Perhaps you’ve heard, in yoga or meditation class, that you should step back and “watch your thoughts.” This advice may seem strange. What’s the point of observing your thoughts? Aren’t you meant to simply slow and eventually stop them?
While it’s true that ancient yogic texts promise that a consistent practice will help slow down the “useless chatter” of our minds, there is value in noticing that chatter. Noticing it is the first step toward decreasing it. At a deeper level, yoga teaches us that when we step back and see the way our mind works, and witness the patterns and ruts in our thinking, we learn something very profound: We are more than our thoughts. When we stand back and observe, we learn that we must not simply be our thoughts. We must be something more.
The next time you find yourself stuck in the same mindset, notice the way your mind is working. As you notice, feel liberated by the knowledge that you can transcend that pattern of thinking and move on to a thought pattern that better serves you.
-from Daily Insight, a Yoga Journal e-newsletter