Who Do We Listen To?
Who is Calling the Shots Here?
Apparently, our internal dialogue, the internal running conversation, has been running for a very long time. The Toltecs call this “the Narrator,” which kind of sums up that role. It is constantly talking to us, advising, judging and yes, criticizing.
“An internal monologue, also called self-talk or inner speech, is a person’s inner voice which provides a running verbal monologue of thoughts while they are conscious. It is usually tied to a person’s sense of self. It is particularly important in planning, problem solving, self-reflection, self-image, critical thinking, emotions, and subvocalization (ie. reading in your head).. It may reflect both conscious and subconscious beliefs…
(What shapes our performance).
“…particularly important in planning, problem solving, self -reflection (more about this in a minute,”) critical thinking, emotions, etc.” … -Wikipedia
All of these shape action.
Unless you were in specialized higher education courses, we didn’t learn about this in school. Perhaps the more important issue is what drives our internal dialogue…
Well… the Toltec Wise Men had an explanation for that as well.
“In infancy, as we learn to speak, the humans who take care of us teach us what they know or believe. Just as their humans taught them. This means they programmed us with knowledge….in truth we are domesticated the same way our pets or any animal is, usually through a system of punishment and reward.” – The Fifth Agreement (Ruiz, Ruiz, Mills)
How do you know what you know? Think about it!
We are programmed from birth to think a particular way, behave in particular ways and, even when we rebel, our thinking is shaped by whatever we are rebelling against.
How often at work have we been encouraged to “think outside of the box on this one?” The implication here is you are the box. It addresses that our thinking is constrained by our beliefs, interpretations and judgments and we are limited by those. Consequently, so are our actions.
To add to the problem, language is symbolic. Which means, even though we speak the same language, the words don’t necessarily mean the same to us. The symbolism we attach to words is formed out of our domestication, our internal dialogue.
I think if we really understood this, at an experiential level rather than just intellectually, we would listen to others, as well as ourselves, in a very different and understanding way.
So, if how we perform is driven by our behavior, and our behavior is driven by what we believe, couldn’t taking our thoughts off of “automatic pilot” have a huge impact on how effective we are? This takes a lot of sustained discipline, because it takes raising our daily awareness.
Where might we start? By nature of the beast it needs to be with ourself. As noted above, our internal talk has an impact on our sense of self. Usually we are not kind to ourselves in this. Wikipedia goes on to describe our negative self-talk:
“Negative self-talk (also known as unhelpful self-talk) refers to inner critical dialogue (the Narrator) . It is based on beliefs about ourselves that develop during childhood based on feedback of others, particularly parents (our domestication). These beliefs create a lens through which the present is viewed. Examples of these core beliefs that lead to negative self-talk are:
‘I am worthless’, ‘I am a failure’, ‘I am unlovable’.”
We recite a laundry list of needed self-improvements; a soap opera about us, of our own unconscious making.
There is a flip side to this, also from Wikipedia, positive self-talk, with some helpful hints.
“Positive self-talk (also known as helpful self-talk) involves noticing the reality of the situation, overriding beliefs and biases that can lead to negative self-talk. Coping self-talk is a particular form of positive self-talk that helps improve performance. It is more effective than generic positive self-talk and improves engagement in a task. It has three components:
- It acknowledges the emotion the person is feeling.
- It provides some reassurance.
- It is said in non-first person.”
Coping self-talk is not positive thinking nor affirmations. Make no mistake, It is a rigorous lifetime discipline to question our thinking, our interpretations and what drives them.
It’s a form of healthy living that pays!
It takes a dedicated effort to rise above the trap of our beliefs.
So far, most of our life has been about validating our beliefs. What would your life look like if you spent the rest of life unbundling those strongly held beliefs. What might that let you do with your life, make of your life?
Science recently found structural connection to the Universe… that includes you and me, connected to everything.
To discover that we have a magical connection to the entire fabric of the Universe, makes us……so much larger. Perhaps the Toltecs and our ancient ancestors knew thousands of years ago, what science is finding in deep space…we are connected to the power of the Universe.
May the Force be with you!
Article: ‘Cosmic web’ thought to give the universe its structure glimpsed by scientists