How to Meditate With Your Inner Voice
Meditation is a process of letting go. Too often people try to control all the events of their lives. They think, they plan, and they rehearse even the most menial daily tasks. Even when people think talking to themselves is odd, they will have verbal and imagined conversations in their head throughout the day. In meditation, you seek to quiet that inner voice that never ceases to plan, think, remember, and criticize. When you learn to meditate with your inner voice you will let go of your need to control and find peace in relaxation.
Differentiate yourself from the world’s expectations. This can be a difficult task. Who you are is largely a reflection of how you think others see you. Consequently, there is a part of yourself that is a collection of things you’ve done and other memories of being in different situations. The other part is how you remember or think other people feel about you both now and in the past.
- Try writing a list of who you are. On a piece of paper, number 1 to 20. For each number, give a different answer to the statement “Who am I?”. Then look at each statement and decide if that’s primarily based on what you think of yourself or what others think of you.
Focus on your initial impressions. In any situation your initial response tends to be sub-cognitive. That’s to say it is almost a “gut-feeling” that you have to make sense of. This is your intuition. Your intuition speaks to you with your inner voice to say to move forward or be cautious.
- Sometimes we have both an immediate feeling and counter-feeling. The immediate feeling is your initial impression. The counter-feeling is a cognitive (i.e., thought) response based on ideas such as “What ‘should’ I think or feel?” or “What would other people do?”. That initial impression is your inner voice.
3. Listen to the conversations in your mind. Much of the time, your inner voice is in conflict with external motives. You imagine what society thinks or what your parents, friends, or partner might think. Your inner voice has conversations with these people as if a real discussion takes place.
- This is not to say that your initial impressions are more correct or accurate than the opinions of others. The goal is not to evaluate the information being presented–just to focus on what your own unique contribution is to a situation.
4. Identify the sources of each voice in the conversation. If you know your inner voice you can identify your own intuition and beliefs. The other opinions that conflict or agree, by default, are then other people or groups. Even if you can’t put a name or face to an opinion, knowing that the opinion is not of your inner voice is sufficient.
- If you are a particularly submissive individual you may find it difficult to differentiate your inner voice from that of an oppressive other. You can identify this oppressive other as the one who almost immediately overrides your intuition. You will frequently imagine their facial expressions when you hear their imagined voice.
- Try journalling about your thoughts. Write down the arguments and statements. Then go back and try to put a face to the individual arguments. For example, “Oh, that’s what my dad would say.”