You are not your thoughts


You may strain under the weight of your own thoughts, but you are not the same as those thoughts. This is more than mere misconception: it is a powerful illusion that makes that weightless collection in your mind feel heavier than you can bear.

You are not your thoughts.

You have tens of thousands of thoughts every day and most of them are “uncaused.” They flit into awareness without effort and evaporate just as easily. You did not choose to have them.

Thought is a reaction to stimuli in the world: a fragrance, an overheard sentence, a prolonged glimpse at what you are presently doom scrolling. This reaction, a thought, can trigger a cascade of more thoughts. The mind is a noisy place.

The chirp of broken mug on a diner floor can refresh a childhood memory that soaks you in embarrassment, even years later. Uncaused thoughts can give rise to powerful emotions that can mess up your day.

You can maintain some control when you accept that you do not cause your thoughts. You are witnessing them, but they are not who you are. The very fact that you can observe the “voice in your head,” means you can’t be that voice. You might not even “own” your thoughts at all. Where do you think your beliefs come from?

When you see thoughts for what they are, they begin to release their weight. You can challenge the beliefs that may be holding you back. You can put aside the chatter in your mind and return to the object of your attention. You can forge a new relationship with your thoughts, moving from their captive to their guardian.

Heft a thought from the other side of the mirror, and they weigh absolutely nothing at all.