Thinking of Self

“Why the hell is it always me?” This thought plagued me for longer than two months. I kept finding myself in horrific situations with my family where I would have random outbursts, causing awkward friction I would beg life to undo. For the rest of the day, I play through the situation in my head and I’d watch my thoughts jump from blaming them completely for it and then to how I was the one in the wrong.

I kept thinking I was the victim, with my family and to life. Like it was life that determines if you’ll be happy or sad; and on each occasion, it was only causing me grief. After one of these outbursts, I finally had enough and vowed to put a stop to them once and for all. To do this, I had to realise that it wasn’t life causing all this headache. Why did I think I was the victim, surely this can be changed.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

To change this point of view, I first looked into thinking. What is thinking? The question is paradoxical, how can you establish a meaning of thinking through thinking, when you don’t know what thinking is?! It’s a total mind fuck. So I decided to cut the experience bit by bit. Instead of what is thinking, I asked myself what is happening when I think. I realised when you think in the current moment you’re establishing a sense of self. The thoughts would be based on previous experience, what is happening around you and an image on where you want to be.

I don’t know what I was doing, but suddenly I had a realisation that we are not these thoughts. To explain, when you look at breathing, it is a process which is automatic. When you bring your attention to your breath, you have brief control over it but after a while your body will go on automatically performing this system without your intervention. Thinking is exactly the same, but the reverse. You’re constantly focusing your attention to your thoughts and get stuck in the flow it creates. For example, let’s take a spontaneous smell. Your mind will start creating a judgement surrounding this smell.

“What is this smell?”

“Is it good or bad?”

”What does this smell remind me of?” Your body will perceive these questions instantly and you won’t even be aware of it until you’re in a tangent created by the mind. Merely a perception of smell has created a ripple effect in your body which you will judge as a good or bad situation. Hopefully the smell wasn’t a fart.

Who you really are is behind the thoughts. The silent watcher who reacts to each stimulus your body and life throws at you. Life is not inherently good or bad. It’s up to you on how you react to each situation.

So if you aren’t your thoughts and you notice this observer, who are you and who is this observer? I fear at times I will never know…

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