Understanding that the things we take as self are not self (by ‘seeing them as they really are with correct wisdom’) is one of the way to attains nibbāna (eg. SN22.45)
And the Buddha gives us a list summarizing what we consider as self: the five aggregates subject to clinging (eg. in SN22.44 “"And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the origination of identity? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling . . . regards form as self . . . feeling as self . . . perception as self . . . volitional formations as self . . . consciousness as self . . . or self as in consciousness. […]”
But independently of this given list, I tried to identify what I considered as my self. The most obvious ones for me were my body, my feelings, my sense consciousness and definitely my thoughts or thinking mind.
So I was wondering why ‘thoughts’ is not one of the aggregate subject to clinging or part of one, even though it seems an obvious candidate…
One explanation I came up with recently is that for advanced meditators such as the wanderers of yore, the experience of the disappearance of thoughts in meditation (2nd jhāna and above) was quite common and therefore the meditator could notice that the self is NOT the thinking mind since he would experience a state without thoughts. On the contrary, experiencing the 5 aggregates subject to clinging as not self is not so easy and requires a special, higher, teaching and training such as the one dispensed by a Buddha.
But I am maybe completely off the mark on all this! I would appreciate your views on this question.