What is a thought?

You can go a long way with this line of enquiry.

Before you begin, it's important to do some groundwork. First, you need to purify the mind (or clean it out). To do this you need to be a generally decent person pursuing wholesome thoughts (generous, forgiving, seeing the good) and then you should be able to calm the mind down by allowing it to rest on an object and then letting it relax (like taming a wild animal of sorts).

Once the mind is calm, you can see what's happening. To cut a long story short, a lot of stuff is happening - it's like you've been driving along the road looking at the trees go by and then a hole opens up in the bottom of the car and you see the Tarmac whizzing by and things happening very fast. Not to worry, you're a complex organism so you'd expect a bit of action.

Next step is to attach some labels to the features of the mind as they emerge. The central feature is perception - attaching labels to stuff. What stuff? Well, it's mainly sensory information - sounds, sights, feelings mainly. So you relax, things are whizzing by, a sound occurs and then you attach a label to what you heard. This categorisation then triggers a load of other stuff - whether you like the sound or not, any opinions that might suddenly emerge (by now the sound may have long gone ...), what you might do next, and so on.

So, here starts the investigation into thoughts. You see them arising from external conditions, you may even see them arise from nowhere (perhaps you are psychic), but they arise and then we act on them - perhaps we think some more, perhaps we eat some cake. I could go on but it's best to see for yourself.

Why do this at all? Once you see how thoughts are made over and over again, they begin to lose their attraction. You realise that you are bigger than thoughts and that's not too shabby.

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