You Are Not Your Unhealthy Ideas

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“The start of freedom is the belief that you’re not the thinker.”

– Eckhart Tolle

Many people undergo life believing that our ideas are who we’re. Considering is so acquainted to us, a lot a part of our moment-to-moment actuality, that we are able to’t think about who or what we’d be with out it. 

In fact, we want pondering as a way to navigate our lives. Reflective ideas allow us to study from our experiences and hopefully make wiser decisions shifting forwards. Eager about the long run means we are able to plan the lives we want to dwell. As a species, our potential to suppose creatively has allowed us to extend our consolation, enhance our life expectancy and style all the pieces from skyscrapers to silicon chips.

However what occurs once we are overtaken by ideas that appear to be working towards us? What occurs when the identical ideas loop spherical in our minds on repeat and we really feel powerless to cease them? What will we do when our ideas are telling us that we’re nugatory, unlovable, destined to fail, and even that the world could be a greater place with out us?

The Secret Self

I struggled with my very own pondering patterns lots in my 20’s. I used to be my very own worst critic, believing I used to be not adequate, not good sufficient, not attention-grabbing sufficient for the world round me. Inconsequential issues would lodge themselves in my head and refuse to depart me alone.  I did what I might to flee them however even when I discovered a brief reprieve they have been destined to bounce again extra aggressively sooner or later.

At occasions my ideas may very well be darkish, random and even disturbing. As a result of I believed I used to be my ideas, it adopted that I have to be a nasty individual.

Not desirous to let anybody in on this secret self, I tried to include it and faux normality. I attempted to be good on the surface and simply hoped that nobody would discover in any other case. Evidently this was a lonely and imprisoning expertise.

Awakening The Witness

I keep in mind the primary time I attempted meditation in my 20’s. It didn’t really feel in any respect useful. In truth it felt like being in confinement with my worst ideas. The expertise solely added to my feeling that there was one thing fallacious with me. How come meditation might work for different folks however solely made issues worse for me? What was I lacking?

It wasn’t till I got here throughout The Energy of Now by Eckhart Tolle that I skilled the flexibility to step again from my ideas and observe them. Right here is an train from the e-book that stays in my thoughts:

“Attempt slightly experiment. Shut your eyes and say to your self: “I ponder what my subsequent thought goes to be.” Then grow to be very alert and await the subsequent thought. Be like a cat watching a mouse gap. What thought goes to come back out of the mouse gap? Attempt it now.”

In ready for the subsequent thought to come back, I discovered {that a} hole opened up in my thoughts. On this hole there have been no ideas and but there was one thing alive that felt like me. It was peaceable, spacious and clear. By practising the workout routines within the e-book, I continued to entry this inconsiderate place. With time, I discovered I might shift into it extra readily, with no need to do something specifically.

What I had come throughout in The Energy of Now was ‘the witness’ – the a part of us that sits past the ideas, is ready to observe them and know it’s not them. It was life-changing for me as a result of I now knew I used to be one thing greater than my pondering thoughts.

The Energy To Select

As I practiced extra yoga, I found that the idea of the witness (Sakshi) is central to yoga. The witness permits us to watch not solely ideas however bodily sensations and feelings too. We uncover from this observing place that ideas, sensations and feelings come and go while the witness is all the time there, unchanging. The analogy that’s usually used for this can be a clear open sky (the witness) with clouds passing via it (ideas and sensations).

There are lots of ways in which yoga helps us to entry this witnessing capability. Whether or not we’re meditating or shifting via our asana apply, focusing our consideration on a selected object such because the breath makes it simpler to note when our thoughts wanders and ideas come up. The extra we get used to doing this on our mats, the extra it turns into pure in our on a regular basis lives.

Over time, we begin to discover our recurring patterns of pondering and discover we’ve got a alternative as to how we interact with them. We would, for instance, select to problem self-criticism by reminding ourselves of our optimistic qualities. Different ideas we would observe however permit them to simply move on by. And once we discover the type of ideas that assist the imaginative and prescient we’ve got for lives, we are able to select to have interaction with them and act upon them.

This act of witnessing our ideas additionally helps us to vary our behaviour. So if I’ve determined I don’t need to drink alcohol each night time, fairly than simply going together with the voice that claims ‘it’s the tip of a protracted day, you deserve it’, I can observe this as a thought that’s not serving my greatest pursuits. Then I’ve some house to weigh up my determination – do I truly need to have a drink tonight or may I make a unique alternative?

The witness offers us the present of the hole; the house through which alternative turns into attainable.

Gateway To Freedom

The necessary factor about witnessing is that we aren’t making an attempt to push something away. Darkish ideas might come up and we discover them however we study to not react to them. We uncover that simply because the sky can accommodate a myriad of clouds, we are able to make house for an entire vary of ideas.

In truth, troublesome ideas may even grow to be a present.

It’s simple to be complacent with a steady stream of ideas when they’re principally peaceable and nice, however when our ideas begin to hassle us, it will possibly remind us to take a step again from them.

In stepping again, we launch ourselves from the restrictions of the pondering thoughts – the idea we’re trapped, separate and alone. We discover a gateway to our true nature which is expansive, peaceable and free.

Within the phrases of the late religious instructor Ram Dass:

“Ultimately, floating in that subjective consciousness, the objects of consciousness dissolve, and you’ll come into the religious Self, the Atmān, which is pure consciousness, pleasure, compassion, the One.”

– Ram Dass

Placing It Into Follow

Listed here are a couple of concepts for accessing the witness:

  1. Take your consciousness to your breath because it strikes out and in of your nostrils. Really feel the feeling and temperature of every breath. When a thought pops up, discover it and return to the feeling of the breath. Discover your potential to note the ideas
  2. Attempt free-flow writing. Write three A4 sides of no matter goes via your thoughts, with out judging, analyzing or stopping. When the ideas are on paper, it creates a way of separation from them and it’s simpler to see that they aren’t us. (This method is taken from Julia Cameron’s e-book The Artist’s Method. She recommends doing it very first thing within the morning and it’s due to this fact generally known as Morning Pages.)
  3. Follow witnessing sensations in your physique, each throughout your yoga apply and all through the day. Let go of the labels (‘my achey hip’, ‘my indigestion’) and convey a way of curiosity to the feeling. Discover the a part of you that’s doing the noticing and see in the event you can relaxation in it for a time.

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