A thoughtform is a manifestation of mental energy, also known as a Tulpa in Tibetan mysticism. Thoughtform may be understood as a psychospiritual complex of mind, energy or consciousness manifested either consciously or unconsciously, by a sentient being or in concert.
Thoughtforms may be benevolent, malevolent or of complex alignment and may be understood as a spontaneous or intentional manifestation or emergence. Professor H. H. Price, an Oxford philosopher and parapsychologist, held that once an idea has been formed, it is no longer wholly under the control of the consciousness which gave it birth, but may operate independently on the minds of other people or on physical objects.
Areas of intense thoughtform phenomena are called window areas. Many of them were places of former religious importance that have now waned or fallen from use. The use of an area over hundreds of years creates a type of artificial life form or something that fed on the worship. When the worship is taken away it still needs to feed.
In Tibetan mysticism, a Tulpa is a being or object which is created through willpower, visualisation, attention and focus, concerted intentionality and ritual. In other words, it is a materialized thought that has taken physical form. In the Dzogchen view, accomplished thoughtforms are sentient beings as they have a consciousness field or mindstream confluence in a dynamic organization of emergent factors from the mindstream intentionality of progenitors.
In Tibet, where such things are practiced, a ghost of this kind is called a Tulpa. A Tulpa is usually produced by a skilled magician or yogi, although in some cases it is said to arise from the collective imagination of superstitious villagers, say, or of travelers passing through some sinister tract of country.
Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially thought forms representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound vibrations.
There are apparitions that make public appearances. Some of these are said to be the perceptible double, the etheric counterpart, of a living person who is undergoing an out of body experience. Even more mysterious are the externalized perceptible manifestations of something whose existence originated in the mind of its creator by virtue of that person’s incredible powers of concentration, visualization, and other efforts of the mind.
Another idea is that Tulpas are a massive, collective, subconscious, thoughtform. The thoughtform is said to be a three dimensional image created by the power of the mind. Buddhist llamas in Tibet are said to be able to summon up Tulpas during intense meditation. Western explorer Dame Alexandra was said to have created a Tulpa of a monk whilst studying in Tibet. Polish medium Franek Klusk was said to have summoned up cats, birds, and apes during seances. Perhaps, considering the types of beast he called up, he was creating Tulpas. If individuals can create Tulpas imagine what the collective, gestalt mind of humanity as a species could do. Perhaps dragons are a giant worldwide thought form emanating from our innermost fears.
Thoughtforms, in the sense of being systems of awareness with the attribute of self will and self determination, figure in various cognitive and psychological theories. Marvin Minsky, cofounder of the artificial intelligence laboratory at MIT, proposes that there are agencies of the mind, by which he means any and all psychological processes. Although he grants that a view of the mind as made up of many selves may be valid, he suggests that this may be a myth that we construct.
Carl Jung’s technique of active imagination involves interacting with thoughtforms of the subconscious mind. Jung identified certain universal thoughtform archetypes such as anima and animus which are characteristic of all humans. Psychological archetypes are thoughtforms. The chief difference between these scientific formulations and spiritual definitions of thoughtforms is that the former are created unconsciously whereas the latter are created deliberately.