Whatever else ____ is, ____ is also a thought.

Over the past few years I’ve experienced with meditation. I’ve always been an “in my own head” guy and — like many millennials — I’ve turned to meditation in an attempt to wrangle more control over the thoughts and feelings spinning in my brain.

I’ve got much more to say about my experience with meditation, but for now I’ll share one transformative (and perhaps banal) personal insight I had the other day.

I used to be a Headspace guy, but recently I’ve been trying 10% Happier and am really loving the variety of approaches and teachers. One meditation I’ve done a few times is called “The Reset” and is designed for times when you’re feeling overwhelmed and totally crazy busy.

The line the teacher used is: “whatever else ‘busy-ness’ is, it’s also a thought”. And it is! Busy-ness is real in the sense that you may have way more things to do then can reasonably be done; you may be running late; etc. But it’s also the experience of feeling “I’m so busy” “I have so much to do” “I’m so overwhelmed” etc. And those are thoughts. They are prompted by the real-life experience you’re having, but they are also independent of them.

Meditation teaches you to identify, label, and ultimately dismiss thoughts on command. So why not do so with busy-ness? It can be done.

But there’s nothing special about the experience of “busy-ness”. Whatever else ____ is, ____ is a thought. You can learn to say, “oh, that’s me being angry”, or “oh, that’s me being nervous” or “oh, that’s me feeling slighted”, and so on.

So am I trying to say that I’ve reached this level of enlightenment and that I can choose not to feel busy, get angry, or feel anxious? No — not at all. Or at least not in all situations all the time. But, sometimes, I can. Maybe about 10% of the time. And that’s a pretty good improvement.