Inner voice

A friend recently asked for some advice on how to get in touch with his inner voice as he is going through some changes in life. Two different voices keep appearing in his mind. He wants to know which voice he should listen to; one voice is telling him to choose one thing whereas the other voice is telling him to choose the complete opposite. Either choice seems to be good enough a choice and he simply couldn’t find peace within himself being caught by his own internal dialogue.

When my friend asked me how to get in touch with his inner voice so that he could guide himself in making a decision between the two voices, I told him that he was already in touch with it. The fact that he was in the tug of war internally was because he heard his inner voice, a voice that is speaking out loud to him and a voice that he isn’t used to listen to.

Inner voice, a gut feeling, a knowing, a sense, an epiphany, whatever term you prefer, can come in all sorts of ways. It can turn up like a thought in our mind, an inaudible voice that we can hear, a knowing in the gut, a feeling that we sense, a sign we see on the street, a conversation we happen to overhear, a poster by a bus stop. The possibility is endless.

Many of us fall into the trap of wanting to be the problem solvers at all time. We tend to think how to answer a question when a question needs an answer. We think, we look and we search until we have an answer.

Humans need to think in order to live and survive in the physical and practical world. Beings need to Be in order to feel in the internal world. To solve external and practical issues, yes we think, we look and we search. But to solve internal and sensitive issues, we need to feel. When we combine humans and beings, we then need to think and feel.

Thinking entails active action whereas feeling entails passive motion. Rightly or wrongly, we all lean onto the former, leaving the latter behind, largely because we are taught to, and get so used to, tackle all external life issues that we face daily. We forget, if not losing touch with, our own internal world. A world where inaction is over action, silence is over speech, being is over doing, feeling is over thinking…

We are accustomed to raise our voices in order to be heard in a noisy place. But in the internal world, the opposite is required. Stillness and quietness is key in order to have our inner voices heard. To shout over the chatter in our mind, i.e. thinking and analyzing, is to further shut off our inner voices.

Decisions made with our hearts, our inner voices, always give us an overall sense of peace but with a lot of practicalities to think about and map out. Decisions made against our hearts always shut the chatter off in our minds as that is where the fear lives, but decisions made against our hearts always leave us questioning our decisions again and again with no sense of peace.

The mind likes coming up with sentences and questions starting with “but” when it knows a change is coming up and imminent. “But” is the fear of the unknown speaking out loud to our comfort zone. If the heart truly desires something, no matter how many buts the mind can come up with, it ain’t going to stop us from doing what needs to be done. Of course, our readiness to change also plays an important part of it.

You may say the stake is so high when a big change is called for.  Yes, we do sometime need to risk almost everything that we have built in our lives when we listen to our own inner voices. If we let ourselves look into it carefully, the so-called risk is really about letting go of what doesn’t serve us to give room to what may serve us. The reality is we have everything invaluable to gain, everything with little or nil value to lose in the change, be it big or small, called upon by our inner voices. So where is the risk really? Also, when we decide to go against our hearts, our inner voices, there is always a sense of regret in life. So which one is the real risk and what is the real stake?

The challenge is not so much about finding a way to connect with our inner voice as it’s already within us. The challenge is can we stay still and quiet within us even when we know we are about to jump off from a cliff.

Inner voice is already within us. It wants to be our best friend, our best companion for life. Like any meaningful relationship, it does take a bit of time to get to know it to become good friends. With a new year starting, if you are into making new year resolutions, why not having “befriend with your inner voice” as one of them if not the top of the list?

Wishing you a happy new year!

PS Starting in the new year, I will be holding a monthly talk. In a fun and interactive setting, we will examine and explore different subject each month. For further details, please check out the Event or my FB page.