Separating Yourself From Your Thoughts
Even though I have been meditating for 10 years (some years much more than others), the efficacy of meditation has been difficult for me to judge. I do believe it has been a great tool in my life, but to what extent fluctuates with my own ever changing personal experience with meditation. At the very least, I credit it to jumpstarting my rise from a bad headspace early on in my college years. In all actuality, the ever increasing self-awareness and changes in perspective over the years may have never been realized without meditation. It’s ones of these changes in perspective that I want to share and perhaps with the right words, I can save you some of the time I have spent toiling on a cushion, aimlessly sitting.
One of the core philosophies behind meditation is that you are not thoughts. Your thoughts, instead are something that you can choose to watch and be aware of. Each person’s goals and expectations of meditation are unique, but creating space between the awareness and the thoughts is one of my primary drivers for practicing.
The issue is that thoughts have always been to abstract for me. If my thoughts are not who I am, then what are they?. I needed something more concrete to tie this idea to. My welcomed change in perspective has come from ceasing to treat my thoughts as if they have priority over any of the other senses in my body. Instead, think of your thoughts exactly like any other sense.
For example, from where you are currently sitting, your eyes are seeing the light from the screen. If you direct your attention to your body, you can likely feel the sensation of your butt in a chair. Your ears and nose are also likely taking their role in sending signals to the brain. In the middle of all this noise, the most elusive sense of all, your brain, is thinking various thoughts.
Thoughts are just another signal being processed by the brain. Once I was able to deprioritize the importance of thoughts over any other sensation, I was able to sit with with more patience, with more awareness, and sometimes needed detachment of my self from the thoughts that drive me whether I’m watching them or not.