one page on aliveness
There are multiple voices in our head which never stop and one (potential) avenue towards aliveness is to give importance to none of them.
The first one is usually an anxious voice. Right now I am in a plane flying from San Diego to New York and this is what mine is saying this: “this plane probably won’t crash I guess. It is so cozy in here. It makes me feel good! My knee does hurt though… hmmm… How long will this knee continue? It is actually kinda harshing these mellow positive plane vibes. Ugh it is so annoying!”
In one day’s time you can write a full book of thoughts. Reading it would be alarming.
It can be hard to separate from the anxious voice because it always speaks. Yours is speaking too as you read this. Good chance it is deciding if it likes or dislikes this read. What is it saying?
If you cannot hear your voice, you are close to it. The voice gets louder under distress. One tactic to hear it more clearly could be to go to a mirror, stare at yourself uninterrupted for 30 seconds, then listen.
First step is to become aware of this anxious voice and that we are not defined by it. At first, we may fight it: “that’s not me! I am brave! This plane obviously isn’t going down!”. By doing this, we gain distance from the anxious voice. As distance is created, we get our first direct glimpse into the age-old insight ‘my thoughts are not who I am’. Now, there is also subtle implication: ‘I can choose thoughts’.
In the anxious voice’s place, more supportive voices arrive . They may sound like caretakers, grandparents, gods, nature, the universe. They say things like "no matter what happens on this plane, we love you, we’re here, you are not alone, you are loved". These other voices comfort us and can heal us.
The second step is to embody these more loving voices as more representative of ‘you’. They simply replace the anxious voices and, in time, could transform us.
Though there are dozens of voices, all with different voices, they can be simplified into anxious voices and comforting ones. Generally, one causes problems, the other one fixes them.
Notice, however, both voices have nothing to actually do with the plane I am in right now.
In fact, both voices - the anxious one and compassionate one - remove me from the plane. They remove me from from the fact that I am soaring 10,000 ft above the ground, and sitting next to somebody chewing loudly. If we get too reliant on the compassionate voice for comfort, it becomes hard to discern between voices and the reality. We may miss out on even more of life.
The third step, and often the hardest, is to no longer feed the compassionate voice either. It requires a small leap of faith to stop relying on comforting voices because we grow to believe that without this compassionate voice, we will not be okay. In addition, we believe that because the compassionate voice freed us before, it will free us again. But what got us to this point won’t necessarily get us to that one.
The more the voices go away - both anxious and loving equally - the clearer you can see objective reality as it is, instead of how our voices make reality seem.
As you give less importance to voices, the insight about why they even exist emerges, which is to buffer us from one type of reality - the painful type. One painful reality is that people in your life, whom you love the most, will pass. That scares most of us and the voices buffers us from that objective reality, without the awareness that the voices are hurting us too.
Putting no preferences on any voices is like putting the cap on a candle. It neither adds fuel nor blows them away. It naturally dims them.
If you dim the voices without putting preferences on any of them, a natural buoyancy, wonder and joy results.