How Are You Without Your Thoughts? Echoes of Freedom

“Don’t believe everything you think” is one of my favorite brain-based quotes. 

Your thoughts can damage a relationship, or reunite a family. Your thoughts can ruin a hot fudge brownie delight, or make an almond the most delicious snack you’ve had all month. Your thoughts can even sabotage your health — or increase the chances you’ll heal from what ails you.

Your thoughts can even change the way you feel about yourself, your life, and your future.

You — Without Your Thoughts

On Monday, my Sounds of Silence Contemplative Prayer Group (which I describe in Do You See What I See? Echoes of Pleasure) did a journaling meditation. We imagined we were sitting on a riverbank, watching our thoughts go by. 

The leader encouraged us to think of each thought as a boat. See the boat, and send it sailing down the river. Some boats are things we worry about constantly. Other boats are fears, insecurities, regrets, griefs that haunt us. Still other boats are tasks that need doing, people who irritate us, or dogs that never stop barking.

I was comfortable with this meditation, having written a similar one. Maybe you remember it; it was about sitting on the riverbank with Jesus, leaning against him, just letting pain and difficulties sail by (I wanted to include the link to that meditation here, but can’t find it. If you still have that email, please send it to me!).

Something occurred to me the other night: I know who I am without my thoughts. Without my thoughts, I am a child of God, free and alive. I am peace and joy. I am my true self when I am still in God’s presence. Nothing beats that feeling — and the amazing thing is that my circumstances don’t change this experience. Worries, stress, fear, anxiety, hopes, plans, goals dreams — those thoughts do not change who I am in God’s presence.

But wait, it gets better!

How Are You Without Your Thoughts?

I went from “who” to “how.” How am I without my thoughts? How do I feel? 

Without my thoughts I feel tingly, like a light-filled sprite, an imp, a spark, a firecracker, a wink and a kiss! Without my thoughts I feel like a speck of divinity, a flying bit of stardust that has landed and is bouncing all over the place. 

It’s really cool — you should try it. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let a thought come into your head. Any thought, it doesn’t matter. Then let it fall aside. 

How Are You Without Your Thoughts Echoes of Freedom
How Are You Without Your Thoughts? Echoes of Freedom

How do you feel without that thought? “When I let go of the thought that my neighbor’s construction noises are driving me bananas, I feel….”   Or maybe “When I let go of the thought that she should have done this instead of that, I feel…”

Spend some time with that feeling. Even better, write about it. You’ll surprise yourself!

This may take practice. If you have a quiet place and are willing to take 10 or 15 minutes to try this, it will get easier. The great thing about contemplative practices like this is that they travel well! You can do this when you’re standing in line at the store or sitting on the bus. 

Here’s a thought I just released and immediately felt free: “I should be writing about my recent trip to Nepal, Dubai and Hong Kong instead of this crazy contemplative stuff.”  🙂 

Go well, my friend. And leave your thoughts behind.

With love,



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