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Can We be Responsible for Our Thoughts?

Updated: Mar 10


"You believe that you are responsible for what you do

but not for what you think.

The truth is that you are responsible for what you think

because it is only at this level that

you can exercise choice."


~ A Course in Miracles


How burdensome is the above quote for you? Would you prefer to escape the weight of this quote? I do not blame you. After all, how many among us believe, let alone practice what it takes to become responsible for what one thinks?


Both Sadhguru and Dr. Gabor Maté have clarified the difference between understanding “responsible” as a sense of burden or as response-able. If we take the latter meaning, then the burden is lightened and we are able to begin practicing responding to our thoughts.


Being able to respond to our thoughts means that we are first aware of it. Awareness in this context is the self-reflective type of awareness: you are able to observe your own thoughts much as you can when you write your thoughts down in a journal. In this sense, you are also like a scientist who is aware of his own biases and beliefs. Still, you aim to observe the subject of study with your full attention, not allowing for any distraction so that your subject may reveal itself to you. The subject in question is your own mind.


The time is now for beginning the kind of practice where you are able to develop self-knowledge within the scope of what I have just described. This knowledge is not a dead cumulative kind of knowledge that you have to regurgitate for the purpose of an exam. Rather, it is living knowledge that you are living and breathing from moment-to-moment, and the exam (if there is one) is the quality of your contact with the present moment. Choice is thus possible in this kind of state of mind. We are then truly able to respond to what we think.


Photo Credits: H.D. Lee. San Miguel, Mexico. 2017.

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