When I first learned the labeling practice, differentiating the six sense fields of sensation, taste, smell, sound, sight and thought, thoughts came up saying thought, that is not really a sense field, but OK, I can see it can be called that to not make it too complicated.
But the more I explore thought, the more I come to see it as a sense field, similar to the others in several ways.
The thought field is similar to the other fields in that it…
- Is content of awareness, just like sensations, sight, etc.
- Comes and goes on its own, lives its own life on its own schedule, as the other ones
- Really just mimic the other fields, with visual thoughts (visualizations), auditory thoughts, and so on.
So in immediate awareness, the thought field is not so different from the other sense fields.
Yet it is also different in an important way.
Thoughts create an overlay onto the other sense fields, sometimes making it difficult to sort out what is what unless we look. This is how conglomerates are made, or gestalts taken as solid and real and “out there” in the world if not noticed as gestalts, or as simply an appearance made up of for instance sensation and thought when they are.
This is how an emotion comes to appear as real and substantial in itself, when it is really just a sensation and a story.
(Most obviously, the label, the story of which emotion it is. Then, possibly stories saying it shouldn’t be there or go away, which creates resistance which in turn makes it appear even more substantial and real. And then also, initially and often fueled throughout the process, the stories of how what is or what may be should be different, which triggered the emotion in the first place.)
And also a sense of extent, of perception spread out in space and each one appearing in a different location in space. Of continuity, a stitching together of thoughts such as memories of what was, thoughts of what is (which is really just a memory of what just was), and scenarios of what may be. Of an inside and outside, formed by an imaginary boundary which lassoes certain areas of the sense fields saying it is inside (a selection of sensations, sounds, sights, tastes and smells, which thoughts say comes from this human self, and also most or all thoughts.) Of a center and periphery, with the center located in a specific place in space. Of subject and object, with the subject often located in space at or close to the center. And finally, of an I and Other, which is created through imaginary boundaries such as inside/outside, of an overlay of center/periphery, and subject/object.