Do you notice the internal commentary and chatter zipping through your mind? Your head? Most of us do notice this incessant chatter and wish it to be quiet. We meditate and practice yoga or walk to lessen our stress of listening to the constant chatter. We have deep habits of internally commenting, critiquing, judging every thought stream, every moment, according to our preferences, emotions, opinions and desires. We begin to see the thought stream is uncontrollable as we cannot create it or make it disappear.
We are taught from a young age to take ownership of the internal thoughts and claim them as belonging to a me at the center of the world look out upon a world of people, places, and things.
Claiming these thoughts as belonging to a personal me is the root cause of great drama, fear, and emotional pain. Yet, we cannot delete the thought stream but we can watch it, observe it, and from a place a calm detachment and focused attention we can simply notice the stream of thoughts and go about our day. Meditation and mindfulness practices are the tools for learning to be the quiet detached observer of all thoughts and actions taken by the body.
In 1992 I started to meditate and learn how to observe and notice my thoughts without judgment, without trying to make my thoughts different than what was appearing. When I initially began meditating I was absolutely blown away by the intensity of how much I was thinking and the negative overlay I placed upon the passing thoughts in my head.
After many, many years of meditation practice I was finally able to notice the thoughts with a sense of curiosity, ease, of simply noticing what was arising, and opening to accept thoughts as a condition of being human, of being conscious, yet knowing they are not personal unless I believe they are. I had no idea I had this choice!
Seeing thoughts arising the same way we see clouds passing across the sky, allows an opening to curiosity, wonder and amazement. This attitude seems to neutralize passing thoughts into passing fragments of energy and keeps the body much calmer. This process of simply noticing thoughts also opens the portal for a deep inner peace and acceptance to settle and remain while the thoughts continue their incessant parade. When we are able to have compassion and a sense of acceptance while listening and watching our inner dialogue we can become more compassionate towards others as well to ourselves.
The space that holds the thoughts, that holds the thinking, that holds the thought stream is the same edgeless empty space that holds the cosmos. But believe the space is in our heads until we investigate this for ourselves. When this is felt inside the body there is a wonderment and amazement, a sheer bewilderment at how any thoughts and external experiences are even seeming to appear. These thought fragments and streams are so effervescent and momentary that they are like empty particles dancing through a prism of light, reflecting and refracting into a prism of possibilities as life.
Without a personal me to claim these thoughts, to own and manage the thought stream, there is an enormous freedom to be present, to experience openness and spaciousness, to feel the fluidity of this moment without any mental story, without any mental critique, without any need to change what is appearing or make it any different than it is.