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Functional Thinking versus Ego Thinking

From the chapter "Coming to Our Senses" of Charlotte Joko Beck's Nothing Special: Living Zen:

... There is a place of rest in our lives, a place where we must be if we are to function well. This place of resting—the arms of God, if you will—is simply here and now: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting our life as it is. We can even add thinking to the list, if we understand thinking as simply functional thinking rather than ego thinking based on fear and attachment. Just thinking in the functional sense includes abstract thinking, creative thinking, or planning what we have to do today. Too often, however, we add nonfunctional, ego-based thinking, which gets us in trouble and takes us from the arms of God.

A life that works rests on these six legs: the five senses plus functional thought. When our lives rest on these six supports, no problem or upset can reach us.

It's one thing to hear a dharma talk on these truths, however, and another to live by them. The minute something upsets us, we fly into our heads and try to figure it out. We try to regain our safety by thinking. We ask how we can change ourselves or something outside ourselves—and we're lost. To reestablish our lives on a secure foundation, we have to return to these six legs of reality, over and over and over again. That's all the practice we need. If I have the faintest thought of irritability about anybody, the first thing I do is not to begin figuring out in my mind how to fix the situation, but simply to ask myself, "Can I really hear the cars in the alley?" When we fully establish one sense, such as hearing, we establish them all, since all are functioning in the present moment. Once we reestablish awareness, we see what to do about the situation. Action that arises out of awakened experience is nearly always satisfactory. It works.

(cf. Two Kinds of Thoughts (2014-09-10), ...) - ^z - 2014-11-01