We cannot confront thought at the level of thought.
Imagine that there is a still pond. Now imagine that the slightest–or, in some instances, the most volatile–stirring or agitation disturbs the surface of the pond. In this analogy, the stirring or agitations are what we rather inaptly (approximately) call “feelings.” The full-fledged forms–here, waves and ripples–we know as “thoughts.”
We think that we can dissolve our suffering by paying attention only to the ripples and waves and to the patterns of ripples and waves. But this is not so. For the stirrings or agitations, being more basic, are those we need to return to. Otherwise, the pond will be stirred again and again, and we will find ourselves seeking to confront the same course thoughts again and again. Otherwise, won’t we keep trying to get rid of something–in thought, through thought? Otherwise, won’t we keep trying to do something to improve our situation–as much in thought as in action?
Ask yourself, “How effective has this approach been?” And be very honest with yourself.
We need, therefore, to admit that we’ve got it all wrong. Drop all the discursiveness and go back and take a loving look at that from which these thoughts arose. Which feeling or feelings are those from which they spring? What stirred this all up in the first place?
From here, go back even further until the pond is seen for what it is really is: clear, pristine, unperturbed because imperturbable.
Indeed, when we dwell with feelings, soon it becomes clear that the feelings always arise in, out of, and through the pond that never ceased being a pond. The pond is the vast space from all stirrings emerge.
But then here’s the thing: we are, and have never been other than, the pond. It was only our single-minded fixation on waves and ripples that led us to believe that we were something other than this.
We are not what we think we are. We are what we are.