A study by Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University found that humans produce approximately 60,000 thoughts per day and that 90 percent of them are repetitive. No one chooses to host this cranial roar. We think we think but we don’t. We are being thought.
To break our attachment to our thoughts, we should not engage with them. What’s required is that we cultivate a certain aloofness, a majestic indifferency to their false urgency and howls for attention.
Every negative thought I’ve ever had has been wrong, misleading or self-destructive. I wish I’d figured this out earlier. See what I mean?
One of Zen’s most archetypal images is that of a monk sweeping. On the outer level, the monk is dealing with sidewalk debris. On the inner level, he is clearing away bot thoughts.
To screen our thoughts as they arise, we can pose one or both of these questions: Is this necessary? Does it serve a purpose? This practice immediately severs our identification with negative thinking.