To “accept” a thought that just unfolded and then to redirect attention to something else is a type of shallow processing. It’s like listening to the first few notes of a song and then turning your attention to something else – all you can really say is you heard a few notes, not the entire song. What you’re really doing is accepting little notes of thoughts. If you’re already pretty sure where those notes lead to and you don’t want to listen to the rest of the song, then there’s no need to listen to the whole thing. But acknowledge that this is “acceptance” writ small. What is being accepted is a taste, not the whole enchilada. Of course, thoughts aren't just a string of  words – thoughts  bob along on seas of emotion. So part of what is being accepted is the emotion that carries the thought along. Actually both are carrying each other: the words support emotions and emotions support the words.

But then, “bobbing along” makes thoughts sound like inert objects. Another way to think about thoughts is as directional behaviors – going towards something, whether toward a solution to a problem, the next step on the way to a desired outcome, further self-clarification, or an effective comeback in a re-imagined conversation: a resolution of some sort. In this sense, a thought’s meaning is also in its “actionable” implications.

Of course, thought-streams often peter out before resolution of their concerns and new subjects take over, sometimes in a matter of seconds. That doesn’t mean that thoughts are inherently inert – only that the wind in their sails blows with variable force. A weak breeze won’t sustain the course for long. And the reality outside our heads keeps asserting itself.