From watching what the mind thinks, we start to understand that our thoughts create in our mind emotions and stories for ourselves; and we begin to understand the nature of wholesome thoughts and unwholesome thoughts, the nature of thoughts themselves.
When we meditate and are aware, and we notice the mind thinking, we’re so disinterested in our thoughts. We want them to go away; but actually the thoughts hold so much information, they reveal so much to us about the nature of mind.
Thinking is not a problem. But if there are defilements pushing and feeding the thoughts, then we need to understand the relationship of how when there are defilements present feeding the thoughts, how they exaggerate things in our thoughts, how they make things seem real in our thoughts, how they make us belief, how they convince us to believe something that is not true. The defilements have all these characteristics and if we would see them, we wouldn’t be tricked.
We won’t always see all the detailed workings of the mind. But just noticing thoughts as they keep passing through our mind, is interesting in itself because that is the function of the mind.
Thinking is a function of the mind. Feeling is another function of the mind. And if we notice all of these at work, it’s interesting because we’re actually seeing how the mind does its work.
When there’s thinking, who is thinking? What kind of thought is it? Did I actively think that thought; am I the thought?
Just from observing thoughts without any idea that you’re going to watch for this or that, just giving them the time for you to notice what is happening, you can begin to understand that thought is its own cause and effect process, not your doing.
Right now, we’re very much identified with our thoughts – we think ‘I’m thinking; I’m feeling’. We think that our thoughts define us, but if we observe long enough, we can pull apart these things.
Sometimes we need to think about something – after we think, we think ‘I’m thinking because I want to’, but actually, the wanting mind wants to think, so that’s an intention to think and that’s what makes the mind think. So, there’s a process of different functions of mind working to make other things happen in the mind. But we identify with every step of the process, thinking ‘I’m somewhere there’.