Have you ever tried to pinpoint what makes you, you? If we have even a basic level of awareness we can easily say we're more than just our bodies.
Given that, we might then think that we are our thoughts. We can often identify more with what's going on in our brains than our physical bodies.
After all, humans are creatures of thought. We think all the time… constantly. 41-55 thoughts per minute, in fact!
But are we merely the sum of our thoughts?
When we believe that our thoughts define who we are, it becomes more difficult to see the beauty in ourselves. Thoughts are not always true and can make for a false picture of ourselves.
“You are not what you think.” This is a quote from the late philosopher Alan Watts.
Read that again. “You are not what you think.”
The way we think about ourselves and the world around us has such an impact on how we experience it, but do our thoughts actually DEFINE who we are?
“You are not what you think” implies that there's more to being alive than just thinking – something deeper going on inside each of us.
Only when you realize that you are greater than your thoughts, can you have mastery over them.
It’s actually pretty wild how much of our lives we spend suffering from our thoughts because we identify with them and AS them.
In reality, thoughts are just like any other sensory input—they come into contact with our awareness, but don't actually change its nature or who we are.
In order to anchor this belief and make it more real, let's conduct a thought experiment!
Throughout the day, as thoughts come and go, take a moment and pause. Get curious. Where did the thought come from? Where did it go?
Get curious about the space in between thoughts. You will notice it's always there, in between and surrounding your thoughts.
While your thoughts come and go, that space, that container for your thoughts is always there. The thoughts are simply part of you and you are ever-present.
When we look at it that way, it's pretty clear that you are not your thoughts, but more like a container for your thoughts and experiences.
In the Reality Hacker “I Am: The Source Experiments” they say, “Whatever we are is a container for all that happens – like the stage upon which a play is performed. The play comes and goes but the stage persists – a silent, sturdy, powerful foundation that gives life to an entire theater of experience.
The more we identify with the stage and not the play, the more we can watch from the director's chair and conduct a masterpiece.”
I love this metaphor!
This is a reminder for us to identify with our essence and not merely with our thoughts. Thoughts are just that – thoughts. They come and go but we remain forever unchanged.
Simply bringing awareness to your thoughts from a detached perspective is a huge step in the right direction. Realizing that you are not your thoughts but rather the director of them can bring you to a place of peace.
The more we identify with the stage and not the play, the more we can start to conduct a masterpiece.
If you conduct this thought experiment for yourself, let me know how it goes in the comments!