Recently, I was lucky enough to have Sheilaa Hite (author of The Spiritual Hedonist and The Infinite Tarot) as a guest on my BlogTalkRadio show. I asked her how we can tell the difference between the voice that she calls “mental chatter” (warning, advising, correcting) and the voice of the spirit (or your inner guide or the divine). She replied that that voice of mental chatter tends to be negative, fearful, discouraging. The voice of the spirit is always calm.
She went on to describe this inner calm voice as being encouraging, supportive, positive.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Sometimes an intuitive gut feeling, like a warning not to get on a certain bus or turning right instead of left, is experienced as an unpleasant “it doesn’t feel right.”
But at the same time those warning feelings tend to be calm. Listening to your inner voice is not so much being polarized between two arguments (for example, one saying “Take out $500!!” and the other saying, “$50 is plenty!!” It’s stopping that discussion and allowing what feels right to still your mind and guide your action.
Of course, there are many more voices we hear inside of us all the time—no question about that!
But I think as writers, the time when our writing flows the best, and when we allow the words to come through us instead of forcing them onto the page, is the time when we most consciously listen to that calm voice. Interestingly, often that “flow” can turn into a crashing, thunderous waterfall—but even then it remains harmonious and joyful.
Writing Practice—Listen to your inner calm
Tapping into your inner calm is a matter of practice. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take three deep, belly-breaths. Focus on your breathing for a while. Then gradually allow your breathing to become natural and slow.
Pay attention to words that come to you in your mind’s eye. For me, this experience is similar to playing with the knobs on an old-fashioned transistor radio. I used to get an intense thrill from suddenly tuning into a short-wave broadcast from many countries away. I’d strain my ear closer to my little blue transistor and listen with all my being to the foreign language or the mysterious sounds in between the stations.
Then, clear as a bell, a local station comes through. That’s what hearing your inner voice is like. The words come through so clearly it’s as though you’ve heard them out loud. They are as real as real can be.
Enjoy this practice. I find it opens me up to directions in my writing that may be entirely different to what I initially imagined or planned.