Are We Aware of What We’re Thinking?

I happen to enjoy spending time in the kitchen.

Whether I’m preparing a meal, a smoothie or using my imagination to craft up a treat of some kind or another…this particular room in the house has become my happy place.

I’ll either crank up the music or listen to a lecture from one of my teachers – and I’ll get busy creating something.

Now while that may seem simple enough, I’ll mention that the purpose of this post is to let you know that I’ve discovered something about myself that I think many others may be able to relate to.


No worries. I’m about to elaborate.


The other day, I noticed something.

I witnessedΒ a pattern of mine that I had been unaware of until just that moment.

I was preparing dinner for my husband and I when I caught myself thinking about a story I had just read on the internet about the latest shenanigans of some well-known public figure.

Seems harmless enough, right?

Well, it wasn’t.

This is why.

The story made me angry.

Or maybe I’ll rephrase this by saying that I allowed myself to get angry over my opinion of what I had read.

Now whether or not my opinion was based on subjective or objective truth isn’t the issue.

What IS the issue, however, is the fact that I caught myself ruminating on a subject matter that had nothing to do with me whatsoever.

Oh…and how my thoughts took off.

I could feel the tension brewing within me regarding how irritated I felt over what I had read – now going on 20-30 minutes ago.

And then (as what typically occurs when one is within this state of being), a slew of additional related, judgmental and angry thoughts showed up.

It was as if the original thought was calling the others over for company.

“Hey, guys – Dana’s cooking something yummy…

…and she’s pissed off too.

C’mon over!”

And you know what?

That’s exactly how it works.

Before I knew it…what had started off as an angry reaction to something I read had now become an entire story line filled with new characters, plot lines and even some nifty flashbacks.

It wasn’t a cool way to spend my time – especially since I was physically engaged in something that usually brings me happiness.

Remembering the Observer

A few years ago, I learned something rather profound about myself.

I realized that I am not my name, my personality, my titles…nor my thoughts.

I have a name, a personality, a few titles, and thoughts…but I am not them.

Those are components of my ego. The character I play.

Who I am is the observer of my life, my surroundings, and experiences.

The reason I mention this entire thing is because while I was in the middle of my little inner-anger party, I remembered who I really was in the midst of all of it.

I AM the observer.

So…I took a mental step back…

…and observed.

And as it turned out, I have engaged in this Negative Nelly activity more times than I’d care to admit.

But I WILL admit it because self-awareness is my friend.

I realized that the thoughts that play themselves out in my mind take on a life of their own if I don’t practice something called mind-control.

And I’m not talking about the kind of mind-control that comes from environmental programming.

I’m talking about intentional, deliberate and conscious control of one’s mind in an effort to not only understand what plays out in their internal environment all day, every day…but to then use this information to reprogram their minds and focus their attention toward what they would actually prefer to see their lives – their world become.

And the tool capable of helping each and every one of us achieve this is our imagination.

How We’ve Lost Touch With Our True Selves

Over the last couple of years, I have written, extensively, about the fact that we are programmed.

We’ve been this way since we took our very first breath.

From the time our lives have begun, we have been immersed in a world where we are taught what to think, how to feel and how to behave.

While some of the concepts we’ve picked up over time have been valuable and based in some aspect of truth – the majority of what we’ve been exposed to has been the result of the teachings and opinions of others who also didn’t know they were programmed.

The reason I am mentioning all of this is because when we’ve spent our lives being who we’ve been told to be, we don’t have the opportunity to find this out for ourselves.

And once someone has become fully aware of the fact that they’ve been programmed, what follows is usually a level of confusion because if we aren’t who we thought we were…


who are we?

Well, it has come to my attention that who we are lives in our imagination.

We are the I AM that I AM.

Everything that follows the words I AM is who we become.

So when we finally understand this (and I’ll share a video at the end of this post to help elaborate on this) – we realize that we can be whomever we want to be…

Under one condition.

That condition is this –

We cannot be who we want to be if we continue to think we are who we’ve always thought we were.

If we are convinced that we are our achievements, relationships, titles, failures, opinions, beliefs, fears and thoughts…then how can there be any room for expansion?

If I were to say…

“I AM someone whoΒ couldn’t possibly go back to school to become a personal trainer because I hated high school and I was a lousy student, therefore, I can’t even attempt it now, so forget it,” then you wouldn’t be reading these words right now.

It’s only because I had suspended my beliefs in what I thought I knew about myself and decided that I could keep an open mind and allow something new into my life that I not only attended and graduated from the school that had seemed like an impossible feat at first, but eventually led me to pursuing a passion of mine – which is writing.

I wouldn’t be sitting here, expressing these thoughts with youΒ if I hadn’t questioned my self-imposed limitations.

Our limitations are only imagined.

Everything about ourselves starts off in our imagination.

While I was in the middle of ruminating in the angry thoughts that had nothing to do with me or what I want in life…I was still giving that unwanted subject matter my attention.

Where attention goes – energy flows.

My imagination is always at work.

One never gets a break from this part of themselves – as it creates their inner-world and subsequently, their experiences.

I was erroneously using my imagination to dwell in thoughts that made me feel angry – instead of being present while doing something that I love to do.

When we set an intention and use our imagination to envision this purpose coming to fruition…yet spend our time focusing our attention on things that don’t matter…we still create experiences – we just create the ones we don’t want.

I AM my imagination.

If I imagine I am an angry person, then I AM.

If I imagine I am in love with the creative process of cooking, then I AM.

If I imagine I am a writer/author/health and wellness professional – then I AM.

If I imagine that I am someone who lives a healthy life and enjoys all facets of well-being, then I AM.

I am all of those things and everything else I could imagine… because while those nifty titles and accomplishments are nice – the real me, the I AM is always at work.

The idea is to work it like I want it.

And the same goes for everyone else.

So since the day I had witnessed myself using my imagination to envision angry thoughts toward someone I don’t even know, I have become a LOT more cognizant about what I’m placing my attention on.

I had thought I knew a thing or two about consciousness…but this experience just goes to show that we can know things intellectually, but that doesn’t mean we always practice them – or use them with deliberate intention.

I will now know to be more conscious of how I use my thoughts.

I can do whatever I want with them…as long as I stay present.

So what about you? Do you ever catch yourself thinking about things that bother you to the point where they own your mind?Β 

Image courtesy of [digitalart] at

Dana Gore

Author of the books "A Simple Guide to Exercise Safety (What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You)" and "Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity)", Dana Gore is a health and fitness professional, wellness coach, and freelance writer. Dana brings guidance to the public about how to achieve optimal health in a safe and structured manner while inspiring her readers to seek self-awareness and inner peace as a means to well-being in all areas of life.

32 thoughts on “Are We Aware of What We’re Thinking?

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  • at 8:25 am

    As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

    We become what we think about.

    Thanks for sharing this.


    • at 6:21 pm

      That was a great book Dan.

      I read it a few years ago. Short but to the point.
      Yep – we become what we think about. So the idea to be aware of what we’re thinking (which takes some time and a lot of persistence).

      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  • at 4:51 am

    “We cannot be who we want to be if we continue to think we are who we’ve always thought we were” – couldn’t have said it better! It’s truly amazing how powerful our thoughts are, and how imagination can change our life when we use it in a right way.

    • at 10:26 am

      Hi Julia,


      Our thoughts certainly are powerful…and this is why it’s so important to be aware of them.
      I know from first hand experience (as written here) how easy it is to allow them to run away with us, when we could be using them to use our imaginations more deliberately.

      There’s a fine line between observing and ruminating…and while I don’t think it’s good to deny experiencing our thoughts (as self-awareness has its benefits), the idea is to make sure we don’t become entangled in them.

      I appreciate your visit and comment Julia.
      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

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  • at 2:51 am

    Hey Dana,

    You have brought an interesting topic among us.

    Most of the time when you don’t have your mind in your work then you may not feel like doing it. Your consciousness doesn’t seem to be there.

    I have felt it many times. While working on my laptop, sometimes I think about many other things.

    But in our life we should be conscious about what we are and what we wanna do?

    Thanks for the post.
    Have a great day.

    • at 12:36 pm

      Hi Ravi,


      Thanks for the kind words πŸ™‚

      Yes, when we aren’t present, it can certainly deter us from any and all types of work.
      I know that when I’m focused on some bullshit that has nothing to do with the task at hand, I not only become ineffective, but it hinders my ability to create using any level of intention.

      Our imaginations are always at work – creating whatever we’re focusing on.
      To use this properly, it’s good to be aware of what we’re thinking because when our thoughts take off on their own – our actions (or lack thereof) follow right along.

      Great to see you here – and I appreciate your comment.

  • at 9:17 pm

    Hey Dana,

    There you go again with the deep stuff and I’m loving it!

    I’ve actually thought about this many times and it keeps going back to my early days of listening to a lot of hip hop… more so underground.

    It reminds me of what the hip hop MC KRS-1 said about being the god of yourself. You make the choice of what you focus on. You take ownership of that. You imagine it and manifest it. It’s our free will to choose.

    Also this reminds me of the movie star wars. After reading books and watching videos on Law of Attraction, I came to the conclusion of what George Lucas was trying to get across. His star wars movies wasn’t about good and evil, but the FORCE and how we use it and we can use it for just about anything we want since the FORCE is just is.

    Anyways, I thanks for sharing Dana! You have a good one!

    • at 12:31 pm

      Hey Sherman,

      LOL…thank-you πŸ™‚

      Yeah, I get into the deep stuff when it comes to self-awareness.
      I’ve always been that way. Intense. I have always enjoyed contemplating things, I just didn’t always know how to observe myself and my own emotional involvement with my thoughts.

      I agree with what you said about how we take ownership of what we focus on because we become that.
      It’s so true.

      I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve watched any of the Star Wars films, but for some reason, the scene of Darth Vader asking Luke to take his mask off comes to mind… because to me, it represents someone who used the force in a certain way – and then remembers who he really is and wants to see clearly again.

      I loved the scene where he appeared as a ghost joining up with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. To me, it says that at our core, we are awareness. It is only when we identify with a role of some sort that we forget – and get caught up in who we think we should be – for whatever reason…on any and all scales.

      Once he gave up his identification (and did so before he died)…he was free to join up with the wise masters – revealing that we all have access to this when we choose it.

      I loved the examples you mentioned. Thanks for the visit, and your comment Sherman.

  • at 7:34 pm

    Wow Dana!

    What a truly entertaining & extremely enlightening post!

    And it definitely puts us all on notice, that we need to be
    fully aware of the various types of “self talk”, we all periodically engage in!

    Because, inadvertently, we could be sabotaging our own chances
    for major success!

    How ironic would that be?And I like how you pointed out, that energy is simply
    to valuable, to be routinely wasted on things we can’t necessarily
    control anyway!Thanks!

    • at 12:09 pm

      Hi Mark,

      I am so happy you found the post enlightening…and especially entertaining πŸ™‚

      I like to include my real life experiences in what I share.
      And when I realize how silly some of my behavior can be at times (such as the situation I discussed), I find that some of it is actually humorous.

      For me, it helps to laugh at myself.
      We all take ourselves so seriously. When we can become clear on what we’re doing and how we’re thinking, we can start to see how (as you put it) we sabotage our own chances for happiness in life.

      If we can learn to observe ourselves and not take the little things to heart, we can determine what actually IS of a serious nature and respond to it consciously.
      It’s when we emotionally react to our own unquestioned inner-activity that we no longer have this luxury because life in and of itself becomes one big drama.

      I appreciate your visit and comment Mark. Have an awesome week!

  • at 11:56 am

    Boy oh boy Dana do I ever agree with this.

    I’m much more conscious these days of who I truly am. I have to catch myself at times when I start to get upset about things too. I’m constantly reminding my Mom of the same thing. She let’s everything bother her to the point that she’s just so pissed off. I hate to see her like that because she’s mad about things that are totally out of her control. All that does is put you in a bad place and who wants to live there?

    I can appreciate you sharing this story with us and of course help us know that we really can be anyone we want to be. We have to consciously be aware though of our thoughts. The more we practice this the better we’ll become.

    So I’m off to share your post now with my friends and hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

    Have a great week my dear.


    • at 7:26 pm

      Hi Adrienne,

      I can relate to what you’re saying.
      It must be tough to see your Mom in this space, especially if it’s somewhat often.

      It isn’t a pleasant way to spend time…and there really is no limit as to what can add to the inner-drama, even if it has nothing to do with you whatsoever.

      I can only say that I’m grateful to have caught on to it. It takes a lot of work, and consistency, but it gets easier.

      And while I do feel that sometimes, there are legitimate reasons to be angry…when we make this our default position in life by spending much of our time engaging in negative self-talk, it makes it difficult to gain clarity into a situation to know whether anger is even warranted – and if so, who may need to assume responsibility.

      We’ve all been so programmed…it can be challenging to question your own thoughts and catch yourself in the middle on a dark inner-conversation – especially once it has taken on some momentum.

      For me, I had realized that as long as I engaged in this type of behavior…I left no room for any true, deliberate use of my imagination.
      There is no space available for one to create or receive wisdom or insight when your mind is closed because you’re ruminating in something else.

      I so appreciate that you want to share this with others.
      As far as I’m concerned…it’s when I learn these things and am in a position to share them with others…these are the acts that can make an impact in our lives…and our environments.

      Thanks so much for your comment and your visit Adrienne.
      Enjoy the rest of your week πŸ™‚

  • at 2:55 pm

    Wow. Great post. It is really hard to be conscious of my thoughts and directing them all the time, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I think I will do it a lot more. Why waste energy where it’s not needed? Thank you.

    • at 5:33 pm

      Hi Shann,

      Yes, exactly!

      Why waste time focusing on something that isn’t even important?
      Yet a lot of us do this…as I have done quite often.

      Now that I caught myself doing this the other day, I catch it even more frequently – and much sooner. Practice makes it easier…and we waste less time focusing on BS and can instead, spend the time asking ourselves…”how would I prefer to use my imagination?”

      When we realize that thoughts become things, this question becomes something we must ask ourselves – as often as possible.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Good to see you here πŸ™‚

  • at 10:41 am

    I love the way you write Dana. This is an amazing piece and one I can relate to. It’s funny but I catch myself doing that too…reacting negatively throughout the day after reading or looking at something that set it off. Or, if I remember something the hubs said or did in the past I get mad at him all over again.

    And when I catch myself getting snippy with the hubs or anyone else I talk myself out of it…I’m like “okay, they’re not at fault for you being in a bad mood, shake it off girl and let that go”. Yes, I do talk to myself like that ;). Crazy? Probably, hehe.

    I do hate when that happens though…especially when I think of stuff from the past. But I’ve learned those thoughts are always going to come back, it’s how I handle it and control it to stop.

    Loved this post lady from beginning to end! Hope you’re having a great day!


    • at 5:29 pm

      Awww Cori,

      Thanks so much for that πŸ™‚
      I really appreciate the compliment. I’m glad I’m able to get the point across clearly.

      Yes…it’s easy to get into this state of being with our loved ones, isn’t it?
      It’s the ones closest to us that REALLY push our buttons – especially because we are emotionally involved with them.

      We can’t just walk away from them and think “oh at least I’ll never see that jerk again”. Nope – this is when the time to look within becomes necessary because it gives us the practice of asking ourselves some pointed questions as to whether or not it’s us, or them.

      Or maybe both.

      When my buttons are pushed by my husband, I often have to stop and ask myself if I’m allowing something he did to pull my strings…or if he was actually out of line.

      It’s only when I observe with a sense of neutrality that I can either assume responsibility for my own position (which is usually a default one based on past emotional reactions to events from years ago)…or if he’s the one in the wrong.

      But questioning my thoughts offers me this clarity – and keeps me from emotionally reacting – which is something I used to do with regularity.

      And like you said – once the past comes back up…it’s like adding a weighted vest to an already strenuous exercise.

      I love your comments and candidness Cori.
      Thanks for the visit, and your awesome comment πŸ™‚

  • at 10:06 am

    Hi Dana,

    I caught myself doing the same exact thing the other day. Now, I’m usually not a Negative Nelly but I read an email and started ruminating. I got into negative thinking. But then that good old red flag popped into my head.

    I went into my bedroom, and did a lot of self-talk. Usually it doesn’t take that long, but I was so stuck in the negative that it actually took an hour for me to come out of that negative thinking. Phew…..

    As long as we recognize this part of ourselves, we can go on.

    If someone asks me who I am I would honestly respond “I’m a growing being” Because that is true. I cannot lock myself in to a box.


    • at 5:20 pm

      Hi Donna,

      Ahhh, so you can relate.

      Sometimes it can take a little while to talk ourselves out of that frame of mind.
      I mean, let’s face it – there is a lot of bad news out there…and people doing undesirable things…both on a global and individual level.

      Sometimes it isn’t so easy to observe. And depending on the magnitude of the situation, it can seem impossible.

      So this is when I would tell anyone else to practice this during the not so dramatic events. It makes the practice in and of itself a little easier to remember to do on a regular basis.

      But I’m sure you know this already – especially since you went and did some inner-self talk to get out of where you were.

      Imagine if you hadn’t done this. You would have probably drifted off to sleep with this still going on internally – where it can wreak havoc. At least you caught on to it.

      Great comment. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  • at 8:11 am

    Hi Dana,

    Love, love, love this post. Sorry it took me so long to get here, but my life is a bit busy these days, and I don’t nearly read blog posts as much as I used to, but so glad I caught this one.

    That is so right. That’s why we MUST, and I’ll never say or write it enough, we must watch to what we pay attention to, meaning what we watch on TV, what we read, and even what kind of people we spend time with, because what we do is eat this stuff, digest it and then process it in the form of thoughts, and they are not always pretty, are they?

    I am as careful about what I read and hear as what I eat, because I am super sensitive and if I allow myself to be exposed to some touchy subjects I certainly can catch myself thinking and thinking about it over and over again for a long while.

    I hate when that happens, because we personal development involved people can at least see that and then we are double upset, once for what we’ve just heard or saw, and second for having messed up our thoughts because of it.

    We are total programmed machines, and we must become aware of those things.

    Great write, and have a beautiful day!


    • at 11:43 am

      Hi Sylviane,

      A big welcome to you!
      Happy to see you here πŸ™‚

      I’m so glad you loved the post. I loved your book.

      And just like you’ve said, I’ve become a lot more careful about what I place my own attention on.

      You mention television, the people we hang out with and other forms of information gathering. I agree. I’ll allow myself to observe information…but I have to be very careful about how I choose to interact with it because I know how easy it is to get lost in certain themes and ruminate in them.

      That’s what I caught myself doing while I was in the middle of being involved in an activity that I enjoy. I wasn’t present because I was replaying a story I had just read – which led to a host of other related negative thoughts that grew when unobserved.

      It’s always helpful when we remember we are the witness.

      Thanks so much for your comment and visit Sylviane. It’s great to see you here.

  • at 2:45 am

    Hi Dana,

    Wonderful post indeed πŸ™‚

    I can well understand all that you mentioned, and as they say, you become what you think, so our thoughts DO matter in making us what we are.

    You are right when you say – We cannot be who we want to be if we continue to think we are who we’ve always thought we were – wise words!

    The LOA also plays an important part and helps us, if we believe in it, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead πŸ™‚

    • at 11:33 am

      Hi Harleena,

      It’s great to see you here πŸ™‚

      I appreciate your kind words. I know you write a lot about personal development on your blog…and you’ve discussed what it means to have a healthy mindset.

      I know that I have been perfectly capable of replaying past events in my own mind…hence the statement I wrote about being who we are vs. who we were.

      It’s something I have to remind myself of often…but I’m grateful to have the knowledge of this, and to remember to practice it.

      Yep – the LOA brings us who we are and what we believe…not so much what we want.
      To get what we want, we must become what we want.
      Easier said than done at times, but still worth the effort.

      I wish you a wonderful week Harleena. Thank-you for your comment.

  • at 1:15 am

    Hi Dana! I saw your blog comment on miss Donna Merrille’s blog and follow you here. I like the thought you were thinking. Sometimes if I think and tell it to my readers I guess my visitors will tell me that I am weird and freak but in your post above you gave a reason to do it.

    You are correct, we can use are thoughts as long as we still in presence. I also remember the sayings “Your imagination is your limit” and I know that imagination can’t be limited.

    Great post here ma’am.



    • at 11:28 am

      Hi Eve,


      I’m glad you decided to visit. Donna shares some great content doesn’t she?

      It’s true…imagination can’t be limited – as long as WE don’t place any limitations on it.
      Like Sylviane mentioned below…it’s only because we’re so heavily programmed that we inadvertently misuse our imaginations to keep replaying the same messages over and over again without taking a step back and remembering that in reality – we are the witness to ourselves – and our thoughts.

      I’ve known this for a while, but sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in ruminating in my own emotional reactions to information. That’s what I was doing – and it took becoming present and observing my behavior to remind myself to step back and stop the negative inner-chatter.

      I appreciate the visit and your comment Eve.
      Have a fantastic week πŸ™‚

  • at 6:06 pm

    Hi, Dana

    Long, detail illustration of the danger of self talk if they are mostly negativity. Because they can really become so real and affect. On the other hand, if we can do that in positive ways, the result will be amazing.
    Excellent post
    – STella Chiu

    • at 8:56 pm

      Hi Stella,

      I agree that self-talk can be both positive and negative – and the subsequent effects will follow.

      Over the years, I have found that when I remember to witness my own inner-conversations, it allows me to question my thoughts.

      It’s also been interesting to see what happens when the positive dialogue becomes more dominant. Since the topic of imagination has come up (hence the blog itself), I have experienced a freedom of thought unlike any other time in my life.

      Thanks for the compliment – and for your comment Stella πŸ™‚

  • at 2:53 pm

    Hi Dana,I have also felt the same thing many times.I am working on something and my mind is continuously running, bothering me about the things happened in past or the things I have to do in Future. I have read somewhere that through meditation & yoga, one can control their mind but I have never practiced the same.

    • at 5:11 pm

      Hi Ana,

      I know that meditation and yoga are excellent tools for learning how to quiet the mind.
      It can take some practice, but both are effective.

      Like you, I have found myself thinking about things that have either happened in the past, or haven’t happened at all. This is why I was thankful to realize what I was doing and become present.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it πŸ™‚

  • at 2:09 pm

    Hi Dana,
    Really enjoyed your post! We are what we think…absolutely! Great blog as well! Thank you for sharing!!

    • at 5:07 pm

      Hi Joan,

      Yep – we are what we think about. Not always easy to catch ourselves in the middle of our own inner-conversations…but it’s interesting what we find out about ourselves when we do.

      I appreciate your visit, and your comment.
      Thanks so much πŸ™‚


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