Thoughts and Actions

In meditation we are taught to see all thoughts and emotions as mental objects/phenomena. Negative emotions like doubt, agitation, or fear are all just "patterns of energy" or "mental objects" appearing in the mind, only to disappear eventually like everything else that constitutes mind. We're taught that nothing is inherently positive or negative and these sorts of "tints" on consciousness are one of the many delusions of this life.

My question is – when does one take action on a thought or a pattern of thinking? Some thoughts come and go easily. Sometimes they take a few days to disappear, sometimes they take moments. However, sometimes the same thoughts come to mind over and over for months and years. We do nothing about them because we are trying to just see them as objects of mind.

For example. say one is in a bad marriage. The thoughts arise to leave the spouse over and over for a variety of reasons – real tangible reasons that affect the person on a daily basis. Maybe they feel unloved, unseen, afraid, controlled, etc, but when they meditate they are taught to see all these thoughts and feelings as fleeting objects of mind. They then become stuck in their practice of meditation as they try to "just be" with the aspects of their lives causing them more suffering than is necessary.

The easiest option would be to quit this life and lead a monastic life, free of any sorts of expectations involved with other people on a more intimate interpersonal way. But what about those who don't want to be monks? When do we take action on our thoughts? When do we see a thought and say "this is a thought" but move beyond that labelling, and do something about it? If we are suffering and there is something to be done about it, should we not do something about it?

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