Consider The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat!
Yes, there are so many examples.
Well, here is what I think.
. This is my theory, which probably falls into the "semi-pseudo-quasi-neuro-almost -buddhist"
category, but since there is not a forum with that name, I will just have to make do with posting it here.
Suppose you are looking up at a full Moon in a dark night sky.
It appears as though you are looking at two different things, the bright moon and the dark sky.
Of course, "moonlight" is just photons coming from the sun, bouncing off the moon and into your eyes, processed by the brain.
In fact, there are even more of those photons in the dark space all around the Moon, but we don't see them, because they are not reflected into our eyes by anything. We only see the ones that bounce off the Moon. Likewise, when those photons bounce off Venus, we see them as Venus. When it is daytime, we see these photons as daylight, and even appear as different colors, depending on what they bounce off of and are absorbed into.
So, the point of this analogy is, just as we label the appearance of photons (and the photons are all we actually see) as different things according to the environments (Moon, Venus, flower, etc.) with which they interact, What we commonly refer to as "thought" as the activity of "mind" may similarly only be the specific interaction of that which is all around us when manifested through specific 'environments'
, meaning the physical brains of beings.
What we are experiencing as "thought", including the experience of a having an experience, might not be a separate thing at all, but merely a limited experience of the intrinsic nature of everything, in the same way that moonlight is but a small sample of the enormous amount of photon activity in the sky. (The Sanskrit word dharmata, chö nyi in Tibetan, means the intrinsic nature of everything, the essence of things as they are. Dharmata is the naked, unconditioned truth, the nature of reality, or the true nature of phenomenal existence
For ordinary beings, "mind" appears according to whatever composites happens to be there. If it is a dog, then a dog has a dog's "mind". If a human, an ant, regardless, it's all just the same reality, the dharmata is experienced according to the limits of one or another "environment". It's like pouring water into different shaped containers, the water assumes the shape of the container. We cling to those limited experiences of dharmata, the little bits of a greater reality that we are able to see or taste or smell or feel, as our
'reality'. In life we temporarily manifest parts of a greater reality the way that a mere gallon of rain water briefly manifests as a watermelon.
Dharmata manifesting in Buddha form is Dharmakaya. Mind and thought are completely liberated from any separating distinction.
So, I suppose what I am suggesting is that the difficulty in answering (from the usual scientific approach) what is "mind", is that the wrong questions are being asked.
The typical approach is to assume that mind and thoughts are something real occurring separately from the things around them. But perhaps thoughts only appear
to be "real". So, people start from that premise: "I just had a thought--what was it, where did it come from--I'd better write it down so I don't forget it" So we give thoughts a kind of separate reality that perhaps they don't really start out with at all.