Meditation as Listening to Ourselves

 

It’s taken me a long time but I believe I’ve finally learned an important lesson.  Just because I think it, doesn’t make it true.

That judgment I may have about you, or about life, or about myself—it just may be inaccurate.

But this leads me to a fairly large quandary—if everything I think isn’t correct, if my self-chatter isn’t all genius and in the best interest of all those around me, how then, do I discern from what is true and what is false?

For, deep down I know through this invisible yet powerful thing I’m calling my self-chatter, that I cannot locate but seems constant no matter what—I know is either the medium to my freedom or to building and keeping me in a prison and the possible experiences of the good life.

The way to discern the true from the false, or the closer to true way to say it is- to discern the little bit true from the used to be true from the possibly true if I could live up to it and so on.  The way to discern and get closest to what is true within ourselves is to listen.  We have to listen to ourselves—hear what we have to say—think about it—and either agree or reject and think again.

This sounds easy enough, but considering that if we really listen to what we think about self-chatter, many of us can’t stand it.  We consider our internal dialogue an enemy.  We’d hit it right in the jaw if it wouldn’t hurt so much.

Meditation, to me, is a great method of getting to a point where we can really listen to ourselves.  Unfortunately, a lot of people approach meditation with the wrong intentions.  They don’t want to listen to the chatter in their heads, they want to shut it up.

I can tell you in my own life I don’t want to still my mind—that’s kind of like shutting down a computer to say it’s now in fine working order.  I don’t want to stop my mind, I just want to think with clarity.  I want to be able to trust my mind instead of feeling like I’m being abused by it.

If you’re trying to quiet your mind, good luck.  I don’t even think death stops it, but, if you can learn to listen to yourself, you can help make it more likely that you live from a foundation of supportive beliefs about yourself instead of a field of landmines filled with self-criticism, deceit, and sabotage.

How many of us have experienced our self-chatter hold us back, or cause us to shut down, or to say something inconsiderate and blind to the compassion a situation calls for?

Listening to ourselves gives us a mind up, we might say on our self-chatter, but without it, it will seem to possess us more than it.

I personally don’t believe in bad listeners, I don’t think there’s such a thing.  But I do believe in occupied listeners.

You’re talking in front of me but I’m listening to the clock in my head telling me I have got to get somewhere. ..or reminding me of what I don’t trust about you…or to the way that woman walks as she passes by…or what it is I really want to tell you.

The only way to truly listen is to come present to what’s being said.  This is where a meditation practice helps.

Meditation is not the act of listening to our inner narrator.  It is the practice of focusing on an object most commonly the breath, listening to it, so that we can have a true open connection with the present.  With what is here and now.

It is when we do that I would argue that we are truly ready to begin to listen to ourselves.

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