When the mind slows down in meditation there is a time when the mind is a thought “AA” which means “there is no thoughts.” The next thing that happens is that there is a memory of a thought like – mem-ZZ.
THERE IS AN UTTER-VOID between the thought AA and the mem-ZZ – the mind then fills in the gap with “there must have been a (virtual) thought “ZZ” in this VOID because I have this thought mem-ZZ.”
ONCE YOU OBSERVE THIS AND FIGURE IT OUT THE laughter might just kill you.
If we try to figure out what is happening with the mind: the mind is actually working with memories of thoughts and not the thoughts themselves. But memories are thoughts.
The simple answer to the VOID that created the thought “ZZ” is: the mind could not be aware of the ZZ thought because it was the ZZ thought so the best it can do is assume the ZZ thought existed because there is a mem-ZZ thought. And thus the non-duality cliche: the mind is what it thinks it is.
The mind works like a movie. A movie is made up of pictures that when running appear to be continuous. The mind works the same way. The continuity of thoughts is an illusion. And the VOID-between thoughts is proof BECAUSE when the mind slows down:
1: there is no way the next thought can be predicted any more than we can predict when sub-atomic particles are going to appear out of nothing. And if one-thought cannot be predicted then nor can all the others that appear to be connected.
2: this VOID is such that there can be no connections between the one thought and the next. This becomes every OBVIOUS when the mind slows down. IN other words, the connection between thoughts is pure illusion. i.e. thinking is an illusion.
These “observations” are so mind-blowing that I find it comical that few people, if any, use mediation to make these rather obvious mind-blowing observations.
There is nothing subtle about this VOID. It might take a long time to figure out what is happening – but that is only because it is so mind-boggling that it is difficult to put it all into its obvious and super-simple perspective.
What helped me is the movie-analogy. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the movie is a perfect-analogy, after all – both are pure fiction.
As far as justifying that sleep-dreams and being-awake have the same thoughts.
If they are different then why doesn’t the mind know the difference?
My sleep-dreams are routinely more real than when I am awake. So much so that I have to think I’m awake when I’m sleep-dreaming, and yet when I get up in the morning I would be a fool to think that life is anything else but a dream; after all my sleep dreams are never as surreal as what is going on in the world with its suicide-bombers etc.
But physics tells us the exact same story: molecules and their atoms are utterly different but physics tells us that they are all the same: just neutrons. The universe is made up of nothing but neutrons; think neutron stars. So too the thoughts of sleep-dream, atoms, might appear totally different to our awake thoughts, molecules, but just like in physics they have to be the same, thoughts -- the differences are illusion.
-- just thoughts
[Edited by Nereid: fixed mismatched tags]