“Bhikshu, as regards the source from which proliferation of conception and perception assails a person: if one were to find nothing there to delight in, nothing there to welcome, nothing to cling to—this is the end of
- the latent tendency of lust,
- the latent tendency of aversion,
- the latent tendency of views,
- the latent tendency of doubt,
- the latent tendency of conceit,
- the latent tendency of desire for existence, and
- the latent tendency of ignorance.
This is the ending of the taking up of the rod and the sword, quarrels, disputes, mayhem [strife], slandering and lying —here these evil unwholesome states cease without remainder.”
Avuso, dependent on the [eye | ear | nose | tongue | body | mind] and [form | sound | smell | taste | touch | mind-object], [eye | ear | nose | tongue | body | mind]-consciousness arises.
The meeting of the three is contact.
With contact as condition, there is feeling.
What one feels, one perceives.
What one perceives, one thinks about.
What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates.
From that as source, proliferation of conception and perception assails a person regarding past, future and present [forms | sounds | smells | tastes | touch | mind-objects] cognizable through the [eye | ear | nose | tongue | body | mind].
Continuous thinking leads to an avalanche of thoughts about the past, present and future.
proliferation of conception and perception assails a person regarding past, future and present
As you have recognised the thoughts can be pleasant or painful.
vi. On cognizing a mind-object with the mind,
- one investigates the mind-object that the basis of mental joy,
- one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of mental pain,
- one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of equanimity.
Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta
Regardless of that they are stimulating and pleasant or depressing you should not get averse or attached to them.
(1) the latent tendency to lust reinforced by being attached to pleasant feelings;
(2) the latent tendency to aversion reinforced by rejecting painful feelings;
(3) the latent tendency to ignorance reinforced by ignoring neutral feelings.
When you get distracting thoughts, look at what sensations they have produced, i.e., they were pleasant thoughts or unpleasant thoughts. Stay with the sensation equanimously for a while until it subsides and then return to your object of mediation. When the sensations subside there will be lesser through proliferation, hence lesser distractions due to thoughts. Prematurely bringing your attention meditation object, while strong sensations persist, may result in further distracting thoughts.
You should break the chain of thoughts. Repeated thinking can lead to view which is a latent tendency. These can be self centered view.
- the latent tendency of views,
The view can lead to superiority or inferiority complex. E.g. I am good, I am bad, I am better than X, I am worse than Y, etc. This is Mana which is also a fetter and also an unwholesome mental state.
When these thoughts arise you should look at them in a detached way as a passive observer while being equanimous. Observing in such a way these view slowly dissolve. Getting involved with the thoughts by rejecting, ignoring them or getting attached to them reinforces these beliefs. So you subconscious beliefs will not be affected if you are not equanimously observing them.
Doing so the thoughts will also subside quickly with less thoughts proliferation, in which case you can bring back attention to your meditation object.