You Are Not Your Thoughts

I was always a relatively bright kid. And growing up, I had a rich and creative imagination and a constantly hungry curiosity for how things worked. I was artistic, articulate and intelligent (what happened, right?? ๐Ÿ˜› ). My natural attitude was positive, and I remember beautiful periods of absolute joy, play, and bliss.

It could be that the mind conveniently mis-remembers things that happened long ago, relegating negativity and trauma to the shadows, so they are not the first things recalled. But like all things repressed, they will rise up and seek expression sooner or later. And deep within the human psychology, the expression of repressed pain is always unconscious.

By the time I grew into my 20s, things started taking an ugly turn. The inner landscape of my mind was becoming over-crowded, faster-paced, ugly. It was becoming a city that could no longer cope with its inhabitants ~ the thoughts were getting restless.

A childhood pain had been percolating and it was about to boil over…

Feeling

By now I was 25 years old. I had my film school bachelors degree under my arm and was working in the industry, though not in any meaningful role. I was broke, depressed, frustrated, unhealthy, and my relationships were sour. I was “broken.” And that was just the backdrop for what was about to happen next.

Now, before you start saying, “boo-hoo Jim, buck the hell up and stop whining!”ย You have to know that hidden in the very the crisis of the story was the revelation of truth and the very solution itself. And it all comes down to feeling.

I have yet to tell you about how this all felt. You see, we human beings are, after all, an aesthetic bunch. I mean, how can we not be? The only way we can interact with the world is aesthetically. We have our five senses (some say more), and those electro-chemical sensations are interpreted by the brain. So, on to the feeling!

Depression has a physiology. To put it bluntly, I was feeling like garbage! Every damn minute, of every awful day. This was a far cry from the happy little boy.

Don’t worry, this is not a sob-story about those events, but you can read about how I saved my life, if you’d like an uplifting account.

The point here is that somewhere along the line, early on, I’d made a fundamental error about life. An error, it seems, that so many others make. Even smart people. Especially smart people.

I think, therefore I am.

~ Descartes (poor old Descartes)

You know what it is: I believed I was my mind.

“I am my thoughts.” Do you believe this? Is this your experience?

That such a simple assumption can have such major repercussions in a human life is remarkable. But such is the nature of the mind. That which is repressed, will eventually express itself.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

The illusion that I was my thoughts came crashing down around me sometime after I began meditating. During a time of extreme catharsis, emotional release, and <ahem> tears, I experienced reality. For what might have been just a quarter of a second, my compulsive, monkey-mind, million-miles-a-second thoughts ceased.

Nothing.

But.

Reality.

Remained.

And that reality was blissful. Absolute bliss. My body flooded with long-since-felt endorphins.ย For that eternal moment, I reconnected with my Self again, that same infinitely creative, compassionate, intelligent little boy that I AM.

I was stillย alive.ย No thought. No judgement or criticism. Just bliss.

Until I began thinking again! And it was gone. But not forever. No, I had once again experienced reality, just as I had as a child, and I knew I was on the right path. So I continued meditating. Little by little, the crack in the door of darkness widened. The thoughts were getting out of the way by themselves. And the repression was coming to an end.

I quickly found that the more I meditated, the more of bliss (reality) I could bring with me back into my daily life. Until your daily life becomes a waking meditation, and you are able to experience the bliss of reality directly. And express Self.

Here’s how to reconnect with Self.

  1. Meditate.
  2. Persist.
  3. Feel & experience every sensation fully. Let those experiences fill you.
  4. Repeat.

If reading this has struck a chord in you, please share it. Let others know that they aren’t alone.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Riah Dec 10, 2013 @ 11:32

    I just came across your site, stumbled upon it. Funnily enough, it is the same Descartes quote that has defined me, it is what I believe what I am. The crash that you’ve had in your 20s, I am having in my 30s, so in that sense I envy you! Not to mention I think I have been the brink of the proverbial collapse, I believe twice before, did I ignore it or simply shift my attention to the other sectors of my life that were crashing down hard and fast, I don’t know.

    So here I am asking “Who I am” – Strange, I should know the answer, but I don’t. If it’s not my mind, then who? Is the answer to this question the same for us all?

  • ruchi May 17, 2013 @ 17:27

    Beautiful.

  • Melissa Oct 3, 2012 @ 4:31

    All I need to say is thank you for such a lucid, accessible and compelling map of meditation you’ve provided on this website. Reading your words has made it make sense to me for the first time, so I’ve pledged to myself to persist in meditating daily. After my first attempt I believe I felt some fleeting moments of the ‘gap’ you wrote of that I could only describe as being a mixture of euphoria and utter tranquility. So yeah, thank you!

    • Jim Oct 7, 2012 @ 10:39

      Melissa, you’re very welcome. I’m glad I could help.

      Persist. That’s the best advice I can give. If I would have given up in those first 6 months (without any results), my life would be completely different now. I shudder to imagine!

      But I kept going, I kept reading the success others had had, and just had faith. It’s paid off a million times over, and it will for you too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Maleeha Jun 22, 2012 @ 6:13

    I truly agree with all that you have mentioned, until lately i too was just mind oriented and then things changed, everything was different then, and life became just BE just love .. i have read most of the books you have mentioned, The power of now and A new earth .. the secret have always been my favorite … i will comment on your posts soon, got to go now.

    Good luck !!

    • Jim Jun 22, 2012 @ 11:27

      Yes, the misunderstanding that “I am my thoughts” cut so deep and has an effect on everything else in one’s life. To break free of this is liberating.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • Emily Apr 29, 2012 @ 6:35

    Do you have any actual examples of your meditations? It’s one thing to write about them, but it’d be great to actually experience what you’re talking about.

    • Jim Apr 29, 2012 @ 9:40

      Sure Emily, I’m going to record a guided meditation for you guys. I’ll let you know when it’s posted ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jim Jun 22, 2012 @ 11:19

      Here’s the guided meditation for you: Guided meditation ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rob Mar 9, 2012 @ 22:44

    I too have experienced that fleeting moment of bliss during meditation. It has happened about 3 times in the past 10 years, which is my fault because I have only meditated 3 times in the past 10 years. I always thought that that was it, that was all you got from it. After reading this I realise that if I do it more often then I will experience larger gaps in my troubling thought bank and my internal stress and my mild depression should disappear. I have just made a promise to myself that I am no longer going to watch inspiration videos on Tedtalk whilst in the bath, I am going to meditate.

    Thank you very much

    • Jim Mar 11, 2012 @ 9:31

      Hi Rob,

      While I enjoy TEDtalks videos too, I have to say that meditation is a much more valuable way to spend that time in the tub ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s great that you have experienced the gap, and from just one meditation session each! That is awesome. Meditate every day and the gaps will not only open wider for you, but expand into your day too. Great work.

  • Shilpan Mar 1, 2012 @ 15:34

    Jim,

    This is an awesome post. I love this quote, ” You have to know that hidden in the very the crisis of the story was the revelation of truth and the very solution itself. ” — wow!

    • Jim Mar 1, 2012 @ 16:03

      Hi Shilpan,

      Thanks! It struck me that it’s often the case when we are at the worst point in a situation when we discover not just the solution – but the catalyst for making a quantum leap past the entire problem.

  • Jeff Mar 1, 2012 @ 12:30

    Wow, inspiring. Opening up that gap between thoughts seems exactly what I need. How long did it take you?

    • Jim Mar 1, 2012 @ 12:53

      Hey Jeff,

      From memory, I think it was about 6 months from when I started learning to when I experienced that blissful gap between thoughts.

      It may sound like a long time, but I was in a pretty dark place and my thoughts and emotions were all over the place. But after I experienced the gap, the progression went much quicker.