by Bhikshu Heng k'ung
Because we are attached to past thoughts, ideas, and concepts, we live in the shadow of absolute reality. Most of us tend to cling to what is familiar to us, and are quite shy when it comes to the unknown. We chose to let what we have already thought about dominate our thinking, and shun unfamiliar thoughts, and new ideas, concepts, and ways of using our minds. Indeed, it is more correct to say that we entertain thoughts, rather than to say that we think.
To "truly think" is a totally new experience. If we could cast aside all of our personal ambitions and desires, and allow our true mind to manifest, we would find that we are being born anew every moment, and that the wonder of our mind unfolding within coincides in a most remarkable way with the world we perceive through our sense organs. The more closely we come to recognize this, the more we will find that the outer world that is perceived through our sense organs is but a projection of our inner life; that in fact, "everything is made from mind alone." Thus when inner and outer worlds are in close harmony, we will find greater happiness in responding to situations, just as when two old friends meet after a long absence.
Unfortunately, our thinking is dominated by selfish imaginings most of the time, and we are strangers to most of the situations we encounter because our self-seeking aims dominate and distort our perceptions of the external world. Some people try to correct these distortions with meditation, not realizing that meditation does not produce true thinking. Meditation just gives us something onto which to harness our wandering mind, so that it can be content without entertaining vain imaginings. Meditation is like a bone that satisfies a dog until the evening when the dog's master arrives and feeds him. Meditation is nothing real in and of itself, but rather is a method that allows us to recognize what is constantly manifesting at every moment, but which is blocked by our false thinking, ambitions, and desires. Rather than sink our teeth into a lot of false thinking about rights and wrongs, goods and bads, of this and that, of situations and people, meditation gives us a topic on which we can center our mind.
So to call the process that takes place when we meditate "thought development" is not exact; perhaps it would be more correct to call it "thought recognition." For all that meditation can do is help us to recognize what is there within us a11 along. The wild horse of the mind has been dragging us about here and there for countless aeons, and must be brought to rest in order that this recognition can take place. As we meditate, gradually we become disentangled from sense-dominated thoughts and individualistic views, ambitions, and desire. We have been feeding and living on these personal thoughts for so long that we have come to believe that no other way of "thinking" exists. But as we gain the strength through meditation to do without these false thoughts and attachments to views, we will discover the wonder of our true mind, and be most content and happy, independent of all our previous ways of thinking. This is the purpose of meditation.