. By the way, we don’t know where we come from or where we go either. Lots of theories (imagination/thought) about all that, no facts.
Our brains may simply be filters constructed by our perceived life experiences. Family of origin, society, past lives – who knows? – all coloring our brain filter. Something actually does happen out here in the real world – it is picked up by our brain and immediately is run through our own personal filter – and is then perceived in a certain way. When you add to that all the false facts and fake news that is in the air, we aren’t even beginning with reality in many cases.
Spiritual or awareness practices help us change our filters so we can see more authentically and clearly.
All that brings me to my heart. We can all get in lots of trouble when we leave our hearts, emotions, feelings, intuitions, knowings, your own words out of the whole equation. In this imaginary, false fact world – what feels right? What is your heart whispering? Consider stopping and tuning in to that very real part of yourself.