Healing Thinking and
(Book manuscript by Rolf Sattler)
Beyond Thinking, Writing, and Speaking - the Unnamable
“But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate…”(Albert Einstein)
"There is a Mystical Dimension which runs through all aspects of life. Eventually every human endeavor directly encounters an impenetrable Mystery, where knowledge turns into ignorance and control into wonder" (David Lane)
"Pure being has no qualities we can label" (Deepak Chopra)
"Even in ordinary life you feel the futility of words. And if you don't feel the futility of words, that shows... that you have lived very superficially" (Osho)
and language, beyond thinking, writing and speaking, is the
non-thinkable, the unnamable, the unspeakable, the mystery.
We may access it in silence, through dance, laughter, and
other forms of meditation, spontaneously or through intensive
Limitations of Thinking and Language
language are important for orientation and communication. But
both are limited. Even healing thinking and its expression
through language has limitations because it is still
thinking, and thinking is always about something, it is not
about that which is (see Chapter 4). How do we get from
thinking about something to that which is? Imagine a sunset.
You may think, write and talk a lot about it, how beautiful
it is, how colorful it is, how peaceful it is, etc. In
contrast, you may watch a sunset, become totally absorbed in
it, dissolve in it, and be it. This is much more profound
than just thinking, writing, and speaking about it, although
thinking, writing, and speaking about it may be pleasant too.
Another example: You may think, write, or speak about the
ecstasy of an orgasm. Although pleasant and exciting, it is
far from the actual experience of an orgasm. And yet another
example: You may think of what you have read about mystical
experience, how in a mystical experience we can transcend
thought and language and become one with the universe.
However, such a thought and its verbal expression is only a
very pale reflection of the actual experience. Any thought
and its linguistic expression is only a very pale reflection
of experience. Hence, the challenge is to move from thinking,
writing, and speaking to experiencing, from thinking,
writing, and talking about Being to Being.
Transcendence of Thinking and Language
There are many
ways to transcend thought and language. For example, if I
become fully aware of my breathing, I am just breathing, I am
no longer just thinking about it. Breathing in, I breathe in
life, I breathe in the universe; breathing out, I let go into
the universe, I die to myself; and in the little gaps between
the inhalation and the exhalation and the exhalation and the
inhalation, I am beyond time. Thus, in a simple breathing
cycle, I can experience life, death, and eternity (which is
not endless time but beyond time). Of course, I don’t think
of all that while breathing, I experience all that. What I
have just written about breathing is an afterthought, a
conceptualization of my experience. To communicate this
experience, I have to resort to thinking and language. The
danger is that the linguistic formulation is mistaken for
what is actually happening. As I have pointed out in the
preceding chapter, words are not the experience. There is
always infinitely more than can be said about anything.
Although breathing can be a beautiful door into the unknown, thoughts tend to come in uninvited. And the more we want to keep them away, the more they come in. In Vipassana meditation we observe in a detached way how thoughts arise and disappear. As we learn to become more detached, more and more gaps appear between the thoughts, and eventually the gaps of thoughtless existence become longer. However, the purpose of Vipassana is not necessarily to transcend thinking, although this may happen; the purpose is to become the detached witness that observes whatever arises.
According to Osho, laughing, dancing and singing are the easiest doors to what in Zen is called no-mind, which is the transcendence of the thinking mind (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho). 1984. The Book. Series II from I to Q. Rajneeshpuram, OR: Rajneesh Foundation International, p. 109-112). If one gets totally into laughing, laughing is the quickest way to transcend the thinking mind. One cannot totally laugh and think at the same time. Total laughter stops the thinking mind immediately. It is an instant vacation from the thinking mind (see Laughter Quotes: we feel good and happy because we are no longer bothered by thoughts (see also Laughter Yoga).
There are many other ways of meditation that allow us to transcend thinking (see, for example, Osho. Meditation. The First and Last Freedom. A Practical guide to Meditation. Cologne, Germany: Rebel House, and other meditation books by Osho). However, much regular practice is required. Occasionally, transcendence of thinking also happens spontaneously. But for most people such episodes are short-lived and beyond their control. When they want to turn off the thinking mind because they don’t need it or don't want it, they are unable to do it. Thus, most of us have become slaves of the thinking mind and as a result our lives have become greatly impoverished. For this reason there is increased interest in a variety of relaxation methods and meditation.
This chapter is short because it is about Being beyond thought and language. Whatever I might say it is, it is not (Korzybski).
language, although useful for orientation and communication,
provide only limited understanding of Being. Thus, even
healing thinking has limitations, although, contrary to our
common Aristotelian logic, healing thinking can at least
point beyond mere thinking toward the unnamable mystery of
Being. Experiencing or being the unnamable mystery may happen
spontaneously or through relaxation and meditation. Besides
dancing and singing, laughing appears to be the quickest way
to go beyond thinking.
Chapter 7 on
AQAL Map by Ken Wilber Integrates the Unnamable and
Namable, or return to
Table of Contents of this book ms on
Thinking and Being.