I’ve been looking a bit at the state of my mind and giving consideration to what I want to do with it. If you’ve read some of my past posts, my mind is in a strange state at the moment. It has been in a sort of flat-line for the past couple of years. I can make myself take action, make decisions, do things… but when I stop doing, there is nothing. The mind is empty and flat. There is no thought running around like there used to be. ADD/ADHD used to rule my mind. It ran rampant. That is gone now. I seem to be in a sort of conscious Jhana 4 that is there without fail when I choose to be quiet. I have done it in large groups of people where there is music and a lot of talking. I have done it in the middle of writing a book or riding the motorbike. It is always there when I stop doing.
For the past couple of months I’ve been writing this next meditation book. It will be part of the “Meditation for Beginners” series, and will focus on helping beginners and advanced meditators alike.
As I write this book I am reminded over and over about the state of my own mind. I have had senior monks tell me what they thought I might do in order to progress further in the process, and yet I haven’t really had any desire to do so. A few years ago after asking myself the question, “What is the point of enlightenment?”, the question went away and there hasn’t been any desire to seek anything more than what I already had. I’ve been quite at peace the last couple of years, and the flat-lined mind state that is always there when I’m quiet and not doing anything, is odd when I think about it – but, it isn’t at all something that is worrisome. It has given me a great reprieve from my previously plagued ADD/ADHD mind which made me anxious and tense for the first 30 some years of my life.
So, lately I’ve meditated a bit just to refresh my mind with the states of Jhana and other meditation essentials that I wanted to add to the new book. In doing so I’ve noticed my mind calming even more during times I’m “doing”. Meditation is so powerful, even at this stage of the game. Probably because of it, I’ve been considering how I can experiment more with this flat mind and maybe learn something from it.
Monks have told me that I probably just need to start asking myself the question – “Who am I?” or “Where is the I inside?” Questions like this. I’ve avoided doing so up to now because as I said, the want to go further just hasn’t been there. However, recently I thought maybe I can ask some other questions and see what the result is.
What I’ve been looking at, last night and this morning, is this…
I’ve been looking at the voice in my head. The voice in my mind. You have one too. It’s the one that you probably think is the embodiment of who you are, the physical/mental manifestation of ‘you’ inside. It’s the one that talks to you in your own voice. It’s the one that asks you questions and gives running commentary in your head throughout the day, throughout your waking state, throughout your life.
I’ve been looking at this voice and trying to see what it consists of. I’ve asked myself – What is this voice? Why is it there? What purpose does this voice serve?
Slowly I’m coming up with answers. The main answer seems to be – the voice in my head is just memory firing off in response to other memories triggering them. Memory knows how I sound to myself – and can repeat that voice exactly.
I find the voice constantly asking me questions and talking while I’m “doing’. When I’m not doing, there is no voice. It’s quiet. Memory is not working during this quiet state either. There may be a connection between memory and this voice then. Seems to be one. Could be one anyway.
This morning I thought I’d look at it again. I thought, if this voice is just the product of memory firing in the brain, then why not give it something that it has never known before? Why not give it something to say that it has never said. Memory then, I thought, couldn’t act in that case and maybe the voice would change.
I tried making up a very long nonsense word of about 40 syllables and watch my mind, the voice in my head, say it. There seems to be real discord in the mind when I do so. The word does not come out easily, and the voice appears to be inconsistent. It doesn’t seem to be my exact voice the entire time. I think what is happening is that the mind is struggling to create the new sounds in my own voice – but it is not there in memory for the mind to spit out quickly. It stumbles… it stutters.
I tried it a couple of times – always the same result – unsmooth, not very much like my voice.
Then I tried to compare it to something that I have said in the past, “OK Vern, let’s go to the mountain.” The voice came out perfectly in my head, as if I was speaking into my own ear – a perfect representation of my voice that, upon comparision, made the voice that said the nonsense word, clearly not really mine.
Anyway, just an interesting little experiment going on in my head this morning. I’m going to give it some more effort later as I get some quiet time. At the moment I’m sitting in the upstairs bedroom with my daughter who had a fever this morning. We feared Dengue – the worst case scenario, as we are the second most infected province in the country at the moment.
Have you ever looked at the voice in your head and asked yourself about it?
What is it?
Who is it?
Where does the voice in your head come from?
What is its purpose?
How can you trip it up?
Maybe something to look at. I don’t know. Will write more later if I see anything more to report about it…
6 thoughts on “Is the Voice in Your Head – You?”
Big fan.. pleased to hear about this new book.. very exciting stuff!! reading this post made me wonder if you’d seen the movie ‘revolver’?.. it deals with this exact topic.. learning to see the ego (voice in the head) & ultimately free yourself/oneself from it.. blew me away from my long standing interest in this subject; highly recommend it – think you’ll appreciate that the message..
Otherwise keep up the good work – you’re a real inspiration!
I haven’t seen it. I’ll go try to find it. Maybe there’s a book, I’d probably like that better. Thanks for the heads up!
I tried to find it – and couldn’t. Do you know who wrote the book, you know, if there is a book? lol.
hmmm.. Not sure about book format.. Here is a link to a clip from the end of the movie though.. really encapsulates the message though.. you’ll get it.. no doubt!!
I’ll try find out if the movie was based on a book for you too though..
nice. I gotta watch that! Will try to get it somewhere. Thanks for that.
I think it is easy to attribute too much value to that cognitive inner-speech. It’s just the mind using language to describe memories that it randomly accesses. It is accessing associative pathways more or less at random and processing past/present and future events that may relate to an initial though, it then puts them in to words. I guess that’s just the natural function of the brain, I don’t necessarily think it has any particular value, it’s just a function as opposed to any kind of inner-person.