In order to preserve our sanity, many times it’s useful to remember to say to ourselves, “It’s just a thought.”
Let’s pause for a moment and ponder: What are these things we call thoughts? What are their characteristics, features, qualities? It doesn’t take a lot of observation to realize that thoughts are just ephemeral mental formations. They come and go. They arise, are present for a moment, and soon vanish. Thoughts are not only ephemeral; they are also insubstantial. They are not real. They are temporary and empty mental formations.
Thoughts are also independent. It is as if we are carrying around an independent thought-producing machine. When we become able to observe our thoughts and notice their independent nature, then we can liberate ourselves from their grip by realizing that we are not our thoughts.
And whenever thoughts bring about disturbing emotions, it’s also useful to remember to say to ourselves, “It is OK to feel like this. It’s just a short-lived emotion that will soon go away.” Because just like thoughts, emotions are also ephemeral and insubstantial.
Observing thoughts and emotions is very liberating. The ability to observe thoughts and emotions without being carried away by them, without being owned by them, without allowing them to get a hold of us, is very empowering.
So, whenever they arise, try not to push them away. Observe them with removed and dispassionate interest. Observe the desire to push them away but get closer to your disturbing thoughts and emotions instead. And if necessary, remember to say to yourself, “What I am thinking is not actually happening right now. It’s just a fleeting thought, and thoughts are not real. I am not my thoughts. The thought of this occurrence is not the actual occurrence. The thought of this person is not the actual person. The thought of this thing is not the actual thing. It’s just a thought. And it is OK to feel what I am feeling right now. It’s OK to feel like this. These are just transient mind states that will soon pass away.”
“It’s just a thought, and life, in this moment, is not this thought. It’s just a thought. Thoughts are not real. Thoughts are just thoughts. Thoughts think themselves. The thought of a thing is not that thing. The mind has a mind of its own. I am not my thoughts.”
Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”