I'm sorry for the late response, my sister was in a bad car accident and has been in the hospital. She seems to be doing better, but its been up and down the past few days.
Yes, I'd love the recording from the meditation course. Thank you!
Where are they coming from and going to?
I have no idea. They seem to come out of no where and then vanish. Obviously I can go into the neuroscience, which doesn't really tell us much more than this anyway, but in the experience of this exercise I cant find any start or finish. The thoughts appear and the origination and dissipation seem to happen so quickly I don't see it. It's kind of like the "self". I was told how I came into existence, but no matter how hard I try I don't remember being born.
Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
No. I see how sometimes outside stimuli seems to trigger a particular thought or thoughts, but I don't really choose that. I can attempt to make my surroundings more desirable for practices like these, but cant really control my environment/experience. Awareness of the experience arises as does the awareness of the thought about the experience, I didn't choose either.
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
No. By the time I become aware of the thought, the thought has come and then gone. Sometimes I felt like I'm having the thought that I had a thought. Actually it usually seems that way.
Can you predict your next thought?
I was not once able to predict my next thought, so no.
Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?
I wish! No, definitely not.
Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?
Nope. I am already having it by the time I'm aware I'm having it. These does not seem to be any steering away from one type of thought to another. It seems like most thoughts are pretty neutral until i attach to them and get wrapped up in their content. Like I had the thought someone didn't call me back when they said they would, and that was just a thought until I attached to it and thought that means that I'm not important to them and on and on and then it became painful. I guess "i'm not important to them" is also just a thought though.
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
I seem to be able to sometimes direct my attention towards one thing or another, but I can't pick the thought that comes up.
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?
Unfortunately, no, not in my experience.
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence? Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’?
It does seem like one thought follows another, like with the thought about the friend not returning the phone call and then attaching the thought "I'm not important to them" to that thought. But, essentially, it's just a thought telling me that too. I can't know that one creates the other.
Look closely and let me know how that goes for you.
It's pretty bizarre to just watch the mind without believing it or following the thoughts. That voice just constantly drones on and on! It seems to come up with stuff that centers around the situations currently going on in my life, but if it don't attach to those thoughts then it just comes up with all kinds of random stuff, and I can really see how not in control of them I am. In seeing this, it becomes easier to relax as I become less bothered and attached to what thoughts are going through my head. I also feel some fear come up..."who am I if I'm not this voice in my head?" "Will life be boring?" "Will I not care about anything?". I guess these are more thoughts too. When I do this work they come up. It feels like a fear of dying. I know it's the ego death, but it feels like a panic almost.