The Inner Dialog
We are all keenly aware of the seemingly endless mental commentary about life. A closer look at the content of the “voice in the head” reveals that it is highly patterned, repetitive, and generally very critical. It is also the set fall back position that mind comes to when it is not flowing with loving, creative, practical, and functional thoughts. The way to start freeing ourselves from identification with the inner monologue is to witness it like any other movement of energy. When we do, we notice that the dialog is primarily focused on finding comfort in what seems to be a hostile and confusing world. The mind knows that it cannot control what is happening in the world, but it sure can control the way that it views life. The voice’s magical power is that it is such a good mimic that it really does appear that we are both the voice talking and what is listening. The key to working with the chatter is to consciously refrain from discriminating about its content. It does not at all matter if the voice is agreeable or unpleasant; it is still only an impersonal and patterned mind construct. There are no facets of the voice that define us, and others that do not. The truth is that we are the timeless presence that is aware of the inner working of the mind, and therefore we are not the voice of the pseudo or separate self that impersonates our true self.
All subject-object relationships such as the one that the voice inside of the head is acting out are part of the mind complex. Luckily, the mind is only a shift in attention away from yielding to the presence that is the true sense organ of life. That shift is facilitated by committing to perceive life directly and purely through our sensory perceptions. An unfiltered perception of the world comes way before the inner dialog thinks about commenting about it. Before the commentary, we are one with the stream of pure perception, and with all objects that appear in form. In our innocent wholeness the need to sort through and assign names and values to objects does not make sense. When we hear something and there is only hearing, we are being true to the unfiltered experience of the moment. There is no hearer separate from hearing. The inner dialog is literally an after thought when comments such as, “I hear the bird singing ” appear. At that point we are no longer one with hearing. We have conceptualized the simple act of hearing by inserting the “I” as its subject. When that happens, we no longer hear the actual bird singing. Unfortunately, the conceptualized version of hearing is not at all as vibrant as when it is directly perceived. The direct perception of objects that appear in the world are exponentially more alive and vibrant then those that are filtered through mind.
It is wise to spend some time getting to know the nature of our relationship with the inner dialog. An objective view of the voice’s commentary reveals that there is absolutely nothing that is said by the voice that is personal. The more pleasant as well as the less agreeable diatribes are still objects of mind that we witness. The voice in the head is the same as any object that appears in the world that we perceive. Only when we relax and take up residency in and as the witnessing presence can we consciously and objectively focus awareness on the inner dialog. Rooted in the absolute, our unadulterated perceptual experiences of the world of form liberate us from what is really only a case of mistaken identity. At the heart of the relationship between all forms is a simple and deeply rooted mutual interdependence. We must take some time to acknowledge the energetic exchange that is at the heart of existence. For example, the next time that you walk into a room, allow the room to walk into you. The divine dance of light and space is what facilitates the global nature of all forms. This morning I was watching a fox amble through the neighborhood totally present with the visual movement of the fox. Out of nowhere, distracting and totally irrelevant comments about the fox took form. I noticed that the content of the dialog was clearly uncomfortable with the non-relational nature of the purely perceptual experience. The inner talk seems to be the way that the anxiety about the unknown and unfamiliar nature of our non-relational essence is released. When faced with the absence of a personal reference point the voice becomes particularly active and reactive.
The world viewed through the eyes of pure and vast presence, rather than a centrally constructed reference point is too free, intimate, and impersonal for the mind. It is only because the infinite is so ungraspable by mind that it creates a personal self that appears to be responsible for sorting out reality as it is in the moment. From the perspective of infinite presence, the voices of the mind are patterns of energy that cannot yet clearly grasp that they are one with all of existence. The key to awakening to that truth is to shift attention into the vastness, which is devoid of what is known. From that non-relational perspective, pure presence is not some dead nothingness, but is wide-awake. There is no separate self that is the personal doer of anything. Our individual and collective evolution depends on our willingness to transcend the idea that we are separate, alone, and need protection. As long as we identify with any aspect of the inner dialog, we are closed to what is ever-present and remain unaware of what is impermanent. The more that we surrender to the presence that is our true self, the more apparent it is that presence is simultaneously the background and foreground of all existence. When we make the conscious choice to directly experience the world without a narrative, we notice that we are already free and open.Unfiltered perception allows no room for a separate sense of self to intervene. It is simply a cultural habit to name what is observed. Right now I am looking a tree. Rather than concentrating only on the form itself, attention is open to the space between the branches and the space that frames the tree. This subtle yet powerful shift of attention away from the “normal” preoccupation with an object in isolation with its surroundings is what facilitates pure perception. From that open panorama, the divine dance of space and light is seen to illuminate all objects that appear in form. No object exists in isolation. Although I am using visual terms to describe the experience of unfiltered observation, it is more of a sensory exploration. There is a felt vibratory feel of unity and connection with all. There is no separate “I” as part of direct observation. What is conspicuously absent is a dialog about what is observed. Without the thinking mind restricting pure perceiving, the vastness of presence and connection subsumes it. The mind has a choice to make. It can permanently die to the vast stillness. Or, it can give way to the true sense organ of the universe that perceives itself out of itself in every moment, and become its faithful servant.