If I came up to you and told you that I hear voices inside telling me what to do, and that I listen to them and act on them, I guess you would be afraid. Probably very afraid! After all, this is typically what a schizophrenic says, isn't it? And what if those voices told me to kill you?
First of all, I am not going to walk up to you, as you are probably many miles away, perhaps even many thousands of miles away.
Secondly, I am not referring to something that is symptomatic of schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder. Well, I guess I would say that anyway, wouldn't I? But keep reading and I think you will agree with me. Hopefully you will even start to hear voices yourself. No, don't get scared - I am talking here about something very positive and good, not the negative voices which also exist.
We all have inner voices. These voices are, in a sense, real. They are real aspects of our own selves.
If the voices you hear are nasty, asking you to do things that go against your nature, then these are not voices you should listen to. Instead you should talk to a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist, as this could be the start of a pyschotic episode, and you should not simply wait and hope that they go away.
But these are not the voices I am talking about.
There are some negative voices that do not fall into the above, psychotic category. These include Mr or Mrs "Yabut". I have already spoken about this voice in an earlier blog article. This is the voice that always seems to give you a reason why you cannot achieve whatever it is you are trying to achieve. When you start thinking about one of your goals, this voice says "yah, but ..." and what comes after the "but" is a whole host of reasons you should not pursue that goal. We all have a Mr or Mrs Yabut. You should listen to what is said, but only so you can identify your limiting beliefs and then squash them. None of the reasons given should mean you cannot achieve your goal. So listen to what is said, eliminate the limiting belief, and then banish Mr or Mrs Yabut.
The voice you are listening out for is a much more encouraging one. You have a voice within you that wants to help you achieve what you should be achieving. Notice exactly what I said there. Not "what you want to achieve" but "what you should be achieving". I have said this many times before, but very often the things we think we want to achieve are not the things that deep inside we really want to achieve (or to put it another way, the things we should be achieving). Listen carefully for this voice. It can lead you in a very unexpected direction, and a direction which is far better for you and far more likely to achieve success for you than the one in which you are travelling right now.
If you are spiritual (notice, I did not say religious) you can view this voice as the voice of God, or of Atman, or of the Spirit, or of the Universe - whichever word you prefer to use the meaning is really the same. It is a voice from someone or something that knows far better than your conscious mind what is best for you.
It is the voice you will hear if you sit quietly and calmly, allowing peace to fill you. The voice John Greenleaf Whittier referred to in his poem "The Brewing of Soma" as the "still, small voice of calm".
Spend time every day listening for this "still, small voice of calm". Some days you may not hear it. Perhaps this will be the case on many days. But sometimes you will. And the more you practice the more often you will hear it. You may think of this as a form of meditation, which I guess it is. You may find it helps at first if you can be alone in a quiet room. Ultimately, though, you should be able to listen for this voice no matter where you are and no matter how much noise there is around you.
When you have spent some time practising this you will find the voice sometimes appears even when you are not consciously encouraging it. That is good. It will particularly appear in this way when there is something you should do right now, so take particular notice of what it is saying.
Listen for the small, still voice of calm, and take note of what it tells you. Act on it. If you do this you will find you will move quickly along the path to your ultimate goals - perhaps goals you didn't even realize you had until you started this little, but powerful, exercise.