Tuesday, December 12, 2006

About thoughts

Where do our thoughts come from? Where do they go when we finish thinking them? Here's a little poem that plays with such questions:

A thought went up my mind to-day
That I have had before,
But did not finish,--some way back,
I could not fix the year,

Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.

But somewhere in my soul, I know
I've met the thing before;
It just reminded me--'t was all--
And came my way no more.

-- Emily Dickinson

Some years ago, I kept a dream catcher in the meditation hall. I used to joke with meditation students that their thoughts got trapped by the dream catcher and that late at night I took it and shook it outside to clear it of all the thoughts that had accumulated!

The important thing to remember about thoughts is not to identify with them. A thought is something I have - not something I am. Remember that and just let thoughts arise and dissolve as they will. Do not try to control them, do not become attached to them. Just notice them, accept them without judgment, let them go, and then bring the mind back to the present moment. This is the way to freedom.

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