You know how and when it happens. A thought, usually negative, comes into your mind. This thought, of course, brings in spousal/brother/sister/cousin thoughts and then gives birth to new baby thoughts which grow and mature until you have an uninvited party of discursive thoughts in your head. A regular Irish family reunion of familiar thoughts intermingling in your head. Some refer to this as monkey mind. Does this happen to you? Yes? Read on.
Your thoughts are not you. What does this mean? Thoughts are like clouds moving across the clear blue sky. Thoughts are obscurations clouding what we all share, pure essence, or Buddha nature. Buddha nature is our true essence. Everyone shares this essence, primordial mind or Buddha Nature.
Attaching to thoughts is how we suffer. 2500 years ago in Buddha’s first lesson to his students was on the realization he had under the Bodhi tree, known as the 4 Noble Truths. 1) Life is suffering, 2) the cause of suffering is striving, 3) there is a cessation of suffering, 4) Cessation is by following the Eight Fold path.
When thoughts overwhelm us it is a challenge to purge the mind of thoughts. Don’t try. It’s futile. Meditation practice is an effort to better understand how we attach to the thoughts that run through our mind. Taming the mind is the path. Taming this mind of ours is how we reach mastery of our mind and thus clarity. Through a guided practice of meditation one will learn to allow thoughts to come and go like clouds across a clear blue sky. Not purging rather, simply not attaching or grasping after the thoughts. Letting go, allowing each to pass.