Lifestyle, Thoughts, yoga

About inner dialogs

The inner dialog is what determines your level of happiness. 

A few years ago, the way I was talking to myself was more than destructive. I used to put my entire focus on the things I couldn’t do: not losing weight, not living a fulfilling relationship, not being able to travel, not leaving the life of parties, drugs, and long handover days, not eating well, and not moving my body. While I was so focused on what I couldn’t do, I forgot entirely what I actually could do. Having had an inner dialog running on negative terms of self-destruction, I blocked out the possibility of changing those circumstances entirely. I was living by the standards I was creating in my own mind every day. No surprise, my life was pretty miserable, right? I was running away from my traumas, not wanting to face the past, hiding behind distractions, drowning in escapism, and trapped in mind loops that didn’t seem to have an end. Identifying with those traumas and mind patterns, I was totally convinced that I am nothing but those thoughts. 

My first trip to Nepal was what made me realize that there is something else than ever destructive thoughts in my mind. Stillness. Stillness I found first in the actual silence of the mountains, then in the space in between yoga Asana, and finally in the moments of meditation where my mind was nothing but present. When was the last time you took a moment to think about the way you think? There are thoughts in our minds, all the time, and we barely ever spend time noticing what they are about. Even if the brain just makes 2% of our body weight, it uses more than 25% of our daily energy. The human brain holds more than 86 billion neurons, the nerve cells of our body. These are interconnected with an average of 100 billion synapses, which are constantly exchanging information. Those exchanges are what we normally consider to be thoughts. The subconscious can take in and processes more than 80,000 information per second and is so 10,000 faster than the conscious part of our mind. On a normal day, an adult human has in between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day, processed with 11 mio bits per second. 

Now guess what: 99.9% of those thoughts are subconscious. The subconscious not only runs the whole functioning of the organism, but it also determines our actions, reactions, and emotions due to subconscious programming mainly formed by habits. Those habits, which are influenced by upbringing, belief systems, and negative as positive experiences based on repetition, manifest in the way we act towards the environment and towards the self. Traumas and intense triggers can influence those patterns with a negative imprint holding emotional charge towards a situation running your inner dialog, not on positive, but negative affirmations. 

Those negative imprints of traumas and other negative events detach (with time) from the original situation and find themselves a comfortable space in our mind loops, deeply anchored with an emotional charge keeping those situations alive over years and eventually end up building a whole identity around them. Remember: The situation is over, the danger is not real anymore. Although sympathetic nervous system is, due to those intensive imprints being kept alive in the mind, activated all the time. This fight and flight program keeps you on alert, all the time, as a response to what’s going on in your head. Blood pressure and heart rate are up, muscles are active, breathing constricted, digestion and detoxification are secondary, and not running properly: You are stressed. Your body is ready for the danger you show him in mental pictures all the time.  Remember, we all have a 2-million-year-old brain that is not designed to make you happy, but make you survive. The cognitive revolutions though changed the emotional needs we hold on to nowadays world: Security, well-being, happiness, joy, fulfillment. We now need more than our ancestors: We need a purpose, we need love, and we need happiness to satisfy the brain. This all lies within the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest, which we can consciously activate by deep breathing. Going one step further and not just aiming for calmness, but a deconstruction of my negative thought patterns, is what I am to aim for in my meditations. 

Noticing that there is something else than thoughts in the ever-processing mind is the first step. These meditations always start with simply being present with what I hear, sense, and feel before I get into an observation of the breath in my nostrils, my throat, my chest, my rips, and finally, my belly. What starts externally takes me on a journey to the inside. 

Consciously stepping back from identifying with what’s going on up there in the analytical mind and neutrally observing your emotions and memory is the next move. What keeps you busy? What do you feel while cultivating a certain thought? Where in the body do you feel it? 

Once a thought comes up, for example, an angry sensation about work, try to replace the: I am feeling so angry about this person  treating me like this yesterday with a simple: there is anger. You are not this anger, this anger is a part of you. It’s your choice to feel it, or not. Let your thoughts pass and repeat them in your mind with a conscious: There is… With time, you will gain distance and calmness by looking at yourself thinking, observing your thoughts without judgment. They are neither positive nor negative, they just are. The label you put on there is what you make out of the situation. That’s the space where you put a chosen frequency, like joy, to dominate your mind, body, and soul. For me, it’s always joy, which I include in the inner dialog of observation. I am angry about my client, so I say to myself: There is anger, there is joy. I am busy thinking about my upcoming flights, so I say to myself: There is a thought about flights, there is joy. 

There is a sweet balance between pushing away your emotions and having to relive your traumas to overcome them. Finding the space of observing those thoughts and deconstructing the emotional,  so they eventually become a part of the daily flow of the mind, is something that really works for me. I think the way to release emotional tension is not through avoidance, but by going right through them without holding on to anything. Remove the obstacle of the emotional identification with a bad experience with simple acceptance. You are here, right now, and you can’t change it anymore. Do you really want this to rule your emotional frequency in the future? 

Once you are conscious of your inner self-narrative, you can step up and expand the vocabulary of your inner dialog. For me, when I get into mind loops about too little success, saying: What the hell have you achieved in life so far? My inner response always is: There is the room for improvement, yes, but look how far you’ve come! 

This grounds me in my presence and gives me a form of self-validation. I can bring myself out of a point of comparison with people that are on day 1457 of their journey and not right at the beginning, like me. It reminds me that every person is unique in their pace, their path, and their realization. Pull yourself out of the belief that you are a victim of your environment – you are what you make out of it. Your response to the world around you determines how the world around you is going to respond to you. You are the creator of the now, the presence, creating the future every moment you react. You are, now and always, the creator of your own reality.

„Because if you think you can’t or if you think you can: You will be right either way.“ (Henry Ford)

4 thoughts on “About inner dialogs”

  1. This is absolutely superb Rina Such a lot of helpful information No actually there is good wisdom here Many people will benefit from this

    Like

    1. You inspire me to keep going Paul 🙂 Couldn’t be more grateful for the constant bouncing back of each other in our conversations!

      Like

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