Zia Hassan

Two Voices In Your Head

+++ title = “06” date = 2019 +++

You can try this experiment at home.

Find a nice place to sit, and breathe in and out deeply for a minute. I’ll wait.

When you were breathing, you may have heard your own voice talking to yourself in your head. Perhaps your inner voice was kind of a giggle at how silly you look sitting here breathing. Perhaps the inner voice told you it was bored.

And despite the fact that this inner voice sounds like you, talks like you, and feels like you… it isn’t you. And I can prove it. We can call the voice a number of things: monkey mind, amygdala, the resistance. But none of things are you.

Of course, this internal voice is one you’ve dealt with your entire life. It’s the one that convinced you to eat chocolate cake, to give up writing your screenplay, and that you’ll never lose weight. And you can prove to yourself that this voice isn’t you by talking back to it.

That’s right, talk back to it. When it tells you you’re no good, say “that’s just your opinion.” If it tells you something that sounds like an assumption, challenge it. Get into a little quip but don’t be the one to lose your cool. If you can’t agree, just agree to disagree and walk away.

This second voice, the one talking back, that is you. And for most of our lives we conflate the monkey with mind with me or I. But talking back is a great way to separate from it.

And interestingly, when we talk back, we cultivate a wiser voice, a counter to the monkey mind. Perhaps this voice is us, or perhaps it’s just a persona, but either way, it’s the one that disagrees when the monkey mind does its thing. And it becomes wiser the more it challenges, asserts, and disagrees. Who wouldn’t want to cultivate a wise inner voice?

Even more powerful is to stay tight lipped around the monkey mind. To let it stamp, pout, mutter, and eventually fall asleep in its own vomit.

It’s much harder, but worth the effort.