The Toolbox Starter Kit: Tool One

A "tool" is a stand-alone thought structure. It has a subject, a verb, and a direct object, like many good sentences, but it also has a conclusion that can stand on its own. A "Lemma" on the other hand, is not a stand-alone thought structure; it's more of a direction and it lacks a conclusion. I will give you examples of each, so you will have a clear understanding of the types of stability you can add to your own thoughts. What follows was first published in the magazine "Self and Other" in 1993. It provides an introduction to the concept of a "toolbox" and the "Tools" that you can put in it.

The "toolbox"

Thinking, like gardening, can be beautiful at times, with seasonal changes; and, if cultivated, it can bear the fruit needed to keep you healthy. But you must constantly pull out the weeds, to leave enough nutrients for those items you really wish to grow. Further, you must change crops, to keep the soil rich. Therefore you must be a seed-saver, and eat in moderation.. These riches are not easy to accomplish, and there is no fool-proof solution. Thoughts have a tendency to build into a mind and to mechanize and remove you from life's joy.

I suggest that we can help each other in gaining and keeping the skill of weed-removal, crop-rotation, and irrigation, by helping each other to build some thought tools. A garden hoe has a long handle, allowing you to stand up, use two arms, and really hack away. The long handled hoe puts you standing, with good visual perspective, above the problem. Once you see this tool, in this case a mental "tool" in action, and can understand how it functions, you can put one into your "toolbox." To be a proper "tool", it must work at many levels and have a handle you or anyone else can easily find.

There are no doubt hundreds of tools. I hope you will share your tools with me (by writing for the magazine "Self and Other" see I will give you one to start you thinking.

Tool #1: There is a tendency for people to become what they hate.

Have you ever noticed how child abusers raise child abusers? Or why in Israel lots of people carry guns? The mechanism operates as a solution used in place of real understanding. The key operative word here is "hate." This is not a conception made from enlightenment. When you "hate" something, you put off understanding until some future date. You create a ridge in your free flow of ideas. At first you remain clearly on one side of the ridge, but as time goes by, on some internal level, you still need to understand. If all else fails, you can take up the point of view, the one you do not understand, as an effort to understand by the very act of becoming. It can be more important to understand, than it is to hold your previous course. Becoming what you hate can be the first step on the road to tolerance.

Having thus described the "tool", I think it might be important to give you the secret that makes it work. For me, the underlying mechanism for why this tool works is unrequited love. I cannot help myself; on some deep level, I love everyone, and everything they do. I know this seems impossible. Of course, this admission of love, blows the mind, and releases me from the power of hate. At this level of admission, I don't need a "toolbox", but weeds can return if I don't pay attention. So this "tool" can become quite handy. As with all good "tools", it can be used on many levels. If you wish, you can think, and meditate on this tool until it is yours. Then take the time to look for any ridges in the free flow of ideas, and remember, keeping your garden up puts you more in the present, and therefore better able to live life fully!

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