You Are Not Your Thoughts

The trappings of your life are in your head. How do we break free of these trappings? When that broken record’s played in your head for 18 years – how stupid a person you are, or how ugly…or how fat. When all that becomes the frame of our being, how do we unlearn them to see life in a different light.


You are not your thoughts” –

I first saw this quote outside the therapist’s office in graduate school over a decade ago. It struck me like someone had stuck a note on my forehead and I just looked into the mirror for the first time. Up till that point I always figured life is what you make it out to be. I thought the problems in my head were for me to sort out with my therapist and how to sort them all out. There surely must be a place for all my crazy thoughts and from whence they came? All the self-help and motivational books I’d read said to envision your life the way you want it to be – dream big! But I can’t even dream beyond the thought of where I was going to vacation next. Or how I was going to get out of this trap called a career. I suppose the problem herein lies with how we dream. Do we dream about zip lining through the Amazon? Are we saving up to buy a 40ft yacht? When we become CEO of some fortune 500 company, is that when I know I’ve arrived?

If we keep striving for something outside of ourselves – something bigger or more than what we already have or a situation we’re in – there’ll always be something to strive for. A bigger house, a better salary, a more highly exposed project. Carl Jung said “who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens.” Thoughts are formed largely from the outside – family, society, friends, our surrounding – through the years have continuously fed their opinions into our thought stream. How then do we separate our own from theirs? How do we even separate our thoughts from who we really are?!


Even though many of us may not have come close to death, we can all imagine that at our deathbeds – should we be so lucky – we’ll hardly be thinking about what the “big accomplishments” have been in life – or worse yet, what have we been able to own or purchase. “Ah, wasn’t it great I was finally able to buy that pair of Manolo Blahniks!” I think not. So what does it mean when Dan Millman says “you are more than you imagined?” To me, it’s about the deepest core of who we are – our essence.

I am sure there have been many influential people in our lives who may not even realize how they’ve impacted our lives. An example is my third grade teacher, Mrs. Doss, who was very dearly loved, largely because she got us laughing so much in class. She was a lanky Indian lady who commanded a fair amount of the Chinese dialect spoken in my hometown and often made fun of us with the funniest of enunciation. She would pick on everyone, mind you, using the appropriate language. Her essence lives with me to this day – over 3 decades later – the humor to make fun and laugh at ourselves, and each other! As a yoga teacher, I too have no idea how I may have influenced others in a positive way.  I just have to trust that I do.  We are truly more than we imagine. And we are certainly more than our thoughts.  These words from my meditation this morning will keep me going as I laugh, love and hopefully learn through each experience.


“If you can love and if you can laugh, totally, wholeheartedly, your life will become such a bliss and a benediction, not only to yourself but to everyone else. You will be a blessing to the world.” ~Osho



About Magi Khoo

Yogi Freedom Fighter. Magi teaches yoga in San Francisco with a flair of humor, grounding, breath, mindfulness, strengthening and balancing it all together in one simple om.

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