Thoughts can be about past events, or future. Present is kind of momentary. So, in this discussion, it is considered irrelevant, because it is transient.
If thoughts are about the past, there is something we should look at. They may be lingering because we perhaps think about how we could have prevented the past. That is an impossible exercise to attempt to fix the past that has already happened.
Why does the past hurt us now? Because we allow it to! Much after the past event happened, i.e. now, we are playing its recording in our mind, in our thoughts, and thinking about how we could have prevented it. The defense that tries to prevent a past event is just another thought.
Can it be true that this ‘just another thought’ that is trying to correct the past is also trying to prevent the Present – because Present involves adapting every moment? Is it valid that we are just not comfortable with the change that happens every moment around us? Hence, are we trying to prevent (in vain) the change around us, rather than changing with the change, or adapting to the environmental changes around us? That’s just a thought.
Maybe, every thought we generate as our defense mechanism is unique to us, and it has no logical relevance. We created our defense mechanism because we created it – without any logic or reason! Can we distinguish our defense, or, can we catch our defensive thoughts?
Maybe we can neutralise the defense mechanism and just embrace the future that is happening around us with open arms?