Where Do Our Thoughts Come From?

“You are not the body. You are not the thoughts. You are not the memories. What you are is the consciousness that’s witnessing all of this.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

All of us think but how often do we contemplate where our thoughts come from? And when we do, how accurate is our answer?

Many of us think thoughts are the work of the brain, stimulated either by the environment or circumstances around us, or by memories of the past or fears of the future.

For most of us, there is also a sense of identity associated with the thoughts we’re having. We define ourselves based on our thoughts, especially those that we repeat on a regular basis.

Given that we have 60,000 plus ‘cognitive processes’ per day, that makes a perfect set up for a never-ending ‘identity crisis.’

It’s only when we give ourselves a chance to bypass the thinking process, to reach a state of pure Being, awareness minus thought, that we get a chance to experience our true identity, the state from which thoughts originate. The more time we spend in this state, the more accurate our thinking becomes, the more aligned we become with Nature.

We invite you to listen to Thom’s explanation then do your own research to verify it for yourself. Enjoy.

Subscribe to Vedic Worldview

Apple Podcast logo
Stitcher Podcast logo
Spotify Podcast logo
Google Podcast logo

Episode Highlights


Are You Your Thoughts?



What Are You?



The Prime Directive of Our Body



Formulation of Your Identity



You Are That Field of Pure Creative Intelligence



I Am Being 



I Am The Underlying Field



Responding to the Need of the Time


Jai Guru Deva


Where Do Our Thoughts Come From?

Are You Your Thoughts?

[00:00:00] People often ask me, “Where do our thoughts come from?” and I’d like to answer by saying, we need to ask a more fundamental question. Who is the we, who is the our, who are you?

[00:01:00] And beyond that, let’s just change that subject slightly. What are you? What are you actually? Are you your thoughts? Is that what you are? Is that what makes you? Are you simply a body?

[00:01:14] Because we can demonstrate, using lab science, that you can’t possibly be your body. Your body is made up of 70 trillion cells. 200 to 300 million of those cells die every day in a natural attrition. Skin cells replace themselves once every month. And fascia cells replace themselves once every two to three years. Muscle cells replace themselves, in total, once every three to four years. Bone, skeleton, replaces itself somewhere once every seven years or so.

[00:01:50] There’s not a particle in your body today that was here seven years ago. And, you might have items sitting in your closet that are older than the body in which you find yourself.

[00:02:02] So if your body is a flux of energy and information, that is to say, cellular matter, that’s constantly in flow, that can’t be what you are because you can remember what it was like being ten. But the body that you had when you’re a ten has replaced itself many, many, many times. How can you be the body? All those cells are gone.

What Are You?

[00:02:24] Are you the thoughts that you’re having? “All these thoughts that I’m having, my memories, my ideas, my desires…” in neuroscience, we refer to these things as “cognitive processes.” A cognitive process means a desire, a memory, a thought, any kind of consciousness activity.

[00:02:46] Ultimately the answer from Veda is: You are not the body. You are not the thoughts. You are not the memories. What you are is the consciousness that’s witnessing all of this. And what is that consciousness? What’s the nature of that? It is an unbounded field of pure creative intelligence that is the fountainhead of everything.

[00:03:12] I say everything because our thoughts, and the kinds of thoughts that we have, create the biochemical structures that end up printing out as our body. If you have sad thoughts right now, then you’ll produce certain kinds of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and proteins in your brain that will then transmit into the body as biochemicals.

[00:03:35] And the biochemicals of sadness will end up telling the body to become the body of sadness. So, as we say in English, as unlike other languages that might say, “I feel sad,” in English, we say, “I am sad. I am the sadness,” and that’s been true all the way through the body.

The Prime Directive of Our Body

[00:03:56] Our body has a prime directive to become whatever the consciousness is. If the consciousness is sad, the body gets on with printing out sad body. And if our information base changes and the thing that made us sad now gains greater perspective or is overshadowed by another thing, and we become happy, then “I am happy.” And what happens then, prime directive of the body, “Let’s print out the happy body.”

[00:04:29] And then if the mind thinks, “How long will this happiness last? After all, it did come in, in a wave and other happinesses have been transient. Am I going to stay happy? Oh oh. Oh no. Now I’m frightened. My happiness could disappear. I am fear.” And then the body just prints out fear, and the body becomes the body of fear.

[00:04:54] And then if I start thinking, “And who’s responsible for this? It can’t possibly be me. Somebody did this to me. Who is it? Let me look around and see who it is. Ooh, I’m angry. Angry. I am anger.”

[00:05:09] Then what happens? Body goes, “Okay, I’m getting kind of tired here but, first you wanted body of sadness, I did that. And you want a body of happiness, I did that. Body of fear, I did that. Okay. Let’s get the body of anger going here.”

[00:05:24] Angry body appears. Angry body has utterly different biochemicals, structural and material phenomena than sad body, which has totally different biochemicals and structural material phenomena than happy body, which in turn has completely different chemistry compared with any other kind of emotional body you’ve recently printed out.

Formulation of Your Identity

[00:05:50] And so you are, as an identity, constantly changing your mind about what you are. And the reason for that is because your senses, evidently, only have the capacity to create an identity based on the things that are around your body.

[00:06:08] “I’m in a room, it’s warm, I’m warm.” My body begins printing that stuff out. “Somebody did some likes on my Instagram. I got 50 likes. Now I’m super happy. I’m so clever in having given the impression that I’m living this fantastic life that nobody else can live. And I got 50 likes for it. They’re probably feeling shamed themselves, but they’re giving me likes at least, and I’ll bet they’re all trying to copy me now. Haha, I’m really something on the Instagram world.”

[00:06:40] And so, temporary happiness. And what are you? Did mommy ever say, “You’re a bad girl. You’re a bad boy.” Or did anybody ever say, “You’re good. You’re a good person.” Do people look at you, and like the way you look, and then you look at yourself in the mirror and go, “I guess people like the way I look. I must be okay.”

[00:07:02] What is this? This is the formulation of identity based on what you see around you and what you think other people are thinking about you. And so long as that is the way in which we attain to an identity, “I have a story. My body was born here and my parents did this and my siblings did that. And then we moved places, and then I got a little twang in my accent, and this thing happened, and that thing happened. This is what I am. I’m constructed from the environment.”

[00:07:36] The I, the knower, is a product of the environment.

You Are That Field of Pure Creative Intelligence

[00:07:41] So long as that’s the case, then not only do we need to know where our thoughts come from, we need to know where our very identity comes from. Ultimately, the deepest truth, from the Vedic perspective, is, you are the Self. The Self is here spelt with a capital S. The Self, the Unified Field.

[00:08:07] If we ask, “What is a wave?” A curve on the surface of an ocean. It is curved ocean, right? A wave is nothing but curved water, water that is undulating out of a baseline of a larger body of water. A wave cannot exist in isolation. A wave of the localized undulating curvature of a greater underlying field, something oceanic or a big lake, whatever.

[00:08:40] What is it that you actually are? Are you a mind that just thinks thoughts? No. The Vedic worldview says, you are the cosmic field of Being. You are that field of pure creative intelligence, which is the source of everything in the manifest relative world.

[00:09:04] To what extent can you actually experience this? So when the Vedic master says, “This is what you actually are,” that’s a challenge to the assumptions you’ve been making, but instead of simply asking you to have faith in this, the Vedic Meditation teacher says, “All right, sit down, let me show you how to decrease the excitation of your thinking conscious.” And we do that by a very specific methodology, a very systematic technique.

I Am Being

[00:09:33] And then, in a few minutes, sitting quietly with eyes closed, the tendency to be the thinker begins to fade and fade and fade, and then what happens is, thoughts stop. And yet, we retain consciousness. We’re not asleep. We’re in a state that is not sleep. It’s a consciousness state. In one word, that consciousness state, “I am… just as, I am angry, I am sad, I am happy, I am hungry, whatever. I am Being.”

[00:10:06] It’s not a thought, not a sentence, I am Being. No. It is the direct experience of that. “Being is my reality, Being is my nature. Being is what I am.” Then we return back to our thinking life, thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, “Maybe I’m cool, maybe I’m not so cool, maybe I’m an extrovert, maybe I’m an introvert, maybe this, maybe that.”

[00:10:30] And then in the evening, because we’ve meditated in the morning, that’s our morning session done, evening, we sit down, meditate again sometime late afternoon, early evening. And we reinstate the ultimate truth, “I am Being, I am this deep, inner, super-content field of the Absolute, non changing. This is my baseline.”

[00:10:54] When I experience this regularly, twice every day, 20 minutes twice every day, and without fail, non-negotiably meditating twice every day, into the mix of, “I’m the thoughts, I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m this. Who did this, who did that, somebody likes me, other people don’t like me? This must be what I am.”

I Am The Underlying Field

[00:11:14] Instead of all that nonsense being the only thing by which we identify ourselves, there’s one consistent, absolute thing that keeps on appearing in that 20-minute meditation, “I am Being.” Capital B, Being. “I am the underlying field.”

[00:11:31] And Being itself is not a thought. It’s beyond thought. It’s a direct experience of deep inner conscious silence. It turns out then that all thoughts are like little bubbles that are bubbling out of that baseline. If you think of the bottom of the ocean as being the baseline, and then there are bubbles bubbling up out of that baseline and trickling up, making their way up to the surface. Like that, thoughts have their beginnings in that field of Being.

[00:12:03] Being causes thought to issue forth, but as you continue to identify more and more, as your baseline sense of Self, with Being, rather than identifying your sense of Self with this ever-changing world that’s all around you, constantly changing its mind about what it thinks about you, or even if it thinks about you, you keep on having this experience that, “I am Being.”

[00:12:30] Eventually, what happens is that larger, Absolute, more consistent experience begins to dominate your sense of what you are. “I am the source of all my thoughts. I’m the source of thought. “What is it that causes thought? The cause and the source here are being made distinct by me.”

Responding to the Need of the Time

[00:12:54] “Source is the pure field of creative intelligence deep inside the quietude, the field of Being, the unmanifest absolute nature of my inner life.” Cause is whatever stimulates that. Something from the outside stimulates me, and I produce a thought, but the I is not gaining its identity from the things outside that are stimulating thoughts. Things outside continue to stimulate thoughts, but thoughts bubble up from deep inside of me that are responses to the need of the time.

[00:13:32] The need of the time may be the cause, but I and this is a new I, the deep inner field of Being. I, “I’m the source. I am the source, but I am not the thoughts. I’m the witness of the thoughts. I’m the source of thoughts.” And these thoughts that bubble up in my mind, these are simply the responses to the demand for change, the demand for evolution. They are the responses to the need of the time.

[00:14:05] So, what are you? You are the field of Being. What is the field of Being may come into being? Thoughts, thoughts come into being as a result of what? Stimulus of the environment. But those stimuli are not the defining elements of what you are. The defining element of what you are is that regular steady experience of unboundedness, which is immortal.

[00:14:31] It is beyond change. It is the source of all creative intelligence. It is the foundation, not just of your own consciousness, but of everything around you. Everything that exists comes into manifestation from that same one indivisible, whole consciousness field, that is, your own very inner nature. So there’s the whole story.

[00:15:05] Jai Guru Deva.

Read more