Mindfulness of Thinking Process

In the blog category “Guided Meditations”, I will provide detailed explanations for all the guided meditation tracks that I will place in the Resources section of this website. These blog posts will be hyperlinked from the “Guided Meditations” page under “Resources” menu option where these meditation tracks in mp3 format will be placed for streaming or for downloading.

Within the broad domain of mindfulness, mindfulness of thinking process is a simple method in which we observe the process by which thinking happens in the mind. In a very simplistic way, it can be said that the thinking process occurs through mental images and mental sounds.

Mental images or mental pictures are experiences that, on most occasions, significantly resemble the experience of perceiving some objects but occur when the relevant objects are not actually present to the senses. Mental imagery can sometimes produce the same effects as would be produced by the behavior or experience imagined. In our thinking process, we can embed a lot of information within a few powerful mental images that can trigger many thoughts and emotions.

Mental sounds include verbal sounds in the form of monologue or dialogue. In other words; on many occasions, our thinking involves us talking in monologues or us talking with other people by way of dialogues. Mental sounds can also include non- verbal sounds. A prime example is that on many occasions, our thinking process is dominated by music.

In this meditation, we will observe the thinking process happening in our minds as a dynamic, ever changing flow. As thoughts flow by, we mentally note their underlying process. We note whether they arise as mental sounds in the form of monologues, dialogues or non-verbal sounds or whether they arise as mental images. We perform this noting very gently and try not to get involved in the story of the thoughts. When there are no thoughts, we gently bring your attention back to the breath.

The practice of Mindfulness of thinking process is complementary to the practice of Mental Noting. With Mental Noting, we broadly note the type of thoughts and assign categories like remembering, judging, planning, believing, worrying, fantasizing, etc. or some combination of them. With Thinking process, we note the process by which these thoughts arise. For example, during our practice of Mental Noting; say that we are reminded of a plan to get our car to a tire center to get its tires checked.  We note this thought and assign to it a planning category. From the perspective of thinking process, the planning thought may come about as we mentally talk to ourselves or with someone else about our taking our car to get the tires checked. The planning thought may come about as a mental image of a tire shop that we take our cars to or as a mental image of our car with flat tires.

With both these practices, it is wise to not over analyze our thoughts. We just need to quickly note them in a general way regarding their content or process as they arise, fall away and are replaced by other thoughts. It is also wise to not get involved in the story of the thoughts. The advantages of both these complementary practices is that they allow our thoughts to lose their grip on us, they lose their energies and fall away. We find some freedom even in the midst of raging thoughts that never seem to stop.

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