Master had a disciple who was always absorbed in a world of his own. He generally had that far away look and seemed to snap out of a mental trance whenever somebody addressed him.
Once he was standing next to the master in courtyard when master asked him to fetch some seed for birds. As was his state, master’s words did not register with him. Master turned to take a look and smilingly held his arm. Shaken and visibly embarrassed the disciple started to apologize profusely.
Master kind and benevolent as always, said ”do you know you can make these thoughts the road to your enlightenment”.
The disciple was curious. Other disciples also crowded in. They sensed Master was about to offer his wisdom, extempore.
“There are 7 categories of thoughts that your mind naturally indulges in”, Master stated.
“Three categories are related to cognition of events in time:
1) Observations about the present moment
2) Memories of past moments.
3) Thoughts that develop future scenarios for events yet to occur.
Next three category of thoughts are related to mind’s evaluation of these events:
4) Judgments about whether something is good or bad, right or wrong for you and your kin.
5) Storytelling thoughts that try to connect and explain why things happen.
6) Planning, thoughts around activities that you want to do next.
Finally there are thoughts which are based on blue sky thinking.
7) random fantasies and what if scenarios, based on predicting and imagining sundry situations.”
Thus explaining the master paused. None of the disciplines said anything as they all waited for the master to continue uninterrupted.
In his gentle flowing voice, Master carried on “When you are seeking liberation the idea is not to get taken in by the content of individual thoughts. Your task is to identify and label their category as above. As soon as a thought arises you fix its label “Planning, Storytelling, Past Memory, What if…..
“Remember” master cautioned ”the biggest blocks against total freedom are illusions and deceptions that block its path. A sharpened mind much like a fine edged axe, is the only weapon to cut through those obstructions. So when you label your thoughts you expand your consciousness around how it works. This enhanced awareness sharpens a regular mind which left alone is just a blunt instrument.
Finally as you become proficient with labeling,the flow of thoughts start to slow down and get less automatic. By and by you will notice all category of thoughts decreasing in numbers as also that you will be able to get on and get off them, whenever you want. Thats the sign of mind cutting its routine work load and relaxing. It is then free of illusions and ready for deeper perceptions.