Melodious music playing inside a room.
There are also several people in the room busy talking and doing things.
Can you hear the music and enjoy it in such an environment?
The music is lost in the cacophony of the noise from people, their talk, laughter etc.
This is also happening with inner voice.
It is always talking. Its words are full of wisdom. We just do not seem to hear it all.
In order to listen to inner voice, we have to create proper ambience.
People talk about going on diet to help maintain good body.
Good diet means eating only things that are good for us in temperate quantities.
How about mental diet?
Have you thought about it?
We are constantly consuming through our senses - eye, ears, touch, taste, smell.
In order to start hearing inner voice, we have to start a mental diet.
Allow only those stimuli that is good for you and then you will start hearing the inner voice.
When we expose ourselves indiscriminately to external stimuli, we never allow our mind to slow down.
For a period that works for you, tell yourself that you are not going to watch TV, read news papers, see movies, browse Internet, no phone calls, no texting, no or very limited talking with others.
It's hard. At first you may be able to do it only for few hours or few minutes at the most.
However you will be able to gradually increase this time of retreat from hours to days.
It's extremely hard to go on this kind of mental diet. But, it's the only way to start.
No wonder Buddhist monks go through this kind of retreat. Their retreats are 3-4 years in length. We do not need to go that far.
Benefits will be visible immediately. As you reduce the external stimuli you take in, your body and mind start slowing down, they get much needed rest and recuperate against all the abuses from poor physical and mental diet. Nervous system relaxes and re energizes.
If you can do this kind of a retreat at least one weekend a month, you will get maximum benefits. You can also go away for a week to some secluded place and do similar thing. Familiar surroundings of home make it difficult. So get out to some nice resort or retreat places.
During the retreat time, it is absolutely fine to read motivating spiritual books, listen to devotional music or soft music.
After you reward yourself with such retreats, become really aware of how you take in external stimuli. Many times our senses are in overdrive without we knowing about it Become consciously aware about your surroundings.
Take in sensory stimuli. But, take them in deliberately.
If you want to watch TV, watch it for a small amount time with full attention. Do not eat or drink or do something else while watching TV.
Do not listen to mindless radio while driving. This is because when you listen to radio, program shifts from topic to topic or to advertisement or something. It breaks up attention and not good to your safe driving also. Best is not to listen to anything. If you can not, listen to audio book or mellow music.
Do not browse net indiscriminately. Get on the net with purpose. Get off as soon as you are done.
If you are a news junkie, check for news only few times a day. Same with e-mails, text messages, phone messages etc.
Bottom line is to become the master of our time and attention and not let the world jerk us around with its constantly changing priorities.
Once you slow down using all these and additional techniques, there comes that serene quietness in your life and that's when you start hearing your inner voice. This may take years and years but journey itself is rewarding.
Mind that is fast is sick.
Mind that is slow is sound.
Mind that is still is divine.
----by Meher Baba.
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