Nice to have you back again ;-)
hey, glad to hear it!I seem to be getting somewhere with recognising thoughts as just thoughts.
i like the analogy with the bodythoughts as just being an element of experience - happily ticking away like the body just ticks away - without me doing anything about it.
so, as for 'identification'...
this is a really good area to look - how this 'sense of self' is bound up with a particular flavour of thought.What I noticed is that sometimes thought or awareness is more intense and focused and that this gave more of a sense of identification with thinking. Something like “oh this is going somewhere, (e.g. with the process of looking), therefore there must be someone behind this, some agency.” It actually wasn’t as clear cut as that, more with the mind cranking up and getting focused, it seemed like the sense of self was stronger.
Beware of the term 'identification' to describe this flavour of thought, though - the word carries baggage.... if there is "identification" then the implication is that "this" is identified with "that" ... in other words, "the self (I)" is identified with "this thought" ... so by thinking in TERMS of 'identification' you cannot help ASSUMING a 'self' separate from the thoughts
... but back to your observations... so there some thoughts which just tick on like bodily functions, yet others which feel, you might say, 'owned', 'believed', 'driven', or in which awareness is 'embedded', and which are associated with a stronger sense of self? some thoughts, in other words, that are obviously "not I", yet others that seem to be (or to be thought by) "I"?
I really like 'cranking up' and 'getting focused' as descriptions of second kind of thought by the way - these terms come from direct experience and don't invite the assumption of a self separate from the thought. The more you can pick out the actual characteristics of this particular 'flavour' of thought in direct experience, the better.
It can be interesting to explore these 'focused' ('identified-with') thoughts by seeing to what extent it is possible to take control of the thinking process... for example, say to yourself "I am now going to have a thought, and that thought is: " .... and wait .... do you know in advance what the thought will be?
... or, noticing a 'focused'/'identified' thought, is it possible to continue it deliberately?
This may help reveal whether there is any qualitative difference between thoughts ticking away when you are calm, and those that seem more 'real'/'charged'/'identified'.
Particularly, can you notice anything about the second kind of thought that is actually evidence of an "I" being involved? Is there anything in the quality of the thought itself that indicates the presence of "I", or is "I thought that" just another thought after the event?
Some caveats:A question I have is; does seeing through the sense of self mean that identification with thought stops happening?
- there is nothing completely cut-and-dried about any aspect of the process or its fruits
- everyone is different
- old habits typically remain little changed in the short run, they have inertia that wears down only over time
- it is generally best not to worry too much about the fruits of the process, expectations get in the way