First, let us acknowledge that thinking is not the same as fixed opinions or remembering things. Thinking requires asking questions, seeking answers from different sources, analyzing new information with what you already know, and most importantly, not mindlessly accepting what others tell you is true.
Why is it important for you to think for yourself, especially when it involves your perspective on your individual life and the world around you? Let’s look at it this way. If the question were asked: Who am I? Would you be content with me answering this question for you? I certainly hope not. You must light a fire within yourself to dig deeply within, to toss aside the attitudes of others about who you are; in other words, you must think.
When you allow yourself to simply accept the interpretations by others of principles or ideas that have become set in concrete over time, what does this mean for you? It means you are asleep. Your Being is not participating in the Work of change. What you think you know simply exists in your formatory mind, a repository of thoughts and opinions you have imprudently accepted as true. In other words, you have simply accepted a set of rules and are attempting to assure yourself you are ticking off all the boxes.
I have known many people in my lifetime who answer most questions about who they are or what they think about something by quoting Bible scriptures. These are people who are very asleep. Strict religious dogma is the formatory mind in action. It defines spirituality through the perspective of man asleep, caught in the throes of his fears and subpersonalities. It separates everything into opposites, yes or no, black or white. Religion clings to literal interpretations because the formatory mind functions from a consciousness of security, sensation, and power. These are considered the three lower levels of man’s experiences and reflect a man asleep. Security and power create an “us vs. them” mentality, and sensation creates the opposites of boredom vs. thrills. The religious formatory mind does not have the ability to understand the intricacies necessary for spiritual thought.
Spiritual thought requires the ability to blend those opposites into a new understanding and to think from a place which is free of negative emotions and preconceived notions. Spirituality requires a mind open to ideas that have never been considered before, ideas that carry you into new levels of experience, understanding, and love.
Before you get on the defensive, all of us on this planet are asleep. The only difference is in degree. The process for positive change mentioned above can allow us to be awake for portions of our days. I know you’ve heard the saying, It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. The moments of awakening we experience build our confidence in who we are and in our creative gifts far beyond what those in our spheres of influence offer us.
Each time we are able to awaken and observe ourselves in the light of the process mentioned, we are more able to be present in the moment, aware of all our senses – emotional, intellectual, and physical – and make mindful decisions of how we respond, rather than simply reacting like a sleepwalker.