Originally posted in 2014, this is message that I felt bears repeating.
Are you your thoughts and emotions? It's easy to come to this belief, but you are not your thoughts and emotions. Rather, you have thoughts and emotions, and you are aware of them, but they and you are not the same.
This is a basic principle of Yoga. Here is one simple way to have this experience:
Sit on a chair, preferably one with a flat seat and no arms. Position your bottom close to the front edge of the seat rather at the back. In this position, you'll be able to keep an erect spine. Place your feet flat on the floor with hands on your thighs.
Relax your entire body. Start at your forehead and work your way down your entire body to your toes, and then relax back up to through your body to the top of your head.
Become aware of your breathing. Simply notice the sensation of breathing as you exhale and inhale. Feel the sensation of the breath as it flows out of your nostrils on exhalation and enters your nostrils on inhalation. Notice how the breath feels warm as you exhale and cool as you inhale.
Keep your awareness on the flow of the breath at the nostrils, and seek to smooth out the breath, so that it flows continuously, without pauses, jerks or stops. Doing this requires paying close attention to the sensation of the breath. When the exhalation is just about to end, observe especially carefully, and begin inhaling before the breath stops flowing. Do the same with the inhalation: When the inhalation is just about the end, watch closely and begin exhaling before the breath stops.
As much as possible, keep feeling the sensation of the flowing breath.
As you do this, thoughts and emotions will likely come into your awareness. When this happens, notice these thoughts and emotions without getting into them, without clinging to them. Just keep bringing your attention back to the moment-to-moment sensation of the flowing breath.
If you've never done this practice before, it may take you some time to not get caught by thoughts and emotions. However, the moment you realize that you are thinking, bring your attention back to the breath. With time and practice, you'll get better at this.
If you do this practice for a while, you'll notice that thoughts and emotions come and go as if they were clouds floating through the sky of your awareness.
As a thought or emotion arises in your awareness, notice it, and then return your focus to the sensation of the breath. Most likely the thought or emotion will leave over time.
But don't believe me. Do the practice and experience for yourself what happens.
When you do so, you may well experience quite clearly that you are not your thoughts nor emotions. Rather, you are the one who is aware of them. They are not you, but float through your awareness.
This is a very important realization. Once you have this realization, you may begin to free yourself from slavery to thoughts and emotions.