Thoughts are really words. Words and pictures, and they give rise to feelings. Let’s take a couple of examples. Let us think of breakfast tomorrow. Let us close our eyes and see what happens to our mind when we think of breakfast tomorrow.
So we see bread, we see coffee, whatever is usually there we see. Actually these are pictures that come, and then with the pictures some feelings will come depending on our likes and our dislikes. So actually our thoughts come in the form of images, words and feelings. It sounds so simple. And then what happens to us is that with these things, these pictures, films, we create our suffering.
What is interesting is that with techniques like focusing on breathing, when there are no thoughts none of these things are present, pictures, words, but we are just dealing with the sensations. Words and pictures are always from the past. We can never see pictures and images which we have not experienced before. So only when they are absent can something new happen. This is the beauty of some of the meditation techniques that they help us to have no pictures and so on.
Make your own discoveries about your thoughts, make your own discoveries about your emotions, make your own discoveries about how suffering is created. We are so fortunate to have this mind and body. Sometimes I tell meditators that we can be our own laboratories and we can make experiments, we can make discoveries, we can learn from them.
Without taking anything for granted our whole life becomes learning; and we should develop a taste for it, we should develop a curiosity for it, we should find this very interesting, entertaining, sometimes amusing. So then when you leave this place you can continue to discover, you can continue to learn, you can continue to find out. Then we have this openness that we can learn from anything, we can learn from anyone, not only from the so-called teachers, but life itself becomes the teacher, our mind and body become our teacher, and I think it is a beautiful way to live.