I was sitting over a cup of coffee with a friend of mine and he mentioned to me that he was leaving to Thirupathi that night (For those who do not know, Thirupathi is the abode of Lord Venkateswara and is the richest temple in the world). I didn’t feel like engaging in a conversation, so we just had some loose talk till we were done with the coffee. But interestingly, I could see that there were lots and lots of thoughts that came up in the mind in response to the topic of discussion.
As we walked back to the desk, I was thinking about this. Probably because I did not speak, the compulsive need to pursue a thread wasn’t that significant, and this must have allowed all these different thoughts to come up in mind.
I tried to list some of these thoughts here: (what is in the main bullet is the primary thought trigger and what is in the second level bullet is the secondary though trigger which comes from the primary)
- I haven’t been there yet, I would like to go
- Is this the right time to go there? When is the rush less?
- Is this your first trip? Do you go often?
- It’s the richest temple, I read that there is a special ’chakra’ installed there to attract money
- I read recently that the temple of Shirdi is the second richest temple
- I normally go to Sabarimala everyyear
- In Kerala, we do not worship Balaji
- Infact I have not been going anywhere for a long time
- I s it better to drive? I want to go when I get my new Car?
- I will plan to get the new car in June
- Is it necessary to shave the head?
- My sister had been to Palani recently to shave her daughter’s head
- It’s interesting that all the major temples of South India are on hill tops
These different thoughts in fact stem from different aspects of our mind and personality. For e.g thoughts 3, 5, 9 come from the point that I want to show that I know these facts (probably this will enhance my sense of self as a ‘knowledgeable person’). Thought 7 is a dangerous one and can hit my self-esteem big time. Thoughts 4,5 justifies my not going there, so that my sense of self is not diminished etcetc.
This is infact a practical illustration of the concept described in the post The act of mindful watching. In normal scenario we do not see so many thoughts for a single trigger. We probably have one or two. This depends on our personality, mood and state of mind. For e.g if at this moment I am nurturing a feeling that my life is a failure, the likely hood of me getting only thought 6 is very very high. And since each of these thoughts can take the conversation/further thinking in a totally different direction, we are most likely to take one of those thought paths than to look at more thoughts coming up.
Needless to say, more reactive the mind is lesser the options we see Many times there are those negative feelings within us waiting patiently to react to any thing that would engage them. This is the reason why everything looks negative when your mind is in a negative state.
As we discussed earlier, if we can overcome the compulsive need to react to a trigger, more options simply arise and this is the most basic quality for a creative mind.