Thought Watching

(an excerpt from a Vernon Howard talk)

Thought WatchingYou concentrate at the start by taking a specific worry, a specific haunting. That person you know that you had a difficulty with in some way, I want you to notice how a picture of that person comes up into your mind, right? Physical picture. How a thought about that person comes up to your mind. How a solution toward the problem comes up–excuse me, solutions come up into your mind. About fifty of them. One exactly opposite from the other. Notice the repetitiousness of it. Notice the pain of it. Notice that there’s no control. It just comes up on you and grabs you and kidnaps you and carries you away and torments you.

Isn’t it a peculiar thing to see, the recognition of these tyrannical hellish thoughts, the recognition of them, going right down into them, descending into our own hell of our own mind. You understand that that’s what we are talking about, descending into the valley of the shadow of death. Isn’t it peculiar and fascinating that the deeper we go into the hell of our own mental torment the more we deliver ourselves from it, because it is the understanding of it, the insight, the awareness, the consciousness that sets us free.

All right. This goes on, this preliminary stage of simply noticing your thoughts as they arise and not trying to do anything with them at all, because if you do anything with them at all then you have brought the second thought in and the third and the fourth and that creates the chain reaction and as long as there’s a chain reaction of thoughts you don’t break it with awareness of the thoughts, therefore you can’t escape. You’ve kept the chain going instead of breaking it by simply becoming aware of it and not doing a thing about it. There’s nothing you can do about it. You exist only on the level of thoughts and every time you drag yourself into it you make it worse. “I’m going to solve my…” – you never… look. If you could have solved your problems, how come you haven’t? See? How come you create new problems all the time?

Now you remember I told you about six months ago that it is the second thought that causes the difficulty. The first thought we can handle. The thought of that person and “I’m hostile toward him for what he did to me.” That’s the first thought, but I catch it. I catch it, right? “I really hate that man for what he did to me.” I catch it. That’s the first thought. If I don’t do anything about it, if I stay out of it, if I don’t try to solve it on my own sick mental level; if I don’t try to solve the problem; the thought, that hostile hateful thought has no choice but to disappear because I haven’t given it power. I haven’t encouraged it by trying to find a solution or by saying, “I’m justified in hating him for what he did to me.”
Are you getting it? Do you understand? Isn’t this beautiful?”



  1. Max on April 27, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Catching the first thought, removes the ‘Domino’ of the second thought– so there’s no cascading down into a painful state.
    If I’m too late, which is most of the time, I can descend into the Valley of the Shadow and just watch. Sooner or later I’ve got to understand these things. The Truth doesn’t hurt, it’s my resistance.
    The dullness started about 2-3 years old. Practicing “Stop!! , go limp -keeping mind where body is, drop thoughts, invite Truth and walking away from ‘Max’- opens a door to a Fresh Clean World. Repeat, repeat, repeat

    • Lisa Hunter on May 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Repeat, Repeat, repeat……..the hardest thing to give up is our suffering. Only an
      illogical mind would not want to walk away from tormenting thoughts. All the more reason to do it!

  2. Max on January 8, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    When you vanish in the right way, when you disappear as the false entity who creates himself through repeated thoughts, when you vanish, that new spirit that takes its place is the Kingdom of Heaven. -VH

    When I vanish as the one who grabs thoughts, good or bad, that leaves an invitation for the Spirit of Heaven to take its place.

  3. Steve on January 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Everyday, you and I have a wonderful chance to work with this “Thought Watching” because of how miserable everyone is and that they can’t help themselves but to be offensive with remark and deed, So we have ample ‘thoughts’ about them to catch. This is the correct way to overcome a hellish world by letting our ‘thoughts’ vanish by breaking these inner thought chains that keep the misery going and instead existing in inner peace. If you have to meet daily with such miserable souls use all these opportunities to escape from your own inner hell. Reference to above…“Isn’t this beautiful?” – Yes Mr. Howard, It is beautiful! Thank You.

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