Our Endless Stream of Thoughts

One of our biggest challenges well might be how to deal wisely and compassionately with the endless stream of thoughts that our minds produce.  Jack Kornfeld, in his book The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology, calls this stream the Waterfall.

We must learn some things about this waterfall that are at first not obvious.  First, it is not an accurate representation of ‘reality’.  What seems to us a description is more like a distorting lens that turns our perceptions into installments in our ongoing story.  And second, perhaps the true foundation of wisdom and compassion, is the recognition that this stream of thought is not who we are.  These thoughts are not our identity, we do not own them, and we do not produce them.

As this understanding deepens, we can compassionately question our thoughts and return to the presence of this moment.

The waterfall is not a problem – its presence is part of our humanity. What is missing is a clear understanding of its nature and the compassionate skill to embrace the stream of thoughts without getting swept away.