Picture this……You are standing beside yourself observing from a third person perspective. You watch your thoughts passing through your mind, noticing them, but feel no attachment or reaction to them. You are separate from the thoughts running through your mind. You make choices based on what is right for you. You are free from guilt, worry, and negative emotions.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is possible for all of us to live in that reality by developing the ability to become a watcher or witness of our thoughts. I first learned of the “watcher” concept while reading the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. In the book, he talks about “…watching the thinker, which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.” He notes that it is important to listen to the voices in a non-judgmental manner. By listening to the voices and not judging, you will be able to see your mind for what it really is and therefore, become less identified with it as who you are. Deepak Chopra also discusses the topic of mindful choice making in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. He writes, “If you step back for a moment and witness the choices you are making as you make those choices, then in just this act of witnessing, you take the whole process from the unconscious realm into the conscious realm. This procedure of conscious choice-making and witnessing is very empowering.”
I remember feeling very liberated after first reading about this concept. I had been identified with my mind and thoughts for so long that I just took it for granted that it was who I was. With practice, I was able to watch or witness my thoughts and see that I had a choice; that I didn’t have to mindlessly follow my thoughts anymore. Developing my “watcher” has also enabled me to step back from my emotions and not allow them to take control of my life. In the past, I was always a slave to my emotions. I never felt any control over them and was at the mercy of their waves. Learning to become a witness of my thoughts and emotions helped me to separate myself from what I was feeling. I can now make choices based on what I want and not on what I tell myself. When I use my “watcher”, I feel more at peace and in control of things. I am able to respond to situations versus reacting to them. It has been one of the most important pieces in my journey of personal growth.
Spend some time this week practicing being a watcher of your thoughts. Sit quietly for a few moments and listen to what you hear in your head. You will be amazed at the continuous stream of thoughts running through your mind. These thoughts are not who you are, they are simply stories that you have learned to tell yourself or that others have told you over the years. Learn to identify your stories and separate yourself from them. Only then will you be able to feel who you really are and see the endless possibilities for your life.
Yours in transformation,