Every so often, an inner voice emerges from the depths and speaks to us with a force we can't help but hear. The voice is always persistent -- but is it worth listening to? Or might it end up leading us astray? On tour for Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend, four spiritual thought leaders revealed the clear signs of how to separate the "good whispers" from the "bad whispers" when that voice in your head begins to speak.
Mark Nepo: Examine where the whisper comes from.
"For me, the good whispers I feel down here," Nepo says in the above video from the tour, gesturing below his heart. "And the bad whispers, I feel in here." He points to his throat and then continues. "I try to determine, is it a life-affirming whisper or a life-draining whisper?"
Elizabeth Gilbert: Pay attention to how the whisper makes you feel inside.
"Saint Augustine said that sometimes devils are disguised as angels and sometimes angels are disguised as devils. Somebody asked him, 'How can you tell the difference?' He said, 'When you've been in the presence of an angel, you feel exalted. And when you've been in the presence of a devil, you feel appalled,'" Gilbert says. "No matter what they look like, it's how you feel. I think the good whispers will exalt you and the bad ones will appall you."
Rob Bell: Determine which of two possible effects the whisper has at its core.
"The good whispers bring you hope, and the bad whispers bring you despair," Bell says. "Good whispers open you up to possibility, and the bad whispers shut things down."
Iyanla Vanzant: Understand if the whisper is about you or about someone else.
"I think the good whispers take you out of your comfort zone and tell you what you know you needed to do," Iyanla says. "And the good whispers only talk to you about you. They don't talk to you about anybody else."