You are not the thinker
“Thoughts are like bubbles, waiting to be popped”, reflects Jon Kabat-Zinn. Awareness is the tool to defuse them. Our mind-weather reflects our inter-connected firing and wiring of nerve cells, and synapses. From which, flow our ideas, and associations, and over time hard-wire into our habituated thought patterns and programs. However, once we are aware we are not our thoughts, we can break this recycling process, let them go, and create freedom from our thinking paradigms.
Eckhart Tolle explains this, “The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not ‘the thinker.’ The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.”
In Buddhism, they refer to this as the two minds – the thinking mind and the observing mind. The thinking mind – which Freud refers to as our unconscious thinking – runs on autopilot, whilst the observing mind – which Freud refers to as our conscious mind – objectively monitors our thoughts, and so it is through making these unconscious thoughts, conscious, we bring detached awareness to the noise in our heads.
When you believe you are your thoughts, your thoughts own you, and you come to define your pseudo sense of self through your stories and narratives, accepting them as truth. Yet who we are, and what makes us, us, continually evolves to the extent we allow our thoughts to also. In this sense it’s always you against you – this is how we get in our own way – when you collapse the resistance to meeting yourself where you’re at, momentum ensues; new doorways open, and new ways of thinking create new opportunities.
3 ways to create space from our thoughts:
Reframe your thoughts:
- Tool: Byron Katie’s The Work
- Why? Brings radical clarity to a recycled thought loop
- How? Writing process using 4 simple, yet effective questions to reflect and reframe a stuck thought, and in doing so, let it go.
Untangle from thoughts:
- Tool: Lose ‘I am’ identification with a thought, eg) I am the anger, not I am angry
- Why? Reminds us we are not are thoughts, it’s transitioning energy, coming in (welcome the thought) stays for a while (accept the thought), and leaves (let the thought go)
- How? Reflective process, observing thought forms to catch, and monitor the ‘I am’ ownership.
Curiosity with thoughts:
- Tool: Watch the thought-trail, observe the dance – set a timer, so you don’t dragged into the thought!
- Why? Deep clarity and understanding of what you actually are thinking, identifying themes, and patterns
- How? Meditative process, see the thought cascade, and monitor the magnetic pull of like attracts like – how the tone of a thought, attracts another thought on the same resonance.