I went to yoga this morning. Later, I reflected on what the voice was saying.
I don’t want to call it my voice, because really it’s not me. (Is it?) Either way, I don’t want to identify with it.
Also it’s not the inner voice because I think the inner voice is the thing that tells you when something is true. I’m not talking about that voice, either.
The voice was telling me I should be better at this.
“Do the pose right.”
“You should be going deeper.”
“Your balance should be better.”
That voice can be really, really mean. I’m not mean. I don’t say really mean things to people, I’m not an overly critical person. I’m not super judgmental and hard to please. Well, maybe sometimes! At times I can act or feel that way toward others, definitely. I used to be that way a lot more often, but it was just so much darn effort and made me feel bad, so I slowly worked my way out of those old thought patterns. It was too exhausting.
Now I get a kick out of people who are just unapologetically themselves. So much respect for people who are willing to try (and fail) even if other people see. I love to celebrate when someone is just wholeheartedly doing them. Awesome, dude! You just do you.
So what’s this super mean and judgy voice I sometimes hear in my head? Why is it so awful to me?
But before I get caught up thinking about that, how about I just stop for a sec and recognize that I noticed. Not like before, when I just took everything it said at face value, like it was the voice of truth. And mostly I didn’t even notice one way or another, but all its venom and vitriol just seeped into my experience, my thought patterns.
This horrible voice followed me everywhere, telling me how worthless I was, not good enough. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, it told me I was unwanted garbage. I didn’t even question it, it must have been true. I thought it was truth in the way that eureka moments are stumbling on truth – I thought that that voice of realization was also the voice pointing out what a truly sorry excuse I was.
But okay, now I know it’s not telling the truth. It might say things that sound truthy (like, obviously I’m not doing this asana “perfectly”, whatever that is). But I don’t think it ever tells the actual truth.
Especially the weird conclusions it comes to. How does it jump from “this isn’t completely perfect” to “you’ll never do anything right” and “you suck”, not to mention “you are worthless garbage.” ???
Sheesh! Where’s the compassion?
You know what would be nice to hear once in a while? “It’s been a long time since you did this practice, just take your time.”
Or, “Good for you for getting here on Sunday morning and taking care of yourself.”
That’s what I’d say to someone else. So that voice can’t be mine. Can it? Do I treat myself this way? But I’m watching the voice treat me like this (or listening, whatever), so it’s not me, right?
I started reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now a while back. Maybe I read the whole thing, I’m not sure. He about this sort of thing – inner voices, who is who, which one is me and which one am I watching. Time to go back and review that part, I guess!