Awareness: Soup Pot and Waterfall

The thinking mind can at times be severely fragmented. In fact, it almost always is. This is the nature of thought. But awareness, teased out of each moment with conscious intent, can help us to perceive that even in the midst of this fragmentation, our fundamental nature is already integrated and whole. Not only is it not limited by the potpourri of our thinking mind, awareness is the pot which cradles all the fragments, just as the soup pot holds all the chopped-up carrots, peas, onions, and the like and allows them to cook into one whole, the soup itself. But it is a magical pot, much like a sorcerer's pot, because it cooks things without having to do anything, even put a fire underneath it. Awareness itself does the cooking, as long as it is sustained. You just let the fragments stir while you hold them in awareness. Whatever comes up in the mind or body goes into the pot ... Meditation does not involve trying to change your thinking by thinking some more. It involves watching thought itself. The watching is the holding ... Another way to look at meditation is to view the process of thinking itself as a waterfall, a continual cascading of thought. In cultivating mindfulness, we are going beyond or behind out thinking, much the way you might find a vantage point in a cave or depression in the rock behind a waterfall. We still see and hear the water, but we are out of the torrent. 

- from the chapter, "Meditation: Not to Be Confused with Positive Thinking," Where You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn