Is The Voice In Your Head Really Yours?
By Ganesh Ishaya
Do you talk to yourself?
Who doesn't, right? I know I did for as long as I can remember. It was even to the point where I would have a whole discussion, playing out different scenarios in my head, always having the perfect retort, and replaying repeatedly to rehearse the ideal response.
But what is the purpose of continuous dialogue commenting, giving its perspective on what "I" was experiencing? The belief was that self-talk would guide and affirm that I was making the right decisions.
Is this normal? The question that I believe is rarely discussed is whether the "self-dialogue" that we engage with is just a habit, or something from a more significant source? For me, the critical voice was a regular visitor. Not so much the loving, uplifting encouragement that I would believe it should be. While writing this article, I'm engaging with "That Voice". We all know that as the one that sounds just like us, or at least what we think we sound like.
Why does this matter?
Does it bring you happiness, joy, and love? No/maybe? I believed that it was the function of "That Voice" to guide me to my highest potential. But does it?
The Voice In Your Head Is Not You
When did I start listening and engaging with a voice in my head? I can't remember not having it dialogue with me.
These were some of the questions I had when I heard that the inner dialogue had nothing to do with me for the first time.the authentic me.
That seemed impossible. I have been listening to, and interacting with "it" forever, or at least as far back as I can remember.
"That Voice or your inner monologue", as I hear it referred to, has a surprising origin. I can only speak of this from what I have experienced and discovered.
I have vague memories of being a child and not having any inner voice/ dialogue. Maybe that was because whatever thought came through my head came out of my mouth. It only takes a little of an imagination to know what happened next around that.
Repeated scolding/talking to me about how I need to keep those thoughts to myself. I guess that is the start for most of us.
This was for all the content I would encounter in my mind, whether positive (rare) or negative (a lot more common). The negative commentary was so prevalent that I started to believe that I was never going to achieve my goals and dreams. It was so much easier to absorb such violent dialogue that I created my whole personality around it. From the outside, this looked like a very moody hyper-emotional state, constantly looking for praise and love outside of myself.
Perhaps you can relate that experience, or some version of it.
I still remember the first time I heard someone talk about how "That Voice" was not who I really was. My head instantly chimed in with something like, "Sure, pal, that's all good for you, but I don't believe a word of what you are saying." But experience taught me something…
My first experience of realizing that this voice had nothing to do with me was when I was meditating. I heard for the first time that familiar voice whispering to me "Hey, great job, we almost have it."
I opened my eyes instantly to see if someone was there. Then it hit me unless I was having a psychotic break; there weren't two or more "me's" in this experience. It was almost like a little puppet was there the whole time talking to me, and I was so addicted to whatever it was saying that I believed it was either me or some divine guidance.
Don’t Believe The Puppet Voice In Your Head
I was wrong on both accounts! The moment that I started to see this voice as a puppet, the level of importance dissolved quickly and those times that I was attached to what "it" was saying started to make me laugh. I just saw it as a sock puppet talking to me about the secrets of the Universe.
If you can, take a second, hold your hand up like a puppet is whispering in your ears, and imagine that puppet is just a silly sock puppet commenting on your experience and never-ending dialogue. My experience of this is that whatever I thought was important at that time is just gone most of the time, replaced by giggling.
Just imagine if you stopped believing what your inner dialogue is commenting on, to you, and at you. You may start to experience what is real in this life, which is experiencing the present.
Any engagement with that inner voice is just an attraction and habit that we have, leading us to the past or the future.
It gets wild if you are willing to play a little; get your sock puppet, put it on your hand now, hold it out in front of you and start engaging with it. Use the typical dialogue you have become aware of from it, and very quickly, and you'll see that you are now talking to a sock on your hand! This can be highly entertaining and makes it seem ridiculous to believe that its guidance can get you closer to your highest desire.
What I can tell you is that a practice that brings your senses back inward can rapidly change your relationship with that silly Sock Puppet that you believe is allowing you to remember who you are. Who you have always been. A little hint - it has nothing to do with that sock that sounds like you.
Fancy playing more? Check out the Watching The Mind and Noticing exercises.