So we are our thoughts, but we are not our thoughts. What? OK, so for grins I just did a little experiment with my good natured hubby. I requested that he think the words I say and I began chanting "blue balloon" all the while snapping my fingers. He then reported to me that he was thinking "blue balloon" and simultaneously he was conscious of my snapping fingers. Your consciousness (snapping fingers awareness) is separate from and larger than your thoughts. However repetitive thoughts over time shape your consciousness. On a side note, it has to be a little strange at times living with a yoga teacher/spiritual seeker :).
In addition to affecting our consciousness, our thoughts shape our body as every thought has not only an electrical thumb print but a chemical one as well. Anxious and fearful thoughts can cascade 1400 simultaneous chemical and physical reactions in our bodies. Thinking you're strong makes you stronger, thinking you're weak....well, you get the idea.
What we are NOT; however, is a helpless puppet of our mind. Rather with training and attention we can shape our minds to serve us and they can become the most useful tools. There is so much written about meditation that it can get kind of confusing, but meditation is really just cultivating awareness. A fancy way of saying watching your thoughts. So got 5 minutes for a better life? If you set a timer so you don't have to watch a clock and just sit quietly with your mind for 5 minutes a day you will begin to become more aware of your thoughts as they form. And one day, you will have a negative thought form and you will squish it like a bug. This is the beginning of changing your life. So first you sit still, then you meet your mind then slowly you begin to shape your mind. It may be joyful, it may be terrifying, but one thing it will not be is mindless. Our thoughts can be shaped to strengthen and serve us or they can become the monster in the dark closet that eats up our life. It is a simple small thing, and yet it is huge. So, got 5 minutes?
Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.