Try observing yourself while you are having a conversation. For example, your friends want to tell you about their holiday. As they start talking and you hear them mention the word ‘holiday’, you suddenly hear a very loud, obnoxious voice screaming into your ear about all the great holiday experiences you’ve had. Indeed… this voice is your inner voice.

A thousand thoughts flash through your mind, all yelling for attention as you recall various details: ‘The flight was great! The dinner was delicious! We also had a walk in the mountains!

Your inner voice is so loud that you can barely hear what your friends tell you about their own experience. Nevertheless, you look at your friends politely, you nod automatically at the right moments, and now and then one of their remarks manages to get through to you. But most of the time you’re only waiting for the moment when your friends pause. Because then you can take over the conversation and allow all those thoughts to come out and be heard. Your ego is desperate to get attention: ‘Listen to me! Hear what I’ve got to say! I really need to tell you all about my wonderful holiday experiences!

But do not worry about this mechanism. You’re not the only one who has these overpowering thoughts. Your friends’ egos act in quite the same way. And so, as soon as you have to stop to catch your breath, their thoughts will come tumbling out: ‘It’s my turn again! Listen to me, please!!

A conversation like this has little to do with sharing information and experiences; you can’t even call it a proper dialogue. It instead consists of two separate monologues about the same subject. We are all desperate to be heard . It’s a subconscious and extremely powerful urge that insists on our thoughts being heard now, at this specific moment.

In our past as well as future experiences our ego wants to be heard. You must have caught yourself thinking, after a conversation with someone, ‘I should have said this!’ Or ‘If my boss complains that I’m not doing a good enough job, I’ll tell him exactly what I think of him, watch me!

That inner voice, which keeps wanting to interrupt whatever is going on, represents your thoughts, your judgements, your opinions, your fantasies. It’s the voice of your ego.

As soon as you start observing your thoughts and calming down your impulses, you’ll notice that this chatterbox will slowly but steadily move into the background where you’ll find it quite easy not to take it too seriously. When you become more experienced, the noise in your mind will grow quieter and gradually silent... so that during a conversation you can choose to really listen and pay attention to your friends.

 

This teaching is part of your Karma Kickstart e-Programme