The voice in the head/thoughts:
“I’m not good enough,” “I am a loser,” “What’s wrong with me?” Or you may not hear it that way but you notice a sense of doubt, insecurity, or fear in the background of your life that is stopping you (and if not, great! This post is probably not for you). If you only experience the emotion, in my experience it means that such thoughts happen in the background (subconsciously) and we have not yet noticed them.
What I want to illustrate in this post is 2 things:
A. – We are not the ones who really think these thoughts
B – There is a simple way to get out of the fear, pain and suffering they create (and maybe see it all as a funny misunderstanding).
Here’s the thing, we have a voice in our head, and it’s alive! Most people during most of the day are completely identified with this voice and are sure that they are the same voice in their head that thinks all day. I totally understand the difficulty in this because I once lived like this and it was like living in a mental prison that you can’t get out of (anyone here see the Matrix?).
One of the most amazing and initial discoveries that happens to a person that begins a whole spiritual journey (or a personal development journey or whatever you call it) is the discovery that we are not our thoughts. At first, it may seem scary and may create some kind of identity crisis, but as a spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle’ says “it’s a relief to know we are not our thoughts”. Take a moment or two to think about what your life would be like if you were not identified with your thoughts? What an amazing discovery! In this way, we no longer have to believe in thoughts that cast doubt on us or judge us and others, we are free to live our lives as we want (yay!).
This truth that we are not our thoughts is revealed pretty quickly to a person who tries even 5 minutes of meditation (or tries not to think about a pink and fat elephant). When we meditate, we begin with the intention of putting our attention on the breath and leaving it there for the duration of the practice. Oops! Within 5 seconds, we find that our attention has run away and we are back to thinking about when the corona will end and when we can sit down with the guys again and eat noodles at our local Thai restaurant. For one who practices meditation with this, it is soon revealed that his attention, despite all his good intentions and desires has gone very quickly to thoughts. And yes, our thoughts grab our attention a lot during the day! (According to science every day we think between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts).
So what is the voice in this head and what do you do with it? If we take a closer look we can see that this voice in our head speaks to us in different ways at different times. He is alive and like everything alive he is constantly changing. The voice in the head (thoughts) speaks to us as a friend, as a judge, as a victim of life circumstances, as anger, as complaints, as a motivator, as a responsible planner of our day and our money, or as a voice offering to eat a piece of chocolate(that one is a bastard!). Of course, these are all thoughts that we sometimes identify as us, but for the sake of this post at least, I suggest we be open to the idea that this voice works on its own. What is certain about this voice, is that it likes to use the word “I” and impersonate us, make us identify with it. But what if we stop now for a moment, take a deep breath, smile, and start watching it in our daily lives. We ask ourselves curious questions like: What is it doing? what is it saying?
Wow I feel a little scared, what does the voice say that makes me feel that way? Wow, he gets very upset when people don’t behave the way I want them to behave (instead of us identifying with it and then saying “we” get upset), how interesting it is! Wow, it is really scared that I will dare to do this thing I have always dreamed of doing (instead of identifying with it and believing that we are the ones who are scared). Thus, step by step we break our identification with this voice. Thus, we break our relationship with it in which we believe everything it says, in which we have no free choice at all to do what we want. In this approach of watching the internal voice something amazing happens, instead of identifying with or believing in it, living under its terror, we look at it like a curious scientist (think of Jane Goodwin researching monkeys).
When we develop such a relationship with the voice of our mind, it stops controlling our lives and it becomes a kind of interesting friend (though not always that nice) and it starts to get really funny. Slowly, it becomes quieter, but in any case, it is not so important. When we develop such a relationship with the voice of our mind, it no longer matters whether it is quiet or not, we are free to choose and take back the reins of our lives, we are no longer IT and we don’t have to believe IT either.