You Are Not Your Thoughts

In his book ”The Untethered Soul”, Michael Singer writes:

In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it? How much of what it says turns out to be true? How much of what it says is even important? And if right now you are hearing, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any voice inside my head!”—that’s the voice we’re talking about.

One of the greatest insights I’ve had since I started studying behavioural science, mental training and personal development in general, is that I am not my thoughts. Whatever thoughts or feelings that happen to show up in my head at any given moment do not define or control me.

There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind—you are the one who hears it. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you. People go through so many changes in the name of “trying to find myself.” They want to discover which of these voices, which of these aspects of their personality, is who they really are. The answer is simple: none of them.

When you realize that you are not your thoughts or emotions you get to witness everything that is going on from a detached perspective instead of identifying with them.

Viktor Frankl said:

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Knowing that you are not your thoughts puts that space between the stimulus and your response.

The next time you run into a disturbing thought or emotion, remember that it does not define or control you. You can actively choose whether to participate in it or not.

It may not seem like it in the moment, thoughts and feelings are always fleeting. When you wake up in the morning, you may feel as if you are going to be tired the rest of the day but, if you just get out of bed, you can be wide awake and alert within minutes.

All thoughts and feelings are like clouds in the sky. They arrive, float around for a while and then dissipate. It’s up to you to choose if you want to get entangled in them or let them go.

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