Internal chatter... it is like a radio station that plays inside your head and never goes off. It is the unfortunate consequence of having a mind. If you listen to the contents of your internal dialogue, it is often a running description of the experience that you are actually living now. That is to say, you are continually telling yourself the story of your life, even though you are the one supposedly living it.
Usually, your internal narrator describes not only what is happening, but also your opinions about it, as in, I like this, I don't like it, I am interested in this, I am offended by this, this is a great thing that's happening, this is a terrible thing that's happening. I often wonder, why do we describe what is happening as it is happening? Aren't we already there? And furthermore, who is doing the describing -- and to whom are they "speaking"?
Sometimes we package our experience as it is happening in order to get it ready for presentation. We put together the description of our life so that we can know ahead of time how we will relay our life to others. We make our life into a story that we can tell, sometimes before or in lieu of actually experiencing that story. It is more important to know how to transmit our life than it is to live it.
So too, our mind continually describes our life (to us) in order to keep itself alive, so to speak. The internal narration is the mind's way of reminding and reassuring itself that it still exists. If it stops "speaking" to us, it may cease in being. Furthermore, the mind narrates our experience in order to secure its position as the pilot of our identity. As long as the mind is in charge of our life's voiceover, the experience belongs to the mind. We remain identified with mind, and as such, we experience the world through the mind's telling of it. Finally, when we narrate what is happening as it is happening, we maintain a self that is separate from what we are living -- one step apart, watching, commenting, and reporting on our life. A self exists, but one that is not fully immersed in the experience of life. In so doing, our mind secures its borders, its separateness, and keeps us from merging (and thereby disappearing) into the experience that is life as it happens.
We are obsessed in this culture with the idea of being present. But what does it mean to be present, really? What most people view as "being present" is a state of describing what is happening in the moment -- to ourselves. To be awake enough to notice and describe what is happening in the moment is indeed an accomplishment, but there is something far more magical than just this!
What if you didn't have to live your life from one step away, with the mind as your middleman? What if you could live it directly, without the narration and commentary? Imagine how revolutionary... to live your life as it is happening without having to hear about it constantly. You can live this way, completely free from the "I" documentary that you produce every day, and indeed every moment. Although it may feel like it, you are not in fact a hostage to your internal narrator. You can fire your narrator, right now, without even two weeks notice! Simply stop telling yourself what is happening, what you think of it, and what it says about who you are. Just stop. Live what you are living, and when you again start describing it, don't listen. Say "no" to the internal description and see what remains. Smell, taste, hear, see, feel, touch, sense, and be life.
Living in this way -- directly -- we are truly liberated, free to be inside our experience, one with it. No matter how powerful a particular experience may be to live, it cannot match what it is to be the experience itself, with no separation between who we are and it. Take a chance -- drop the narration... if only for a moment... this moment. I promise you will survive it. Who you survive as may change in the process, but survive you will...and into a new and fresh existence. With the narrator of your life quieted, the play by play turned off, you get to be inside life, in sync with it, no longer living it from a distance. You relinquish the someone who is living that life, and in exchange, lo and behold, you get to be life itself.
We have made a science and indeed a multimillion-dollar industry out of trying to be here, now, and we have infinite strategies for how to do it. But in truth, we cannot and do not need to do being present. Quite the contrary. We cannot not be here in the present. It is our organic state. We are always in this here, and it is always this now. Indeed we can only exist in now. Everything else is an idea. In its constant narration of this moment however, the mind seeks to make now and who we are into two separate entities, when in fact there is only one. Stop telling yourself about your life, and poof... you will be life.
For more by Nancy Colier, click here.
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