Have you taken a second to stop and listen to the way you speak to yourself? When I became conscious of my inner voice I was kinda shocked at how mean I could be to myself. The funniest thing about my negative self-talk was that I would beat myself up for not acting spiritual enough. Did I think shaming myself was a fast road to enlightenment? Catching myself judging someone, gossiping or acting “unspiritual” (whatever that means) would get me a good hour of self-induced shaming followed by another hour of moping because I was just so awful to myself.
It’s kinda funny in retrospect (as many things are), before I started reading the spiritual books, going to the “spiritual places” and participating in spiritual community I would beat myself for not being skinny enough, smart enough or not whatever else enough. When I began to develop a spiritual practice the same voice was there but it was just saying different things. It’s like the Ego was reading the same books and taking the same classes so it knew the best language to use to make me feel bad.
With time I began to see those thoughts for what they are … thoughts. In meditation I am able to breathe and mentally step back to observe the negative thoughts without taking them on. I accept that those thoughts may never leave and that’s okay. When I remember that “Jesse” sometimes has a thought come up that doesn’t mean anything, I can remind myself that it will soon pass and I can take a moment to breathe, observe and remind myself that no matter what the thought says – I’m still an expression of Good, and that’s the only truth.
Gentleness is so important. We live in a results-driven culture so it’s no surprise that we might beat ourselves up if we aren’t feeling more peaceful after devoting time and effort in our practice. We have years, maybe lifetimes of stuff that we are letting go of and it might take a bit to heal and release it all. It’s okay. There’s not hurry, there’s definitely no comparison because we all have our own journey. The good news is that in the end we all get to wake up; enlightenment is inevitable for all of us. Thank God we all have unique journeys which helps make this process a lot more interesting and colorful. I invite you to be patient and gentle with yourself, it’s a way better ride when you have a cheer squad vs. a firing squad… in your head.