The Voices

This may or may not be news to you.  It was big news to me at a seminar I attended some time ago.  The leader asked us if we knew that we were run by the voices in our head.  When someone asked, “What voices?” he said, “The voice that just asked, ‘What voice?’”.

At that moment I started to become aware that I, indeed, had a voice in my head, just like everyone else, only this was MY voice, and I began to “watch” it.  I know that you can’t “watch” a voice, what I mean is that I could step outside the voice that was chattering away and “watch” it do its thing.

Interestingly enough, in time it became clear that there was more than one voice inside, often having conversations or disagreements.  Like the ones I used to have when I smoked years ago.  “Have a cigarette,” said my I Want It Voice.  “I don’t want a cigarette.  I’m not feeling that good,” replied my Voice of Reason.  “Have a cigarette,” repeated I Want It.  “No,” shouted Reason.  “Have a cigarette”.  “No”.  And as would watch my self, I would light one, take a deep drag, and Reason went back wherever he resided and I smoked my cigarette.  And after I finished it I still didn’t feel that well.

And with a smug satisfaction, Wanting faded into the background.  For a little while.

I had almost the exact inner dialogue with drinking.

My greatest satisfaction when I quit both of these addictions was that I didn’t have to listen to those damned voices going at it over and over and over.  It felt like, in a very important way, I began to take back my power. 

I was beginning to see that I was being so dominated, so controlled, not by Mother or Father or even dreaded Morality, but by voices in my own head. 

When I learned that I had voices going off in my head all the time, I learned that these voices had to have come from somewhere.  I strongly suspected that I wasn’t born with them. 

Looking into the source of the voices has been an ongoing inquiry in my life.  However, the more important questions were not where did they come from, but is there something else that I could be listening to. 

Are there channels available that I didn’t know about? 

Can I control, or at least manage the voices?

Am I my voices?  If not, who am I?

For questions like that I had to go outside myself to find answers that would support me better than I’d been doing on my own.

  – Eckhart Tolle, author of "The Power of Now"

Eckhart Tolle  says, “What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am.Who am I then? The one who sees that.

When I understood that I had Voices, but the voices were not who I truly was, the Voices didn’t have the same power over me.  They certainly didn’t disappear, but I began to gain power over them because when I was “present” in my life I could see them for what they are.  Until then I truly thought that they were my life.

Once I could see them I could have power over them because I could choose to pay attention to them or I could choose to listen to another voice.  I could also choose to listen to no voices at all.  But quite honestly, no voices at all is usually a short lived experience.  It does, however, break the grip on the voice that wasn’t serving me.  Voices that serve me I’m not concerned with turning from.

I was learning to have more power in my life because I could distinguish between the Voices that were running me and Voices that would serve me.  Until I could distinguish between the two I had absolutely no choice.  I could only be run.  I cannot choose between only one thing.  Choosing doesn’t even enter the picture until you I choices.  I know that sounds way too obvious, but it only became obvious when I learned that choices are available.

Quotes from Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1327) was a German theologian, philosopher, and mystic.

“When you are thwarted, it is your own attitude that is out of order.”

“The outward work will never be puny if the inward work is great.”

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