Mindfulness: You are not your thoughts...

I will never forget the day I learned 'You are not your thoughts.'


But if I am not my thoughts, then what am I?  


Later that day, I found myself sitting in front of a beautiful wall of bamboo filtering afternoon sunlight. All of a sudden, like a stream of hurricanes all lined up one after the other, thoughts began to storm in and out of my head. What if I don't get the job I interviewed for yesterday? What if my husband loses his job? What should I make for dinner?...I have to go to the store...did I save the recipe? Will there be traffic?...I don't have time to be sitting here! 

But what were these thoughts doing here? I was just sitting down in front of some bamboo. I was really enjoying watching the light filter through the bamboo and actually, I'm not a very negative or pessimistic person at that. I did great at the interview.

Instead of jumping up and hightailing it to the grocery store, I made the decision to listen to what I had learned earlier in the day and give myself 3 more minutes; time to sit and let each thought come and go without reacting; as an observer to my thoughts.

By paying attention, I realized the thoughts were moving in and out of my mind. By focusing on what I actually desired to be doing in the moment; hearing the wind move through the bamboo leaves and seeing the light filtering through the stocks, I found myself in the moment and slowed the thoughts until they stopped flooding in. With this, I found the power to calm, reprogram and change. The power to not react.

Whether you call this meditation or mindfulness, the tool is a powerful one. Mindfulness is a simple practice that can help with anxiety, stress, and promote creativity. Practice can be 3 minutes of your whole day.   "Over time, mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood and levels of happiness and wellbeing. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily....Memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster..."

Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World