Is there a classification of discoursive mind events?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Florian 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    So this is going to be my first post.
    Fist of all Thank you very much for having this forum.
    (And for having me on this forum…)

    When observing my mind there seem to be various “categories” of discoursive events happening:

    1. There’s your classic discoursive “thought” – the kind that I used to think of being “me”: Some pre-formulation of something I am planning to say (and then most of the times don’t :)), formulations of things I come to understand (“insights” of any kind), any kind of talking to my self, etc.
    This kind of event has a very sticky and heavy texture, it seems to take up much space in the mind, once identification with it has happened.
    It also decreases rather quickly a)in daily life with the amount of overall meditation practice and b)once the mind is settled within each sitting

    2. Then there’s the kind of “thought” that is associated with the practice of labeling. This event has a lighter texture. It is also always analytical, noting or in form of a formulated command or intention (i.e. “Now I’m going to shift attention to the front of my left foot”), and always concerned with the present moment.
    What I noticed with this kind of “thought” is that it occurs more frequently (when I started meditating it was practically constant)
    It also decreases much slower than the first kind of thought (It does decrease over time though).
    It also seems to be connected with any change of intention (i.e. when I shift my attention from one object to another, a “mental comment” will arise)

    Can anyone confirm my experience with these two kinds of “thoughts”?
    Is there maybe even some description of this already around?

    Thanks and greetings.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Florian.

    Tim Clark

    Yes, there is a classification. It is called Distractions. Generally speaking, they are all the same. Unfortunately, they are also all different. Think about a box of animal crackers.

    The trick is too quickly recognize that your mind has gone to visit the fairies and to gently and compassionately come back to your object of meditation (breath?) and to do this without judging what the fairies had to say or that you went to visit them at all.

    Remember, distractions are not the enemy, they are opportunities to develop mindfulness.

    The next time a distraction comes to visit say, “Hi distraction, I am sorry but I am sitting right now and can not visit” and go back to your breath.




    I do think it helps to categorize thoughts. This is the benefit I get from labeling distractions. The idea is to recognize them quickly in the future before they snag you. A distraction such as a physical sound is easy to recognize, but some kinds of thoughts are downright sneaky and require extra vigilance.


    Tim Clark

    Hi Ward,

    When you have a distraction go ahead and label it, but keep your labels general. An example is a bird sound. You label it as sound. Not bird sound, nor Robin sound. Anything past labeling is one step down the rabbit hole.



    Hi Tim, hi ward,

    Thanks to both of you for taking the time to respond.

    My question is not so much about meditation practice per se, I’m rather looking for a conceptual framework here.

    (To give you a bit of background information about where I’m coming from with this question:
    I’m working with TMI, and find myself in stage four – Mindwandering has pretty much disappeared – down to a frequency of maybe once every two sittings.At the moment I’m working on Introspective Awareness and overwoming Gross Distractions.)

    @ward: agree, some thoughts are way sneakier than others :9
    @Tim: I found it actually helpful to “sublabel” my discoursive mind events. Turns out, there’s certain issues that tend to capture my attention more than others.

    May you be happy and content.



    Hey Florian,
    Check out the graphic on P184. There you will see the components of the discriminating mind.

    Mucho metta,



    Hi Eric,

    thanks for pointing out the book.

    Actually, I think something I read in the fifth Interlude (on the Mind System Model) about Metacognitive Introspective Awareness plays part in the concept I had when starting this thread (page 212):

    “Metacognitive introspective awareness is not just awareness of individual thoughts, memories, and emotions arising and passing. It’s a much more powerful and useful form of introspective awareness. In this type of awareness, the narrating mind takes the individual mental objects in peripheral awareness, processes and binds them together, and then projects a description of the current state and activities of the mind into consciousness. These binding moments of introspective awareness provide a comprehensive awareness of the mind itself.”

    So might “Thought type No 2” be a verbalized output of Introspective Awareness?

    Howewer, maybe we should lay this topic to rest.

    Thanks again for your input and much Happiness

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