Our thoughts have a very powerful effect on how we feel and what we do. Often our thoughts are triggered and run off quite automatically without awareness or control. In mindfulness practice, we become aware, over and over again, of the thoughts and images passing through the mind. Over time, we realize that it is possible to see our thoughts from a larger perspective. We begin to develop a witnessing quality that sees our thoughts come and go without immediately getting so hooked into every single one of them.
Being able to witness our thoughts with more mindfulness allows us to see that there may be other ways to thing about situations, freeing us from the dominance of old unhealthy patterns (that may come in the form of assumptions, all-or-nothing thinking, judgments, critical self-judgments, self-blame, blaming others, jumping to conclusions, mind-reading, etc.) Most importantly, we eventually come to realize that all thoughts are only mental events and that thoughts are not facts. When this awareness strengthens in us, we realize that no single thought, no first reaction, has to dominate our experience for very long. Through the practice of mindfulness, we have a change to free ourselves from mold thoughts patterns that no longer serve us well and to create new patterns that support our health and happiness.