“All men are created equal.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson wrote the above in the United States’ Declaration of Independence. It was a powerful statement and sometimes we act like this implies some kind of principle connection between all of anything and equality. But it is not the case.
In many instances it is obvious. All cars are not created equal, all friends are not, all foods are not, and on it goes. Still, it is a compelling thing to believe and we keep trying to apply it elsewhere.
In many situations while it doesn’t apply, neither does it matter much if we act as if it does. If you believe that all brands of butter are created the equal, unless you are a professional pastry chef it probably won’t matter. But in other situations, equating all of something is just plain dangerous.
It’s Better Because It’s Mine
One of the more perilous equalizings is about thoughts. We have a real love for our own thoughts. Our love doesn’t spring from their being mere thoughts. They are special to us because we believe they are our thoughts. We have taken possession of them or even claim creatorship of them.
We then elevate these thoughts to a place we treat as the Truth. Unfortunately, our supposed ownership of these thoughts has nothing to do with truth.
I lived in Mexico and frijoles (beans to you non-Mexicans) are a staple food there. You might imagine that a bean is a bean is a bean. But if you cook beans there there is a critical preparatory step you must take. You have to sort the beans. Why? Because mixed in with the beans are rocks that look rather like beans themselves.
Farmers and grocers are not trying to hurt anyone or cheat anyone by mixing in rocks with the beans. It’s just it is hard to see the difference when you are looking a lot of beans. In short, they are not equal. In fact, they are not all actually beans.
Sorting Your Thoughts
The same thing happens with thoughts. By implication, a thought is something you think through. But is that really how we come to have thoughts? Do we sit down to ponder and only after careful consideration decide to have a thought? No indeed. Thoughts just show up of their own accord. They aren’t in fact “yours” at all.
You might compare it to looking out the window of a moving vehicle. The sights we encounter are not of our choosing. Also, the sights keep coming whether we choose to see more images or not. The fact that we don’t “own” these sights doesn’t make them useless to us. We can choose which sights matter at all, which sights matter the most, and which sights don’t matter one bit.
The same is true for thoughts. The examination of thoughts can only happen after they arrive, not before. They are not a product of our examination but the starting point.
You Still Have Critical Control
If you make a habit of examining thoughts, an interesting thing happens. Thoughts that don’t matter to you show up less and less. Thoughts that you find powerful and useful show up more and more. It is like our moving vehicle illustration. You get to pick a more scenic path which then lessens ugly sights and provides more beautiful sights.
Feelings Are Thoughts
Sometimes we elevate feelings to this place of equality. But they are no different than thoughts. In fact, they are thoughts. Feelings are merely thoughts we experience in our body rather than our mind. They too arise of their own accord. They require the same kind of critical examination as “thought” thoughts and often deserve to be discarded like any other thought that does not serve us.
“All thoughts are not created equal.” click to tweet
Thomas Jefferson was on to something. Recognizing the equality of all men was literally revolutionary. It changed the world. When you recognize rather the inequality of thoughts and the inequality of feelings, you will experience a revolution, an inner revolution. Your world will change. And when your world changes, the whole world changes as you take your place in the universal scheme of things. Your transformation transforms the world.
What thoughts have you stopped making equal? Tell us about it by commenting below.
Photo credit: Karola Riegler
2 thoughts on “All Thoughts Are Not Created Equal”
I have had a recurring thought for years: “You are so stupid.” A lot of times I don’t believe it but sometimes I don’t challenge it. I will try just saying to myself, “that thought didn’t matter” and see if it stops happening.
You are on the right path. Be careful not to get caught up in an endless loop of “I’m so stupid” followed by “THAT thought was stupid…” Your approach of “That thought didn’t matter” is a good one. Another approach is, “Thank you for sharing.” Your mind doesn’t have to be given the information that the preceding thought doesn’t matter. It just wants to be heard. Once heard, it will stop talking. If it feels the message has been received, it will trust you to take whatever steps are appropriate even if that means taking no action at all.