19 Feb You Are Not Your Thoughts
“…psychologists say that 95% of your thinking occurs at the level of the subconscious, leaving just 5% that you are actually aware of…”
In an average 15 hour waking day it is reported we think up to 50,000 thoughts. If this is true, that’s about one thought every second. Oops there goes another one. Seems unbelievable if you think about. Oops there goes another one. I’m sure it isn’t news to you that your mind is busy…really busy! Right?
If you stop and consciously listen to your thinking, what you’ll notice is that most of your thoughts are in the sound of your own voice. They are constantly analysing, plotting, planning, commentating, reviewing, judging, discerning, agreeing, arguing, praising, worrying, appreciating, doubting, loathing, rehearsing… and a lot of this is happening involuntarily and unconsciously. In fact, psychologists say that 95% of your thinking occurs at the level of the subconscious, leaving just 5% that you are actually aware of.
Because your thoughts are in the sound of your own voice and are constant, incessant and unrelenting, like a pinball in a pinball machine bouncing from one thought to another, it’s reasonable to arrive at the conclusion that this is who you are, you are that voice inside your mind.
It may come as a surprise to discover that the voice inside your mind, although it may sound like you, is not actually you. That voice is actually just your thoughts structured in language that only sounds like the voice you speak in. So if you aren’t the voice, or in some cases voices, inside your mind, then who are you? Or better yet what are you? Have you ever noticed the ability to witness thoughts flowing through your mind as if they were just going by themselves? A cascade bouncing from one idea to the next? A regular practice of meditation very rapidly causes this witnessing phenomenon to become apparent. So who is this witness? Or better yet, what is the witness?
This is the million dollar question that has been asked for millennia by millions around the world. It’s also one of the most ancient questions, one of which, in these modern times that we have forgotten to ask. ‘Who is the witness of the thoughts in my mind?’
Ancient wisdom traditions throughout the ages go to great length to describe this witnessing experience. You’ll be fascinated to know that they all pretty much arrive at the same conclusion. The witness is who you truly are. It’s described as a state of ‘Being’ that is always present, just beneath your thoughts. The qualities of Being are self-awareness, dynamism, compassion and enthusiasm with the unending capability to witness, innovate and adapt to life’s challenges and demands.
Throughout the ages, all the great masters who have realised the full potential of their minds have warned that if we ignore Being, we will become trapped in the cage of our thinking mind and disconnected from who we truly are. They describe this as the cause of all suffering and illness.
Over many thousands of years powerful techniques have been discovered to awaken Being and establish the witness as a feature of everyday life. Meditation is one of these techniques. By allowing the mind to fall into quieter, less excited states, it makes direct contact with Being. Through daily practice, the mind automatically becomes infused with the qualities of Being and the ability to witness naturally emerges.
You can begin to feel yourself more deeply, and this connection gives rise to a stronger sense of who you are and your purpose. As you continue to make meditation a daily habit, you will notice the ability to witness the highs and lows in your life and not feel overwhelmed. You will become less reactive to your thoughts and the actions or behaviours of others. You will feel happier for no particular reason, more calm under pressure and capable of listening to yourself. The overall experience of awakening Being is greater fulfilment, meaning and connection.
If you haven’t tried meditation before and you would like to experience what this article describes, seek out a teacher or download the free ‘1 Giant Mind’ smart-phone application. Let us teach you this simple yet powerful technique.