Have you ever wished you could read minds? It seems like an incredible super power. There are some obvious perks: you’d do very well on game shows that ask trivia questions, and you’d know what the silent teenager across from you at the dinner table was actually thinking. But the gilded idea of mind reading would very quickly become exposed as a major disappointment.
Our minds operate according to the same structure, with different content for each person. The mind uses the content of your life to fuel its never-ending cycle of thought after thought. It also efficiently uses those thoughts to build up momentum for its continued operation.
Even though it seems logical to base your thoughts about another person on the thoughts they have or share with you, in reality they are a human being who also happens to contain the same thought-creating machine you do, and more often than not that machine is running on autopilot. Mind reading would only end up telling you what content that person’s mind uses to fuel its incessant thinking, and not who that person truly is.
Can you tell which thoughts you consciously choose to entertain versus those that randomly fire of their own accord?
If I am honest and aware, I can tell that the majority of my thoughts are produced by a mind on autopilot with no actual prompting decision to engage in thinking. I don’t consider this a failure, rather it is liberating!
When you can watch your thoughts and notice which ones were on purpose, and which ones were involuntary, you can choose to not take the autopilot thinking too seriously. The more you notice involuntary thinking, the more you are able to choose thoughts that are of some purpose for you instead. Thoughts of worry, fear, judgment, complaints, and attachment are then seen for what they really are; firmly established patterns of the mind that fuel its autopilot mode of thinking. They are nothing to take too seriously in yourself, or in others. Now the mind is no longer using you, you are using the mind.