“Don’t believe everything you think.”
– Byron Katie
Your mind will produce approximately 70,000 thoughts today. Have you ever stopped to question how many of those thoughts are your own?
Many of the thoughts you think were never yours to begin with. These thoughts belong to your parents, your society, your culture or your friends. They are thoughts that were programmed into your mind before you knew how to think for yourself, and often they are outdated ideas and beliefs about who you are and what you’re capable of.
I’ve witnessed this time and time again in my own mind. I observe thoughts of scarcity that can be traced back to my grandparents and thoughts of fear from the petrified society I live in. When I catch myself thinking I need to lose 5 or 10 pounds, I know it’s a direct result of the 15,000,000 advertisements I’ve been exposed to that whispered to my subconscious, “you must be skinny to be loved”.
It’s taken a lot of practice for me to step outside my habitual thought patterns, take a seat as observer and practice conscious thinking. Like most people, I spent years failing to recognize that most of my thoughts were foreign and invasive.
The process of awakening begins by simply asking yourself whether or not your dominant thoughts are supportive, loving, or worthy to remain in your consciousness. If the answer is “no”, it’s time for you to start thinking affirmative thoughts by creating a mind of your own.
You can only create a mind of your own by first recognizing that you are not your thoughts; you are the observer of your thoughts, and as observer you have the power to choose what to think. Meditation is by far the best methodology to help distance your sense of self-identity from the constant stream of your thoughts.
In meditation, watch your thoughts like clouds passing in the sky. Don’t identify with them, just notice their vibrational quality and ponder where you think they came from. Ask yourself, “are these thoughts my own?”
Then begin to choose new thoughts that are loving and support your growth. You’ll know by the way you feel whether the thoughts you’re thinking are helpful or not.
Sifting through the thoughts in your head is like weeding a garden. If you don’t take time to pull the weeds, the majority of your thoughts will be reactive, myopic and completely repetitive. Your inner dialogue will get stuck on repeat like a broken record, and you’ll blindly recycle the thoughts you had yesterday and the day before that.
Whose thoughts are you thinking?