“The answer lies within.” We hear it from the loftiest spiritual teachers to heavy metal bands like Dream Theater, but how do you do it? Often shrouded in mystery, it’s had many names: clairaudience, second sight and intuition — as well as talking to angels, spirit guides or your inner voice. Whatever you call it, it’s a skill you can learn, and its roots lie in the subconscious.
But only crazy people talk to themselves, right? Wrong. Psychologists have known about the unconscious mind since Friedrich Schelling coined the phrase in the 1800s. Whether we like it or not, it always influences us. Many think the subconscious is a dark, murky place — the cesspool of our minds — but experience shows it’s a direct connection to what new-age people call the Higher Self, which has a world of psychic information, guidance and spirituality.
The biggest obstacle to inner voice communication is conditioning: we’re taught from day one to focus on our five senses, and that everything else (what’s inside) is unimportant or untrustworthy. So the first step is to undo all that negative programming.
The next step is to learn to turn your attention inward, and maintain that link throughout the day. The trouble is, we’re usually given vague (or worse, incorrect) instructions. It’s often described as one-way communication steeped in mysticism or religion: perform a ceremony, cast a spell, recite a prayer and hope for the best. But the communication flows both ways; we just don’t realize it because our brains have complex noise filters to keep “what’s not important” from bubbling to the surface. It’s like hearing a whisper in a rock concert; the signal is too weak to hear over the noise.
Meditation is only part of the equation. It helps dismiss some of the musicians, guitars and screaming audience from our inner auditorium of everyday life, but we still have to listen for the whisper.
In chapter 10 of my 1997 book, Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect, I described my inner voice and how I talk to it. I’ve received almost as many emails for information about that as my Out of Body Experiences. I’ve been reluctant to comment because I was afraid treating the subject too lightly would do more harm than good; messing with people’s minds is not to be undertaken lightly. Instead, I spent years working on a new book, Answers Within: How to Use Your Inner Voice for Wisdom, Spirituality and Psychic Awareness, which I just published. Here are some tips and techniques from the book:
- Play “the wisdom game.” Make time to ask yourself philosophical or religious questions and pretend you’re the guru. Pause your inner dialogue to get stray thoughts; take the first ideas that pop into your mind and morph them into “wise” answers.
- Choose a “protocol question” you can ask yourself to get into the right frame of mind. Pick a question that will make you dig deep inside for the answer. Mine is “What is love?”
- Take walks and try to see everything around you as a spiritual metaphor, and tell yourself its deeper meaning.
- Expand the game: Instead of philosophical questions, ask yourself to just “Say something wise” and make up answers.
- Each morning, give yourself a spiritual lesson for the day. Just make something up. Make every day a spiritual learning experience.
- Throughout the day, ask yourself to comment on what’s happening; check it against the lesson you gave yourself.
- Increase psychic sensitivity by being love-based and non-judgmental.
- Ask about other people’s lessons. Learn from what other people are going through, but don’t mistake their lessons for yours.
- Don’t doubt yourself. Gain confidence through verification.
- Recognize the voice of fear. Pay attention to impressions accompanied by a feeling of peace and calm. Discard impressions accompanied by fear, negativity or strong emotions.
- Use music and books to increase inner voice vocabulary.
- Keep a “running question mark” in your mind. Try to remain open to messages from your inner voice throughout the day and in every situation.
- Keep playing and eventually you’ll start getting “answers” without questions.
Learning to talk to your inner voice is an invaluable tool for spirituality and psychic development. Making it fun and being persistent are key.
I especially like, among your list of tips, your admonition to: “Recognize the voice of fear. Pay attention to impressions accompanied by a feeling of peace and calm.”
Because our higher self (or our spirit guides or our higher knowing) understands that we are learning and that our path of learning is sacred, it will never speak to us in a judgmental or attacking way. It will never speak to us with alarm … even when we are seeking guidance for a situation that seems alarming to us.
In fact, it is for this reason that we often have difficulty “hearing” this higher voice when we are in a fearful or difficult situation. Fear constricts us. It actually narrows our energy. And so, when we’re afraid, we are in effect “closed” to that wise and knowing voice we long so much to hear.
So I would add as a corollary to your tip: “Try to let go of any fear or self-judgment, if only for the moment, as you prepare to access your higher guidance or intuition.” Often, just a little meditative breathing (breathing in love and light, exhaling fear and judgment) is enough to open you to the higher guidance and support that is present to help you in any situation.
Rob, I agree completely. Good addition.