Sometimes it’s not until I sit down on the mat to meditate that I hear the inner dialogue going on within. The chatter is always on and sometimes it can be a less- than- kind stream of thought.
You too? To some extent we are all living with this background low level hum of criticism, and it’s from ourselves.
When this inner dialogue becomes too negative and fearful, it activates the fight or flight system mobilised by the sympathetic branch of the nervous system. Such activation drains the energy from the parasympathetic part of the nervous system – the part that rests and repairs. This triggers the release of stress hormones and so it goes on.
Not only that but what about those precious moments, here and now? Getting caught up in stories and lists means you are living in the stories of your mind rather than the moment you are breathing in.
The key to changing this is gaining awareness that the negative narrative is there. Through meditation we are able to observe the stream of our mind and use techniques to accept rather than engage. Through the breath, mantra and inward journeying we can soothe the mind and in turn soothe our nervous system. We can become quieter, more still.
I use two really simple techniques to create a kinder inner narrative and they may help you too.
Take sometime to notice what you are talking to yourself about. Then imagine that this inner dialogue is outer dialogue and it’s advice that you are giving your friend – a friend who needs you to be kind, supportive and encouraging. Would you say what you say to yourself to a friend? If the answer is no, then breathe, centre, vibrate Sat Nam. Come back to yourself and start again in kindness. Try instead to speak to yourself in the way you would a friend you loved. It immediately changes everything. Then start turning down the volume until you just feel the kindness.
Another way is to catch your thoughts. As they come up just catch them as though they are the white fluffy parts of a dandelion floating in the wind. Then – let them go. Observe them float away. Keep practising catching your thoughts, take a breath, and then observe as you allow the thought to dissolve. Committing to doing this immediately makes you more aware of your inner narrative and prevents you becoming attached to negative chatter, or indeed too much inner chatter at all.
~ Kary ~