A No-Planning Attitude

It is good to take a look at the thoughts that arise, and see if you have any control over them — over the content of them, or over when they arise. It becomes clear pretty quickly that you don't. It's a great meditative thing to do throughout your day, just looking at that one aspect of your experience — Do I choose my thoughts? This current thought — did I choose it? Or did it just appear, without any urging or planning of any kind?

What's the implication if you don't choose your thoughts? It's kind of wonderful. It's that the universe chooses all the thoughts. Not just yours, but everyone's. When I say "the universe," it's just a figure of speech. It's a way of attributing them to something, when really they aren't attributable to anything. They just appear or arise in awareness. They didn't exist, then they appear to exist, and then they pass, leaving no trace of their ever having existed. That's the wonderful thing about thoughts. They really don't do anything.

So the creation of the idea of a personal identity, which is what thoughts do, isn't anything that needs to be paid attention to. A person doesn't need to arise in that thought. It can just be a passing ripple in awareness. In a practical sense, it means that you don't have to plan anything, ever. You really can't, but that's harder to swallow, so we can just start with the no-planning attitude and watch as it reveals your own real identity to you.

Without a plan, what are you? And then something comes up in awareness, and action happens as a result, and identity is assumed, and the world unfolds. It all happens without plans. And yet, here it all is!