W4L2: Eastern Ideas on the Nature of Thoughts

Overview & Purpose

  • Eastern Ideas on the Nature of Thoughts:
  • Samskara: Our subliminal imprints/mental impressions
  • Vasana: Our latent tendencies/habitual ways
  • Karma: Our Actions

What is First Thought

  • First/honest thoughts have unique and subtle qualities
  • They seem to arrive or arise without effort.

First, Thoughts are not connected to other ideas at that point when they occur in consciousness.

Hesitation and resistance are the opposite of First Thought. 

Uncertainty and resistance indicate analysis paralysis. In the Thinking Mind, a person identifies with a logical series of thoughts and becomes trapped in those thoughts. The Thinking Mind has pulled rank at the moment. At this point, the person is not capable of inspiration or original ideas. Their conclusions are made up, contrived.

Spontaneous First Thought, even if nonsensical, or just an image, a sound or shape is still pure.

Two Camps of thought on ‘thought’:

Eastern Camp:

(Feeling Mind) Our thoughts are not linked together in a series. They are single thought forms, appearing, disappearing, reappearing differently and disappearing again. (Example of nothingness in a vacuum)

The East’s great traditions explain why thoughts themselves are not linked, and this wisdom leads to the nature of the mind itself and its true essence and function.

Western Camp:

(Thinking Mind) Our thoughts are linked together in a series creating this continuity of the person we ‘think’ we are.

What causes this linkage?

It is a bit of a mystery whether it is a natural function of the mind or just a habit?

What is Ego?

A series of connected thoughts, ‘thought’ to be connected, create a sense of ego self-identification.

All suffering is born of desires (Buddhist 2nd noble truth). The mind is seeking itself and looking for evidence of its existence in the realm of impermanence.

Seeking is the signature of the mind’s action. The nature of the seeking is the mind trying to find evidence of itself, to feel safe, looking to find a secure position. The mind is seeking to objectify itself.

It feels unsafe, uncertain of itself in the mind’s infinite space, with its formlessness in emptiness. You can’t fill infinity. It’s this crazy-making endless and elusive process of trying to create ‘self’ instead of discovering your true nature.

Here’s the kicker. Without the experience of ego, we’d have no reason to be alive or to create the desire to know ‘thyself.’

What is Prajna:

  • Wisdom, Feeling Mind Intelligence
  • Non-dual thoughts
  • Immediate and appropriate to the situation
  • The highest and purest form of knowledge, intelligence and understanding
  • Direct insight into the truth taught by the Buddha, as a faculty required to attain enlightenment

It is important to note that Prajna wants to see its diction ‘quickly’ apprehended, giving us no intervening moment for reflection or interpretation. For this reason, Prajna is like a flash of lightning or a spark from two striking pieces of flint. “Quickness’ does not refer to the progress of time’; it means immediacy, absence of deliberation, no allowance for premises to conclusion.” D.T. Suzuki.

Is meditation hard?

“One reason is that there is something inherently hard in spending time alone with the clutter in our heads. It’s hard to avoid your internal contradictions, long-repressed fears, and constant need for validation when you’re doing nothing but sitting still observing your breath.”


How do I know if I am meditating correctly?

You feel a greater calm. You can have periods of more profound peace either during your meditation or after your practice. You may even experience some reluctance to end your meditation period. One of the main signs of progress in meditation is to be more relaxed with the idea or not to make progress.


Zen Breath Meditation: Focus on your breath. Follow it as it passes over your lips or nostrils.

How do you know your Self Connection Practice is working?

  • Do you feel a little more relaxed in your daily activities?
  • Do you feel a little clearer in your thinking?
  • Do you feel like you have a slightly better understanding of others around you?
  • Do you have a little more understanding of your self-awareness?

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