It may be difficult to list “all” of the places our thoughts come from; there are so many. Certainly they come from our experience and knowledge and problems and many things we’ve pondered and stored in memory. They are also generated by our emotions and five senses. Other people and things and events also generate thoughts. Aside from the more obvious generation of old thoughts or those from external experience and event, we do seem to have an internal thought generator.
When I am settled and at peace and open to new thought, when writing poetry, for example, I am sometimes flooded with so many thoughts and new ideas that I can’t possibly write them all down fast enough before I forget most of them. This is an example of the thought generator, consciously put to work, in overdrive.
Because of our brains being split down the middle, the two halves are separate and unaware of their separateness. They can work together on a common thread, but consciousness exists apart from the things we are conscious of. We are aware of thoughts and feelings, but these were not generated “consciously.” Neither is consciousness an entity (as is usually taught).
We are also taught that “will” is a separate entity, but it is not, neither separate nor an entity. Consciousness and the will are opposite polarities
(passive and active) of the same function. They are not really separate. They are two parts of the same thing, so I shall heretofore refer to them as “consciousness/will,” or imply “C/W.” As two parts of the same thing, they act in concert together. But the will also exists apart from the functions it sanctions, initiates, selects, controls, or suppresses.
We have verbal and graphic thoughts, but we also have a “thought generator, that throws thoughts into the sphere of consciousness, but functions outside and independent of the will. This is the mind.
We also have feelings, emotions and sensations, but also a “feelings generator” (incorrectly labeled as our soul). The generator of thoughts, emotions, and sensations is one and the same. But we have no perception of its existence and activity. Something (this thing) is working outside our sphere of consciousness that is guiding our physiological, mental, sensual, and emotional functions. This hidden, subconscious, or unconscious agent is called the spirit, the psyche, or soul.
Most people describe themselves with their habitual pattern of thought and emotional responses to events. And too, most people identify themselves as the thought generator (their minds) and its contents (their beliefs).
This misunderstanding is responsible for the impossibility to “Know thyself.”
The consciousness/will, or C/W, are the indicators of ourselves. If I assign them to the essence of our being, then I am defining our Selves as functions instead of entities. It becomes clear then, that these faculties within us are really the essential expressions of who we are, made by God to serve a function in the world.
Without God in the picture, we are reduced to nothing—a lost and helplessly drifting vessel. We are that which perceives the mental and physical worlds, but is imperceptible itself; that which “will” changes, but cannot (or will not) be willed or influenced to change. We are not aware of it, but C/W is the means through which we are aware of and dominate the world—inner (mental) and outer.
The spirit is the generator of our thoughts and emotions and sensations, as well as the functional agent behind our physiological functions (heartbeat, respiratory, blood flow, etc.); these are the forms and force--- through which our living is conducted, but is not who we are, even though we mistakenly think so. The spirit (unconsciousness) is the storehouse of knowledge, but devoid of consciousness, is incapable of knowing this knowledge. Neither can it know itself or anything, even though it stores the knowledge of the universe. And herein is the crux of the problem.
The consciousness/will can know, but has no storehouse of information. The C/W can initiate changes in the spirit, but lacks the power to carry them out. It can know itself and can identify with the not-self.
The spirit cannot initiate changes in its activities, but it is receptive to change from influences proceeding from the will, suggestions and stimuli from the environment, provided it is exposed to these at the right time or in the proper manner.
The underlying causes of our problems in the world, then, is lack of knowledge of Self, and acting with lack of truth or knowledge. We identify with the modalities of the unconscious, the spirit, instead of the conscious will.
The consciousness/will can decide which thoughts, feelings, and actions will be acceptable, but cannot generate thoughts and feelings, and lacks the power to carry out the acts it indicates to take place. On the other hand, the spirit has the power to generate thoughts, feelings and actions, but cannot direct these. One of them knows and directs, but is uninformed, while the other is incapable of knowing and directing, yet it is the power "to do" in the world.
Power is not an attribute of the will. The concept of interpreting the inability to act as desired, as weakness of the will, is erroneous. Nothing is wrong with the driver, if the car breaks down.
Without some Divine hand or purpose connecting the C/W and the spirit, we can't know anything, are totally lost, and can't possibly act correctly. The car has no driver; it is empty.