Contemplating god/the gods is an excellent practice. It structures our perception of our narrower lives in a useful way. Even if your highest principle is an abstract notion, it serves the same purpose.
How would we best determine what any of our experiences mean? This is what discernment is. What value or meaning, what weight or substance does an experience have.
I don’t expect to have a light switch turned on. Sooner or later something will pop up and I get the ah ha moment. The weight comes in the memory it triggers? The emotions? I would say not, not the memory. It comes before that, but that’s me.
Sensation? I would say emotion. The gestalt of our collective sensations at any given moment.
Smelling bread makes you salivate. Salivate makes you want to taste. Those behaviors that nature set us up to have regardless of even our individual memories. What would you say forms a better basis for discernment than this? Anything?
People are mostly ruled by emotion. Many scientists say everyone is ruled by emotion whether they know it or not. And brain function creates a stimuli that spawns an emotional state. Thinking produces emotion as readily as sensation does. Which should be given primacy?
Motivations are based on emotion. Understand that and you can control the person’s reactions. In my experience, sensation doesn’t adequately motivate people. Can we base our emotion on sensation and thinking equally? I know the promise of sensation does little to motivate my wife, What about you folks?
Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Do things work out well with that split? Does this make best use of your personal energy?
I try to let my thinking guide my actions, which can then guide my mood, which will guide my motivations. So you do as my wife does, or tries. Does that serve you well?
I haven’t perfected it yet. I find outside influences are 100% stronger than my own motivations. Outside influences are largely thinking also. How we have modeled a social circumstance.
I will get to work right away on something for a friend, but wait a lot longer to do something in my own to-do list. That is also thinking. Principles are thinking, morals are thinking, ideas are thinking. Thinking is a big world.
So you aren’t saying that thinking is not useful? I am not saying that thinking is useless, but it perhaps needs a different place, a different format. May I suggest an alternative? And you can tell me if this would improve discernment. I would like to know myself.
Let’s take a situation we all can relate to, suggestions?
How about going back to school. The decision or doing it? The decision. First in making that decision, imagine what it would involve. Would visualizing a school building be “thinking”? As you visualize the school building, you let emotions arise in your awareness, register and experience them clearly, recognize what you are motivated to do, then consider the particulars of how to do it or the details of why you will not do it. Which part was thinking? What do you think about this strategy? Does it seem crazy?
The end part is thinking. Yes, and the end part is necessary, but perhaps it comes where it’s supposed to come. Would it be clearer in reverse at all?
It wouldn’t work as well.
I think motivation for older adults to go to school comes from doing the reverse. Thinking about the whys and why nots. Why not as a general question. Yes, and do they go to school? Do they do much of anything?
Well, whatever it is that lets them see the time to act. The time to do what won’t get done from just sitting on their butt. People in those cases use force of will.
So decision making can be made easier through visualization? It can indeed. It is natural to make decisions that way.
Almost like Einstein’s thought experiments. Yes, indeed.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.