Guruji dropped this tweet a few weeks ago (which I’ve since added to my “Daily Reminders”): “Identifying yourself with your thoughts and emotions, thinking that you created them, is utter ignorance. When you stop identifying with them/owning them, you become a witness. That is freedom.” But – in order to focus on your breathing, don’t you have to actively think about your breath? That is, aren’t you controlling the thought that controls the breath? Isn’t it the same with thinking about actively thinking about your heartbeat, etc?
No it isn’t. Understand, there is nothing like a “thought that controls the breath or heart beat” in the first place! Your breath and heartbeats do not run as per your thoughts. Otherwise you would never sleep, what if you stopped thinking about your breath and heartbeat, you would die in no time. They are being run by a greater energy, a higher order that has even decided how long they will run. Even scientists and doctors cannot predict the death of an individual. If we say take your attention to your breath, it is only a method to break you away from your current pattern of thought, breaking you away from identifying with the thought, breaking you away from owning the thought. The breath is running anyways, you have to just take your attention to it. You don’t think about it. You just take the attention there. There is no need of a thought like “I am breathing”. Breath is going in and out anyways, just observe it like you would observe the movement of waves in the ocean. You just observe! You stand outside, stop getting involved. Be a sakshi! Time to revise Ashtavakra again. Videos are available online.
It’s like instead of just walking, you’re putting both hands around your thighs and dragging each leg forward. So you’re in control of the movement. I don’t quite follow how these intentional thoughts to motivate action are not mine. We’re saying it’s not mine because it’s part of the mind and not part of the soul?
The thoughts are not yours. It is a fact! For e.g. when you decide I am not going to think about person “X” anymore, what happens? You keep thinking about that person, right? Remember the monkey story from Ashtavakra. The Saint gave a mantra to the farmer who wanted to learn to meditate saying that while chanting the mantra he must not think about monkeys but he kept thinking about a monkey.
In so many ways life keeps telling us that thoughts are not yours, emotions are not yours, whatever actions are happening in life are also not yours, it is all propelled by a higher management. You are just a pawn on a chessboard. You cannot even move on your own accord. There is a single player that is playing this game of chess. Unnecessarily, the pawn keeps screaming and shouting and wishing and wanting. Nobody is really listening. The player moves the pawn as he decides. The Brahman consciousness decides how and where the Purusha will move. So stop owning these thoughts/emotions/actions.
The day you become a witness (100% sakshi bhava), you will be liberated from this chess board. You will unite with the Brahman!