In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu tells us, “Stop thinking and end your problems.” This is good advice to halt an inner voice that may be wreaking havoc over our lives. We have many inner voices. Some of us think uncontrollably about the worst-case-scenario while others use the mind as a tool to feel happiness and peace.
What inner voices do you hear on a daily basis? Do you listen to them? Do you even pay attention to them? This article will address what these voices are, how to identify them, which ones to listen to, and which ones to redirect.
Taming an Inner Voice of Chaos
Lao Tzu would be disappointed to discover that many people are still living with diseased minds. By “diseased,” I mean to highlight the idea that people lack mental ease, and instead live with mental chaos.
Today, the hospitals are full of people suffering from extreme mental turbulence. The overthinking becomes so intense that disease manifests, namely depression, anxiety, and panic.
How does an inner voice of chaos come to be?
We live in a world that tells us to work hard, get ahead, and “succeed,” or otherwise perish. I place the “succeed” in quotes because success actually has no set definition. To one person it could mean living a simple life in the country, while for another person it could mean landing a high paying and demanding corporate job, while still another strives to become their own boss.
The point is that some of us aren’t hard-wired for this modern world model. We’re animals, after all, fit for life relaxing in nature when we aren’t looking for food or shelter. This is how our ancestors lived.
But most of us, even if unconsciously, set out to live our lives within the common paradigm mentioned above. It’s no wonder we care so deeply about what people think of us, have so much financial stress, and lose sleep at night.
So how do we go about calming the burden of a turbulent mind?
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
- Meditation is a good place to start. Meditation grants us the opportunity to rest the mind while studying the nature of any thoughts that may come up. If the thoughts arise, we can ask ourselves: “Are these thoughts true? Where did they come from? Should I believe them, or not?”
- Make a conscious effort to study your thoughts throughout the day. When they come up, ask yourself the same questions you’d ask during your meditations. This leads us to our next point.
- Don’t be reactive to your thoughts. Unhealthy thoughts can lead to unwanted feelings. But before you react negatively to those feelings, just try to be with them. Be with the feelings. Feel them and practice allowance. Stop viewing them as “bad” feelings and see them for what they are: just feelings. You’ll soon discover that difficult feelings usually don’t last long.
Cultivating an Inner Voice of Intuition
There’s another type of inner voice that is not the mental ruckus that haunts our minds. This is a good voice, one of intuition, one that’s acquired by self-mastery.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is.” — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Cultivating an inner voice of intuition is about stilling mental chatter and keeping the “mind open to what is.” An inner voice is not necessarily a thought, but often a feeling, an energy that tells us what to do, or what not to do at any given point in time.
To access this inner reserve of knowledge, we must be still and connect with the world in a new way.
To know yourself is to forget yourself. To forget yourself is to stop identifying yourself with things that bring you mental clutter. Instead, feel yourself rather than trying to think yourself into something you’re not.
If this seems abstract, it’s because the feeling of intuition can’t be fully expressed. It’s something to be experienced and integrated for oneself. But know that when it comes, when you feel an inner voice that manifests as a feeling of deep guidance—you will know. Here are some ways to cultivate an inner voice of intuition.
- Try using “I am” statements that describe your essence rather than your characteristics, job, or hobbies. For example, tell yourself “I am infinite clarity.” rather than “I am a great artist.” Or tell yourself “I am strong.” rather than “I am a good weight lifter.”
- Accept that the path you walk is unique to any path that ever has been and ever will be walked. You may often get caught up in other people’s successes or seemingly amazing lives. You need not waste your time on this. Creating your own journey will profoundly help you tap into your intuition.
- Protect your beliefs. Don’t allow the beliefs of others to dictate your own behaviors and beliefs. You’re allowed to cultivate your own set of values and ways of living. This way of being will strengthen your inner-compass (intuition).
An Inner Voice Can Be a Pain or a Guiding Friend
“The Tao” literally translates as “The Way.” According to the Tao Te Ching, this “Way” is actually indescribable, and those who claim they can describe it don’t actually know it. When the feeling of deep intuitive clarity reaches you, it will be obvious, unique to you, yet unexplainable.
Interested in more ways to harness the power of your mind? Visit the TelMD Upstream Blog!
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