This step can really help with completing step 2. We all have internal voices. The problem is that we don’t usually pay attention to where those thoughts are coming from. We think the voices are us. They aren’t. The voices in your head are not you. They are an existing set of programs always running. Please note that I am not talking about hearing external, disembodied voices, nor believing that the speech in your head is coming from an external source. Those are psychological conditions that need professional help. I am speaking of the brain chatter that most people experience pretty much non-stop, every day. I used to call the various aspects of my personality the committee, because there are a bunch of them, and they never solve anything. I recently realized that one reason I disliked meetings at work so much was because they resembled the meetings in my head.
The life coach Martha Beck, whose excellent books are a resource for those trying to change their mindset, talks about the fear-based voices in people’s heads as their “inner lizard”. She suggests picturing an actual lizard, naming it, and talking to it to calm it down. I suggest taking this even further and externalizing all your voices.
Who is on Your Committee?
I have committee members such as the judge, the whiner, the chatterbox, the worrier, the teacher, the dominatrix, the brain, the control freak, and so on. I have a mental picture of each of them and each has a distinct voice. Your committee probably looks different from mine, so take a little time to listen to the voices, hear them, understand them, name them and identify them. The benefit of doing this is that it helps you to disassociate yourself from the voices. Then you realize the voices aren’t you talking. These voices come from all that programming that we talked about earlier: your upbringing, training, belief systems, genetics, socialization, and so on. Members of your committee may argue about the best way to handle a situation, or about what you should do next. They can awaken you from sleep with shouts of fear or judgement. A committee is very powerful, and runs most people’s lives, because they don’t realize the committee isn’t them.
Who Inspired the Committee?
By identifying and picturing your committee, you can step back and see how they operate. You may recognize the voices of parents, teachers, political leaders, spiritual leaders, celebrities, or even historical figures on your committee. Go ahead and picture them that way if you care to. Seeing that the anxious voice comes from your mother, who was a worrier, or the bossy voice from our father who was a control freak, or the harsh voice from your first grade teacher who was very judgmental, can really help you understand why you took on those beliefs and behaviors, and that they have nothing to do with who you truly are.
Your Committee Isn’t You
If the committee talks all the time and filters your experience, then guess who is creating your reality? Yep, they are. Sometimes others may put in a guest appearance, but usually there is a core group of voices that determine what your life is like, and how you experience it. I strongly encourage you to identify your committee members, write them down with a detailed description, and start stepping away from their voices. The committee will keep you from living a genuine life from your heart. They talk at you constantly, filtering everything through your past, planning for a future that may never come, distracting you from what is happening, and interpreting everything around you. These voices are not the voices of your true self. you can’t hear the voice of your true self when the committee is talking. Once you start paying attention, you realize that the committee is pretty annoying. it never resolves anything, it repeats itself, it is mean and petty, and it never has your best interest at heart.
End The Chatter
The Committee can be quieted. When one voice begins to talk to you identify it. Say, “Oh, it’s the chatterbox again”, or, “There’s the judge”. Observe it compassionately, but do not identify with it. Picture a person talking. My judge, for example, wears a black robe, is bald, and shakes his gavel at those who offend him. This picture amuses me and helps me to step away mentally from his judge-y voice. Do not scold the voice, just observe it.
As you picture the figure who is speaking, create space around the figure. Feel yourself moving farther and farther away from them. Watch the author of the voice get smaller and smaller; hear them get quieter and quieter, until they completely disappear. Then concentrate on your heart and feel deeply what is there. Act on that feeling, never on the voice of your committee.
When you first begin doing this, you will snap back inside the committee over and over. It is perfectly normal. You have been identifying with these voices for a long time. Making the break is a process. When you first start you may jump back and forth and never even get to distance yourself. Then you might go a short distance and snap back to a close-up. Eventually, distancing and listening to your heart will become quick and automatic. When your heart is creating your reality rather than your committee, the experience of life that you create is much more enjoyable. Choices made from the heart are life-enhancing. Decisions made by the committee are fear-based and drain away your life. Your heart will create people, places, situations, and happenings that bring peace and joy.
The work of letting go of committee meetings is so worth it. Another set of programming that takes away your choices and ruins your experiences will peel away.