It seems unstoppable – a juggernaut with a will of its own, firing on all cylinders, capable of derailing our every intention and action. The train of thought – the engine of our mind – is beyond our grasp, outside our control.
Well, a lot of religions through the years have grappled with this issue. Strains of Hindu thought posit the world as an illusion. Zen Buddhists practice koans to sharpen the mind and bring it under one’s control. Eckhart Tolle says to pay the egoic rambling no mind.
How does A Course in Miracles approach the train of thought?
We cannot awake from the dream of separation and suffering and spiritual darkness by means of thought. Thought is the problem and it cannot study itself and it cannot provide a way out. This is what the Course means when it teaches us that the ego will never undo itself willingly.
Our good intentions and our sincere efforts are of no avail. We have to surrender all judgement. We have to be willing to bring each and every thought, each and every directive of the egoic mind to the light of the Holy Spirit. We have to look at it lovingly, patiently and with great gentleness. We can’t judge those thoughts and directives – we merely have to let them see the light.
That includes, by the way, the simple fact that we don’t want to do this. It is critical to keep in mind that we want the separation – we are each of us at every moment frantically spinning the dense web to keep us from God, to keep us from Heaven.
That too must be looked at. Why do we resist Love? Why do we resist Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God?
Why do we fight so hard against the truth of our identity?
What do we do then with our train (or trains) of thought? Punch a ticket and climb on board? Walk away from the tracks and try to thumb a ride up the spiritual highway?
Just look at it. Let it be. See the train – each car, the wheels, the gleaming track. Study the station. Why do you want to climb on board? What car is most attractive? Who gave you a ticket?
Those are metaphors, of course, but they might prove helpful in examining what is going on with our thinking. As well, when undertaken with a sincere “little willingness” to let the Holy Spirit see and forgive our thoughts, they can truly advance us to the Gates of Heaven.