We all have huge amounts of stuff running through our heads all the time. If we are not thinking about what just happened then we are thinking about what we are going to do. Our brains are constantly jabbering away about one thing or another and try as we might, there seems to be no way to stop this incessant noise.
Internal dialogue as it is commonly called, can bring all sorts of grief, and is the little evil voice that seems to bring us nothing but misery. What all meditative practices are really out to accomplish is to bring this nonstop dialogue under control.
The reason is that it is this dialogue that creates the boundaries that shape your reality and your world. This internal dialogue keeps you focused on the dumb things when you are unhappy and screams in your ear that you can’t do something, that people hate you, that you are an idiot or whatever. Sometimes of course this voice goes on about how great you are and tells you that you are doing great and things are only getting better. Unfortunately it seems that for most of us, that dialogue of ours is usually quite negative and for the most part it’s more of a hindrance than any kind of help.
Some types of meditative practices and new age exercises focus on trying to wrangle this internal dialogue so that you can become ‘more positive’. Really the whole positive movement is the act of trying to turn this voice into your ally so that you can reap the benefits of a supportive internal talk. But more often than not, the little voice goes back to the doom and gloom and no amount of will power can win out over our little talkative devil.
A better approach to this problem and one that will help you far more in the long run, is to just stop the internal dialogue for a while. You can’t walk around without thoughts in your head, unless you are Paris Hilton of course, or else you are going to get into deep trouble. But what you can do is to stop your internal dialogue for a while so that you give yourself a rest from yourself and all of the worries and anxieties that the little voice brings your way.
The best way to do this is to just stop talking and start listening. Just listen; don’t try any mysterious posture or mantra, no need to learn the 56 ways of yogic breathing. All you need to do is to listen to all of the things around you. Engage your hearing and begin to pay attention to all of the sounds around you.
The act of listening is very special because for some odd reason it can stop the internal dialogue that you are engaged in right now. As you listen to all of the things in your environment, you will notice that the voices in your head have stopped, and the more that you can focus on what you hear, the easier it will be for you to let go of the incessant part of yourself that insist on thinking and talking about everything.
If you happen to catch your little voice going on about something, it just means that you lost the focus on paying attention to listening; all you have to do is to once again begin to pay attention to all of the noises around you. Of course if you are able to get back to nature, this exercise becomes pretty easy because there are so many beautiful sounds to pay attention to when you get out there.
But even if you find yourself in a crowded city, make it a point to stop and to listen to the world around you for at least fifteen minutes every day. The longer that you can go on just listening and nothing else, the easier it will be to let go to your internal dialogue. And in very short order you will find that the relief from your internal talk will remove a lot of the misery and crap that is going on in your life right now.
The world without thought, which you can attain trough listening meditation, opens up a number of wonderful benefits and possibilities. Perhaps in future articles we can discuss some of these.