The Stages of Relationship with Thoughts

We had the last but one call of the latest Book Group on Saturday and Sara brilliantly stepped through some of the stages of relationship we tend to have with thoughts, as we move from the ‘normal’ way of experiencing thought to what we are pointing to by the end of Part Three. So, I thought I’d summarise it here, in case it’s useful for you.

None of these stages are wrong. They are all perfect stepping stones. None are designed to be stood on long-term. You will be nudged when it’s time to move to the next step. The nudge will take the form of your current step not working for you anymore – perfect! And with each step forward the previous one will become obsolete.

Notice which feels most like your experience just now, and get curious about the next one.

  1. My thoughts are me, telling me all about me and my life and are giving me important advice and instructions. (Result: suffering in the tales they tell and the mixed messages.)
  2. My thoughts are not me. They are all on behalf of a separate self and I am the observer of them. (Result: relief. For a while.)
  3. Some thoughts are in the ‘bad’ bucket and on behalf of a separate self, and some are in the ‘good’ bucket as they are on behalf of our true self. There’s me, awareness, and two buckets. (Result: sometimes clarity, sometimes confusion, about which is for the true self. And continued dis-ease from the effort of managing thoughts into the right bucket.)
  4. Thoughts appear within and disappear within me, awareness. There is no separate me observing a distinct thought. Just all one thing appearing as this. Thoughts arise, and go. I respond to certain thoughts, and not others (through some unknown process). If in the moment of the thought arising I know who I am, it all feels good and I take the corresponding action, including non-action, including both yes and no. If in the moment of the thought arising I believe I’m a separate self, it feels bad and like a problem to be solved. There might be debates, doubts, confusions, deliberation of best approach. And possibly a fight, flight, freeze or fawn response. This suffering more easily wakes me up and I know the only apparent problem is that I’ve forgotten who I really am. And then I do what makes sense to remember who I really am. (Result: a movement through life knowing the only navigation system required is the feeling of who I am or the feeling of belief in separation. And thoughts come and go within that - acted on, or not.)

Which stage resonates most for you right now? Of course, not everyone starts at the same place - as Sara mentioned in the call, some of us have never considered our thoughts to be 'me'.

What questions arise for you, when you consider how we've described the stage beyond your current experience? Therein lies your next exploration - even stage four is not a destination, it actually feels like a beginning of a whole new exploration for many of us!

With peace, love and joy; Helen

PS If you would like guidance with your next stepping stone, Sara and I have various ways to support you. Book an exploratory call to talk and see what feels good. Find out more and book a call here.

  • Helen Amery
    My work involves exploring with people who are on the awakening and enlightenment journey. They’ve already seen a lot but they can also feel that their understanding is more conceptual than felt, and lived. They can feel that there is more to be seen and understood and yet they also don’t know how to ‘get at’ that. I focus on this shift from conceptual into the deeper, felt understanding of it.

    You can find me at

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