Obviously I don't know how your brain/mind works.
Heck, I don't even know how my brain/mind works, even though so far as I, neuroscience, and Buddhism can tell, there is no difference between me and my brain/mind.
(From here on out I'll just say "mind" instead of "brain/mind," since the mind is the brain in action.)
Nevertheless, what I feel when I ponder some subject is that thought clouds, for lack of a better term, start to form and float around within conscious awareness.
Each is a concept of sorts. But maybe more like a feeling. Or an intuition. Regardless, they arrange and rearrange themselves in fascinating ways, clustering together here, breaking apart there.
I can't say that I see the thought clouds. Also can't say that I don't see them. It isn't like physical seeing, in any case. Yet more than an abstraction. These suckers have some substance, albeit mental or psychological.
This morning during my alone meditative time I had the notion of blurting out to myself, as spontaneously, honestly, and quickly as I could, stuff that I wanted. Desired to have happen. Lusted and longed for.
Interesting experience. Give it a try yourself. It felt like therapy, in a way. Me relating to me. Me telling me my innermost wants and desires. Me feeling free to be brutally frank with me.
I'm not going to share very much of what popped into my head. I don't think this is desirable for anyone who does this. The point isn't to communicate with someone else. It is to better get in touch with yourself, to get a feel for the (likely) wild and crazy wantings cascading out of the recesses of your mind.
What I found is that pretty quickly my thought cloud wantings began to sort themselves out. Some rose, while some descended. Some had a magnetic attraction with other wantings; some were repelled by antagonistic desires.
I want to live forever.
I don't want to die.
I want to know the truth about reality.
I want to be happy.
I want to enjoy life as long as I can.
All true. But not all friendly compatible.
I realized that the truth is, I'm not going to live forever. Believing this conflcts with my desire to know the truth about reality.
Not wanting to die -- a negative "want" that also is true. Yet the anxiety of denying death conflicts with wanting to be happy and enjoying life. Brooding over dying in a neurotic Woody Allen manner isn't my idea of a great time.
Now, this may sound rather trite.
But my thought cloud experience actually was pretty darn enlightening. I saw more clearly than I had realized before that some wants floating around in my mind were both more important to me than other wants, and that, indeed, these want-clusters were at odds.
Well, I guess I knew this before. But I didn't know that I knew it, if you get what I mean (not even sure that I do).
There's a part of me that still wants religious fantasies to be true. That part blurted out "I want to live forever" when I asked myself what I wanted. Yet...
I value truth. I value knowing reality as it is, not as how I want it to be. I value being happy in the here-and-now, not an imagined there-and-then. I value smiling over frowning.
So I learned something about my wants. Which fit together well. Which don't. Hard to explain beyond this what I got out of my Wanting Thought Cloud Experiment. Like I said, try it yourself. Your results will vary.