QUESTION: I thought of your blog (Woken by the Family Dog) when I woke up this morning because I felt tired, but to my knowledge, I didn’t have a prior thought. I was asleep and then I was awake, and the first thing I became aware of was a feeling. That feeling did not seem to have any relationship to a thought. Sometimes I wake up tired, sometimes I don’t. I guess what I’m asking here is are there in fact feelings that do arise without thought?
ANSWER: Every experience we have comes from thought. We’re thinking all the time just like we’re breathing all the time. Some of that thought we’re awake to and some we’re not really awake to. If a bee lands on me and I jump, a flood of thoughts comes into my head before I have any idea what they are. Often, as your example suggests, we don’t even see it as thought, let alone know what the thoughts are.
To use your example, you wake up in the morning and feel tired. It doesn’t look like a product of thought, it looks like you just didn’t get enough sleep. But let’s say you wake up, you’re tired and can hardly drag yourself out bed. Then you look at the clock and realize you’re late. You frantically get dressed. Where’d the tired go? That mental energy morphed into what to wear, where you needed to be and how to deal with the fallout of being late. Instantly, your thinking changed and it took your feeling, and your reality, with it.