A few years back, I was blessed to sit next to, perhaps, the most powerful spiritual teacher I’ve ever been in the presence of. I was killing time at Chili’s, sitting at the bar having a Diet Coke reading a book.
This spiritual teacher walked in and sat right next to me. She was a nondescript woman of about 40 and she ordered a beer.
Moments later I heard her having an angry conversation. Since I hadn’t looked up from my book, I thought she was on the phone. But no. She was not on the phone; in fact, she was alone.
She was talking to herself, dropping f-bombs and calling someone an asshole. On and on she went, talking out loud—to no one.
My first thought was that she was nuts and perhaps dangerous. Maybe I was right, I don’t know. But as she rambled on, I had a frightening insight: I realized that she and I are exactly the same—except for one very small difference. The voice in her head was being expressed verbally, while mine was silent, staying within the confines of my head.
I realized that am just like this “crazy” person. I, too, have an ongoing, often angry, conversation going on in my head. And if I let it speak out loud, you’d think that I was insane just as I thought she was.
So, this woman was my spiritual teacher. She was showing me myself and how insane I am, for I believe the crap going on in my head just as much as she believed the crap coming out of her mouth.
She and I are totally identified with that voice in the head and we’re insane for listening to it and believing its stories. The only difference was that I had the good sense to keep it to myself. But that’s just a technicality, for the content is pretty much the same.
THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD
You have a voice in your head, too, and it never shuts up either. It’s negative, neurotic, nonsensical and often nasty. Don’t even try to tell me you don’t. And you believe its crazy stories, too. But don’t feel bad, it’s true of everyone.
To make matters worse, we can’t stop the voice from talking. We can’t shut it up or turn it off. Have you noticed that? The voice can’t be silenced or even controlled. It just talks and talks, jumping from one subject to another, which is why the Buddhist’s call it “The Monkey Mind.” But surprisingly, that’s not the problem.
The problem is that we listen to it and believe it. That woman was insane (as I am), not because she was verbalizing the voice in her head, but because she took its opinions seriously. She took the voice in her head to be who she was, and she believed its stories were true. And we do exactly the same thing.
“One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
YOUR INNER RELATIONSHIP COACH
Why does this matter? Because that voice in your head functions as your “inner relationship coach” (or therapist) and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s been giving you lousy advice! It’s wrong all the time.
Here’s how I describe it in Chapter 4 of my newest book, Relationship Bootcamp: Hard-Core Training for Life, Love & the Pursuit of Intimacy:
“The reason you shouldn’t trust your mind is because its “wisdom” is based solely on what it has been exposed to and what it has experienced in the past—and nothing more. In a sense, your mind is like a computer which is also limited by its programming. For example, if you program a computer with data that says 2 + 2 = 5, then every time you ask it what 2 + 2 is, it’s going to say 5. It can’t say otherwise. And if you say, “Hey, computer, are you right about that?” it will emphatically say, “Hell YES!, I’m right.” And based upon its programming, the computer is right.
This is why you feel so right about your beliefs and perspectives. They’re based upon your mind’s data, and from its perspective, it’s right! But your mind’s data is very incomplete.
Case in point: if a woman has had 5 major relationships and each guy cheated on her, if you ask her mind if men are trustworthy, she’ll emphatically say “Hell, NO!” And from her perspective, she’d be right. Men can’t be trusted. That’s been her experience. But there are billions of men on the planet and she’s only been with 5 of them. So, when her mind tells her that “men can’t be trusted,” she’d be crazy to listen to that! In fact, she should laugh at it!…
A wise person is very skeptical about their mind’s perspectives, so much so that they’re open to the possibility that the opposite of what they believe might be as true, or truer, than their mind’s original belief. A wise person chooses to question their own thinking, they interrogate the “voice in the head,” and they challenge what they believe is true because they understand that it’s all coming from a ridiculously limited and incomplete perspective.”
REAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Real spiritual growth begins the moment you notice that (1) there’s a scared, reactive and neurotic voice talking in your head, (2) that you take that voice to be who you are, and therefore, you believe what it says, and (3) you decide not to listen anymore, because you’ve learned—usually the hard way—that it’s not a trustworthy source of wisdom or guidance.
A wise person knows that the advice given by their “inner relationship coach” is incomplete at best, and dead wrong at worst, because everything it talks about is based on the negative and limited experiences from the past.
A SHIP WITHOUT A RUDDER?
At this point, if you understand what I’m saying, you probably feel quite exposed and vulnerable. For if we can’t trust our own thinking, how do we make decisions about “life, love and the pursuit of intimacy?”
Well, just because the Personal Mind is untrustworthy doesn’t mean you are left without a rudder in the water. Far from it. You are one with Life or Presence (some call it God, Source, Universe, Quantum Field, etc., etc.) and if you stop listening to that neurotic voice in your head, if you quit leaning on your own understanding—because it’s been corrupted by your past—your path will be made straight.
“Do you have the patience to wait ‘till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving ‘till the right action arises by itself?”
~ Tao Te Ching
Again, here’s how I describe it in, Relationship Bootcamp:
“We don’t have to make decisions, they will be made for us. We don’t have to figure everything out, things will work themselves out. We don’t have to control things, things are already under control…We can simply relax in PRESENCE and TRUST.
Presence is the state of being that emerges when, as the Tao says, “the mud settles and the water is clear.” In other words, Presence is when you’re not feeling triggered, threatened or reactive. It’s when you’re not all stirred up on the inside, trying to figure everything out and control everything. Presence is inner stillness.
Trust is the attitude or behavior of Presence. It’s knowing, deep in your bones, that you are and will be OK no matter what happens. Trust is experienced as an unquestioned sense of safety and security that does not come from circumstances, but from a deep confidence that the universe is fundamentally good and trustworthy.
When “the mud settles” and we can trust like this, it dramatically changes how we live. In those moments when we feel confused, anxious or vulnerable, instead of trying to figure it all out and control everything, we can shift from fear to trust, and know that no matter what happens, we are and will be OK.
Trust allows us to breathe, open our hearts and let go. It gives Life the space to unfold without us having to DO anything. Trust invites us to relax our grip, to wait and let things play out, and allow an action or a response to arise all by itself.”
So, your spiritual practice is to fire your “inner relationship coach” (or your “inner therapist”), the Personal Mind, and open yourself up to a trustworthy source of wisdom and guidance, something called, Presence Mind.
If you feel confused about how put this into practice, that’s understandable. Even though every ancient spiritual text, including the Bible, tells you exactly the same thing, what’s being presented is radical and daunting. So, if you want to learn more about this, here are two next-step suggestions:
First, buy my book, Relationship Bootcamp. There are four chapters (4-7) devoted to understanding Personal Mind vs. Presence Mind.
Second, let’s have a free, private, no-pressure conversation about forming a coach/client relationship. I was able to attract, meet and marry the love of my life largely because of what I learned from my coach about that neurotic voice in my head. I’d love to help you learn the same lessons and have the same wonderful results.
ROY BIANCALANA is a certified relationship coach and a nationally-recognized expert in the field of attraction and conscious relationships. He is the author of three #1 best-selling books, the latest of which is Relationship Bootcamp: Hard-Core Training for Life, Love & the Pursuit of Intimacy.
For the past 15 years, Roy has been supporting single people in the art of attracting healthy, sustainable, intimate relationships. His experience has taught him that getting in “relationship shape” is the key to attracting lasting love.
Roy works privately with individuals, but he also offers 6-week group-coaching programs that provide many of the benefits of private coaching for a fraction of the cost.
In order to help people find their life partner, Roy offers a complimentary 30-minute conversation in which he will help you discover the major issues that are sabotaging your love life and then present a personalized plan to address those very issues.