‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ (‘I think therefore I am’) wrote Descartes in answer to the metaphysical conundrum of mind and matter and this insight ushered in the scientific model.
Yet, if Buddhists and neuro-scientists are right, we might not think at all. Or at least not enough to differentiate us from all other life on the planet. Our thoughts may, in fact, have a basis in evolutionary biology and have nothing to do with being human.
Renowned holistic physician Deepak Chopra believes that our thoughts are not unique to us. Instead, they belong to a shared consciousness where everyone and everything has thoughts of jealousy, hate, love, kindness, empathy, and so on.
It looks like we are empty shells waiting for thoughts to appear. These thoughts may be positive or negative, helpful or destructive. When we are emotionally fragile, negative thoughts proliferate and we become susceptible to depression, anxiety, hatred and anger. When we are emotionally strong, positive thoughts, including love, forgiveness, generosity and empathy, are plentiful.
Noting our persistent thoughts and questioning their origins can help us become free. These thoughts include unpleasant memories from the past and fearful projections into the future that, if left unchallenged, lead to dysfunctional work and family relationships. However, when we stop negative thoughts we allow positive thoughts to flourish and our lives improve.
If thought originates outside the self then we can choose how to respond. In Latin this becomes, ‘Sumo vestri cogitationes sapienter’ — ‘Choose your thoughts wisely.’
Science of the Soul