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how to notice subconscious thoughts

how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/17/17 10:02 PM
Hi,

Having difficulty noticing thought content.  When I try to pay attention there's rarely anything there that I can notice.  And yet I know there must be a ton of subconscious thoughts churning away because I feel an anxiety in the chest and throat.

Sometimes if I come to it quickly, I can see I was thinking something in particular, but it's not usually negative.

How do I find out what the thoughts are?  Any suggestions please?

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/17/17 11:06 PM as a reply to LoveQuest.
I suggest that the difficulty comes from trying too hard to pin down a thought. Such is impossible and thus the difficulty arises. I recommend investigating (via self-inquiry ("what's upstream of a thought?" or also via simple bare attention to mental silence) the source from which thought arises from, or the destination to which the thought pass to.

Bringing awarness to the source of thought will lead attention to naturally notice the subsequent arising thought. 

Also, instead of directing awareness to intangible thought, perhaps shine awareness to the physical sensations you mention, choose one. Rest on the sensation of the chest area or the throat area. Then simply apply and sustain awareness to the qualities and characteristics of the physical sensations. Paying attention this will naturally release the fabrications that cause the imbalance to arise in awareness. The imbalance may not be vocal-thought. Subconciousness is a stream or flow of semi-coagulated, non and pre verbal mental energies that occasionally congeal into verbal thought or physical body sensation. 

My 2 cents. 

-Thomas

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/18/17 6:21 AM as a reply to Thomas Jackson-Brown.
Thomas Jackson-Brown:
I suggest that the difficulty comes from trying too hard to pin down a thought. Such is impossible and thus the difficulty arises. I recommend investigating (via self-inquiry ("what's upstream of a thought?" or also via simple bare attention to mental silence) the source from which thought arises from, or the destination to which the thought pass to.

Bringing awarness to the source of thought will lead attention to naturally notice the subsequent arising thought. 

Also, instead of directing awareness to intangible thought, perhaps shine awareness to the physical sensations you mention, choose one. Rest on the sensation of the chest area or the throat area. Then simply apply and sustain awareness to the qualities and characteristics of the physical sensations. Paying attention this will naturally release the fabrications that cause the imbalance to arise in awareness. The imbalance may not be vocal-thought. Subconciousness is a stream or flow of semi-coagulated, non and pre verbal mental energies that occasionally congeal into verbal thought or physical body sensation. 

My 2 cents. 

-Thomas

Thanks for these suggestions. 

If I pay attention to the feeling, I can see symbols and colours - all sorts of things.  The symbols change but the sensation doesn't.  That makes me feel they're not connected.  Could you comment on that please?

Actually the feeling starts to ease a bit if I continue.  But when I stop focussing on it, the sensation re-appears.  I'd like to be free of it forever.

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/19/17 7:14 PM as a reply to LoveQuest.
How do I find out what the thoughts are?  Any suggestions please?

You can't analyze what you don't experience. Much of the processing our brains do is not visible to us, so I'd advise focusing on what you CAN experience. This is key - the effects those unseen, unexperienced processes are having on your conscious experience is what you should observe and analyze if you're practicing vipassana meditation (I'm assuming you are, of course). The alternative is to be constantly guessing about things and getting nowhere. 

BTW - I'm just restating what Thomas told you, just in a different way.

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/19/17 1:27 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi LoveQuest,

For this kind of exploration I really like this guided meditation from Shinzen Young... i've led a version of this several times in sitting groups and it seems really helpful for getting the required "distance" to notice thoughts(visual thoughts, auditory thoughts, and subtle thought energy).  The method works by encouraging you to broaden your attention and make it more receptive and vast vs. penetrative or identified.

http://www.diydharma.org/guided-meditation-thinking-process-shinzen-young

The basic gist is to work with noticing thoughts, then switch to a mode of sense perception like "sounds" or "visuals" or "body sensations" in a broad, receptive, or vast way, then switch back to observing thought with the same meditative stance.

Some people recommend doing something similar with a broad perception of body sensations vs. sound but I find sound is easier to keep things less personal, and less investigative/penetrative.  I think it's very helpful to open the possiblity of visual images here - some people discard awareness of them to a degree (sometimes totally), but when you begin to include them you might end up less identified with the auditory thread and be able to investigate it all more easily.  It is the identification that makes it hard to "catch" the thoughts, partially.

Good luck!

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/20/17 9:15 PM as a reply to : ladyfrog :.
Thanks for the contributions guys.

ladyfrog, that's very helpful info.  That last sentence.  It's sort of like you have to pretend you're attending to something else and suddenly switch to the auditory or visual in order to have half a chance of knowing what they are.

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/21/17 7:15 AM as a reply to LoveQuest.
Vipassana meditiation is all about exposing what you thought you couldn't experience but really can experience. Think about how your experience is constructed. Do you know? You can!

Dependent Origination.

RE: how to notice subconscious thoughts
Answer
7/21/17 12:35 PM as a reply to LoveQuest.
LoveQuest:
Hi,

Having difficulty noticing thought content.  When I try to pay attention there's rarely anything there that I can notice.  And yet I know there must be a ton of subconscious thoughts churning away because I feel an anxiety in the chest and throat.

Sometimes if I come to it quickly, I can see I was thinking something in particular, but it's not usually negative.

How do I find out what the thoughts are?  Any suggestions please?
A very short practice instruction, not very different from some of what is already above:

"...observe what is easily discernible".  And then notice what gets in the way.  Eventually thoughts will be what is getting in the way.