Honestly, I always thought that having my mind empty means that I was empty as a person. To not have any thoughts is the equivalent to not having a unique sense of self. After all, each person would naturally have a sense of what their ideals and beliefs are. It drives them forward and serves as their reason to live. Thus, I had previously concluded that having a mind devoid of thoughts is the same as living as a corpse.
However, a new idea and understanding of what it means to have a self dawned on me.
What if, being able to behave in a manner befitting of yourself without conscious thought, is actually closer to the epitome of a sense of self?
That would mean that I’ve already fully grasped my sense of self and no longer need to mull over what defines me as an individual. My experiences that have accumulated and have been looked back upon in reflection countless times have borne fruit. It has created a me that can act appropriately without putting in the conscious effort to think.
Just like most of us desire a break after doing a job well done, my brain, which I have always worked to the bone to grasp what my intentions and feelings were in various incidents in the past, also wants to take a well-deserved break. However, after being worked so hard, it makes it weird to be given a break suddenly. Our brains begin to question if they can really afford to be so idle.
That brings forth the next question,
“Even if you can act and speak from your heart without conscious thought, is it necessarily the right way to go?”
The reason why I ask this question is because it implies that our self has become “fixed”. As I’ve said many times before, I believe that our “self” is not something so easy to grasp. I’d like to compare it to liquids. Our self can fit in whatever container, aka environment, we are in. In other words, we can adapt to varying situations and act accordingly.
If the situation is drastic enough, it may even change who are as a person. Simply put, there will come times which mark the turning points in our lives. Some of us may have more turning points than others, but we are all bound to change along the journey of life. The ones who do not change, are those who allow their minds to idle after realising who they are and convincing themselves that they are content with who they are.
With an idle mind, you can definitely continue forward behaving as you have been. It may be a comfortable route to take, but it is the same as choosing to remain stagnant, never moving forward. To be idle and content is to deny the need to change.
Some people may argue, “What’s wrong with who I am now? Should I not just be myself and not let the world dictate who I should be?”
While I most definitely cannot deny the importance of staying true to yourself, it does not necessarily mean that you should not change yourself. Think about it. Just because you change to adapt to the world around you does not mean that you lose your sense of self. In whatever manner you decide to adapt to the situation depends on your perception of the problem and what you consider is the best way to overcome the situation while staying true to your beliefs and ideals.
Faced with the same predicament, different people can change and grow in unexpected ways.
Even after saying all this, I must say, to keep your mind constantly occupied (like almost every anime protagonist ever) would no doubt tire yourself out needlessly. Unless you are naturally thoughtful and can continually engage your mind in some kind of thought, it would probably be fine to simply dedicate some time during the day when you have nothing better to do to think. It does not necessarily have to be anything significant. Just observing your surroundings and forming your own opinions on trivial things is fine too. Why? The act of thinking cultivates a sense of self. Or at least, that is what I believe.
In conclusion, not thinking is fine once in a while, but get too accustomed to it, and your life would come to a standstill. Time would move on, but you’d be virtually stuck. You would be wandering the world aimlessly, acting on instinct just like animals that are believed to not engage in any cognitive activity. In the end, the only way to forge and shape your ever-evolving sense of self is to keep reflecting, keep thinking and forming your own opinions and thoughts.
To be honest, when I first started writing this post, the idea that not thinking was not necessarily wrong was what I had in mind. However, as I continued to write, letting my fingers fly across the keyboard as though they had their own mind, I realised the impossibilities of my newfound and at first seemingly breathtaking (to me) and reasonable idea/concept. In the end, my view of not thinking and having an empty mind remains unchanged. At the very least, I guess I’ve just come to accept the fact that it is not a bad thing to let your mind rest for a while. In other words, it is okay to just let our mind be empty every once in a while. We must simply ensure that we do not idle for too long lest our brain starts to rot.