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November 23, 2012

Student: Where do wandering thoughts come from during meditation?

Master: Every single moment your mind is working for you, and every single moment you have brainwaves. This is the sign that your mind is working; that it is creating thoughts. You can only remember some of the thoughts you create, but those are of consciousness. However, you fail to perceive the vast majority of the thoughts you create. You do not even know they are appearing. The pursuit of peacefulness in meditation brings us to the question of awareness versus non-awareness. By this I refer to consciousness and sub-consciousness. With the former, you notice the occurrence of thoughts and phenomena, and you are aware of such occurrences. The latter–sub-consciousness–means all wandering thoughts and habitual thinking patterns. They are at the level of the subconscious. For example, you can think, “This is my idea . . . .” That, however, is at the level of consciousness. Both levels are creations of your mind. Consciousness is such that you are aware of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, but at the subconscious level you cannot be “aware” of them. They simply pop up. You have no control, nor are you even aware of them. You do not notice them, and they just emerge. How many thoughts do you have in a day? They are countless. How many thoughts do you remember? They belong to the level of consciousness. How many thoughts do you remember?  You do not even know that they appear in your life. The number cannot be counted. We refer to this level as sub-consciousness.