A few years ago, someone asked me what I had been thinking at a certain point in time, and nothing true that I said seemed to satisfy him.
I described what was happening at the time.
“But what were you thinking?”
“That is what I was thinking.”
“Really, what were you thinking?”
“Well I was uncomfortable with being touched…”
“That’s a feeling. What were you thinking?”
“The dark behind my eyelids. The sensation of pressure on my arms. The sound of rustling.”
And eventually I gave up and he was never satisfied.
The thing is, most of the time I’d give similar answers. As far as I’m concerned, processing sensory input, including emotional responses from inside my body, are part of thinking. They are the main part of my thinking, at that. Yes, I do have the kind of thoughts that everyone calls thinking, but not all the time. Not most of the time. Sometimes it pops up automatically and sometimes I push my way into it. That kind of thought takes work and work takes energy. Even locating touch as on my arm takes energy, but it takes less, especially if I’ve had time afterward to work it out.
So that’s yet another common assumption: That everyone uses that standard kind of thinking1. So much so that many people (including many people like me) decide that my predominant way of thinking isn’t thinking.
1 When I say standard thinking I mean a wide variety of kinds of thought. It doesn’t matter if it’s in words, pictures, abstract ideas, or what. And it’s not a matter of being “NT”. What makes it “standard” for these purposes is that it goes beyond taking in your environment in realtime. I’m sorry I couldn’t come up with a better term for it.