Machinery of the mind

Machinery of the mind denotes the fact that everything in our mind (thoughts, feelings, attitudes, sensations, etc.), existing at any moment, both conscious and unconscious, occurs automatically, without self-aware, conscious intention. This includes at least 99% of what we think is not automatic. For example, when you notice the thought, "I need to stop what I'm doing and call my friend," that thought was not created intentionally. It just occurred to you spontaneously (maybe stimulated by another thought that you noticed that occurred right before it) and without your self-aware intention to create such a thought. And even your awareness of that as a thought is automatic. 

Another example. When your Now and your Next are in conflict with each other (say, over whether or not to have another piece of chocolate), that's not you choosing to have that fight with yourself. That's one automatic part of you fighting with another automatic part of you. It's like watching two dogs fighting. The dogs are not choosing to fight. They just fight. You're not choosing for your Now and your Next to fight. They just fight. 

There is a possible part of us that can be consciously chosen and declared (at least for short periods of time at first), that is not automatic. This part (which I consider to be the "real" us), can watch the other parts. It can create compassion, understanding, and even curiosity while watching that machinery, without any intention to change anything. Counter-intuitively, when we do that, the fighting will often decrease or even disappear.