Observe your river of thoughts

Take time to observe your thoughts, to listen to them and watch them as they pass by. Try not to get caught up in them, or let them pull you away into their stream.

Observe your river of thoughts

photo credit: Neal. via photopin cc

He began to pay careful attention to his thoughts and ideas, and to admire them. For example, it occurred to him that if he were to die, the world in which he had been living would cease to exist. At first, this thought just flashed through his mind, but aware now of his inner originality, he did not let the thought escape as so many other ideas had done earlier. He grasped it, observed it, examined it from all sides.

He was walking along the river; now and again he would close his eyes and ask himself whether the river existed even when his eyes were closed. Of course, every time he opened his eyes the river continued to flow before him, but the remarkable thing was that this in no way proved it was there when Jaromil was not looking at it. This seemed extremely interesting to him, he spent the better part of a day on this experiment and then told Maman all about it.’

Milan Kundera. Life is Elsewhere. Translated by Peter Kussi.

‘As you observe thoughts or feelings, you’re separate from them in a sense, because you’re watching them. It’s like sitting on a riverbank as the water rushes by rather than being in the river itself. As you watch the water (emotion or thought) pass by, you may sometimes feel like you’ve been sucked into the river and washed downstream. But you’re not the river itself. You can simply step back out of the river again. De-centring is an important aspect of mindfulness.’

Shamash Alidina and Joelle Jane Marshall. Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies.

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