My teacher, Betsy, once said that if no one believed in banks, they wouldn't exist.
Think about that.
This is the essence of a thoughtform; an idea that has been fed sufficient life-force, sufficient attention that it manifests.
When a thoughtform becomes 'solid' enough, belief accretes around it, like a pearl forming around a grain of sand. Over time, this belief becomes very hard and very strong. Look at the Wikipedia entry for "tulpa" for a very interesting read on big thoughtforms.
Beliefs begin directing our actions, and further directing our thoughts. We form judgments based on our beliefs. Based on our thougthforms.
Does the thoughtform have to be true? No.
It only has to exist.
We get many of our thoughtforms from parents, teachers, those in authority over us, especially during our early life.
We take the little grain in, unquestioningly. These little grains begin to shape our lives. Sometimes they grow so that we have little room for anything else.
Thoughtforms, like curses, can be unraveled. Really big thoughtforms, like Religion, political party values, and acceptable morality, have been given so much life force by so many people that only a deity or an adept can unravel them. It is said that the Buddhist llamas can do this.
Personal thoughtforms can be unraveled upon personal examination: "rich people are all bad" is a thoughtform that was handed down by my ancestors to me. Sure, some of them are right bastards. On the other hand, many wealthy people spend their lives giving ALL of their money to wonderful causes.
This thoughtform has caused me no end of grief, and the beliefs I've built around it are numerous. I didn't make much headway on breaking these beliefs down until I looked at that one thought: "rich people are all bad". "Money is bad" was nestled right next to it. Asking, "is that really true? Do you know without a doubt that that is true?" can often deflate the thoughtform. Sometimes a simple ceremony of releasing is needed.
When I really began to understand the nature of thoughtforms and how insidiously they run our lives (mine included), I got angry. My thoughts were truly not my own! They had been shaped and formed and herded into specific directions by ideas that had come from others outside of me.
And then I got busy tracking them down and taking them apart, one by one. I'm still on the hunt. Constellations help a great deal in finding where in the family system these idea nuggets come from, and constellations help deflate the energies that keep them alive. Shamanic work, especially energy unraveling methodologies, can also help with this.
I am as vigilant with this as I know how to be. To claim sovereignty over myself, my thoughts must be my own and no one else's.
Being a true Gemini, he has two websites, www.shining-mountain.com and www.waterwillowmoon.com
He owns waaay too many books for his own good.