Just as with watching the inbreath and the outbreath, which is the movement of air in and out of your lungs, I have developed the practice of watching the arising of thought and the diminishing of thought as it is just like the breath of the lungs but rather this is the inbreath and outbreath of thought in your mind.
The meditation that I* have developed from years of teaching is one that goes right to the core of the effort of ending suffering and was developed from the need to understand the Buddha's meaning of "continues to have discerning nature, in the absence of discernment as perception follows the change of form to undergo its own change"
Over and over again I would see people who felt that watching their breath of air going in and out, in a meditative effort, would bring a temporary calm but as soon as they stopped watching their air they would be right back where they started and they gave up.
So out of compassion for those that had given up, I believed that watching thought and then learning to skillfully direct thought in which ever direction that you would choose, with the effort to end suffering, was my goal.
Arise: An ongoing process between the slighest to the greatest.
Diminish: An ongoing process between the greatest to the slightest.
Discern: To distinguish that this is it, in the context of whatever is being observed.
Discerning nature: To have the potential to distinguish that this is it, in the context of whatever is being observed.
Form: Anything that you can name, just the name which is a label, no emotions or meanings.
Perception: The thinking that combines an object's name with the meaning or feelings that the name implies.
Change: Any thought or thinking outside of this moment in time i.e. thinking about what will be in the future or the past.
Gate: That through which something passes.
The Five Senses
Five Sense Gates
Seeing as raw sense data, in this present moment (not sight).
Hearing as raw sense data, in this present moment (not listening).
Smelling as raw sense data, in this present moment (not judging).
Tasting as raw sense data, in this present moment (not judging).
Touching as raw sense data, in this present moment (not feeling).
1. Pick one sense gate.
2. Pick two objects that you can observe with that sense gate.
3. Make sure that the objects are tangible not abstract.
4. Focus on one of the two objects.
5. Describe that object, with that one sense gate, as if you were describing it to someone who cannot experience/sense it, and to whom you cannot say what it is called.
6. Redirect your attention to the second object and describe that object, with that one sense gate, as if you were describing it to someone who cannot experience/sense it, and to whom you cannot say what it is called.
7. Notice what has happened to your perception/thoughts about the first object as you are describing the second object. Are those thoughts dim/slight or have they completely vanished entirely?
8. Next, as you sit using your two objects notice that you are picking up a thought and then letting it go or setting in down, that your thought is arising and then diminishing.
9. After a while of noticing arising thought and diminishing thought, you will need to look for a brief moment inbetween the two states of arising and diminishing of thought. This is the illusive mind state of true mind that we are looking first to sustain with effort and then to maintain without effort. Watch carefull for the mind wandering into disassociation or a trance state as that would exclude this moment in time and would not be the peace that we are looking for.
Time: Just this Moment
Once you have identified this peace inbetween thought arising and diminishing, next you will need to add time as this present moment so that you have stability to your peace, much like a gyroscope adds balance to an object in motion.
Time is the progression of this moment as it is moving forward, it is a dynamic as if you are moving with the crest of a wave. It is not mind wandering into the future or the past. Make sure while you are meditating, that you are actively staying present in this moment.
Now we can consider the last half of the objective of understanding ...as perception follows the change of form to undergo its own change. This is, this moment in time.
Consider the experience: If it is that a thought arises there is a car, in order for me to create an opinion about the car, I would have to think about what I know about a car, and while I am thinking about what I think that the car will be or do, I risk being outside of this present moment as it may be that I become distracted by the past or the future thinking about the car or anything associated with my experience with cars. So it is with this in our meditation, that we must direct our mind carefully to use this moment to our advantage by staying present with it, just as a surfer successfully rides the crest of a wave.
There is a deeper consideration given to the topic of time here.
This Meditation is Hard Work!!
Each time you return to describing the object, in turn, know that you can describe it in the same ways each time, because you are not learning the object you are just simply watching your thought arise and diminish.
Do not be discouraged that it is difficult to do this, and do not even judge the quality of your effort, as any effort is good effort! If you notice that your mind has wondered away from your effort just notice that it has wondered and gently redirect it back to the effort. You can set a timer and say to yourself, when my timer rings I can stop making this effort. It has been found that even as little as 2 minutes of meditation is beneficial and that applies to this specific meditation also.
Notes about peace in this meditation:
This peace (true mind, which is in fact no mind) is not a physical feeling, but rather a low energy state of the mind and it does not require the body to be still to observe but of course stilling the body helps.
This peace inbetween (true mind), may be completely unnoticeable at first or exist only for a very short time, keep practicing and you will learn to sustain it, balancing beautifully in this moment in time.
Once you start to work on sustaining this peace (true mind) between thought arising and diminishing, you will no longer need two objects. Just like when you learn to ride a bike at some point the two extra training wheels come off.
*I am always looking for this direct Buddha named True Mind teaching, from other Buddhist leaders and find no others teaching it at all.