Conceptual Thought

When we live in a world of concepts, as we do now (“good” vs. “bad”, “pretty” vs. “ugly”, and all the rest of the didactic pairs), we never meet the world itself, but instead we meet our concept, or description of the world. We meet our images, our ideas, and our beliefs about the world.

This is what the Tibetan Buddhists are attempting to point out with their discussions of “non-conceptual thought” (which I once thought was babble and utter insanity). Similarly, it’s what don Juan refers to with the concept of the “Nagual”. It is also what the Taoists call “That which cannot be named”.

But the title, the name, is not what’s important here. What is of importance, and of supreme importance to us as human beings, is that as long as we remain chained to concepts, to ideas, and to images, we will never meet the world as it actually exists. We cannot understand Reality, Truth, or God, until we are willing to give up our attachment to our “ideas” (including the idea of a separate “self”). As long as we remain chained to such concepts, we see a version of reality, translated through those beliefs and ideas, according to our conditioning and experience.

We meet the world not as the world at large, but as the world according to our ideas, constructed by previous experience. And our world, which exists in a state of perpetual motion, change, and impermanence, can never be fully experienced, or even marginally understood as long as we continue to translate it according to the past.

Thus, we feel conflict, confusion, and suffering.

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One Response to Conceptual Thought

  1. Fred LaMote says:

    Essential insights eloquently put. Thank you blog brother.

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