Calming the Inner Voice

Is it quiet inside your mind?

You know the answer. Sometimes you may not like the answer, but you surely know it.

What I hear, when speaking with friends, is that quite often there is a lot of background noise. A sort of low-level incessant chatter which makes it hard to concentrate. And sometimes it’s not one voice but many, each clamoring for attention.

For me, I hear a kind of general chatter, but there are times I hear some very distinct voices. I swear there is a whiny two-year-old that shows up, especially when there is something I want, and he tries to take over everything, so that he can get his own way.

Some days the noise inside my head feels like I’ve turned on my TV set and EVERY channel has come on at once. I try to tune them out, but it’s nearly impossible.

Perhaps this or something like it happens to you too.

When our children, Jenny and Tommy, were growing up, they would often have multiple electronic devices on while studying. It amazed me that they were able to concentrate and get anything done. When I asked them about it, they kind of shrugged and went on about their business, like it was no big deal.

For me, it is a big deal. I find that I need quiet to focus and concentrate.

And then there is an associated issue that enters the mix.

I believe that one of my voices is responsible for loading programs into my mind, so that for every situation there is a ready-made response. It’s a kind of auto-pilot setting.

I understand this is for my convenience. After all, who would want to have to think about every step necessary to accomplish a task each time they did it?

The down side seems to be that not every situation is identical. There are nuances to be considered and it might be the case that new answers are required.

So, what to do about the noise level and the automatic responses, which might not be suitable?

I’ve been fortunate to have had many great teachers in my life. That is not to say that I liked them all. I didn’t. Some of them were very unpleasant, but they offered me valuable lessons, quite often I feel without intending to.

One teaching was the wisdom of letting go.

I believe that we each have a natural center of balance inside of us. If we are being pushed away from our center by loud inner (or outer) voices or, because we are listening too intently to our auto-pilot, we tend to know it. There is a huge pay-off for recognizing this and then taking immediate action.

Here’s an example.

Imagine that you’ve been listening to the news on the car radio. Its stressing you out. And then, when you get home and come inside, you turn on the TV or decide to check out Facebook to see what’s happening. When you do, you realize it’s more of the same, which increases your stress level. This picture can seem very familiar, as if you’ve experienced this before. Hmm, it appears your auto-pilot may be engaged.

The lesson of letting go starts with recognizing how you feel. The moment you detect stress is the ideal time to stop, to consciously slow your breathing and then ask yourself, ‘what am I feeling’?

Being honest and paying close attention and naming your feeling(s) allows you time to return to your natural center of balance. From here, you can acknowledge the way you feel and then consciously choose what to do next (disengaging your auto-pilot).

All decisions are open to you. You may sense an answer or direction, or you may decide to talk with a trusted friend or counselor. You may even choose to speak with (god). Or you may decide to simply be kind to yourself and release whatever feelings you are experiencing.

I hope for calmness for you.

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