Not being kind to ourselves makes life a melodrama, and living becomes harder than it has to be.
When we live with a voice that is constantly telling us something in the flavour of “you’re not enough” or “you’re unlovable as you are” it creates confusion, and we wonder: when did I sign up to be in this constant competitive dialogue? It’s as if we’ve chosen to play out critical characters in a play we never seem to have much choice in. We either spend precious time fighting with ourselves or become exhausted and succumb to the role, ‘acting’ in certain ways to please a voice that never seems to be satisfied.
Do we have a choice in the inner dialogue? What happens when we flip the script?
When we live with an inner voice that berates us, it causes our energy to become disjointed and our experience of life feels much less smooth. Being in this energetic state is a natural defense response, and it comes with its own unique gift: if we can meet the critical inner voice with sharpness of mind, skill and humour, it provides grist for the mill of our awakening (as Ram Dass would say). What some would call a ‘negative’ state of mind is actually an experience of our shadow — those aspects of ourselves we have yet to integrate. Meeting and engaging with our shadow with open awareness, compassion and spaciousness, we reveal our own power to ourselves.
Our shadow eclipses our vaster being to provide necessary contrast so that we may remember our light a little more vividly.
So, do we have a choice in the inner dialogue?
Yes. We can meet our shadow with awareness, compassion and self love.
Is it challenging to own this power of choice?
Are there skills that we can develop and deepen to step into our power of choice — our creative power — with greater ease?
When there is an unkind voice inside our minds that goes on about insecurities, fears and dislikes, we are basically in a state of incongruence. Our conscious mind, subconscious mind, body, soul and essence are not in vibrational alignment. Misalignment can stir up feelings of discontentment and our inner critic comes to the fore, bringing the drama and the confusion that can wreak havoc in our lives. This feeling of vibrational incongruence has a spectrum, and we can experience it in varying degrees of sharpness or edginess.
When we are in vibrational alignment, life feels smooth, it flows, and we feel safe and content to be in it. We feel like an integrated being, and in this state there is usually much more space in our minds. With space comes love, wisdom and compassion. The inner voice is a pleasant one or, sometimes, totally quiet and witnessing. It can feel like wholeness, connectedness, love, presence.
So how might we shift from misalignment into alignment? From incongruence to congruence?
The easiest way is to get all of yourself on board with one thing: I will commit to moving through this experience with gentleness and kindness for myself.
The rest from this is all up to you. This is part of the fun of this play of life: we get to explore, experiment and discover ourselves, the world around us and how we relate best to it. The spiritual path is an exploratory one, each moment the perfect moment to begin practicing our creative power of choice.
What is your spiritual practice? It is the one that works for you. Is there an activity, a sound, an image, or even a time of day that brings you into a feeling of wholeness — congruence — or provides you with space to be with yourself with ease, no matter how you show up?
This is your spiritual practice. Now don’t confuse the method for the experience. Your spiritual practice is the grounding cord that, when you tug on it, reminds you of homebase, your wholeness, your gentleness. Some would say it brings you into connection with your soul or essence, which is homebase, or vibrational alignment. Your practice is to embody homebase — vibrational congruence — again and again until your being can memorize it.
As you embody vibrational alignment, you embody inner peace. You become a harmonious note in the ocean-song of the universe, and you are home in your power.
Your spiritual practice that reminds you of this state is not a crutch, nor a punishment, it’s a training wheel. Choose one that you can sincerely enjoy, because when you can enjoy it, you can also remind yourself how it is to enjoy this experience of life (another great vibration to memorize). It doesn’t have to be complicated. Actually, the simpler the better.
Some of my favourite spiritual practices, like mantra, are my favourite because I can take them with me anywhere and practice them in any moment, without anyone knowing. Instantaneous practices like mantra can connect you directly to your heart, a doorway into homebase. When I silently repeat mantra, I can be looking out into the world but hearing, RAM, and recalling the vibration of home again in my being. From this state, anything becomes possible again, and this inspires joy.
Overtime we inch a little closer to ourselves with kindness, compassion and love. That doesn’t mean the inner critical voice disappears, but maybe we are able to meet it too with kindness and humour. We become the ultimate space holders for ourselves: a space of Love (Shiva) for the phenomena of Life (Shakti) within and around us.
It all starts within. Your inner environment sets the tone for your outer one, and you do have choice.
Calling you back home to yourself!