You are not your mind. You are not your thoughts or emotions. In yoga practice, meditation class and books on Buddhism, they all say this same thing – you are not your mind. I recently read a comparison that said, “Just as your hand is a tool you use to pick up a coffee cup, your mind is nothing more than a tool you use to think, plan and reason.”
I’ve fought this idea for many years. “Well, of course I’m my mind,” I’d say to myself, “If I’m not my mind with all it’s preferences, experiences, ideals, ideas, and desires, what’s left?” I had an epiphany the other night during yoga. It was my “ah-ha” moment when I realized that those are all things collected in my mind, but they are not Me.
However, to say that one can separate Mind and Self completely – to shut off the chatter and internal voice – is a Herculean task, indeed. My mind is more like my conjoined twin than my tool. It’s a conjoined twin who talks loudly and ceaselessly in my ear (and knows all my fears and secrets). Perhaps I can tune it out momentarily when I’m focused on something else, but eventually (and quickly), I’ll begin to hear its incessant babble once again.
Instead of trying to cleave Mind from Self, doesn’t it make more sense to try to live harmoniously together?