(it’s what this blog is all about)
We need our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions – our social programming, our conforming to type – to be shaken up, as our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions are not our own 😀
It takes a conscious effort to cut through these beliefs. We have to recognise that when our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions are threatened, our defence mechanisms are activated, and emotions arise. It is at such a moment that we can see our obscurations.
Thought provocation can either cause us to dig in our heels stubbornly, or open up to possibilities. If we use lateral rather than vertical thinking to solve problems, this requires us to shift our thought processes out of their established patterns.Vertical thinking has its uses but just gives us more of the same, where we follow or conform to a set pattern.
Rather than believing everything we hear or read, we might ask, “What does that really mean?” or “Who asks the question?” or “Is this pointing out something I already know?” Or are we just going to keep living our lives through others’ beliefs?
Lateral thinking is seeing things from a different point of view, thus challenging our assumptions.
We may even find that our assumptions are correct, but testing them will give us confidence, as we’ve actually examined them.
Problem solving is finding out what caused the problem, and then discovering a solution to that problem: we start by asking questions, and by eliminating assumptions. This panoramic view could be termed lateral thinking, because we are considering all possibilities instead of merely accepting the status quo.
We first look and inspect, as there are usually visible signs of the problem. Spiritually speaking, the objective is the absolute truth and not a conventional, temporary, expedient solution, which lays the foundation for problems in the future. We eliminate everything until we come to the ultimate realisation of reality. We are therefore simplifying, rather than adding complications to our spiritual practices, which may be more interesting, but can make life more complex and add to our fixations.
We assume that situations in our conventional life are true. We assume certain perceptions, certain concepts and certain boundaries. Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces, but with seeking out what those pieces are, and whether they’re actually necessary. Lateral thinking is concerned with the perception part of thinking, where we organise the external world into the pieces we can then ‘process’.
A healthy human mind needs a balance of vertical and lateral thinking – left and right brain thinking. We may be creatively inspired, but we still have to know how to apply this creativity!
Meditation does just that.
Meditation clarifies the mind
in order to identify obstacles,
and therefore eliminate them.