“Your thoughts are just tiny secretions.” -Jeff Bridges
“To realize you are not your thoughts is when you become spiritually awake.” -Eckhart Tolle
Thoughts are just thoughts. You’ll have thousands upon thousands of them every day. Like an endless stream of running water or breathing, you can’t turn them off. Nor should you. Just be aware that you have them and don’t overweight ’em.
The twelfth century Tibetan yoga Milarepa, composed and sang tons of songs about presence and meditation. In one he says that the “mind has more projections than there are dust motes in a sunbeam” and that “even hundreds of spears couldn’t put an end to that.”
If you find yourself going down the thought rabbit hole or what Allen Ginsberg called the “surprise mind”–where you try to concentrate on something or meditate and then wham! a nasty surprise thought appears–do what Pema Chodron advises in her wonderful book, “When Things Fall Apart”…Pause. Notice what you’re doing. And then label it. Without judgment. Say to yourself or out loud, “I’m Thinking, Thinking, Thinking.” And then return. You might have to do this a lot, especially at first, but realize that every time you do, you’re practicing presence.
Give it a shot. Let me know how it works out.