06 Active Thinking Passive Thinking

Human thinking is either passive or active.

  • Thinking of one of these two kinds goes on continuously, even during automatic work, such as house work or labor in office, field or factory.
  • Passive thinking is the play of desires around or with the bodymind, in the diffused Light of the Intelligence.
  • This is the kind of purposeless play that goes on almost uninterruptedly in the mental atmosphere of the human, (Fig. VB).
  • There is in the mental atmosphere of the human a constant feeble current in which desires play in the Light of the Intelligence.
  • The current passes with the breath through the physical body and back into the mental atmosphere.
  • In this current are impressions of objects, brought in by the four senses and feelings and memories, anything at all that one is conscious of.
  • When anything in this current attracts the attention of the body-mind, because of feelings and desires, a passive, listless, haphazard sort of thinking starts and goes on.
  • When diffused Light of the Intelligence is turned towards (not focussed upon) any set of things in this current, the current becomes a stream of passive thinking, that is, the passive thinking becomes stronger.

Passive thinking is aided by memories, the memories of sense impressions which are transmitted from the breath-form and engage the desires in the play.

  • Everything coming from nature tends to aid in this way.
  • Stray thoughts of one's own or of others are drawn into the current of passive thinking and strengthen it.
  • All involuntary impressions serve passive thinking.
  • Anything, however, that compels attention interferes with passive thinking, such as a sudden noise or contact or remembering something that must be done.
  • Active thinking checks and even stops it, according to the degree of attention that is given to the subject engaging the attention.

The feeling-and-desire of the doer in the human are affected by passive thinking.

  • When feeling is impressed it starts desire, which carries the impression into the mental atmosphere.
  • There they engage in a play around, about or with the body-mind.
  • The body-mind is affected by the impressions but does not take any active part in the play as long as the thinking remains passive.
  • The reason why the doer in the human is thus affected is that its feeling-and-desire are under the domination of nature and not under the rule of rightness-and-reason.
  • So feeling-and-desire are moved, stirred, thrilled.

Passive thinking goes on continuously through the entire life, except when active thinking takes its place, suppresses or stops it.

  • It goes on during dreams in sleep. There it is kept up by memories and is one of the causes of dreams.
  • It goes on also at intervals after death.
  • Passive thinking turns into active thinking when one of the subjects in the stream has sufficiently attracted the attention of feeling-and-desire, around which the play went on, and desire compels its mind to show how to be, to get or to act with the subject in order to satisfy the feeling or desire.
  • Active thinking is an effort to focus and hold steadily the Light of the Intelligence diffused in the mental atmosphere on the subject of the thinking.
  • Passive thinking is not the only method by which active thinking is developed, but is the substratum of most active thinking.
  • Active thinking is done by one or more of the three minds used by the doer.
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