You Are Not Your Mind | The Mental Toughness Coach - Chris Dorris

You Are Not Your Mind

The ability to separate yourself from your thoughts is your ticket to freedom.

You’re driving down the road and you miss a light. Then another one. Then some dude gets in front of you and goes really slow and you can’t get from behind him. You become livid and start cursing. Why?

The only correct response to that question is this: In that moment you are permitting your thoughts to govern you. (Your thoughts in that moment just so happen to suck, because of low-grade interpretations of reality, but that’s a blog post for another day.) You are angry because you are incapable in that moment of separating yourself from the content of your mind. You are permitting your mind to rule you. Which is weak.

You HAVE a mind, but you are NOT your mind. You HAVE a brain, but you are NOT your brain. You HAVE thoughts, but you are NOT those thoughts. Your inability to acknowledge that is your prison. Your ability to acknowledge that is your liberty.

Perhaps the most valuable exercise that I have ever come across in my world travels and studies into the workings of the human mind and spirit is a meditation casually referred to as The Gap. More formally, it’s known as Transcendental Meditation or TM. I’ve written numerous blogs and articles on this practice.

Here’s a short YouTube video I recorded on The Gap a while back:

*** The Miraculous Life List is now my main list AND I also now have The Daily Dose – Mental Toughness in 30 seconds or less.

The practice strengthens your ability to separate yourself from your thoughts. It’s an exercise in becoming a quiet, disinterested observer of the goings on of your mind. Get that. A silent and totally DISINTERESTED observer of the mind’s activities. When you are able to detach yourself from the content of your thoughts, you realize THERE IS NO PROBLEM.

Practice that.

Create Miracles!


  1. James Coleman says:

    Does that mean that you need to be the person looking through the window at your thoughts, memories and emotions but not interact with them

    • Chris Dorris says:

      I love this question AND I apologize for missing seeing it until now, James! Here’s my delayed response:

      In order to become a Thought Warrior, which automatically makes me an Emotional Master, we need to, at a minimum, separate ourselves from the activity of our minds and become curious observers. Only then am I able to manipulate my thoughts, if I so desire. So in the example of the traffic lights and the crappy driver I write about above, with some training, I will be able to catch myself being governed by my low grade thinking, and instantly snap myself out of that unnecessary suffering and upgrade the content of my thinking so that I create gratitude or enthusiasm or any other high grade state.

      In The Gap practice, however, (Transcendental Mediation) I do NOT want to interact with the thoughts. In fact, I want to become completely disinterested in them and simply permit them to float away like a wisp of smoke from a cigar. The more I strengthen that skill, the easier it is to manipulate my thoughts (and therefore my emotions) throughout the day. (That is only ONE of a thousand reasons to practice The Gap, by the way.)

      Hope that addresses your question, James, albeit almost a half a year later!!!

  2. Dave Young says:

    It made the most impact on me to consider the Gap as a temporary suspension of logic and its need for “correctness” and “reality”. And replacing it with the simple need to feel great in your internal experience. Interestingly, feeling great, and logical thinking, are mutually exclusive. The Gap is a re-setting of logic with the acknowledgment that “nothing needs to happen right now”; the opposite message of logic. It appears the Gap is a way to neutralize the logical way of seeing the moment just long enough to insure that you have not become a slave to its process, and that whatever you want to feel is given the highest priority in your experience. Nothing significantly different from how Chris explains it, just another approach that might resonate with some.

    • Chris Dorris says:

      “Nothing needs to happen right now” is one of my favorite experiences in the Gap practice. Needlessness. Pure serenity. Thanks for the comment, Dave.

  3. Victor Mazars says:

    I realized only recently that I have lived with pure OCD for most of my life and in my case, my thoughts ”are” me. How do I convince myself otherwise? I am not even talking about making the actual steps (which I am more than willing to make).

    • Chris Dorris says:

      Hi, Victor. I recommend looking into, and experimenting with, an ancient and enormously powerful form of meditation called Transcendental Meditation. More than anything I have ever come across, it shows us how to become a disinterested observer of our mind and thoughts. Through the practice, I am able to realize that I have thoughts but I am NOT those thoughts AND that I can strengthen my ability to transcend them (hence the name). I hope this is helpful, Friend.

    • Chris Dorris says:

      Victor! I had another idea for you. Get and read the book, Loving What Is by Byron Katie! I am sure you’ll find that very valuable.

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