Origin of thought
I have been thinking about the origin of thought, and I have come up with some reasons as to why we think:
1. White Noise or random thinking / brain activity (the chattering mind) - This type of thought activity can be reduced or eliminated to a great extent through meditation.
2. Associative thinking - this kind of thought activity can be reduced by reducing the cross connections between different elements in an associative memory space.
3. Tendencies giving rise to thoughts often or infrequently depending on the strength of the tendency. Tendency itself is an energy current in one of the subtle bodies, and this thought energy is what gives rise to thoughts related to that tendency with the help of the language in which the thought is supposed to be expressed. Here prior to meditation one needs to tackle the tendency itself. Or else, the tendency can also be tackled through what Buddhists call insight meditation or contemplation. Regular calming meditation is of no use for tackling deep rooted tendencies.
4. Superimposition on perception. What we see or hear is sometimes superimposed by our fears, worries or desires. This kind of overshadowing of what is perceived takes place very often. On the other hand, even what we think about very often can overshadow what we perceive. For example, if a boy thinks about sex very often, then when he sees a pretty girl, he will superimpose his desire for sex on that girl. That is why it is sometimes said that we do not see what is, but what we want to see. This can work even for positive things. For example, the smell of incense can remind one of one's chosen deity. So this is partly associative thinking and partly superimposition.
5. Active deliberate purposive thinking. I think this is obvious.
6. Inspired thought.
Anyone else,. be free to add to this list.