It is not the thoughts that cause us pain, but our engagement with them.
This is how the inner dialogue starts. This voice that we hear inside of our head is the first thing we have to leave behind but it may also proved to be the harder. For we believe this voice to be a reflection of our character, a fundamental aspect of our inner world. We believe it to be one with ourselves. In fact if you are asked to talk about your personality, most likely it is the qualities of this voice that you will try to describe. The things you like or dislike, the way you react to the world is dictated by this voice. You believe that this voice is who you really are.
Everything we try to examine about us or our relationship with the world, will eventually come down to this voice. It keeps talking, it reacts when you feel offended and it constantly becomes defensive. It makes comments about all the things you come in touch with. Everything that attracts your attention becomes the subject of a conversation that takes place inside the mind. It jumps from one topic to the other, influencing your focus and your emotional status. It is an unstable companion.
You may feel so close with it, that you are not able to realize that it is this voice what causes the pain. When the voice is not there, the pain is not there either. You can feel the pain come and go, as you are watching the voice come and go. You have given to this voice the authority about every aspect of your life. You believe that this voice represents your own, personal truth and that one way or the other, it is always right.
One of the most important things you will notice about this inner dialogue is that it does not really generate new, productive thoughts. The voice only multiplies what was initially there. If the initial thought caused disappointment, then it will be this disappointment that will get multiplied. If it is a thought of stress or insecurity, then this insecurity will get multiplied. It is only the already existing thought that gets multiplied by your mind. If it reflects a specific idea you may have about a person or a situation, it is exactly the same idea that will be multiplied, regardless of its quality. This voice never helps us evolve. It never brings new ideas, it only creates inside us a confusion.
Imagine a mirror that reflects the idol of an object. The mirror represents a thought and the object represents its content. The inner dialogue starts when we place another mirror on the opposite site. The second mirror represents a successive thought, which contains the reaction caused by the first one. The idol of the object is immediately multiplied innumerable times as both mirrors perpetually reflect each other. This makes it harder to examine carefully the object. The repetition of the reflection creates a confusion. Although it now occupies the whole surface with its countless reflections, the object itself became less clear. This is how the confusion of the inner dialogue takes place. It is the mere interaction of the mind with its reflection.
When something attracts our attention, it gives rise to a thought that causes a whole sequence of other thoughts to follow. All of them are conditioned by our past. Every thought is a conditioned reaction to the previous one. This voice is not an expression of ourselves, but a result of our conditioning. It is not something we do but something that happens to us. It is not what reflects our personality but what is hiding our true nature.
If the desire to be free is the first step one takes towards freedom, the detachment from this voice is the first leap towards it.
It is the first thing we have to let go.