Yes, this last point is very important, and is part of the "insight" that naturally arises through sitting. We become more and more aware of the bits of mental "theatre" and "games" that the mind pulls us into again and again ... and we become better and better at recognizing the start of each drama, then not getting "sucked in" and dragged around by these trains of thought and emotion.
When you sit, your mind will likely begin taking you on a 'ride' somewhere. At first, this is usually a 'mental' ride - a 'grocery list' of things your discursive mind helpfully tries to bring to your attention. I call it a 'ride' because you are invested in these little trips. You may find them important or tiresome or worrisome - but in some way, your attention is drawn into them to the inevitable exclusion of immediate experience. You are involved in these trips. As soon as you realize that you are involved in a trip - that your identity is invested in a trip, you bring your awareness back to 'right here' (which is really 'nowhere in particular'). You 'get off the ride'. When you begin Shikantaza, you'll find that your helpful mind almost immediately begins to take you on another little 'trip'. Your attention and identity become drawn to another discursive thought pattern. This is actually a good thing in a way, because only by having your mind take these little trips can you realize how your attention and identity are getting sucked into them!
Yes, this very much connects to Alans excellent comment today on "sitting with":
If you are sitting and fear comes, notice the 'stickiness' of the emotion/thought, and drop it to the best of your ability. If it does not 'drop', then sit with it with awareness. You may discover some true strength in being able to sit in the face of absolute terror! Doing just this helped me overcome a rapidly developing Panic Disorder.
Your words are a little tangled for me here. Let me say what I think you mean.
Lastly, if your dropping reflex becomes very quick - if you become aware of the 'rides' before they even start and drop them immediately, you may experience thoughts nonetheless - floating, sideways, etherial....but they are disidentified and they are part of the now - they do not form an identity and pull you from 'right here, right now' - they become PART of 'right here, right now' (they always were, but your mind screened out the now in favor of a particular thought pattern). At this point, the thoughts actually may become less frequent. Without the energy of identification, there is much less energy for thought creation. Nonetheless, an unidentified awareness begins to become known to you. It has always been there. It is not 'developed' by sitting Shikantaza. As a matter of fact, identification is a FUNCTION of the thought trips - there is no identity aside from them.