I don't remember where I read the concept of putting things in a bigger bowl, but I have found it helpful over the years.
So say you have an apple here and an orange over there. They are different things. But put them together in a bigger bowl and they are both fruit. The differences are still there but the view is more expansive.
I was awake in the night with a restless and busy mind. Tossing and turning. Thoughts about politicians, about family. You know the stuff that makes us toss and turn. I tried deflecting by thinking about puppies and kittens. That didn't help for long. I tried pink prayers. They were helpful to change the flavour but didn't do much to stop the tossing and turning. I tried recalling the movie I saw earlier that day. It didn't last long. I tried watching my breathing. I tried noticing body sensation. Finally it dawned on me that this was just a lot of turbulent thinking energy.
Thinking energy can take on a lot of different patterns: turbulent, smooth, some thoughts rush up and grab us with an emotional hit, some hover in the background, some are cluttered or fragmented, some crowd in on our energy putting pressure on us, some are comfortable. During the night the pattern was turbulence, like rough waves in a lake or gusty weather above.
The thoughts themselves were oranges and apples. Noticing the pattern as turbulence was the bigger bowl.
This helped. It removed the effort I was making to change the thoughts themselves. Imagining the turbulence as gusty weather helped too, because like clouds in the sky, I knew the thinking pattern would change and disburse eventually.
Once I rested in the awareness of a bigger pattern, my body rested too and I was able to get back to sleep.
If you've never seen thinking activity as energy patterns before, you can make it into a small awareness exercise. Ask yourself at any time, 'What does the thinking energy seem like right now?' Then, stop and see if you can get a feel for it. It's a fresh new place to put your attention and keep it occupied for a bit.
It puts things in a bigger bowl.