Listening to the Inner Voice
Our inner voice constantly speaks to us, but how often do we take time off from our unnecessarily packed schedules to heed it?
By A Staff Writer
It’s good to be busy, doing the things we have to, of course, but it’s also good to take some time off each day to be with ourselves, to enjoy our silence, to listen to what our inner voice—our true self—wants to tell us. Our inner voice constantly speaks to us, but how often do we take time off from our unnecessarily packed schedules to heed it?
I hadn’t a clue about the existence of the inner voice, leave alone the importance of listening to it till some months ago, when my good fortune led me to a group of men and women, of varying age groups, nationalities and class religious backgrounds, who were on a tour sharing with people their experiences with ‘inner voice listening’.
The informal presentation the group made was deeply moving, and not very long into it I was completely won over by the simple but compelling idea that they had come to talk about. “Sit in silence for, say, 20 minutes or half an hour every day, preferably in the morning,” they explained, “and invite your inner voice to speak. Listen attentively to what it says. If what you hear is in accordance with the norms of honesty and goodness and the welfare of all, you could take it to be your inner voice telling you something important. Note it down in a note-book. It’s as simple as that.”
Key to Self Realisation
Listening to one’s inner voice, the group explained, was key to self-realization, which is the essential purpose of all religions underneath their apparent diversity. Anyone and everyone could do inner-voice listening. It wasn’t tied to any particular religion. You didn’t have to believe in any particular religion or ideology to do it. After all, no matter what our belief-system may be, every one of us has an inner voice.
Often, we just cannot bear to listen to our inner voice because we want to run away from what it seeks to tell us. We fear that what it wants us to hear maybe too painful or embarrassing. We think it may go against what want to think about ourselves. We may consider the verdict of our inner voice too inconvenient to accept. This could be because of deep-rooted guilt for some action of ours that we are reluctant to admit. But try as much as we can, the guilt simply refuses to go away—the conscience refuses to allow it to. And so, it builds up inside, taking the form of resentment, hate, jealousy and anger, even as these negative emotions corrode us from within, harming ourselves much more than anyone else. Accepting the inner voice’s reminders about the wrongs that we have done and making amends for them is key to overcoming negativities and becoming a happier person, I learned that day.
Liberated From Your Guilt
“When you listen to your inner voice, you may be confronted by memories of some harm you may have done or hurt you may have caused to someone, through word or deed. Your inner voice may tell you to make reparations for this. If you heed this, you will be liberated from your guilt. An enormous burden will be lifted from your shoulders, and you will experience a great sense of relief,” the group explained.
This was no empty rhetoric. Members of the group revealed how following the lead of their inner voice, they had apologized to people they had hurt and how this had lead to healing of broken relationships, freeing them from the burden of guilt and bringing in great joy in their lives.
While engaged in listening to your inner voice, I learned, you could give it topics to deal with. For instance, you could lead your inner voice to guide you about what to do with regard to a troubled relationship, to suggest a way out of a difficult situation or to take a decision on an issue about which you are confused. You could also direct the inner voice to help you list some of important things for your to-do list for the day.
Mountain of Bitterness
The testimonies of the members of the group about the transformation that inner voice listening had made to their lives won me over completely. That same day, I did my first inner voice listening, along with members of the group.
One of the first things that my inner voice prompted me to do was to confess some of the things I’ve done in the past, which I had sought to justify but which I now was compelled to admit were completely unacceptable. So, for instance, I wrote to a professor who had, some two decades ago, given me a generous fellowship, and told him about how I had cheated with the bills that I had presented for expenses incurred—I had purloined some of the money by giving the college fake bills. I wrote to a landlady, saying how ungrateful I had been to her for her kindness. She had treated me wonderfully when I lived in her house, but when she came to stay with me for a vacation, I had treated her really shabbily. I requested her to forgive me for my terrible behaviour. I sent off a friendly email message to my sister-in-law, whom I had cut off links with because I had stopped speaking with my brother, her husband. And so on. And the results were amazing! People who I thought would never forgive me did so with great alacrity! And I was relieved of a heavy burden of guilt and resentment. It was wonderful being released of an enormous mountain of bitterness!
Inner voice listening has now become a part of my daily life. I set the alarm for around 20-25 minutes for it every morning, and sipping my coffee, I let my mind speak to me. I get a lot of advice from my inner voice. It tells me how to manage challenges and navigate through life’s sometimes rough waters. It draws my attention to the beauty and goodness in people whom I sometimes resent. It insists that I apologise to someone I have been cruel to. It prompts me to meet or email someone. It goads me to do this or refrain from doing that. It also suggests to me some important things that I must do that day. I note down what my inner voice in a little note-book. This exercise is one of the major highlights of my day, and I just love doing it.
You might like to try making listening to your inner voice a part of your daily schedule. I’m sure you’ll find it beautiful, just as I have!