The 5 classical senses, as defined by Aristotle, are: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. However, in Buddhism, there is a 6th sense: your thoughts. Your body helps you collect information about the outside environment, and the mind facilitates the synthesis. Let’s take the example of an orange: small, sweet, peel with asperities… orange — the senses give you this “data”, but it’s the mind that says, “Hey, that’s an orange.” Consequently, your thoughts are not the reality but rather a distorted projection of it.
Be careful with your thoughts, for they become words
Be careful with your words, for they become deeds
We often lose ourselves in thoughts. We are either in the past or in the future, never here, never now. We think and we forget to live. Often our thoughts are repetitive — 90% of what we thought yesterday, we are thinking today. Due to this matter, one should pay attention to their quality and their impact on us.
Instead of feeling your life, you think it.
Thoughts do not bring answers, but more questions. You start from here and you reach seven other adjacent ideas: you sneezed three times, after 10 minutes of thinking you come to the conclusion that you may have tuberculosis and you will die in 3 days. You called your boyfriend/ girlfriend twice in a row, no answer, 5 minutes later: You think you should break up because after thinking it through he/ she is cheating you for sure. Maybe he/ she was taking a nap. All of these events are just in your mind, not in reality. Perhaps they are not real, but if you behave as if they were, you will bring them to life.
Your thoughts bring confusion rather than clarity. This happens because the mind is an instrument to which you must give direction. You are not your mind, you are not your thoughts. That is why you need to focus. You have to pay attention to the point you choose. For example, when you have a problem instead of focusing on „why is this happening to me- drama” focus on the solution. That’s why when you set a goal you need to be very clear and specific.
When you talk to someone else, instead of listening to him/her, you think. You think about what your answer will be, and instead of emerging in his/her reality so you can understand it, you stand in yours and judge. You will each stay in its own dimension, and it is very likely you won’t understand the point of view of the other person. From the argument about: “why don’t you put the milk back in the fridge?”, you’ll start a contest, who’s yelling the loudest and conclude you can’t bear living with each other anymore.
You, as you think you are — your identity, the ego, is a product of your mind. You are a story that your brain tells you about yourself so your reality and you make sense. It is important to realize that you are not a simple character in this story, nor are you a hero — you are the writer. Therefore, you can see a mistake as a devastating failure or an opportunity for growth. You can say that you are a loser because you have been wrong 100 times or a brave genius because you have identified 100 ways in which that thing does not work. All that matters is your perspective. You choose what defines you: an exam, what others think, your values, etc.
… don’t be so serious, it’s just a story …
We focused so much on one sense that we forgot the rest, separating what is actually one — the body and the mind. The posture you have, what you eat, the signals from an organ create thoughts, sensations, emotions, and vice versa. As within so without, as without so within.
Living in our minds and not in reality, makes us feel isolated. We are separated from our body, from our essence, from others but also from nature. In fact, everything is connected. To know this, you have to be present, to stop thinking, doing things, and just be. And when you are, the idea of being separated becomes an illusion.