I first met Cindy during my second year of college. It was in the cafeteria where she bumped into me. Yes, she literally bumped into me and her food tray went crashing into everything. I heard her mutter under her breath, “What an idiot!”
“Pardon me,” I replied, not knowing what else to say, but definitely feeling that it was not my fault. “Oh no,” she said, “It’s always my fault. I am really so clumsy. I am very sorry.”
Then I realized that she was referring to herself when she had said, “What an idiot.” Over the months I got to know her a little better. Sometimes we’d sit at the same table in the cafeteria and other times I’d be sitting next to her in a class.
It never ceased to amaze me how often she repeated the phrase, “What an idiot”, at the smallest thing that happened. It was as if she had been programmed to respond to the slightest misfortune with self-blame. One day I finally asked her why she kept referring to herself as an idiot. Her eyes opened wide as she said that she was not aware that she did. She confessed that it was probably a habit and that she always felt that when anything bad happened, it was her fault. She told me that the voice in her head always told her that she was an idiot and pointed out that she was not as good as others. The constant, negative chatter in her mind had prevented her from achieving her greater potential.
Cindy managed to graduate and we eventually lost touch with each other. But I always wondered how she was doing. I always hoped that she was able to still the chatter in her mind and to change the programmed voice to a more positive self-image.
The matter of chatter is a very serious one. If we were to listen carefully to what we are saying to ourselves we would find very interesting conversations going on. If we are happy and fulfilled, these internal conversations would probably be positive. If we are constantly worried and depressed, we would probably have sad and confusing conversations.
We can literally change the outside world by first changing our inner world. Generally, it’s our inner conversations that determine what our outer world looks like. If we constantly think sad thoughts, then our self-talk will focus on sad things and the entire world will appear depressing.
If we always think angry thoughts, the world will appear angry. Even a beautiful sunset would appear to be filled with angry shades of red. But if we think peaceful and positive thoughts, the world will seem peaceful and positive to us.
So how do we silence the endless chatter in our heads? Here are a few tips:
* Try to find some quiet time each day and listen to what you are saying to yourself. Don’t be like Cindy who kept calling herself an idiot. Once in a while we all say terrible things about ourselves, but if we do it too often, it becomes a habit and we start believing those things.
* As you listen to the conversation in your head, do not follow them. Just observe them and let them go. If you start to focus on the thoughts, you’d get caught up in them and then get carried away by them.
* After observing your thoughts for a while, you’ll find that they move on and you are not trapped by them. Remember that your thoughts are not you. You only have them. Don’t even worry about replacing them with positive thoughts; that will come later.
Simple as the above exercise may seem, it will have the most profound effect on your life. Gradually, at first, and then faster, you’ll find that a greater calm comes over you.
Because you’ve let go of the chatter, the noise diminishes and you are now able to hear the voice of intuition, the voice of the universe seeking to guide and help you.
Yes, it’s a matter of chatter, clatter and clutter and if we turn the volume down, we will be able to hear the beautiful symphonies of life.