We identify with the thoughts, but we are not the thoughts. The mind or the thoughts is just a tool. It’s like an electrician. The electrician is not the screwdriver, right? The screwdriver is a tool the electrician uses to repair something. So, it’s the same. We are not the hand, but we use the hand.  So, the mind is a little bit like that, the thoughts, the mind stream, right.

It helps us to maybe to understand or to analyze or conceptualize, label, judge and condition, everything, maybe give you purpose, situationally, “I am this, you are that, he’s here, I am there,” blah, blah, blah.  But we are not the thoughts. The thoughts are just part of us, it’s a tool, you know. For example, in meditation you have one meditation, which is called analytical meditation. Which is very helpful, to analyze. So, you must use thoughts for that.

But sometimes you should really switch off the thoughts and not have thoughts. Some people say it’s impossible not to think, but when we are sleeping, we are not thinking. When we fall asleep, we stop thinking; in order to fall asleep, we must stop thinking. Many times, some people have this difficulty, “Oh, I can’t fall asleep, I can’t sleep, it’s really hard to fall asleep.” Why do you think that is? It’s because we don’t stop thinking. And then we just think, think, think, think, think and then we get so tired and then boom, we automatically just fall asleep. We collapse.

But if you try to train your mind to stop thinking and to just forget about the self; we are like a meteor floating in space; it doesn’t have the capacity to think, for example. Or you can think like you are in a theater, the curtains close, black curtains or white curtains, they close, and all the images disappear, or you push them away to the side. Or you just focus on an image, like a flower or a deity, a buddha or something, anything that works for you in order to stop thinking. And when the thoughts come you don’t focus on them, you don’t give it power, you don’t give it importance. And then before you fall asleep if you try to do that, then slowly, manually, you will fall asleep and that will really help a lot to fall asleep earlier, when you want to sleep. Because many times when we want to sleep, we can’t sleep because we are thinking too much. So that is a good training, a very good training because the monkey mind can be very dangerous.

It’s important; so sometimes you can give the monkey mind a job. I think Mingyur Rinpoche, on Huffington Post they showed this video, where he is talking about the monkey mind and he says it’s good to give the monkey mind a job. So, you put the monkey mind to work and that way you can give yourself some space, some time out.

So how do you give it a job, it’s by focusing on your breathing, in-out-in, or by gratefulness and thinking “Oh, I have this body,” and focusing on your body from the tip of your toes, to your head, to your organs, to your heart pumping and the lungs, everything. By giving it a job, the monkey mind, so that you can relax a little bit without all the time thinking, thinking, thinking, because at the end its just like clouds that come and go.

Another technique is to just observe the thoughts. How they come and how they go. And then thoughts are just completely ephemeral. They are just empty from their own side, right?


  1. Francesca Sherbondy

    Thank you for your tips on falling asleep. This has been problem . I’m not surprised because my monkey has been annoying me lately. Great read before bed time.
    Very helpful ❤️

  2. Oz One

    Happy to learn about my own mind, thank you!! <3

Submit a Comment

More Posts

See Osel’s talk in Kopan

See Osel’s talk in Kopan

Tenzin Osel Hita gives a talk at Kopan Monastery, April 18, 2023, several days after the parinirvana of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.   En français:   En español: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suhp5uoZ6X0

Retreat with Ösel in Mexico

Retreat with Ösel in Mexico

Ösel will be leading a retreat in Mexico from Thursday March 30th till Sunday April 2nd 2023. For more information please visit the website of the event.

Subscribe for new posts

Get notified when a new story has been added.

You have Successfully Subscribed!