>> I started the "thought control/witnessing/monitoring" exercise, and I have a new question: Talking about the thoughts, FB writes that:
- "observe your train of thought for five minutes, and make an attempt to remember these thoughts" (p. 66).
- "it will be difficult for him (= the student) to remember all of them" (p. 67).
Does this mean that I not only have to observe the thoughts going through my mind (and remember them immediately after they arose), but that I have to remember all of them at the end of the 6-7-8 minutes of the duration of the exercise ? <<
No. Here again, the Ruggeberg edition gives a very different take on Bardon's words.
Where Merkur has "observe your train of thought for five minutes, and make an attempt to remember these thoughts", Ruggeberg has "observe the train of your thoughts for five minutes trying to retain it." The word "retain" refers to not losing *the train of thoughts*, as is seen in a follow-up statement: "The main point is not to forget yourself, *not to lose the train of thoughts, but to pursue it attentively.*"
The second paragraph that you quote from is NOT an indication that the student is to memorize what thoughts transpired during the observation (that would not be a *passive* approach to one's thoughts!). Rather, this paragraph is pointing out that the mind will quiet itself when you passively observe it and withdraw your participation. This leads to fewer and fewer thoughts and at the end of observing a peaceful mind, the few thoughts that did arise will be memorable, without even *trying* to memorize them. So this paragraph is just pointing out the contrast between how busy the mind is at the outset and how quiet it becomes with practice.
There is a difference between being *aware of* your thoughts and *memorizing* your thoughts. When you attentively observe what transpires in your mind, you will, by the end of the exercise, have witnessed what sorts of thoughts arose and with what frequency and intensity they arose. And like observing anything, what you have observed remains as a memory, of its own accord and not because you have intentionally *memorized* it. At the end of the exercise, it's not what specific thoughts arose in what specific order that's important; it's the overall nature of the thoughts that's important and this requires no memorization.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
09 Jan 2003