To be honest, no one truthfully knows where a specific thought comes from. Anyone who claims they know for certain should not be taken seriously. In fact, anyone who claims to know any sort of absolute truth should probably be laughed out of a room. No matter what we say, believe, or know, we do not understand the entirety of it. Why else would we be asking so many questions all of the time?
There are many theories and ideas as to the origin of thoughts. Scientifically, we can measure the electrical impulses across the brain as 100 billion neurons firing and sending signals. But why does this happen? Is a thought simply an electron racing away in your brain? What causes that thought to originate?
It has to be something more. We are human beings, the most intelligent animal that we know of. We all have loved, laughed and cried. We have built empires, civilizations and countries, and we have discovered and created technology that has surpassed what our ancestors could even imagine.
Origin of Thought
Many people contribute the origin of thought to a few key ideas: the higher self, the collective consciousness, or more traditionally, the soul or spirit. These concepts are all thought to be an explanation as to the driving force between the mind and brain duality: the brain being an interpreter for consciousness that is sent through the mind. The problem is that these are all ideas, or more so, opinions based on experiences and available knowledge at hand.
So what do we actually know? Thoughts are obviously there. They arise and disappear countless times each and every day. Likewise, our brains show activity each and every time we have a thought. We also know that anything as to the origin of thought is pure speculation. Yes, we know the conscious and subconscious is there, but we do not know why it is there. Naturally, this can only lead to one conclusion. We are all asking the wrong question.
My own experience with thoughts has led me to understand one thing. It is not where they come from that matters, but what we do with them and how we interact with them. What matters is your awareness of thought. Even as you sit and read this sentence, you are reading my literal thoughts as they were created in interpreted in my head. Your own thoughts are currently interacting with my thoughts from the past just by reading. It really is mind blowing stuff.
So what we now know is that where thoughts come from becomes irrelevant when we realize what we can do with our thoughts. You can observe them and control them.
Let me explain. You are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are you: a representation of your current state of being. Your external environment, experiences, and emotions all affect your state of being.
State of being is simply you. There is no mystical, spiritual, or religious association with it whatsoever. You are you and no one else. Think of a state of being as the states of water. Just as water can be a solid, liquid or gas, you can change how you feel, what you experience, and where you are.
So since you can change your state of being by changing what you experience, where you are, and how you are feeling, you can also change your thoughts.
Changing Your Thoughts: The Thought-Action Loop
Changing and eliminating thoughts is not a “steps” sort of action. There is no magical 1, 2, 3 and then poof, your thoughts will change or your state of being will alter. To actually change your thoughts and eliminate negative ones, you must first alter your thought-action loop. When you think negative things, negative things start to happen around you. When negative things happen to you, you start to think about more negative things. I call this the victim mindset. Here is an example:
You are driving home from work and realize that you left your laptop in your office. Now you have to turn around to go back and get it. “This is so annoying” you think “why does this always happen to me?” As you turn around to go grab your computer, you start speeding because you are afraid that may be late for dinner as a consequence of forgetting your laptop. A minute later, you see red and blue lights flashing behind you. “I have such bad luck” you think, as the officer hand you your speeding ticket. Then when you finally get to work, grab your laptop, and head home, you realize that you are late for dinner because you were pulled over for speeding. When you walk in the door, your say to your significant other “it’s not my fault. I have the worst luck and all of these events outside of my control always seem to happen.”
That was a negative thought-negative action loop. These happen to almost everyone. What is different for each person is the degree of intensity that they are experienced and the situation that initially causes them. For some, it is as simple as road rage, while for others it can be as serious as depression. The principle idea is the same. Any time a negative thing happens to you, you have negative thoughts.
But what if you were aware of your negative thoughts? What if when you realized that you forgot your laptop, you thought “Oh well, I can just get it tomorrow. No harm, no foul.” Or if for some reason you really needed your laptop, you just thought “Oh well I guess I’m turning around. Not a big deal.” You would have broken the negative thought-negative action loop by preventing the negative thought from ever occurring.
To do this, you MUST be aware of this. This is how to begin to change what and how you think. This is how you get rid of negative thoughts in your mind. You need to start becoming aware of those seemingly random things that manifest in your head and observe them. Are you happy? Are you hungry? Do you feel sore after a workout? Are you sad that you cannot see your girlfriend or boyfriend today?
Awareness of Thoughts
Now think of this, the next time someone cuts you off while you are driving and you start to quietly list the 100 different ways you want that person to get in a car wreck, stop and observe that thought for a moment. How does it make you feel? Why do you feel that? Now you can observe all of the energy you are giving that thought. You can see how wasteful it is to be angry, negative, or pessimistic. When you are aware, you can then eliminate the thought and create change.
As you begin to actively observe and evaluate what you think, you are breaking that negative thought-negative action loop. As you loosen the bonds that negativity has on you, you open up the door for change. Your awareness will allow you to start placing positive thoughts and positive actions into your life.
Each time you observe a negative thought, stop, and then see where it comes from. As you consciously realize that these thoughts are not positive, productive or even necessary, your subconscious (the part of you that acts without you being aware of it) will start to shift and act accordingly.
My challenge to you is to try this for 30 days. Whatever you are thinking, feeling, or experiencing, just realize that you can change these things. You can change your current state of being just as water can change its states. And as you consciously alter your state of being and observe the thoughts that arise from it, you will start to change what you think. I guarantee it.
As you continue to practice this, you will begin creating a positive thought-positive action loop. Over time, you become so aware of your thoughts and actions that you no longer have a negative loop at all. You become completely in control of exactly what you think and what you do.
You are literally creating a positive life for yourself full of whatever you want it to be. You can replace those negative thoughts with literally anything. For some, that might seem intimidating, while for others it will be inspiring. I encourage you to read 20 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life. That is a great place to continue your search towards changing your thoughts, actions and habits.