The Anatomy Of A Thought

This week, I thought I would do something different. I want to share a practical exercise for conscious expansion. The purpose is to become more aware of your inner being. The inner being is the part of you that is aware. People have referred to it as the spirit, the unconscious or the indwelling intelligence. Sometimes the inner being can be confused with thinking.

Thinking is not who you are, it is a behavior that you have learned. We are conscious of thinking, but we can be unconscious to it as well. Similar to our breathing, most of the time we aren’t even aware of it. It is on autopilot until we bring it under direct control.

Thinking can go on autopilot as well, and it is assumed that because of the constant barrage of information in our heads, we are aware. This is not always true. Try to remember all the thoughts that you’ve had in the last 15 minutes. Not an easy task, but you can remember those thoughts that you focused on. It’s like a particular task you have to get done, or maybe your feelings about a situation. This is because the majority of our thoughts act like background noise, and they stay in the background unless we choose to become aware of them.

By expanding our understanding of consciousness (meaning conscious and unconscious as a whole), the knowledge of our true selves becomes clearer. This will allow us to control thoughts in a manner that benefits us, instead of allowing our thoughts to dictate us. Thoughts dictate us by triggering emotions. We react based upon the type of emotion, to either stop or amplify the feeling. Does this sound like a system you want to run on automatic? Unfortunately, it does for most of us, but by understanding this system, we can become aware of how to use it for our benefit.

In this exercise, we are going to shift our awareness inward. By this, I mean focusing all of your senses internally.

  • Begin by making sure you are not interrupted and are in total silence.
  • Make yourself comfortable, you can lie down or sit.
  • Make sure no parts of your body are crossed.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Shift your awareness to your head. Visualize how your brain looks. See if you can feel it, or maybe you can hear the fluid it is floating in.

It is important that you do not rush through this. Take your time and observe the feelings and sensations of each area of your body.

  • Shift your awareness into your throat.
  • Continue to proceed down your body.
  • Move your awareness in your chest. Become aware your breathing, don’t control it, simply observe it.
  • Shift your awareness into your lower body. Include your waist, thigh, calves, feet, and toes.
  • Once you have shifted your awareness throughout your body, become aware of the surface you lying or sitting on. Then, see how far out you can extend your awareness from that point. See if you can visualize the room you are in, and keep going.

After you complete the exercise, note how you feel. Write down your experience. Some may find that their focus shifts from their bodies to actively imagining other things. Others may notice nothing at all. This is ok as well. Just continue to practice until you can keep you focus inward.

Remember, the purpose of this exercise is to show you that you are more than your thoughts. Be patient with yourself.

Quote for the week:

“It is not enough to have great qualities. We should also have the management of them.”

–La Rochefoucauld

Roderick Watkins is a Certified Hypnotherapist and doctoral student in Metaphysics. His mission is to aid you in finding resolutions for conflicted parts of your being using spiritual resources. His blog is exclusive to Urban Thought Collective.

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May 17th, 2008 at 3:35 am SweetSis says:

This is real. Thoughts DO control emotions. And breathing is a big deal for me. My mom always taught us - take 10 deep breaths before making any big decision or going off on anybody. Always works for me.

May 17th, 2008 at 12:04 pm juskickin says:

i’m going to try this tonight…its deep

May 17th, 2008 at 1:22 pm holla2 says:

powerful stuff

May 17th, 2008 at 1:25 pm Coretta Scott Queen says:

My thoughts are on autopilot way too much. I need to get control of them. I say I am a powerful black woman but when I really look deep there are a lot of things that drain my power rather than empowers me. Things I do to myself.

May 17th, 2008 at 1:26 pm Coretta Scott Queen says:

My weight is another one.

May 17th, 2008 at 1:28 pm gotyourmadness says:

what this spoise to do

May 17th, 2008 at 8:13 pm Regina Holloway says:

one of my favorite blogs on this site. i “get” something very week.

May 17th, 2008 at 10:24 pm Binta Rohan says:

I have never really contemplated how a thought takes root and grows and then flowers into behavior. Pretty fascinating.

May 18th, 2008 at 8:15 am Evelyn says:

my weight is also a big issue for me coretta. i have alot of negative self-imagery about it. its so insurmontable that its hard to begin. like the quote at the end of dr. watkins column says - you can have a lot of great qualities (which i do) but if you cannot manage them into being a superior person that what good are they.

May 18th, 2008 at 9:09 am Tawnie says:

You’re a doctoral student in metaphysics? Go ‘head, BlackMan.

May 18th, 2008 at 9:30 am missme says:

Why do we make sure none of our body parts are crossed?

May 18th, 2008 at 9:32 am missme says:

Scratch that. It is probably to make sure your energy isn’t closed off or so you can stay more open, right?

May 18th, 2008 at 10:09 am Monica Carter says:

that makes a lot of sense to me. this line in particular struck me as important: “This is because the majority of our thoughts act like background noise, and they stay in the background unless we choose to become aware of them.”
i too want to get control over my own thinking. we are so bombarded by media messages and frivoulous thoughts. i like that you included some ways to actually achieve it instead of just throwing the problem out there. a way tio solve it was offered. thank you.

May 18th, 2008 at 10:12 am Monica Carter says:

You should write a book.

May 18th, 2008 at 11:55 am Freshest07 says:


May 18th, 2008 at 1:21 pm 1GOODMAN says:

Best line:
You are more than your thoughts.
True words.

May 18th, 2008 at 2:47 pm Heaven Roberts says:

This is a well-written article. I went back and read your other things too. I liked it all very much. Keep up the good work.

May 18th, 2008 at 4:06 pm MissReina says:

I’ve wanted to try to meditate for years now but never really knew how. Read a few articles in ESSENCE and O on it but this is the first that said to start in your throat! LOL Going to try!

May 18th, 2008 at 9:38 pm hootiehoo says:

i never thought about this i want to figure out how to get some private alone time so i can at least attempt to try this i mean black people on this level is a wonderful thing

May 18th, 2008 at 9:44 pm heatmizer says:

hell this might work betta than accupunture

May 18th, 2008 at 10:18 pm Ashley says:

Really great exercise

May 18th, 2008 at 10:29 pm pmatters says:

Interesting concept

May 19th, 2008 at 9:33 am PATTY CAKE says:

This is very valuable insight into the whole meditative process. Thanks for sharing in plain simple English. Sometimes these things get a little too esoteric for me.

May 19th, 2008 at 11:38 am superjonsey1 says:

lord knows that I need to take more deep breaths in a day. i’m going to try this

May 19th, 2008 at 12:09 pm Tina says:

It is so difficult for me to meditate. To many things on my mind. I’ll have to try these methods and see if this works

May 20th, 2008 at 12:00 am Kenneth Boston says:

interesting to say the least