Sunday, December 18, 2011

Strong Coffee, & a Lot of Random Thoughts...

A strong coffee makes you stay awake and think random thoughts. Or so a friend believes. There was a hint of self-disapproval in the way it was stated, almost as if it was something to be ashamed of, as if it was a sign of weakness or mental aberration that people would make fun of. It set me wondering.

I believe increasingly that we are in a world that places a premium on action. We seem to be a society of doers. Working, hanging, chilling, travelling, watching, commenting. Thinking seems to be a lesser activity. Not many people want to think. Most just want to move forward to capture the next available gap that they see in front of them. There’s something about survival and perpetuation which is deeply ingrained in the human DNA. Thinking directed towards improvements in these is respected. Thinking for its own sake is not.

I struggle to remember, but obviously can’t, as to how I used to think when I was a baby. It’s particularly difficult to remember how I used to think without language. And now it’s become impossible for me to think without language. My thinking is bound by the languages I know. Why this is important is because over a period of time we allow constraints to bind our thinking. Language is the first one.

And slowly, we train ourselves as to what we should think about. We do it by stifling the so-called random thoughts, by blocking them out of our mind repeatedly over a period of time till we are no longer conscious about them. There’s a contradiction here. All the thoughts that we think are originating from within us. Then where’s the question of some being random and some being not? It’s only that our brain has introduced some sort of filtering device, some sort of self-censorship mechanism which tells us what is right to think about and what is not.

And that’s the reason why random thoughts that manage to sneak through are scary and difficult to handle. Like death, we are unsure of where they will take us, because we are all grown-ups. And the essence of all “growing-up” is learning to define our own bounds. What we “can” do and what we “cannot” do.

People talk of self-acceptance as being important in the path to self-realization. I believe that one of the primary aspects of such acceptance is the acceptance of one’s thoughts. We tend to question our thoughts, in particular things such as “Why am I thinking about this” or “How could I think something like this” That doesn’t allow the completion of the thought to take place, because it is discarded beforehand.

One of the fascinating aspects about being a writer is the ability (or need, depending on which way you look at it) of being able to view yourself as a third person. When you are both the observer and the participant. That enables the evaluation of thoughts with detached, almost scientific, interest. A realization that the thought doesn’t reflect on our character or our mental state, but is intrinsically a part of us, to be duly considered and put in its rightful place.

This realization is what enables us to overcome the fear of vulnerability. We feel vulnerable with our random thoughts. But that’s the trade-off in all aspects of life, always: Safety versus the Richness of the Experience. Where we draw the line, is what we have to decide.


  1. good good .. u should also contemplate on how ppl are afraid to be alone by themselves with their thoughts.. it is interesting to observe how ppl would rather spent time with someone they don't even like, than by themselves, alone with their thoughts.

  2. Absolutely right, Yash