You Can’t “Think” Your Way to Happiness

 

Hi, my name is Vanessa, and I’m an over-thinker.

Hi, Vanessa…

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For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed thinking. At least, I know I have enjoyed being the person other people see as a “thinker”.

Thought, to me, is learning, growing, and gaining knowledge. It’s self-exploration. It’s contemplation. It’s observation and analysis.

All traits of the great minds of humanity. Right?

Somewhere along the way (probably during those tumultuous high school years when I really started to feel separated from my generation), I discovered a deep sadness within myself. An emptiness, a void.

The void, being sadness itself, saddened me further. A paradox? It ebbed and it expanded and it overcame me at certain times. Without the words to describe it, I turned to music, with which the lyrics could speak the words I couldn’t think of. The lyrics of artists like AFI, Bright Eyes, The Cure...

These artists caused me to ponder more deeply, to think more ferociously. I remember my mind transitioning to thinking in words instead of in pictures or feelings.

As I grew older, the knowledge-hungry people I surrounded myself with proved to me that thought was the way. Knowledge was the way. Analysis of this physical world will bring me the most joy, because I will know it to its core.

Oh, how wrong I was.

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It was around the time of a terrible break up with an ego-fueled soul and meeting Nik that I sent myself into a panic:

“I can never be happy. I think too much to be happy.”

Instead of pausing here and letting my discovery about my over-thinking habits sink in, I sunk back into that pit of sadness inside myself. It was like settling into an old, dingy apartment.

I stayed there for a long time. Subconsciously convinced that I would never be happy because of the way my mind worked. Knowing to my core that I was not worthy of love, drenched in guilt that I could not remove from my psyche.

Here’s what I’m getting to:

I am reading a spiritual guidance book right now titled A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. It’s been on my (hypothetical) bookshelf for several months, so I brought it to Costa Rica to read and ponder.

Oh, read and ponder I have.

At only two chapters in, I was compelled to write this blog post. I think you can expect several posts throughout my reading of this book; every page is packed with words I never want to forget.

I discovered an inherent truth those few years ago when I realized I think too much to be happy.

Because you can’t think your way to happiness.

A New Earth is about identifying (and subsequently, dismantling) the ego state of your mind and awakening to your life’s purpose, in a spiritual sense.

Side Note: I am not a spiritual person by nature, but I am discovering so many spiritual truths in my journey, that I know I am on my way to becoming my higher self. The thing that holds me back is my fear that a spiritual life is a lonely life. How can anyone understand if they don’t understand?

Through the first two chapters, I have learned that the ego both produces thought, and is thought.

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Here’s a quote that might help illustrate this:

“What you may be aware of as a voice in your head that never stops speaking is the stream of incessant and compulsive thinking. When every thought absorbs your attention, when you are so identified with the voice in your head and the emotions that accompany it that you lose yourself in every thought and every emotion, then you are totally identified with form and therefore the ego.”

Well, if that statement didn’t describe my last five years on earth, I don’t know what could.

Tolle is teaching that to “awaken” is to separate yourself, your true Being, from the ego state by releasing thought and becoming aware. Becoming aware that you, your Being, is the awareness that creates your thoughts.

“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

How liberating it is that I am not my ego.

I am not my ego, and my ego is not me.

I am not the sad, empty, over-thinking person that my ego has convinced me that I am.

I am not the person who is unworthy of love, I am not the person who keeps punishing myself over and over again, I am not the person who refuses to forgive myself.

That’s my ego. And my ego is not me.

I can’t wait to continue reading A New Earth. So many (old) earth-shattering breakthroughs have come to me already. I feel lighter, happier, more free.

One last quote before I go:

Do not seek happiness. If you seek it, you will not find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.
— Eckhart Tolle

With no ego,
Vanessa