You need to know what is concept and what is nature/reality. When you watch your hand, you cannot be aware of your hand; you can only think about it. Hand has shape, form and colour; the mind can only think about these, they are concepts. You can directly experience hardness and softness, movement, warmth and cold; these are nature. Concept means the mind starts to think about distance, direction – up and down, left and right, form, shape, colour, name and time; we call these concepts.
If your mind pays attention only to the concept, it is easier for reaction – liking and disliking – to arise. Liking and disliking, anger, craving and delusion mind always pay attention to concepts. Because of habit, ordinary mind always pays attention to concepts; for example, when we try to be aware of seeing, immediately we think about seeing things – man, woman, tree, cars – these are all concepts. Seeing is nature; can see something is nature. After seeing, we think, we give meaning to what we see; it is perception, what we call concept. After this concept, we pay more attention to the concept.
The concept is not real; reality or nature is direct experience. So we cannot know our leg; we can know the pain, or hardness and softness, the touching sensation. That’s the difference between concept and nature.
For example, thinking – the story line is concept; we’re thinking of whom, where or when. But the thinking mind that is happening or working is nature. Now, we’re trying to understand this physical and mental process. We try to be aware of the mind state, not the storyline. If you pay attention to the storyline, immediately happiness, sadness or anger arises. For example, someone we dislike comes, immediately we get angry.