“All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we create the world.” ~the Buddha
There’s a voice inside you that is constantly speaking in whispers, in shouts, in chatter, in murmurs, in guidance and in an ongoing conversation between you and yourself. At lightning speed, your senses absorb an impression, your brain receives it, a thought manifests, your intellect processes it, your inner voice puts it in context, and then moves you to the next moment. This relentless process continues unceasingly through every moment, every hour of every day. This is your inner dialog – responding to life as it unfolds before you and within you.
Wherever you spend your time, whatever you read or watch, however you move through your day ultimately becomes the fabric of your inner dialog. Watch a lot of movies… it becomes you. Practice a certain asana regularly… it becomes you. Eat a certain type of food, or read a particular author or perspective, or spend a lot of time in a certain place… it becomes you. And on and on it goes.
When you spend time each day in stillness and silence, it also becomes you. And it begins to awaken your inner voice a bit more to your unconditioned self – the part of you that is whole, pure, infinite, divine, and unbounded by your ego.
There’s also a voice you project into the world – your outer dialog. That outer voice is essentially what you do with the information that you allow to flow through your head and your heart; what you say, how you act, choices you make, ways you interpret the next moment...all your interactions.
When your inner voice and your outer voice are aligned, we call that being in integrity. But balancing and aligning the two separate worlds can be challenging. One is who you see when you look in the mirror – your true sense of self – and the other one is expressed in interactions, conversations, relationships, transactions, and situations where we want to be heard, trusted, believed, liked, approved, rewarded, loved, and embraced.
Through the daily practice of meditation, your inner dialog becomes infused with tiny drops of this stillness, of this silence. Thimbles full of your unconditioned self. As the days add up, those thimbles become teaspoons, then ladles, until you are awash in buckets of stillness and silence flowing through you. At a certain point the still part of you – unblemished by all that inner chatter and conditioning – becomes the dominant aspect of your essence.
And that’s when the powerful transformation begins to unfold as both your inner and outer voice become tinged with pure unbounded consciousness – pregnant with possibilities because it is unconstrained by all the years of conditioning, reactivity, and reinforcement. Suddenly one day you awake and your inner dialog and your outer dialog are one. The compassion that fills your heart flows in your words and deeds; the defenselessness that once scared you becomes the first response to a harsh comment; the expansion into unknown possibilities that you feared becomes your friend as you gently loosen your grip on constricted ways of thinking.
In that moment, your inner dialog and your outer dialog become one – both flowing from a place of stillness and conscious decision-making rather than the old conditioned inner voice.
It’s a gentle process that slowly creeps into intimate conversations, difficult exchanges, moments of self-doubt, judgment in your darkest hours. As you surrender to this incremental wave of “new” thinking, you begin to feel easiness where there was once anxiety, calm where there was once stress, reflection where there was once reflexiveness, and acceptance where there was once resistance.
With each day and within each moment, the world starts responding to you differently – closed doors open, big scary monsters morph into new opportunities, challenges become learning opportunities, tyrants become teachers, and setbacks reveal themselves as life lessons.
The more time we spend in quietude, the more sensitive and aware we become to life’s inner and outer flows. We often refer to that as being conscious. When your inner dialog and your outer dialog are aligned, the world unfolds before you with grace and ease. And it all starts with the first OM.
davidji is a certified Vedic Master, a teacher of Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, and the author of “Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace & Personal Transformation.”