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Your Thoughts are Neither Your Identity, Nor Your Reality By Matt Johnston

Your thoughts are neither your identity, nor your reality.

Oftentimes, we cannot control what thoughts spring to mind. The human brain is far too complex and far too intricate for that. We have certain mental knee-jerk reactions that we cannot pre-meditatively halt or prevent.

Yet, we can exert enough control over the mind to stop and process our thoughts. We can develop the discipline to detach ourselves from these thoughts, step back and assess them for what they truly are.

This gives us great perspective and wisdom.

When we are able to step back from our thoughts and watch them as if they are a television show playing out before our eyes, we can then practice discernment and demonstrate our ability to choose. We can choose to shift our focus, change our perspective, and adopt, perhaps, a new paradigm, a new way of viewing the world.

This, first, requires us to slow down enough to observe these thoughts. Just as we sit and watch television, we must take the time to sit down and watch out thoughts. We then attempt to wrap our minds around what we are seeing, to understand what we are thinking and to process and categorize these thoughts appropriately.

We then can live a little lighter.


We become unburdened by the build up and over-accumulation of uncontemplated thoughts. The clamoring of the mind becomes less taxing and burdensome.

Our thoughts become contemplated instead of cumbersome.

And we find immense freedom in the separation.

We become no longer enslaved to our thoughts, but rather, masters of our own minds. We are no longer beholden to our opinions and bound to our judgments and no longer deceived by the lies.

Thoughts are not reality.

Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true.

We should weigh our opinions and test our presuppositions, identifying them for what they are and what they are tied to.

In doing this, many times we will find that thoughts and opinions are directly tied to our ego and our self worth. We hold on to these thoughts and opinions because we think they define us.

Similarly, the thoughts and opinions of others have a way of altering and manipulating our view of ourselves. We allow the thoughts of others to mold and shape our perceptions of ourselves.

We could choose to not allow this to take place and to, instead, allow our own thoughts to crystallize our perception of self.

But this isn’t a profitable endeavor either.

Yoga, in its more philosophical expression, teaches that we need to be thrown off this entire practice of constantly trying to construct a perception of ourselves. Instead of constantly worrying about who we are or mentally overexerting ourselves about who we should be, we should shift our focus.

Instead of fretting over self, we should celebrate existence.

Savor every breath.

Enjoy every moment.

And when our own thoughts and clamorings of the mind begin to swirl, or when the words, opinions and judgments of others begin to oppress; we should slow down, step back and watch our thoughts.

We should see them for what they are.

We should test them.

We should weigh them.

We should take them into account

We can then find freedom in our ability to exert control and command of our own thoughts.

I don’t know what doubts and fears incessantly weigh heavy upon you. I don’t know what kind of guilt or anger persists or what kind of insecurities or uncertainties vex you. I don’t know what kind of hurtful words has been spoken to you.


But know, on this day, that those thoughts are neither your identity, nor your reality.

You have tremendous worth and value. You have irrefutable importance.

You matter.

So, on this day, take every thought captive. Take account of the clamoring of the mind and the raging of thoughts that we employ in order to establish a fickle and fleeting notion of self.

And step back and watch.

And find tremendous freedom in doing so

Your thoughts are neither your identity, nor your reality.

Peace be with you.


imageMatt started practicing yoga after suffering from a nun diagnosed autoimmune disease. He had a pacemaker installed, began medical treatments, and was informed that this wold be his new life. He was inspired to study yoga from a inspiring and life saving teacher.  Matt relocated from Missouri to Atlanta in order to obtain his masters degree at Georgia State University. Matt teaches yoga at L.A. Fitness, the Georgia State Rec. Center, and BeYoga. He no longer has the need for the pacemaker installed in his heart and attributes this to his yoga practice.

2 Responses to “Your Thoughts are Neither Your Identity, Nor Your Reality By Matt Johnston”

  1. Rachel says:

    So much truth here. Love this piece. So glad to have you at be yoga.

  2. Susan says:

    Beautiful. Must join one of your classes!

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