By Adam J. Pearson
Nowadays, I notice, many people express antipathy towards thought and thinking in general. This is understandable because superficial thinking can make us suffer and frustrate and confuse us to no end. If we are too caught up in our thoughts, we can miss out on many of the wonderful experiences and much of the emotional richness that life has to offer. Even though some kinds of thinking can be damaging nuisances, however, my experience suggests that certain kinds of deep thought grounded in reliable evidence and experience increase our understanding, wonder, awe, and love for this amazing universe.
Of course, thought has its limits; no conceptual description is final and absolute. All of my beliefs are transitory, provisional, subject to change in light of new experience or stronger evidence. Nevertheless, rational thought is one of the most amazing evolutionary adaptations humans have ever developed as well as our most powerful instrument. To benefit from it, we must learn to use it wisely, however, and to balance it with the voices of feeling and intuition. Thought becomes a nuisance and an obstruction when it is incessant; sometimes, it helps to simply relax into experience and let thought pass into the background.
My experience of thought is not like Plato’s charioteer in the Phaedrus, not a force dominating my whole life and whipping emotion and appetite into obedience. In my life, thought and feeling balance each other out. Sometimes, I like to simply relax into feeling and sensation, too. Contrary to what U.G. Krishnamurti famously claimed, however, thought is not my enemy; rather, it is my friend and beloved companion on the path of life.