How do we identify with our thoughts?

Sam, Sara and Roy are enjoying watching the clouds.

They watch the clouds as they pass. Calmly, silently. Sometimes hurried by a sudden gust of wind. They can hear the clouds whispering in their ears.

Both the observed and the observers are calm, silent. Experience is flowing through them.
Until Sam’s attention is caught by this cloud…

“Doesn’t that look like a table?!” he wonders aloud, “Or like a dog with it’s short tail facing you?”
“Looks like a large rectangular warehouse to me!”, Sara interjects, “With two entrances – one at the front and the other on the side. With two chimneys”

Sam is not sure… “Warehouse? Chimneys?….Whatever! Never mind” he thinks and comes back to enjoying the clouds.

Silence. Calm.

Until this cloud passes by:

Sam and Sara are both excited!

“Look!! A rhino!!”, Sara yells. She remembers watching one in the wildlife sanctuary she visited last year.

“What rhino?! It’s a unicorn!”, Sam yells back. They are his favorite creature from the Harry Potter books he so loves. “How can someone see anything else?!”
They both start to bicker and argue about what it actually is.
Can you guess why Sam is worked up now, and not earlier?
Because earlier he couldn’t see it as clearly. The projection of the ‘dog’ or ‘table’ wasn’t as clear. So he was not that ‘impacted’ by it. But THIS particular cloud?
“Come on…I agree that could be a table or a dog …but this one???? It is a unicorn!! IT IS SO CLEAR!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE IT??!!”, he defends himself.

But no matter how clearly they both ‘see’ it, and how angrily they defend it – it does not beat the fact that what they are seeing are still clouds.
Sam and Sara are not experiencing the clouds any more. They are experiencing the images they are projecting from their own mind.

And the projections, seem and feel extremely real! But they are still projections. Being created in their own mind.
The clouds are neutral. The cloud in question already passed away five minutes ago. But Sam and Sara are stuck on it.
No actually. Sam and Sara are not stuck on the cloud. The cloud is gone. Sam and Sara are stuck on their own mental projections.

And their emotional response and aggression is directly proportional to how clear the projections in their own mind are. Not based on the shape of the cloud.
And the angrier they feel, the more clear, detailed and ‘solid’ their projection seems to get.
HOW CAN SOMEONE NOT SEE WHAT THEY SEE???!!!! That person must be just plain dumb or close-minded!

Meanwhile, Roy is still calmly watching the clouds. He does not get why Sam and Sara are creating such a fuss?! Can’t they just enjoy what is?
Maybe he is self-realized. Enlightened. He sees the pointlessness of it all.
Actually no.
It just so happens that he has not seen the picture of a rhino, or read about a unicorn before.
His attention is more captivated by that little cloud that looks like a Deerstalker cap. Sherlock Holmes used to wear one! But what would these idiots know? One never reads, and the other read kid’s fiction. Better keep silent and enjoy!

Outside situations, people, their actions, circumstances are what they are.
We never experience them. All that we experience are our own thoughts about them.
Thoughts are needed for experience to happen.
Unless Sam, Sara and Roy made up a thought about the clouds – they cannot experience anything. It would just be an impersonal, deep, shared silence.
But to experience anything– they have to tie it to some form. And then they will experience that form and their thoughts about that form. Not the actual cloud. Never. But they will experience something!

How real our current experience seems, and the emotional response it elicits(positive or negative) – depends on what existing thoughts we link it to.
The surer we are about these linked thoughts – the surer we feel about the current experience.
And what are the thoughts that we are MOST sure about?
They are the thoughts around “I”.

My thoughts, opinions and views about the world, good vs evil, love, politics might be wrong. But I am 100% sure I exist. That is as real as it gets.

If I link any passing thought to thoughts about “I” – then identification has happened.
And the side-effect is – regardless of what that thought is…it will seem, feel really, absolutely, fundamentally, genuinely real. Without a doubt!
Contradicting these thoughts will hurt the most. It will literally hurt the core of my ‘being’! So I will defend it with my life. It IS my life!
Anyone who disagrees will seem not true, not genuine, ignorant, biased, perverted.
So there is a big difference in how much strong your experience of others thoughts about India will be and how it real it will feel to you, when you say:
“I agree more with the Indian speaker’s thoughts right now” Vs
“I think India has done some great things.” Vs
“I am a proud Indian.”
Same goes for:
“I am experiencing very sad thoughts right now” Vs
“I am feeling like a failure right now” Vs
“I am a failure”

What exists is formless. Call it the Universal truth, or the cosmic intelligence or a dance of energy – with ebbs, flows, spirals and whatever else. Totally impersonal. It just is.

We can only experience that which has form. Thoughts are the means to grant form to the formless so that we can experience it. We keep manifesting this from moment to moment through judging the feelings, labeling them with words.

The form then solidifies based on which other existing thoughts it gets linked to . Like a painting manifesting on blank paper, rapidly borrowing outlines and emotional shades of those linked thoughts.

More real the linked thoughts seem, more ‘real’ this form seems. Like 240p resolution Vs 4k ultra HD resolution.

And if it gets linked to thoughts around ‘I’- then the illusion seems 100% real. Because ‘I’ is our benchmark of reality. We are totally under the grip of the illusion.

We start thinking that the thought IS reality – not our thought ABOUT reality. We have identified with the thought.
Escaping this illusion is extremely difficult.

But it is still an illusion.

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