As I sit to quiet my mind, I watch thoughts form in my stream of awareness. I notice various textures and colors. One thought may have a charge of aggressive red energy and another may evoke a cool blue calmness. Thoughts flow unabated until I see a momentary space form between them. It is like a sentence that comes to completion with a period or the brief pause between inhalation and exhalation. A subtle light emanates here and I sometimes can abide in that quality. Mostly I just notice thoughts and see what happens.
There is a difference between noticing a thought and thinking a thought. It is a matter of texture and feeling. When we simply notice a thought, we hold it lightly and it feels light. If we identify with the thought and grasp it with an emotion, identify it as pleasurable or unpleasurable, it becomes heavy and draws energy from our consciousness. It becomes obsessive and tends to spawn other thoughts in a never ending succession—with no gaps in between. Thinking a thought gives it a kind of life that sucks all the energy of awareness.
On the other hand, just noticing a thought allows it to pass with little fuss. So, if we wish to settle the mind, we need to let a thought be just as it is without elaboration. If we can do this, we will notice a gap between thoughts. With practice, the gaps will begin to seem wider. Although thoughts will not necessarily cease, we pay more attention to the space between them and rest in the quiet. From here we notice how the mind moves.
Paradoxically, within the movement there is still space and we practice seeing thoughts form and fade simultaneously. Appearance, disappearance, reappearance, etc. As long as we do nothing with the movement, we experience space. If we recognize we cannot grasp space—and abide within that quality, we still observe movement. Remaining in this paradox, the mind settles without effort