Working with Thoughts

by meditative - April 17th, 2015

We tend to shape our world from patterns of thought…

In reality, thoughts simply arise in our consciousness- sometimes they manifest with intention and on many occasions they stream into awareness out of the reactionary impulse of our own automaticity- to be continually “charged” and conditioned by a “thinking mind”. Although our meditation practice is not “thinking”, it can certainly emerge as clear awareness of thinking. To become aware of our thought process can help us to learn much about its inherent nature; the underlying emotions and unseen feelings that drive the repetitive frequency of our thought process; as well as the capacity to clearly discern the difference between getting caught up in thought from being mindful of it.

To closely watch our thoughts and thought patterns, we can begin to see where we get “hooked”… seduced by the sirens of thought, we become enmeshed in identifying, energizing, and following their stream of content. The energy our thoughts hold depends greatly upon how we relate to them as they are inherently “empty” unless we energize their content. In awareness, it is both purposeful and meaningful to discern wholesome from unwholesome thoughts in order to know which to truly energize. In reality, our thoughts have the potential for karmic impact– to lead us into actions that have all sorts of consequences. The real significance in our practice with thoughts is choosing what to act on and which to simply let be.

It takes genuine discipline to stay with our thoughts- a relaxed alertness and focused mindsight to observe their subtlety and “slippery” nature to stream into our consciousness one after another. As the mind quiets with our evolving practice, the torrent of rushing thought begins to slow and our ability to observe or witness grows clearer, stronger, and more reflexive onto itself.

As our mindsight  to “see” clearly within becomes more refined, there tends to be less identification with our thoughts as well as fewer unconscious rides. Their power to lead us astray can be diffused and transmuted by a higher-ordered form of discerning awareness energized to stay with our thought process without being carried away by its content.

The conditioned forces behind our repetitive thoughts need to be greeted with curiosity and openness. Becoming more sensitive to our thought process, and by paying careful attention, the unseen feelings often driving our patterns of cognition reveal themselves. Mindful insight continues to follow from a transformed quality of attention- a “clear seeing” of the thoughts that shape and move our states of mind- and our states of being and doing. Mind training and cultivating our inner capacity for awareness to see things clearly- as they are- has real power to transform us- and to liberate us from the streams of thought that often enslave us and lead us down unwholesome paths.