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The ultimate thought is the "I" of the mahat which rises from the source of the mind, the atman. In the self-inquiry sadhana of Ramana Mahashi, one starts with the ordinary thoughts of the conscious mind and chases them back up the ladder of the "I"s. This raises the question of the correspondence of the thoughts to the kosas. E.g. emotions must be of the sensory mind, which is also called conscious. Are the analytical thoughts, actually of the subconscious mind (manomaya kosa), or are many of these still at the level of the conscious mind, the kamamaya kosa? The we have thoughts that are based on imagery, the more intuitive thoughts which help to integrate and are the core of the psychic tools. Are these of the atimanas kosa. Certainly the analytical and emotional thoughts are the core of the ego and the I-ness of the aham. Are the intuitive thoughts then really more in the province of the mahat?
What is the character of the thoughts of the vijinanamaya kosa? we may assume that those of the hiranmaya kosa are something of the order of pure bliss.
In terms of the gunas it is clearer that the ordinary thoughts and emotions are of the citta, while the next level is the I am thinking or feeling of the aham. There follows the purer I am of the mahat, and then the source of the mind in the atman. Although Sakar says that even the sense of I is latent in the hiranamya kosa.
All thoughts and emotions are expressed in the citta, and in either case we may "go into them", or identify with them, or pull back and with more detachment watch them as being only a part of us, a vibration within our larger self, but not being the whole of that self. This allows them to pass on and fade away. This is a lessening of the role of the aham which says "I am feeling", and also judges the feeling. So the program is not one of destroying the thoughts and feelings, but of obtaining some distance, of observing them from above, rather than being down in the muck.
Can one say that there are essentially three modes of thought: the emotive (irrational), the verbal/analytical (rational), and the pictorial/ synthetic (intuitive). Note that the confusion of the intuitive with the irrational reflects the traditional western psychological identification of the animal and creative minds, because they were both outside of normal consciousness. The interesting thing about this model is that it is the emotive/irrational mind which is called the conscious mind? And yet both of the other minds can impinge on the conscious state.
See also other correlations.
T. Grandin describes how she thinks in pictures and movies, rather than words and sentences; at least as her primary mode. She builds up a library of pictures ( memories) which she uses to understand current situations. She has the ability to make a model and play with it as if on a 3-D graphics workstation. [TP]
In her case her thinking is highly associative as well, as are her memories. Structured, linear, thought is more difficult. She suggests that there are two distinct modes of thought, one of which is usually dominant in each person, but which are generally both present to some degree. She cites artists and accountants as being at the extremes. [TP]