It´s exactly what I´m getting atLike an empty hollow concept of a few "letters", compared to the ever-changing indescribable living thing you saw in that instant (hope you understand what I'm trying to say here)...
I think there is a lot to this, and when you mention it, in moments of presence I´ve sometimes noticed a that a sort of knot in the stomach appears, like a distant anxiety. I don´t try to look away from it, but do as Eckhart suggests, to be there with my presence. But then I do expect it to go away. It´s about this point that the mind comes in with its speculations, and I see how the pattern you describe is very close to my experience. I am in general a restless person, and have also had some emotional problems the last 6-8 years. They are largely gone, but I suspect that there is a lot of residue or pain-body.But why do the thoughts arise in the first place, and so quickly, even when you're in nature? My current understanding is that there must be some emotion underneath them. How did you feel BEFORE you saw the ocean? Maybe a bit restless, tense, preoccupied, irritated, bored? Something like:
Restlessness in you - see the ocean (mind stops for a sec.) - restlessness makes the mind comment immediately - you notice that - restlessness makes you be restless that the mind is commenting (and off you go in the vicious circle)
This week I went on my own to my family´s cottage which is situated in a beautiful undisturbed spot in the forest overlooking the ocean and the horizon. It´s a great place for meditation and contemplation. For the first few days this experience of mental commentary was more prevalent than toward the end. So the diminishment of commentary largely coincided with me leaving more and more concerns from my ordinary life behind, and just being there doing whatever I felt like.
I also noticed that when I stopped bothering about thoughts creeping in, but just observing them, I was calmer, and could even enjoy my thoughts. I think the vicious cycle can be broken at the point of noticing the thoughts arising. That´s where you just have to accept, and return to presence, maybe take a deep breath for every time or something like that. The "trying to be present" is after all wanting something more, not being at peace with the present situation (or in buddha terms: desire) Then the starting point is one of dissatisfaction, which has as it´s emotional counterpart restlessness. I find it easier to be present when meditating, since the rules are so simple: focus on breath, if thought- acnowledge and return to breath. In real life its much more complex.
But there is still a paradox, although I feel that through this discussion we are coming closer to an understanding of it.