Thomas Edison said, “There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.”
On face value, I do not agree with Mr. Edison. People think all the time… way too much. Thoughts, thoughts, and more thoughts run through their heads incessantly. However, the deeper point I am sure he is alluding to, is that few think in a clear, coordinated, coherent manner. Scientists are trained to think rationally but that too is not sufficient for a fully developed life. In the scientist’s laboratory as many variables as possible are fixed. In life, all variables are dynamic and ongoing.
The mind is like a muscle. It must be used properly to develop. If it is not exercised properly, it remains weak. Connections between variables are flimsy. A single point can consume the mind and cast the thinking process in a skewed direction of no return.
I believe Mr. Edison’s point was that few are adept at attentive, mindful thought. That process remains atrophied from lack of use. Until the mind is developed, such thinking just seems to require too much effort. The brain quickly becomes fatigued and jumps to a justification to stop the process. It is similar to lifting weights in the gym. No rep seems most desirable, but certainly after several, that next rep feels like pure torture. Mindlessly floating through life is then more appealing, though not truly rewarding. Mind-numbing entertainment, primitive or sensual over-stimulus, presents itself as the easy way out. But it is, in the final analysis, a downward spiral.
Consider color blindness. Usually a color-blind person does see and appreciate the full range of colors even though the color receptors are weak. It requires focus and effort to identify the color that is right in front of their face. The mind is similar. The connection between the mind and the world at hand is often weak. Some say that you must open your mind. More correctly, you must develop your mind. However, few are interested or willing to do that.
Fortunately, there is an effective methodology for development. Namely, meditate and act. You cannot meditate your way to enlightenment. Enlightenment means an integrated mind. For those willing to do it, my writings and lectures along with proper meditation offer the steps of progress. I ask you to think… but not just in a limited manner… instead in an expanded sense, integrating feelings and emotions with thoughts, perceptions and profound concepts.
Such far-reaching reflection integrates the mind with itself by harmonizing it with nature, which is the mind’s true nature. The whole brain harmonizes. It is simply the state of healthy function of the mind. Attaining that can be challenging. You may jump off on a tangent, just as a weightlifter finds a reason to not do those last couple of reps.
However, the reward is enlightenment, if you are willing to stay the course.