I’m having a hard time labeling thoughts. I was trying to figure out what to label and ended up just spending more time thinking.
I did find I could bring myself back using labels. But sometimes I’d just be completely checked out for a long time before I noticed. Once I noticed, I’d want to label but then I’d begin thinking about what I’d been thinking about! Like I was trying to figure out what to label and ended up just spending more time thinking. What do you think about that?
You do have to watch out for the trap of thinking too much about the labels. That’s why the generic “thinking” can be so useful. For me personally, I’ve discovered that the vast majority of my thoughts can be labeled “planning”: planning what I’ll say to whom or when I’ll do what. It’s quite funny really. I can even sometimes catch myself planning what label to use. Then I really laugh at myself. Anytime I find myself in those kinds of circular thought patterns, I go back to using “thinking” because it helps me get back into observing mind. If you begin to notice a pattern of always wanting to find the perfect label, you might find that there are other times that your thoughts are about wanting things to be just right or a certain way. It can be very interesting to notice the pattern of “wanting” and to use that as your label. But the main thing is to not let yourself get too caught up in picking a label or you’ll find you’ve been washed away by the river yet again. And remember, the very moment you notice you are checked out, you are no longer checked out; you are back in the present.