Thinking self, observing self, and the difference between the two

There’s a part of you that chatters away inside your head. It never shuts up. It always has something to say. That’s your thinking self. It’s probably chattering away right now. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. What’s your chattering mind, your thinking self, saying to you right now?

Sometimes, when having a conversation between two people, say if you and I met and talked, it can be helpful to think of 4 people in the room. There’s you and me, and then there’s your mind and my mind. Your mind in going to chatter away to you, and my mind will chatter away to me. But what’s really important is what happens between me and you, not what our minds have to say.

The differentiation between who is doing the talking – you or your mind – helps us to start to see the difference between the thinking self and the observing self. The thinking self is your chattering mind. But there’s a part of you that can listen in to the chattering mind, and can hear what it is saying and what it sounds like. Try writing down what your chattering mind is saying to you. Try it now. Get a piece of paper, and write down what it is saying.

So, what did it say? Maybe This is stupid, or You can’t do this.

The thing is, that this is just a string of words. You can choose to believe what your chattering mind is saying, or you can step away and observe it for what it is. A string of thoughts. The mere act of stepping away helps you to engage your observing self – taking a helicopter view of what is going on in your internal world – recognizing that there is a lot going on, and that you don’t have to be defined by it. The thoughts don’t go away – but you aren’t so vulnerable to them taking up 100% of your attention, and you’re a little bit more free to pay attention to other things.

Writing your thoughts down helps you to create a bit of distance between your thinking self and your observing self, and also helps to stop you being so fused with your thinking self that you can’t see anything else.

Try it out – let me know how it goes.

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