Instructions for Compassionate Mindfulness of Thoughts (“handshaking thoughts”)

After you have familiarized with mindfulness of feelings in daily practice for some days, you may notice that many chains of thought in the mind are driven by feelings associated with them. At this point, you can increasingly notice thoughts as just thoughts, while remaining in touch with associated feelings in the body. The aim here is to notice the thoughts as thoughts, rather than to focus on their objects. For example, if a thought arises of something you need to do later today, rather than ruminating about what you need to do, sense it as just a thought, and be aware of it in a gentle, welcoming way, as with feelings. As practice deepens, you may find your mind rest right in the essence of thoughts, letting them simply arise and dissolve in their own way.

  • From Lama John Makransky