You are not the thoughts that go on in your mind. You are not even the feelings that you feel. You can become aware of the thoughts, aware that feelings are happening, just like you become aware of the weather on any given day. But thoughts and feelings are not what you are.
The first time someone asked me “How do you feel?” it kind of threw me for a loop. I really had never considered it. After a few minutes I said “I am angry!” It took a while to get used to identifying my feelings, but over the next few months and years, I began to be aware of how I felt, all the thoughts that went on in my mind. I began to see that if I was aware of these things, if I was watching these things, then I could not possibly be these things, these thoughts and feelings. My entire life I had been thoughts and feelings. I thought I was thoughts and feelings. I didn’t know that there was a third party. The third party is the SPIRIT, or soul, or awareness, or Christ Consciousness, or mindfulness. There are many names for it, but in a nutshell, this third party is your true self. YOU.
Now you have “entered the stream”. You have become a little bit conscious, a little bit awake. This is a new reality, a new channel, a new awareness, and you are now here. As the process continues you will find that you slip in and out of this new awareness. Just like when you sit to meditate and try to focus, you will lose your concentration and get lost in thought about something else. At some point you will “come to” and realize that you have been adrift. When you realize this though, you are already back.
As the observer you will see the thoughts and feelings go here and there, they go up and down, they never stay the same. You will soon see that there is not much use for them. You are here now, and you know better than the thoughts of the mind and the emotions. Just observe everything.