Thoughts are something people may not know unless you are willing to share them, right? Not necessarily - if you have ever had someone say something and you find yourself saying "I was just thinking that!" then you know what I mean. It was as though that person was "inside your brain" at that moment in time and just figured out what you were saying. Most of the time, you do keep your thoughts "inside your brain" without anyone figuring them out, though - they are only known if you desire to share them. There are a variety of thoughts - as vast as the stars in the heavens. Some are deeper thoughts, pertaining to tough decisions, life-critical moments, etc. Others are kind of "fleeting" - here today and gone tomorrow. Learning to discover your OWN thoughts can be enough of a challenge, right? Learning the thoughts of another is astronomically harder, but given enough time and commitment toward each other, that discovery may yield tremendous insight!
Someone’s thoughts may be as deep as the ocean, but if you are smart, you will discover them. (Proverbs 20:5 CEV)
Thought implies mental activity - you may think you are just having "idle" thoughts, but trust me, no thought is without some mental activity on your part. Stimuli come in from without and mix with that which we have going on already in our brains and we have new thought. Thought takes into account about three different types of activity: Meditation, Contemplation, or Recollection.
Meditation is the process of having continued or extended thought on a particular matter. It involves a certain amount of "crunching" of the input we have received, kind of like mulling things over and over again until we really get it or come to a new revelation as a result. In meditation, we consider how some action will produce another action. It is as thought we are looking at the intended purpose of something and seeing how it all fits together with the sum of all thoughts relating to the same subject.
Contemplation is more of the giving continued and very focused attention toward the object of your thought. It is kind of like when you find yourself really intently focusing on how to make a budget for a huge department you might manage. You have to over and over the details, bringing them all into alignment, making conscious choices of where to move this item or that in order to gain the balance you need to see. There is a certain amount of "study" in contemplation - you have to discover, crunch, and come to conclusions.
Recollection is really this process we refer to as memory - the things remembered as a result of some "marker" we create in our brain which is like adding a "file" to a hard drive (better known as our brain). When we have the process of memory, we can both retain and "revive" facts - maybe not in exact order or with the greatest of detail - but we can do it nonetheless. In the aging process it is natural to hold old memories as pretty accurate, but many of the newer ones of today (like what you ate for breakfast) may not be as easily recollected.
Now, we marry all three of these together and we see just how complex our brains have to be to allow all three of these actions to take place at the same time! No wonder we are drained at the end of the day! We have been crunching, considering, fitting things together, mulling over, and calling up again and again stuff all day long! Periods of meditation (especially when they are upon the good stuff like the Word of God) actually build us up and bring clarity into our decision making process. Periods of contemplation help us to apply the things we have been meditating upon into real practice in our lives. When we combine these with memory or recall, you can see how memory just serves to assist us with the two processes.
To learn the thoughts of another we must take into consideration these three methods of thinking in order to understand if their thought is from meditation, contemplation, memory, or a combination of any of these three. When someone shares with us of the things they have been meditating upon, we find out some unique things God may have been speaking deep into their heart. If they have the opportunity to share the things they have been contemplating, we often get insight into the tough decisions they have to make or steps they are taking along the way. When the interweave memories into the mix, we get the added bonus of learning just a little bit of what lends "history" to their character.
It is a good thing to discover the thoughts of another - especially when they are deeper and genuine in their sharing. It helps us grow as individuals and we often learn from another - acting as catalysts for the other to finally realize potential and move into new capacity in their lives. So, discover on, my friends! You may just be the one blessed by the discovery! Just sayin!