There is this old Cherokee tale of the two wolves inside us...one evil (filled with jealousy, anger, hatred, false pride, self-pity, resentment), and the other good (full of joy, peace, love, faith, compassion). So the question is which wolf wins.
There are also two voices within us.
Our inner being has an amazing way of knowing the truth. It is a deep intuition, an understanding beyond words, experiences, or what we perceive through our senses. We can put up a facade and ignore it, but that little voice will keep popping up.
However, most people don't recognize it or simply do not hear it. It is drowned by the sounds of the outer life which demands our attention. Moreover, it is drowned by the sound of that outer evil, negative voice that sits on our shoulders and pretends to be us (the “other voice”). That voice which are made up of false beliefs, perceptions, negative thoughts and which leads us astray, tells us we are not good enough, it can't be done, and a host of other untruths.
So how do we tell the difference between these two voices and how do we know which voice to listen to?
Firstly, you need to be able HEAR the inner voice.
Take a moment to reflect on this and be honest with yourself. Can you hear that little voice? Do you recognize it? And do you listen to it and stay true to it? Or do you boast about "your gut always being right" without really understanding it?
Sometimes it takes years of undoing the things that drowned that little voice, so we need to learn to reconnect with ourselves and our inner beings. Here are a few practices I find helpful:
1. Become more creative
The inner voice is not something linear, rational, or concrete. It may come to us in such a form, but it is only so we can recognise it easier. Mostly it may be something that requires a different perspective. So “becoming more creative” is not about taking up the paintbrush, but about acquiring a creative attitude, some out-of-the-box thinking, so you can perceive it. The outer voice is often a thought (of which we have plenty, some of us have washing machines in our heads!), but the inner voice requires a more creative, subtle, different approach of connecting with our true Self.
2. Become aware
Be still, empty and spacious, and really listen. Practice mindfulness of the moment; be totally present in the here and now (not at tonight’s dinner or yesterday’s issues fights or a client’s issues). Take in the moment fully, without judgement. Practice focusing whilst also being mindful of your surrounds, without attaching. Notice things. You’ll be amazed how much you notice when you focus on noticing, and how much easier you connect with your inner voice.
3. Respond, do not react
Reaction is a repetitive act towards something external. Responding is a way of being, from the inside. When we react we give away our power, obeying the outer voice. But when we respond we do it from a place of power, from our inner voice. Separate the messenger (the person, event or words that you cause you to act), from the message. Respond to the message without reacting to the messenger.
4. Pay attention to signs
Of course, sometimes it may not be a voice, it may be a sign you see, something you feel, or just a knowing. If you are sceptical about signs, you may be sceptical about your inner voice too, and this may not be for you. Which is totally fine, and you may want to stop reading here. But if there is an inkling of belief in you, I beg you to start noticing what happens around you – random occurrences, events that appear co-incidental, things you see around you. These are all signs about the road you need to take (or not take), your true inner voice. Learn to pay attention and to value these.
5. Trust yourself
Have you ever met someone and just “clicked”? How much easier is it to share (and to trust) with someone we feel a strong connection with – even if that connection seems inexplicable! But so often we don’t connect with ourselves. We can do that through meditation, breathing practices, journaling, connecting with nature, retreats, teachers and gurus, and other practices. These are all excellent practices that support it, but find what resonate with you.
People sometimes spend years searching, trying many different things, and although the search for Self, growth or transformation is a personal one, guidance is a gift some people are willing and skilled to give, so why not take it?! A coach can help identify the clutter in our heads so we can be more authentic and better able to understand that little voice, and support us through implementing and sustaining good practices to make it "stick".
Oh, and about the Cherokee tale of the two wolves; so which one wins? The one you feed!
About the author: Celeste Du Toit is free spirited nature lover and traveller. She helps people find renewed energy by clearing all those habits, beliefs and blockages that keep us stuck. She works individually or with groups, runs regular workshops and delivers inspirational speaking engagements.
Facebook: The Yes Paradigm Coach