Episode 102

How the Thought Funnel Shapes Your Reality

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On this episode of Stillness in the Storms, meditation teacher Steven Webb explains how our thoughts shape our reality through what he calls the "thought funnel." Discover how becoming aware of this funnel can help reshape your perspective.

Introduction (0:00-1:00)

  • Steven introduces the concept of the "thought funnel" and how it impacts our reality
  • He asks listeners to visualize this funnel to understand how thoughts build in complexity

The Thought Funnel Explained (1:00-6:00)

  • At the bottom is the "point of origin" where thoughts and feelings arise
  • As thoughts move up through the funnel, more layers like stories and emotions are added
  • This adds complexity until we're stuck in "pea soup" at the top, disconnected from clarity

Experiment to See the Funnel in Action (6:00-10:00)

  • Steven leads a visualization exercise looking at objects and how stories build around them
  • Notice how quickly thoughts create emotions, judgments and complexity
  • The more we dwell on a subject, the thicker the funnel gets

Key Takeaways About the Funnel (10:00-14:00)

  • Everything in the funnel is impermanent, but the point of origin remains
  • We wrongly believe the cluttered top of the funnel is reality
  • True reality is at the base - pure awareness before stories

How to Return to the Funnel's Source (14:00-19:00)

  • Meditation helps witness the funnel without getting lost in it
  • Thoughts often start with care before other emotions arise
  • We can choose whether to engage in a thought storyline or not
  • With practice, we gain the ability to stop stories and return to the present moment

We all know what it's like to be lost in thought - falling down rabbit holes, getting tangled in stories, and feeling disconnected from the present moment. This week on Stillness in the Storms, meditation teacher Steven Webb offers a powerful mental model to understand this phenomenon - the thought funnel.

According to Steven, our minds are like funnels that thoughts and feelings flow through. At the very bottom is the point of origin, where each thought arises before it builds in complexity. As thoughts move up through the funnel, we unconsciously add layers to them - judgments, emotions, past experiences, future fantasies. Before we know it, our clear thoughts have turned to muddy confusion.

The problem is that most of us spend our mental lives near the cluttered top of the funnel, caught up in the swirling chaos. We mistakenly believe this overflow of thoughts represents reality. But the truth is, reality exists at the clear bottom of the funnel - in the space of pure awareness that exists before thought.

So how do we return to clarity? Through meditation, says Steven. By watching the thought funnel in action, we can learn to catch ourselves getting sucked into unhelpful thought loops. Instead of going down every mental rabbit hole, we can gently return to the bottom of the funnel - to pure presence.

Learning this skill is not easy, but it holds the key to serenity. When we stop identifying with every passing thought, we reconnect to our inner stillness. We realize thoughts are just thoughts - not necessarily truth or reality. We become less reactive, more responsive to life's curveballs.

So if you're looking for more inner peace, listen to this week's episode on the thought funnel. Understanding how thoughts build into suffering can be the first step to dismantling it. Let Steven's wisdom guide you from the noisy top of the funnel to the blissful bottom - the open, lucid space that lies beneath your thinking mind.

About the Podcast

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Stillness in the Storms
Finding inner peace in the hardest of times

About your host

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Steven Webb