As I continue to explore the thoughts through choiceless awareness practice (labeling the six sense fields, including thoughts) it becomes easier to directly see thoughts, and their effects, as they arise here and now. The jumble of perception and thoughts mixed in with each other is differentiated, which makes it easier to see what they are in their selves, and also how they combine to create gestalts.
It is especially interesting to explore the image thoughts, thoughts mimicking the visual field. These are overlaid on most perceptions in different ways, and serve as cues for emotions and reactions, and as a source of material for discursive thoughts.
The basic image thoughts include…
- Space, a visual image of space overlaid on perceptions, creating a sense of space and of perceptions spread out and located in particular areas of space.
- Continuity. Or rather, an image of time (past, future, present) with memories of perceptions overlaid onto it. Without this, no sense of continuity.
- Body image, which serve to map bodily sensations, smell and taste, and other perceptions. Body images also serve as a guide for identifying sensations that can serve as an anchor for a sense of a separate self, and then amplify these sensations when needed through tension, so they are more prominent and even give a sense of solidity to lend to the sense of separate self. And body images also serve in locating thoughts in and around this body, even thought they arise nowhere and everywhere in immediate perception, prior to this particular filter.
- Separate self image, and an image of a center here and periphery our there. This one is usually anchored to the body image. The body image serves as a guide for where to place the separate self image, and where the center is located in space. Space image > body image > separate self image > center/periphery image > identity images > etc.
- Identity images, defining how this particular separate self is different from other ones. As soon as there is a sense of separation between this separate self and another, I can find an image to go with it, and see how this image is taken as real and identified with. For instance, there is physical attraction, and I see that images of me as man and the other one as woman is there, triggering the sense of attraction (along with other images saying what is attractive). And in seeing that, the solidity of it falls away (although it is still available to play with).
- Boundary images, as permeable or more solid, creating an I and Other, and an inside and outside.
- Metaphors we organize our world by, such as up=good, down=not so good, etc.
- And even the archetypes in a Jungian sense…. the wise old man, the hero, and so on.
They are all image thoughts, organizing and mapping perception, serving as cues for emotions and reactions, providing material for discursive thought, and much more. And they are all directly seen as they arise, overlaid on naked perception.
Labeling practice is very helpful, which helps me see how image thoughts are placed on top of just about any perception. A sound, then an image of a crow. A sound, an image of a car on the road. A sensation, an image of the ankle. A taste, an image of the mouth and tongue, and an apple.
Simple experiments are also helpful, such as first visualizing my left hand with eyes closed, then move the hand and notice how the image of the hand moves with it, then opening my eyes and notice the perception of the hand with the thought image of the hand overlaid.
Lately, as I go about my daily life, I can especially see how identities only come from image thoughts, overlaid on pure perception.