When someone goes to the doctor and says, “I hear a voice in my head,” he or she will most likely be sent to a psychiatrist. The fact is that, in a very similar way, virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time: the involuntary thought processes that you don’t realize you have the power to stop. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, in continuous monologues or dialogues.
The truth is that you can free yourself from your mind, and here are two simple steps to help you do so. When you free yourself from your mind you are fully present. In the state of inner connectedness you are more alert and energetic. Here are two steps to freeing yourself:
You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years. This is what is meant by “watching the thinker,” which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.
When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This “I am” realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.
So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence-your deeper self-behind or underneath the thought, as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.
Adapted from The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle (New World Library, 1999). Copyright (c) 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted by permission of New World Library.
Adapted from The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle (New World Library, 1999).