Thoughts are just thoughts

Posted on October 10, 2007. Filed under: Philosophy, Spirituality |

I’ve become aware of a lot of buzz recently about “positive thinking”, “banishing negative thoughts”, and blaming “victims” for their condition. I imagine all these are coming into my awareness as issues that wish to be looked at. I always welcome the opportunity to look at what “pushes my buttons.” (well, maybe not always!…)

A lot of the buzz is about the book and documentary called The Secret, which I’ve referenced on other posts. That production must be very powerful, as it has generated great emotion from adulation to outright hatred and ridicule. As I’ve said before, I think the title is an unfortunate marketing choice–from my position–because it implies, or actually states that the tricks, tools and philosophical amalgams presented are “newly discovered ancient knowledge.”

Many of the principles presented have been taught continuously for millennia, and to imply they are “secrets” discredits many tools which have worked well for a long time. The good thing about The Secret is that it has presented the material to a wider audience. It is my hope that those who are attracted to the ideas in it will look further.

I watched the original documentary, and the Oprah and Larry King shows about it, but have not read the book. I will say that I admire and am inspired by about half of the teachers in the video. I have noticed that a number of them have somewhat distanced themselves from the project, and I can understand this. I think it contributes as much to misunderstanding as it does clarity.

I read a wonderful piece about The Secret by fellow blogger Out of My Head. I hope she won’t mind if I quote part of her quote, particularly if I encourage you to read her post. She has a very reasoned and beautifully presented analysis.

Regarding “Negative Thoughts”: “We just won’t allow them near us. We just won’t allow ourselves to associate with them. And wherever we see them, we will work to eliminate them. For once these negative thoughts are gone, our lives will be everything we ever dreamed.”

Well, if this is a direct quote from the ‘Secret’ material, it’s one of my “button pushing” phrases. I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “negative” thought. Or a “positive” one for that matter, in spite of such book titles as The Power of Positive Thinking. Thoughts are just thoughts, and to assign titles or qualities to them would be to suggest that these qualities are the same for everyone who thinks them. As Out of My Head says there is a sort of robotic quality to these kinds of assertions. Our thoughts are unique, private things. They are our own, and how we relate to them is our own business. I have addressed the issue of “blaming the victim” in another post, so I won’t repeat it here. I will say that a really useful tool for me is to both allow and examine the thoughts I am having. My belief is that our thoughts do create our reality, but not in any blamey, cause-and-effect kind of way that is obvious.

When I allow, even embrace, and then examine my thoughts and emotions, I can ask “Is this belief, response, or feeling serving me?”

“Does the thought advance my well-being, and enable me to take inspired action, whatever that may be?”

If it does, well then, good. If not, THEN it’s time to look into my bag of tricks (and I have some really good tricks in there!) and pull one out to help me refocus upon what will help the most in the situation.

Thoughts are just thoughts. I relax and let them be.

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14 Responses to “Thoughts are just thoughts”

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Hi MusEditions! Nice to meet you. What a cool surprise to wake up to. I’m honored that you included my post in your excellent post. I especially love your last line! So true.

Just want to clarify that the start of my piece that you quote was written by me to make a point. It represents some of the thinking of the law of attraction, but wasn’t taken from The Secret or anyone else’s writing. But, nevertheless, that is what in effect we are being told. Sorry if I was in any way misleading. I’m adding a note to my post!

Loved your videos by the way. I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff. (-;

Thanks again for mentioning my article. A nice little surprise for me to wake up to.

[…] anywhere.  I wrote that section to help make my point about turning thoughts into enemies.  As MusEditions says in her post on this matter “Thoughts are just thoughts. I relax and let them […]

Negative thoughts can be of different orders. I think a person can be of an optimistic or pessimistic ‘type’. If a pessimist has negative thoughts, well, they’re most likely negative, but if an optimist does, chances are it’s a warning – are you about to make a mistake?
Yes, thoughts are just thoughts, but our mentality can have an effect upon them. Or am I just being optimistic?

I’m glad you’re blogging about spirituality again…I missed your insights. Thoughts are thoughts, and I think so many times we go on autopilot. So many of us, me included, just think without awareness. Being aware doesn’t mean to stop the thought, it just means being aware of the thought. Be aware of how it makes you feel, and see if it works for you or doesn’t. We label our thoughts, good or bad. Without the bad, there would be no good. Ooooo…how zen. 🙂

Ronnie Ann, you are welcome. I found a link to you on RubyShooZ’ blog–credit where credit is due. It’s fun to find good links on others’ blogs. Thanks for the clarification about your quote. Even if it’s not directly from the book/movie, the fact that the message is being perceived that way speaks volumes. And I’m glad you liked the videos. I enjoy sharing ones I find uplifting or that make me smile. Peace & see you soon!

Anthony, I’d be pleased to think you are being optimistic! Good for you. I will ask, respectfully, that if our ‘type’ or ‘mentality’ can affect our thought-choices–and I would agree that they do–where do those qualities come from? I appreciate your insight that a negative thought is a warning. I try to heed those warnings. Thanks for your contribution!

Yes, Zen. I like Zen. Does that mean I’m attached? Is there desire involved? Oh dear…
I didn’t realize I’d gotten away from the spiritual stuff. I’ll have to have a talk with myself. Thanks for your comment on awareness. It does seem a key to conscious choosing.

Hi Muse of all Muses…

I can understand ur concern about this issue..
I went thru this kind of questioning too..
I believe that always having negative thoughts
can be hard on the soul but always thinking
positively for just the sake of it is not
realistic either…I think ”feeling” is more
meaningful in terms of knowing what is good or
bad for oneself….As far as I am concerned I
believe that The ”Secret”hasn’t invented
anything spiritually speaking…It gathers in
a very nice way spiritual beliefs that were
taught thousand years ago and many quotes
have similar meanings than the ones in the


ooooh, CV, I got all tingly when you called me “muse of all muses”. You are lovely to say that, thank you! I very much liked your notion of paying attention to “feeling” to determine what is good or bad for us. Yes! I agree it’s the best guide. It seems there’s a consensus, at least in the little corner of the blogosphere I frequent, that the Secret is No Secret. Thanks as always for your insight.

Ooh, I’m A-Mused at you being called the “Muse of all muses” my friend. How very nice and what a complement CV has given you. I think I have always smiled upon coming to this blog so I thank you MusEditions and I thank Colorful Vision and Ronnnie Ann and Anthony North and Spiritual Travel Man and (I know I’m missing some but please forgive me for a faulty memory) …and everyone else who has written here.

Wishing y’all peace and love today.

~ RS ~

Good post. After decades of personal research into: psychology, consciousness, spirituality, metaphysics, astrology & yoga I have come to the conclusion that thoughts are just thoughts. We all connect with a vast, universal mental field and our individual brains are wired (by choice & by destiny) to receive these ‘thought forms’. It’s all ‘manas’ & ‘maya’. However, once we being to connect and pay more attention to the ‘buddhi’ or intuitive, higher mind things get really interesting. This takes a lot of dedication and personal practice. However, I that’s where the ‘secret’ lives.
Om shanti.

I’ve always found the idea of The Secret interesting because a part of it (to me anyway) sounds a little at odds with itself; the idea of discovering this new knowledge, which has really been around for thousands of years… it’s almost a paradox, but a fascinating one! And I think that’s one of the reasons people have taken to it; knowing there’s something more behind it is a real source for inspiration.

As far as thoughts go, I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly realistic person; I don’t put myself (or other people) down, but I also don’t raise hopes unfairly… I try to see the truth in something and let that be my guide. I guess I don’t let negative thoughts dominate my mind, but I think there’s a danger in being overly positive as well… it can lead to unreal expectations and are you really empowered if it’s not based on a solid foundation?

The funny thing is, I actually find I learn a lot more from my negative thoughts than my positive ones. By asking myself why am I thinking that? or, what is that thought telling me?, I can move through that train of thought and learn something as well. I do that a lot in writing and I think if I eliminated my thought pattern, positive or negative, I wouldn’t be the same person… but that’s just me! Interesting topic again, Muse. My mind is stretched every time I pay you a visit. 😛

Ruby, you are so right. I am blessed with wonderful blog friends (such as yourself!) Colourful Vision is a delight and insightful. If you read both French and English (I don’t 😦 ) you’ll be doubly blessed if you visit her site.
You are very nice to wish good things to my visitors. Joy is sent your way.

yogini–Wow. I’m sure much of your wisdom comes from your studies, but you have a way of phrasing things! [“our individual brains are wired (by choice & by destiny) to receive these ‘thought forms’.”] I particularly resonate with “by choice and by destiny”. I wouldn’t necessary have married those two concepts. I will meditate upon your words. I believe you have indeed described “where the secret lives”. Many thanks & peace

cj, I have been out and about today, and thinking of how to respond to your comment. (I do have a life off the blog, really I do 8) )
You start right off with a most interesting observation about “The Secret”, which “sounds a little at odds with itself.” I’ve never quite thought of it that way, but it may explain why I felt uncomfortable watching the video, even though some good ideas were being expressed.
I’m with you a lot of the way into your second paragraph. I think that the new religion of “Positiveness” can suggest that we pretend to feel “positive” all the time, even when we, well, don’t. Now, I’m about to engage in a semantic exercise, because I think it’s obvious (at least in western culture) what you mean by “unreal expectation” and a “solid foundation”. But, in my view, there are really no such things as the above…well actually your “unreal expectation” is closer to my perceived truth than perhaps you intend. I believe reality is a mental construct, and that a solid foundation is made up mostly of empty space, with a few sub-atomic particles thrown in to hold the illusion together. As physicist Fred Alan Wolf is eternally quoted as saying: “there is no out there out there, independent of what’s in here”. So, if one chooses to believe this wacky notion (as I do!)–it’s all in your head! Therefore, I can theoretically pick and choose what I want to take out of my head and put into the world or reality I envision.
I’m delighted by your third paragraph description of how you examine your thoughts, negative and positive. Many people don’t get as far as asking “why am I thinking this”. And you use that inquiry to aid your writing! Sounds really useful. Excellent point you make about if you eliminated your thought pattern, you wouldn’t be the same person. I, for one, wouldn’t want you not to be the same person as I’m so enjoying the one you are. I will think upon your words–my mind is stretching too. eeeeeh. 😀


I want to thank u and Ruby for ur kind words towards myself…”delight and insightful”..I’ll take it there are very nice compliments..Thank u both..


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