Exercise 9

EXERCISE 9: Noting the ‘voices’ within you

See how good you can get at discerning the three kinds of voices we typically have within us.

Whenever you find yourself in a situation in which you are deciding about something, try slowing down the inner processes and paying attention to them. Especially listen to the interior discussion you usually have with yourself.

Find your quiet place, still and centre yourself, become aware of your breathing.

When you think you are quiet, let those inner voices speak that are engaged in a ‘debate’ about what to do. If you can, write down what each one is saying. Try to see if you can separate out the strains of thought. Don’t try to resolve or debate with any of them. Just pay attention. Listen.

Many mystical writers speak of at least three main voices within. Try to discern whether the voice is that of your Ego (that part of you that is ambitious, looking out for #1 – You!), the judgmental self-destructive side of you (often associated with internalized parental, critical voices), or something deeper, that calls you beyond, that is surprising, that is supportive and affirming of you and of live and of love (You guessed it: we’ll call that Voice “God” just for short-hand).

If the voice suggests ways to enhance yourself, often at the expense of others, to enhance your personal power or position, to improve your chances of success, to win over others, that’s probably your voice, the voice of your Ego.

If the voice is always critical of whatever you do, tends to put you down, or discourage you, or make you afraid, that’s probably the voice which Freud called the “Super-ego.”

If the voice within you is suggesting some action that brings about some good, or adds to the love around you, and makes you feel good about yourself, you can start assuming that this is God’s voice.

Write down the fruit of your paying attention to your inner debate.