I can remember the first time I noticed that my thoughts always seemed to run along the same track. I remember too not liking that AT ALL! Here’s the thing though; when I notice that my thoughts are running in a kind of one-track direction, then the noticing of that becomes part of the pre-determined track. So I conspired to devise some techniques to assure that I wasn’t all too solidly ‘in the box’, or at least, if I was, I had a way out. The first such technique revolved around the thought; “think something right now that no one has ever thought before!” I know this sounds kind of ridiculous, because after all, how can I know that no one has ever thought a given thought before. But that’s not the point. The point is that this thought occur to me when I’m thinking ‘on the track’, ‘in a rut’ or ‘inside the box’ and offers at least the promise of a way out. It offers a possibility to go “Meta” to my own thinking processes, thereby allowing for something new. I got a lot of mileage out of that for a long time.
Later with the advent of the internet, I found another way. With the net, we have much more access to the uncut mentality (for better or for worse) of others. I’m always looking for new ways to use this to “Jump The Track”. One of my most recent favorites has a simple procedure:
- Think of something you love to do.
- “Chunk Up” to the “Value” this represents. In other words, answer the question; “what exactly do I have by doing this?” Answer; Value X….keep chunking til saturation arrives.
- Do a search on the net for “Quotes about X”.
- Find a quote you REALLY like by an author you’ve never heard of.
- Find a book by that author with Kindle, Kindle Reader, or any other kind of electronic reading media.
- Download the first chapter of the book for free.
- If it inspires you, buy the book and read it.
I’ll give you an example. There was always something I loved about being extremely present somewhere in nature with nothing really to do. Some call this meditation. Others contemplation. Others call it sitting and thinking. Still others just ‘sitting’ (but you don’t have to sit, of course. Walking, running, jogging, standing etc. all have their qualities.) I always wondered why. After all, I wasn’t really “doing” anything. So let’s take that:
- Sitting, Contemplating, Meditating
- What do I have from that? I find it relaxing. What do I have from that? It brings me peace. What do I have from that? I have a stronger sense of time and place. What do I have from that? Serenity. What do I have from that? Transcendence. Of course, I could ask the question over and over, but there’s something about the quality of the word Transcendence for me here and now that has a saturation.
- Quotes about “Transcendence”
- “Never forget:
we walk on hell,
gazing at flowers.” – Kobayashi Issa
- “The Spring of my Life”
- Turns out to be a book of Haikus. I loved them in High School and have neglected them since then. “Just being alive!- Miraculous to be in cherry blossom shadows!”…….”Simply for all this, as if there were nothing else, heavy wet spring frost”……”This world of dew is only the world of dew- and yet…oh and yet…”
- Definitely considering buying
As I’m sure has occurred to you, if you’re intensely busy, this kind of “track consciousness” becomes a bit less viable. I’d argue that it’s exactly then when you need it most. At least I’ve experienced it like this. Whether or not you ask yourself how to think the unthought thought, or you find a new author to inspire jumping the track, or any technique you’ve developed yourself, the establishment of a consciousness for enlivening new modes of thinking is essential for growth.
Evan Bortnick Wiesbaden