Internal Dialogue Psychology

“It is best to erase all personal history… because that would make us free from the encumbering thoughts of other people.” – Don Juan, “Journey to Ixtlan” by Carlos Castaneda.

In Victor Sanchez’s book The Teachings Of Don Juan, he talks about erasing personal history and stopping internal dialogue. Our internal dialogue psychology is based around our inherited beliefs, ideas and attitudes. Our choices can therefore become about us either believing in, or rebelling against a particular belief structure of society or our parents. Either way we can create sub-personalities based around these beliefs which control us to one degree or another.

Erasing these inherited beliefs and our personal history, writes Sanchez, can be helped through “stopping internal dialogue”. Our beliefs talk to us through our sub-personalities which is the effect of two opposing beliefs talking to each other – which are inherently “the encumbering thoughts of other people”.

Inventory of thoughts

One exercise which Sanchez talks about in his book is taking an inventory of thoughts. This allows you to see first hand where your energies lie in terms of your inner dialogue and actions. It is useful if you have a timer which you can set to go off throughout the day at various intervals. Choose a time which you can’t predict like say, every 2 hours and 34 minutes. Put the timer on repeat so that it goes off throughout the day every 2 hours and 34 minutes – or some other random time.

Take a notebook with you wherever you go and write three headings which you will write a response for each time your timer goes off:

1.What was I thinking?

2.What was I doing?

3. Do I want this?

When your timer sounds just fill in the answers for each of the three questions. Do this for as long as you wish but for at least a full day. Set the timer so you will not be anticipating it going off.

Thoughts vs Perception

We perceive with more than one sense.  We can use our emotions and feelings to perceive but when we become overly attached to our thoughts, labeling things in our minds as we see them, our true perception becomes shut off and we see the world through the (narrow) filters of our mind. We can become tied to our thoughts so much so that we deceive ourselves with our constant intellectualisation of reality. We reinforce the ‘illusion’ of our realities based on our thoughts. We ‘choose’ our realities and then reinforce them and cling to them through our consistent and persistent thinking. Our perception becomes distorted and we see the world through our mind rather than as it truly is.

Stopping the internal dialogue can be done through various exercises and anything which focuses the mind so much that the internal dialogue cannot continue is a means to do this. Meditation is a simple way to quieten the mind and therefore stop the internal dialogue. Rather that trying to ‘suppress’ the dialogue in meditation, simply watch it whirring away with a detached calm. Allow the words to continue without being attached to them. Focus on your breath. Continue with this and notice your mind calming down and your internal dialogue slowly losing its control over you.

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Meditation Techniques For Stress Relief

Stress is a major problem in today’s society and meditation offers a simple, free and practical solution which everyone can benefit from. There are various meditation techniques for stress relief which can be practiced almost anywhere and at any time. The practicality of meditation allows you to bring into your life a mental and physical calmness, whatever might be happening around you. It allows you to better deal with the circumstances of your life in a more resourceful, calm and pragmatic manner. Not only can meditation put you in a state of calm inner peacefulness, but it can also help you to avoid unnecessary stress by making you more present and equipping you to better deal with the circumstances of your life.

Meditation allows you to calm the mind by focusing it on something other than your thoughts. By detaching your attention from your thoughts you can change your brainwave frequency to the alpha state which can lower blood pressure and heart rate and allow you to get in touch with an inner awareness which is calm, content and which resides in the present moment.

Mindfulness Meditation

Sit comfortably with your back straight and your head up. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Notice the rise and fall of your chest while breathing. When exhaling try to expel all the air in your lungs. When you think you have done this exhale some more. Breathe in from your diaphragm at the bottom of your lungs and not just in your chest. Continue with this for up to 20 minutes or longer as you develop. If your attention goes to your thoughts just notice this and take it back to your breathing. After several minutes you should find your mind is quietening. If not simply continue bringing your focus back to your breathing until it does.

Sound Meditation

This is a similar exercise but instead of focusing on your breath you are focusing on a sound. It is a useful meditation for any environment where you can hear something going on around you. Even if it is quiet you can listen to your breathing. Focus on all the sounds that are around you. Notice the noise from cars, planes, trains, people. Try and hear the wind or the rustle of the trees. Is there a ticking clock you can hear? By fully engaging with your listening  you should find that your mind quietens. If you can hear your inner monologue of head chatter rising up simply take your attention back to the surrounding sounds. This is a useful meditation for when you are out and about and can be practiced anywhere.

Body Scan Meditation

The body scan meditation is another way to focus your mind inwardly and quieten down the chatter of the mind. Sit down or lie comfortably and close your eyes if possible. Relax your body completely letting go of any tension. Bring your attention to the tips of your toes and notice how relaxed they are. If there is any tension there simply allow them to relax. Make sure your legs are uncrossed and you are in a nice relaxed position. Continue the scan up your body an inch at a time. Notice where the tension lies in your body and when you notice it just let it go. Notice how much tension you are holding in your body as you bring your awareness up your legs and through your body. Relax your arms and shoulders and continue up your neck and to the top of your head. Notice how much more relaxed you have become already and let this nice feeling flow through your body. Begin again at your toes and this time relax every part of your body all the more.

Loving Kindness Meditation

This is a meditation to send loving kindness to those around you. Think of someone who you  would like to send the meditation to and repeat the mantra in your head: “May (Jane/John) find happiness and joy and be free from suffering and pain” “May s/he find the courage and strength to easily overcome any obstacles in life”. Your mantra can be anything which has the intention of loving kindness. This can be a useful exercise to extend love to those who you may be having difficulties with and is not just for those you already think kindly of!

Gratitude Meditation

In this meditation you are concentrating on those things you are grateful for in your life. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Focus on something which truly makes you happy. Focus intently on what it is and why it makes you so happy. Be deeply grateful for whatever it is you are focusing on. Think of what else pleases you in life. It could be someone you love, your home, job or car. It could be a pet or a circumstance in your life. Try to bring all the things which you are grateful for into the meditation. Notice how this feels and encourage the feeling of gratitude to grow with more and more thoughts of gratitude.

There are many meditation techniques for stress relief and you can focus your mind on anything you choose. Much of the stress in life is due to focusing on the things which make us unhappy rather than happy. After practicing these meditations regularly you should find your state of mind is much more focused, happy and alert. If you tune in with your deeper thoughts of loving kindness and gratitude and begin to live in the magical present moment of life you should find much of stress falls away.

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