Last night, while sitting here at my computer, pondering the concepts of thinking and thought, I looked over at three of my dogs and two kittens laying in various positions of deep sleep, and I smiled. The kittens were curled up against one of the pup's belly, the other pup had his leg across his neck, and the third dog seemed to encircle all of them. Looking at the first pup, the one in the center of the pile, I said, "Looks like everyone loves you, don't you think?" He cracked his eye open to look at me, thumped his tail once, then went back to sleep. Out of that whole pile of animals, only he stirred. Rudimentary, yes; but a clear example of the power of thought.
Thoughts About Thinking
Science has no real idea of how or why we think, though they have found that anxious and shy people have a more active amygdala. They speculate about neurons firing to receptors, the energy conducted by chemicals in the brain, but have only begun to scratch the surface of understanding thought.
Psychology tends to focus on the emotions, whether as a direct reaction to thinking or just feeling alone. There have been attempts to fill the gaps in the definition of thinking with concepts of intuition, feeling, perceiving, sensing, reasoning, etc.; but they only describe patterns, not actual thoughts. Philosophers such as Descartes exclaim "I think; therefore I am." And that's as close as we've gotten to knowing how our brain works.
Some people may be better thinkers than others, and some may be worse. But, it appears that everyone thinks. Thinking is not taught, but we can learn to improve our thinking.
How to Improve Thinking
To realize the power of thought, you need to improve your ability to think. It can be done! Concentrated thought is behind creativity, productivity, manifestation and action. It's worth the effort to give your thinking a solid workout. Here are some suggestions.
Stop limited thinking. You'll know right away if you are limiting your thinking if you say, "I don't believe that," or "I doubt that." What you are doing is slamming the door in the face of learning something new. Take the time to soak it all in and assess the validity of it later.
Observe. There are so many things we take for granted. We walk by the majority of our environment without a second glance. Look around and really look at what is there.
Attention. If you drive the same way to work every day and observe, the next day, if you pay attention, you'll notice the subtle changes. The deli's parking lot has more cars on Wednesdays than it does on Mondays. There's a two-wheel bicycle in the yard of a house that had a Big Wheel the day before. The flowers around the fountain have bloomed.
Retention. Make a point to remember what you see. It helps to think it through a little and relate it to what you already know. For instance, the child is growing up fast to graduate to a bike already and think back on what it was like for you to learn to ride a bike. If you're short on time, you know to stop at the deli on Mondays.
Concentration. Control your thoughts instead of your thoughts controlling you. Focus on the task at hand. If your mind goes off on a tangent, steer it back on track. Repeat as necessary. Having control over your thoughts with the ability to focus, you'll find that you'll also be able to switch to another task easily.
There is More
Pure thought is behind pure actions - "As a man thinketh; so is he." Impure thoughts lead to destructive, harmful actions. It is up to you to decide which way your thoughts lead you. Pure thinking is trying to think of others first, to be considerate. If you are thinking of the person you are disagreeing with first, you won't be thinking negative, destructive thoughts, and the disagreement won't turn into an argument.
Yes, there is more. A lot more. You'll begin to realize the true power behind thinking, and there will be no limit to what you can do. As Mr. Wilson says, "thought plays the biggest role in our daily lives."