Inner Freedom – Managing Our Internal Dialogue and Focusing on the Now
I’m sure many of you have been to the amusement park and ridden on roller coaster rides.
As an adult I don’t need to pay for roller coaster rides because I have free admission to my own internal roller coaster ride. I can embark on this ride at any time and I do so whenever I allow my thoughts to dramatize situations and circumstances.
I’ve been reading a book called “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer and he says the greatest vacation we can ever take is from our own internal dialogue or what he calls our “inner roommate.” He says that at a moment’s notice our “inner roommate” can ruin an otherwise great day.
I actually found myself laughing to the point of tears when reading the “inner roommate” chapter. As many spiritual teachers say it’s not what happens in our life that causes us our greatest distress it’s the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening that creates the greatest inner turbulence.
So how can we create a better internal experience of life? We can do this in two primary ways. We can improve our internal conversation and we can go beyond it.
To improve our internal dialogue requires that we become conscious of it and notice when we are re-hashing negative events or projecting worry and fear or drama out onto the future. When we notice a negative train of thought starting we can say to ourselves “stop” or “cancel that thought.” I use this practice on a regular basis and I find it to be really helpful.
Another thing that can help us improve our thinking is the use of affirmations, intentional positive thoughts. The key to making affirmations effective is making sure they are in the present tense and that they feel good when we say them. We can memorize our affirmations or jot them down. Affirmations can empower us and help turn our thinking around when we find ourselves beginning to slip.
The second way of managing our internal dialogue is to go beyond it. We do this by bringing our awareness into the now. When we focus our awareness in the present moment we often find some relief from stress and an experience of greater inner calm.
One way to meet the now is to become aware of what Eckart Tolle calls “the inner body.” We can start this process by scanning distinctively throughout the body (focusing on the head, torso, hands and feet in any order) and becoming aware of the inner aspect of each part of our body. Then we can shift our awareness to the sensation of the energy field of our body, of our being, as a whole.
Our minds can be in the future or the past, but our bodies can only be in the now. Maintaining some awareness in our bodies as we go about our daily activities is a powerful practice for strengthening our connection to that expanded, wise, peaceful, timeless part of ourselves.
By managing our internal dialogue and by being present we can create greater inner freedom. This allows us to experience less stress and greater peace, joy and possibilities in our lives.
I’ve also been listening to “Realizing the Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle which is part of my inspiration for this article. It’s great!