As one delves into archetypes and the structures of thought, one may get the impression that man is a veritable thinking machine. To verify this let’s just sit, be quiet, and listen. Don’t try to quiet your mind, just let it run. Concentrate on your breath for a few breaths and then listen, listen to what’s going on inside of your head. Just sit there and observe the train of thoughts one leading to the other, see if you can’t pick out a different tone of voice or expression of the thoughts as if they’re coming from different people. The more you observe the more you will notice that certain types of things come from certain places, or have a certain tone of voice, or leave certain image impressions.
If you’ve never noticed these voices in your head before don’t be alarmed. In general most people will identify their thoughts with verbal constructions. Getting this never-ending chatter to quiet down is the main thrust of most meditative processes. Don’t worry about the voices in your head until they start talking to you all the time and you can’t make them shut up… That is probably an issue.
The three minds
G.I. Gurdjieff made a very eloquent categorization of our thoughts. He described this in one of his efforts to explain the mechanicalness of the relationships within the enneagram. As it is related by P.D. Ouspensky in In Search of the Miraculous.
The triad of a thinking, moving, and feeling thoughts becomes apparent as one tries to observe what their mind is doing rather than attempt to quiet it. Just a few moments in and one will find there is a lot of endless chatter in the mind. Often, we are taught to use meditation to quiet the mind. Instead try to just observe, look and listen to what is going on. These are the things you think about when you’re not paying attention to the thoughts you’re having.
These three distinct separations of our thoughts are each composed of groups of thoughts. These three separations are usually apparent by how they communicate. They speak in different languages.
The first field of the mind, the thinking thoughts, will usually come across as words. Our thinking and reasoning mind creates thoughts that are structured as words. That’s a hint that tells us that these are thinking thoughts we are observing.
The second field of the mind, the moving thoughts, will usually come across as images. The thoughts that support our body and its movements in the world are usually image based. A great deal of how we find ourselves in the environment is based on images.
The third Field of the mind, the emotional thoughts, is composed of feelings that seem to move through the entire body. Things like hunger, fear, and longing.
Take some time to sit in the quiet and look inside and see if you can segregate your thoughts into these three groups. What tell-tale signs do you notice? Focusing on our thought process can reveal some interesting things about how we think, with or without ourselves.