Nature of our mind is to think. We cannot stop thinking.
We think of wholesome things as well as unwholesome things. Thinking of generosity, compassion, loving-kindness, non-covetousness are wholesome thinking. Thinking of unwholesome things will be the exact opposite of wholesome thinking.
We think of past events and associated past emotions. We remember the hurt of the past and anger arises. We think of not getting what we wanted and was jealous at someone getting it, such as promotion. We play out these events in our mind and get embroiled in it all over again.
We think of future and arise emotions attached to future events. Often times, we plan what we want to do. We think of future and think the worst that may happen. We worry about it. We may fantasize about the future and derive temporary happiness.
We also think in the moment on task on hand. We concentrate and get lost in the activities.
So we think the past, the present and the future. Our mind is so busy every second. Many thoughts occurred in that second. We cannot catch all the thoughts as they happen, especially subtle thoughts. We may not recall what thoughts have passed by in our mind.
With thoughts, we may take actions that may be unskillful. For example, when we are angry with someone, we are not fully aware how angry we are. We may hit out at that person in the moment. With unwholesome thoughts, we may dwell deeper in the thinking and do not know how to snap out of it quickly. What a waste of mental energy this brings.
Bodily and verbal actions arise from the thinking mind. When we can be clear and aware of thoughts that come into mind, we can reduce unwholesome bodily and verbal actions.
What can we do? First start off by being aware of as much thoughts that come to mind. We cannot prevent negative thinking since the role of our mind is to think. We just note both positive and negative thinking. Just note the thinking and reduce tendency to follow through the thoughts if they are unwholesome. Over long practices, we hope to reduce the span of time we dwell in one single negative thought. With awareness, comes restrains in carrying out negative body, speech and further mind actions.
Over time, we hope to achieve peace of mind with wholesome thoughts.