Asking myself questions

I am an expert in asking myself questions. It helps me grow and better understand myself. Asking myself questions taught me also a very important thing, how to answer myself. Asking and answering can happen on different levels. When I ask myself questions about myself I do it using my own unique thinking, my uncoded thinking. Meditation is a tool for me to let my uncoded thinking flow free. Questions and answers become one in symbiosis. There’s no answer without question and no question without answer. Questions and answers flow free without being coded to try to make them understandable for others. It happens on my own unique uncoded language. When I meditate I don’t empty my mind of , but of coded .

We all perceive our environments in a different way. I think that being able to communicate how we perceive environments is what allows us to create a bigger common understanding of environments allowing us to improve them. We all communicate in different ways. As I see it, thinking allows us to find our own ways to communicate. Although we share structural similarities and neurological plasticity abilities, we all perceive our own illusion of reality. And finding our own way to communicate our experience helps us grow not only as individuals but as a whole.

There are a lot of different types of thoughts. Thinking is, for me, a very abstract process. When I want to share my thoughts I must apply a filter, encode my thoughts with the help of shared tools so other people can have at least an idea of my own environment experience. When I use language I am translating my thoughts into a shared code to make them understandable to other people. But that doesn’t mean that the receptor of my translated thoughts can experience what I am thinking the same way as I am. The receptor gets enough information of my encoded though to interact with a part of my reality. We then create a new shared reality at the same time that we both have our own perception of that reality. So between an emisor and a receptor there are at least three different realities. Both the emisor and receptor use a common tool like for example language to share thoughts. But although both are exchanging information about the same concepts, the concept itself looks different for every individual. We all create different versions of the same concept. So between a transmisor and a receptor there will always be at least three different perceptions of the same thought, each one’s and the shared one.
This is very important for me, because when I use the word “thought” I know what it means for me, but not for anybody else. I may have an idea, but I ain’t able to know exactly what a thought looks like in other individual’s mind. You will never know what a thought looks like in me because you are a completely different and unique being.

I do use four languages every day, but not every word is translatable to those languages. Sometimes I must use two or more words in one language if I want to explain a concept that in other language has its own word. I understand thinking as our own unique language, a language with a depth that cannot be easily described in any other language. A unique language with unique words for each and every individual. Thinking has literally no boundaries. But we use boundaries when we want to communicate our thoughts. We use frames and tools.

For me, thinking ain’t only concrete thinking, which focuses on what I can perceive through my senses (sound, sight, taste, smell and touch); It ain’t neither only abstract thinking. It’s a combination of both.
Thinking is the closest I am to infinite. My abstract or symbolic thinking is very complex. It happens on different levels at the same time, it works both within an established frame learned from experience and interaction and outside these frames. That is what makes my thinking unique and completely different from yours. I say that my thinking is unique and different because it’s only my thinking process which I am able to observe, study and comprehend; but I believe everyone’s thinking is unique. This uniqueness helps me also to understand my own uniqueness. Yes, we share structural and functional similarities, but we are all completely different individuals. Our thinking empowers our own individuality. An individuality needed for the wellbeing of the whole. An individuality needed for the evolution of the whole. An individuality achieved by our own unique and complex thinking. Thinking is our own culture. Sharing this unique culture gives us new perspectives that allows every individual to reach a deeper understanding of its own self.

Until two years ago I had always lots of thoughts and ideas flowing together, intertwined and giving new meanings to each other. That became a curse for me, not to mention how exhausting it was. Then I started taking a medication that silenced all those thoughts. It took me months to get used to it. I got dizzy and my mind froze every now and then. I’m still on that medication, but I don’t have those mind hang ups anymore. At least not that often. I must confess that there are times that I miss the capacity of multilevel thinking I had without the medication, but it’s also true that having less intertwined thoughts requires less energy. But with all the hard work I’m doing, specially with meta cognitive exercises, I realised that it wasn’t actually my real thinking that was exhausting. It was the constant translation of my thoughts. It was the need of being understood that made me constantly try to translate my thoughts. My thinking process became always “polluted” by a constant translation. Trying to find ways to exteriorise deeper thoughts. A constant subconscious frustration.

In my multilevel thinking I am able to think not only in different layers, but also using different coding tools like languages or senses. I am able to link different concepts together, to intertwine different codes together creating new ones. This is how I create and recall memories. It wasn’t until I learned to be aware of my complex level thinking that I could start working on my trauma framed thinking, which is the exhausting kind of thinking. The thinking that isolated and frustrated me because of the lack of shared codes to express my deepest thoughts.
I’ve been asking myself if I am comfortable with less multilevel thinking or if I have lost an important part of me. The answer is both. On one side, silencing all those coded thoughts have allowed me to get closer to my real I. On the other side, I still miss the linking depth between coded and uncoded thinking I had before. The difference now is that I know that a lot of that multilayer coded thinking was result of PTSD. So now that I can discern between the constructed I coded thoughts and my real I uncoded thoughts, I’m re-learning my old multilevel thinking ability. This time I know how to avoid the stressing and energy draining thinking, the trauma induced thinking. The frustrating continuous thought encoding.

For me, that multilevel kind of thinking is specially helpful when playing . So when I started taking that one medication that silenced my coded thinking I lost also part of my musical thinking. Multilevel thinking allows me to play improv with musicians I have never played with before, even more than ten musicians at the same time, and have focus on what they are playing at the same time that I play my own part. It’s a sound encoded thinking mixed with my own uncoded thinking. Because that medication silenced my encoded thinking and my ability to mix both encoded and uncoded thinking, I lost what had become my own musical thought encoding. But that ain’t a permanent lost, I am slowly rebuilding that ability with .

The fact that I keep asking questions to myself has given me the chance to better understand myself. Asking questions has given me the perspective necessary to understand the importance thinking has to me, but also being able to discern and being aware of where my thoughts come from. Is that awareness that allows me to rebuild my multilevel thinking in a healthier way. It’s a meta cognitive exercise necessary for an even deeper awareness. At least for me, this is what works for me. When I stop asking questions I stop developing my true self and empower the automatic defence mechanisms I learned in order to survive. I give more place to the coded thinking than to my own thoughts. My goal is not to survive but to thrive. Thinking ain’t only concrete concepts flowing on my mind, those are coded thoughts. Thinking for me is something more abstract than that. When I started taking that medication I felt mentally slow because I couldn’t find the right words to express my thoughts. The automatic encoding of thoughts stoped. A part of my automatic defence mechanisms stoped. That’s how I started learning to discern between translated thinking and my own thinking.
As I understand it, what I call translated thinking is what psychology usually calls concrete thinking. Abstract thinking and concrete thinking may be considered oposite, for me both are a symbiotic result of my real thinking process which is unique and individual. It may seem that I am totally lost on my own thoughts right now. I ain’t lost, I know exactly what I am thinking. But maybe our shared coding tools aren’t good enough or haven’t been developed to a level that allow us to be more concrete about abstract concepts.

I only know what I am able to think for myself, otherwise I create an illusion of knowing something that someone else has thought. Do you remember how you got to know that 2+2 equals 4? Do you know for fact that 2+2 is actually 4? Don’t get me wrong, 2+2 is 4, but not only. That ain’t the only possible answer. It’s the answer that suits us best, at least for a daily interaction. But there are a lot of different answers to 2+2, I would say infinite. It depends on how we code, how we use language, what concepts are we adding, which reality we apply 2+2 on And infinite other variables. For example, 2 dozens eggs + 2 dozens eggs are 24 eggs. See where I’m going? For me it’s about how we code our thoughts so we can make our own reality able to interact with other’s. But what happens when we stop our own uncoded thinking? What happens when we aren’t aware of our own individual uncoded thinking? We give up our own realities and follow someone else’s as the only valid reality. We then believe that that’s the only valid reality. We slow down the collective evolution and welcome a polarised vision of reality. In me that translates in a big void surrounded by enormous frustration.

So for me thinking is what makes me be who I am. Thinking ain’t thoughts. Thoughts don’t make me who I am. Thoughts are the outcome of thinking. If those thoughts are not my own thoughts or are an assumption of what I think other people think, then I am not really thinking by myself. My thinking is complex and completely abstract for everyone else. So is yours. Once again, awareness ain’t an easy thing. Awareness implies also the understanding of my own abstract thinking. I don’t know how it is for other individuals, but I ain’t able to empty my mind of thoughts. What I am able to do is to empty it of conceptual thoughts, of thoughts that are a result of traumas. I am able to empty my mind of other individuals understanding of their own reality. I am able to empty my mind of polluted thoughts. But as long as I am so will I have my own uncoded thinking present, I will always have my own thoughts that are completely incomprehensible and unimaginable for anyone else. I own my own consciousness. You own your own. And together we share deeper levels of consciousness.
I can try and translate my thoughts so they are comprensible and make some sense to others. To put it on a visual example, it’s like subtitling a movie with a monologue recorded on a language spoken by only one person. If there were no subtitles, the moving images would then get a new different meaning for every viewer. Every viewer would apply a unique filter, giving those images at least as many different meanings as viewers. But none of the new meanings would be the original.

Meditation is a tool that allows me to listen to my uncoded thinking and get rid of polluted thoughts. Meditation allows me reach a state of individuality that allows me to be aware of my own consciousness, embracing both past and future in an infinite inner reality. It’s the nearest I can be. It’s going back to that moment when my consciousness is the whole and the whole is nothing, when I ain’t nothing and everything, when time is both past and future in colours and silent sounds. Meditation for me is being aware of the entanglement of every thought without fixating on any particular one. Being aware of the complexity. This gives me peace. But if I try to empty my mind I get only fixated on one thought, the thought of emptying my mind. That spoils my meditation and fills my mind with coded polluted thoughts instead of fluid uncoded aware conscious thinking.

But this is my reality. What is yours? Do you ask yourself questions in your own unique language?

Detail of a long wood river my friend Åsmund Gravem and I made in the woods back in 2010

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