“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.