I've been playing lately with watching my thoughts. Kind of like cloud watching. I just take a step back from within myself and watch my thoughts go by. It's amazing and somewhat startling the number of thoughts we have every day. To stop and be aware of them is a very interesting process.
The other day I got triggered by some information about someone I knew. Immediately my brain was on fire with thoughts about this person from the past and worries about this person in the future. Within seconds I'd created this big story linked to about 10 other memories and they were linked to another 10 memories. And those memories triggered more stories and more worry and more fear. And then rage and anger and grief. Before I knew it, I was in a full-blown emotional response, crying and feeling like I wanted to kill someone.
Once I was able, I stepped back and just looked at all those thoughts, without judgment, without the need to analyze them or label them and realized they were just thoughts, mind-stuff, all stuff that my mind had generated to protect my ego from the illusion of who I thought I was.
I wonder how much of our suffering in this life is self-generated. How much of it is our attempt to protect our egos from the death they so well deserve. How often we weave these stories in our minds to justify our "rightness" and another's "wrongness". How we create drama to keep ourselves from seeing what is real. For what is underneath all this mind-stuff? Who is the watcher?