Nearly everyone has had pivotal moments when their life changed - for better or worse. One of my most significant moments happened late one afternoon when I was 19 years old. I was practicing in my race kart at the end of a long hot day. The track surface was cooling down and the edges were covered with dust and shreds of tyres. A sweeping bend at the end of the main straight challenged a driver’s bravery and skill, and those that had both would take it full throttle. With my foot flat, I picked my line and turned the wheel, but I miscalculated and nipped the inside curb. The slight bump unsettled the kart, and sent me into a tailspin.

I had a momentary lapse in concentration, where I clearly felt the disconnection between my mind and body. In that moment, time seemed to stop and move in frames. My consciousness felt like it split into the different levels of my being. I saw how my mind and body were separate, and my soul was just a part of a spiritual presence that was beyond my individual form. I witnessed my thoughts as they appeared on the screen of the mind. I thought, “I just lost concentration, and now I am spinning out of control. I need to devote myself to finding the connection between my mind and body, so I can consciously maintain concentration.” I spun off the track at high speed and crashed into a tyre barrier. The angel of impact left me and the kart unscathed, but my whole being had been jolted by a realisation.

I sat for a few moments, stunned by the fact that I actually had no idea about how to maintain mental concentration and physical co-ordination. I didn’t know how to control my mind, even though I had read many positive thinking books, religious texts etc. I still wasn’t empowered with the knowledge of what connects the mind and body. I fully realised the significance of not being able to focus and apply my mind at will, and how that would limit my potential.

The next evening, I went to my martial arts class all fired up. I was overcome by a burning need to understand the true workings of the mind. I told my instructor what had happened and asked him, “What connects the mind and body?” His answer, “The breath!” This fact has stayed with me ever since, and I have literally spent every moment since exploring the nature and origins of thoughts, and the role the breath plays in our state of being.

Over the years that followed, I studied and researched the mind from every possible angle. But it wasn’t until I went to India six years later and experienced deep meditation that I sealed the connection. Along the way, I asked people a myriad of questions like, “Where do your thoughts come from? Where do they go? How do you concentrate your mind? What makes you happy? What makes you sad?” The replies ranged from complete awe and wonder, to arrogant and dismissive contempt. But what became obvious was no one really understood the origins of  their thoughts.

Despite many New Agers claiming to be creating their own reality, and teachers telling students to concentrate, and parents telling their children to change their attitude and behaviour - no one could tell me exactly what thoughts actually were, or how to determine what thoughts came into their mind. On top of that, no one could tell me how to empty their mind of thoughts that wouldn’t go - like how to get rid of a song stuck in your head?  So if ‘we are what we think’, then the key to our empowerment must be in understanding the true origins of our thoughts.

It is now a few decades on from that fateful karting incident, and the level of awareness within our species remains low. There are millions of highly intelligent, well educated, extremely knowledgeable, and incredibly experienced individuals, but it seems there aren’t many conscious beings in our world. I am not saying this out of arrogance or superiority, but in absolute humility. After years of having spoken to thousands of people from all walks of life, all around the world, I have only met nine people who were aware of what I am about to share.

After years meditating, experimentation, practicing mind altering techniques, taking psychedelics etc., I have defined what I call, The 18 Origins of Thoughts. I have listed them with a brief definition in the table below:

The dominant force within your internal and external environment determines the origin and nature of the thoughts that arise in your mind. Each stress brings out a subpersonality based on what origin or origins of thought are being triggered. Imagine if you are really hungry, and how your thoughts may change. What about when you are really thirsty, tired or cold? What if you were hungry, thirsty, tired and cold - what thoughts would you have and who do you become?

Anyone who cares to investigate and explore this topic is best to start with their own inner experience. However, many people tend to seek external guidance, especially when they are having trouble with their mind or emotions. I have seen hundreds of practitioners, teachers and gurus who claim to know the nature of the mind, though I am yet to find anyone who truly understands the origins of thoughts. Many teach how to use the power of thoughts and intentions in healing and growth, but when asked directly or through their own admission, they have no real understanding of how the mind works.

The individual and collective potential this information offers is truly infinite. When you understand the basis to each origin, you can appreciate how all sentient beings share these thoughts. Just because we can’t communicate with plants or speak the same language as animals, doesn’t mean they aren’t having a full experience of consciousness. In fact, when the veil gets lifted using psychedelics, it is immediately obvious that humans are not the only conscious beings on Earth or in the Universe.

Imagine if at the end of each day you got to review a print out of all your thoughts - what would they comprise of? The masters who taught me were emphatic about being able to determine the nature and origin of every thought, in every moment, of every day. This is essentially the basis of awareness and the seat of empowerment. It is very black and white, and we can either do it or we can’t. There are specific techniques that enable everyone to become aware of their thoughts and maintain their concentration and attention. I go into this in great detail in my eBook The Conscious Being: A Practical Guide to The Nature of Life, as well as in my seminars and workshops.

This remains one of my favourite subjects to share and I trust you find this interesting and beneficial.

Brian Gerard Schaefer :)

If you want to know more about how to live consciously, read my eBook THE NATURE OF LIFE: How to remain at Peace while living in the modern world. Click on the link below to purchase your copy now.

Brian Gerard Schaefer is an author and a self-educated wholistic natural therapist, specialising in kinesiology, myopractic, spiritual counselling, diet and nutrition. He presents seminars and workshops on healing, kinesiology, meditation and personal development.