Recognise the thought as it occurs so that it is liberated simultaneously with its arising.
This is very unlike the stream of thoughts that surges through the mind of an ordinary person. Often called ‘black diffusion,’this state is an unwholesome pattern of dissipation in which there is no knowledge whatsoever about who is thinking, where the thought comes from, and where the thought disappears.
One has not even caught the ‘scent’ of awareness; there are only unwholesome thought patterns operating, so that one is totally and mindlessly carried away by one thought after another. That is definitely not the path of liberation!
In the beginning, if we have already recognised out nature even once, we have caught the scent of it. Once you get a ‘whiff’ of your nature, it becomes familiar, like someone you already know: you do not need to doubt who your friend is when you meet him. At this point, thoughts are liberated upon recognition, like the vanishing of a drawing on water.
We can grow more and more accustomed to this fact through practice. Once the practitioner gains immediate recognition of the Buddha nature, there is no need to apply any additional techniques at all. This same moment a thought starts to move; the thought is liberated by itself. It is like a knot tied in a snake that does not have to be untied by anyone, because it unravels itself. This exemplifies becoming more stable in the training.
Finally, the third analogy of liberating of thought is described as being like a thief entering an empty house. This is called stability or perfect training. A thief enters an empty house does not gain anything, and the house does not lose anything. All thought activity is naturally liberated without any harm or benefit whatsoever. That is the meaning of gaining confidence in liberation.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche: “Rainbow Painting”
(by the way, as there is nothing to steal, the thief is not harmed either!)