Sorry for the delay but my work load (wage slavery) increased...
Where do thoughts come from?
I'm honestly not sure. Some thought seem to be reflections of something happening in the external world for example if i hear the sounds of ocean waves the image of ocean waves will pop into my mind. But other times thoughts seem to come out of nowhere.
Yup, out of nowhere.
Where are they going?
I'm not too sure. If I stop thinking thoughts seem to vanish into nothingness.
Exactly. Arise and disappear, in and out of nothingness.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
If it is possible it seems to be really difficult. I've tried stopping thoughts when thinking of something negative by thinking of something else but it usually seems like I have to allow my mind to naturally drift to something else on its own.
Not sure I agree. I can't stop a thought in the middle. Chains may break, or change course.
Why not have another look?
Can you choose what not to think?
This on the other hand seems almost impossible to do. If i tell myself not to think about an elephant an elephant will automatically pop into my mind.
Agreed. Thoughts just appear.
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
yes I can begin to think of something that disgusts me or makes me sad. I can choose to think about the death of my brother right now and I will become sad.
An interesting answer. It seems they can be influenced, but for how long. Soon they will drift off and do their own thing.
(Sorry to hear about your brother).
Are thoughts belonging to a self or just occurring?
After looking at this closely they usually seem to be just occuring. This is most noticeable When I catch myself drifting in thought I realize at that point that were a stream of thoughts going through my mind with no experience of a "self" but just the thoughts themselves. The place where it seems there is a strong sense of "self is when choosing what to think. I seem to have some power of what I decide i'm going to think about.
Yes, very important this. Again we think we are in the driving seat, choosing, deciding and running the show. But is this really true. Generally thought arise. If going away in a timely way lists will be made, suitcasr packed car checked or whatever. But was a separate self required.
Does a bird have a separate self? It can select territory, attack, defend, feed, get a mate, build a nest, rear young.
Complicated behaviours just like us but with or without a self?
Stay noticing thought. Notice how it claims decisions, choices, actions. Notice 'I' stories.
If you can try and spend time in nature. Warch birds and animals. A lot going on but do they have selves?
We imagine we are very different (because we have cars and mobile phones).
But are we?
Then next time we will focus on 'I' thought questions.