Overcome with emotional distress? Hearing the over-enthusiastic voice can help you find your way out of it.
I awaken from a clammy dream, fretful and damp. Unclear dream-whisps persist, none of them good. Outside the rain makes its way toward the house, slowly engulfing familiar landmarks. I feel like the same is happening on the inside with dread.
These are the hard mornings,
with the hard questions.
Staring into the approaching rain I wonder,
“What am I doing with my life?”
Yes, that is a good question, the sort of question I should be asking myself more often. The sinking feeling it causes in my gut leads me to wonder,
“Have I made a great mistake?”
Now I’m really getting into it, the pit of despair in the pit of my stomach.
This would be a great time for a cigarette if I still smoked, maybe with some melancholy saxophone playing in a nearby alley.
Yes, it’s pretty clear now I have failed miserably in my life and it will probably all end in despair.
And now I find myself smiling. Not in a maniacal, Nicolas Cage, sort of way, I am smiling a genuine smile of mirth. My face obviously hasn’t got the memo. I am supposed to be despairing, looking into the distance in a pained way, maybe squeeze out a tear or two. Anything but smiling.
But smiling I am and it is growing, spreading over my face with all the cheer of morning sunshine.
It was the despair that gave the game away; hearing myself say the word despair. It wasn’t the word itself, it was the energy behind it. A little too despairing, a little too enthusiastic in its despair.
In these moments of discovery, I am always reminded of the stoning scene in Monty Python’s, “Life of Brian.” Women are not allowed to attend stonings so they all wear fake beards and chorus, “Stone him!!” in deep man-voices.
All except one.
One woman gets too enthusiastic and forgets to put on the deep man-voice, which leads John Cleese to deliver the immortal line,
“Are there any women here?”
The over-enthusiastic voice is like that woman. Too caught up in its thinking, it gives itself away. And the weird thing is I always forget about it until I hear it.
Before I hear it I am covered by whatever it is that I am thinking about, despair, fear, self loathing, anxiety . . .
Then as soon as I hear the over-enthusiastic voice the spell breaks and I find myself smiling.
Who is the voice? Is it a psychic entity whispering in my ear? Is it my subconscious? My lower self? My monkey mind?
Yes and no to all the above but really it doesn’t matter. What matters is being able to hear the over-enthusiastic voice, to have the liberation of hearing it rather than thinking it.
Let me explain.
Up until the moment I heard the over-enthusiastic voice say the word despair I thought I was the one thinking, “What I am doing with my life? Have I made a great mistake?”
I thought I was these thoughts and in a way I was. The feelings of despair were all over me, my guts were churning, my heart was heavy.
As soon as I heard the over-enthusiastic voice I knew it wasn’t me anymore. I knew it because I could hear it.
Let this melt your brain for a second – in the hearing of the thought I know that I am not the thought.
I am the hearer of the the thought, not the thought itself.
How do I hear my thoughts?
I meditate multiple times a day so that helps. It prepares the ground for those times when I need it. It helps because when I meditate I am continually returning to a state of not thinking. Each time I stop myself thinking I am demonstrating that I am not my thoughts.
I turn off the thoughts yet I remain.
I am not my thoughts.
I am something else.
Bear in mind that your mind thinks it needs to think.
Your mind thinks it is like a shark that needs to swim all the time. It doesn’t care about the contents of the thoughts. What it cares about is the mileage it can get out of a line of thinking, which is one of the reasons our thoughts are often fearful. Your mind gets a lot mileage out of worry, for example.
Meditation is a great way of demonstrating to your mind that it doesn’t need to think all the time, that it can stop thinking and you will still remain.
Whether you meditate or not you can listen out for the over-enthusiastic voice. Once heard it is hard to unhear and you may find you hear it more often.
I certainly wish that for you.