We are conditioned to accept that thinking is simply the effect of our being awake and exposed to the life around us – an inseparable my-mind aspect of actually being human. The idea that we are not our thinking, and that the mental noise that accompanies every waking moment of most of our individual lives can be reduced to nothing, is not something we are taught about our human nature. And despite knowing that this process is insatiable we are in fact taught to engage with and encourage this noise; to feed our desires, even though we have thoughts we would rather not think and have feelings we would rather not have to endure. We are not taught how to deal with thoughts and emotions in a way that is effective or enduring.
The first stage in unravelling this conundrum is to accept that we are not defined by the content of our thoughts and feelings. They are not us. Thoughts and feelings are subject to the laws of cause and effect. They arise because they do, not because you are a good or a bad person. When our senses engage with the world, before thoughts arise there is an impulse that precedes them. This impulse can be likened to a ball hitting a wall. The wall in this analogy is the small self or ego. The stimulus then bounces back charged with a tiny impression or sensation, (the result of past experiences) that we instinctively and habitually engage with adding to it meaning and significance. Thus, by allowing our attention to follow the flight of the ball a dialogue ensues and continues until another impulse takes flight and catches our attention. It may be related or unrelated. If however, we keep our attention focused on where the ball hits the wall, where the sensation is actually generated, there is no ensuing dialogue. When no meaning or significance is added to the impression the ball loses it power instantly and simply, (metaphorically) falls to the ground. There is no dialogue. One can do this even if the ball is in flight. If we resist sensations they live on to trouble us another day. Understanding HOW we resist them becomes part of the process.
The initial impulse actually has no significance – it is, as it were, genderless. WE provide significance out of our past experience and imagination; out of our mental habit. There is no need to understand or work it out because that is an endless process and constitutes resisting the impression. It is beautifully simple. Once this fact is realised, (a tiny but significant moment of enlightenment) we can begin to become Master of Mind and not its slave.