Self-talk - a Love / Hate Relationship

We tend to inhabit a thought-world - 'the story of me'. Incessant self-talk is, we assume, our 'self' telling us who we are (self-concept), and what the world's all about (worldview). Rarely, if ever, do we question this cognitive fusion. We just don't know that an alternative way of being exists.

Western psychology, as well as wisdom traditions attempt to correct (cognitive defusion) this mistaken identity & distorted perspective.

To diminish the intrusiveness of self-talk, Byron Katie advises asking 4 questions: Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it's true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without the thought? Practicing this inquiry process, she suggests, allows the mind to return to its true, peaceful, creative nature.

During meditation, we're surprised to realize how unhelpful, inaccurate, disruptive, & unpleasant self-talk often is:

So on one hand, we intimately identify with self-talk by default. Any attempt to disengage from it can feel strikingly personal, a threat to our (ego) identity. On the other hand, self-talk feels like an external annoying distraction (monkey mind) negatively impacting our quality of life:

We operate from (at least) two levels of consciousness:

• the common, language-based egoic (LBE) level, ideal for practical / scientific matters, manipulating the material world; and

• a post-symbolic, transpersonal level of awareness.

LBE consciousness is an important, valuable tool, with practical applications. But, mistaking it for "all that I am", and mistakingly using it to approach life's most fundamental concerns: love, meaning, depth, value, esthetics etc causes endless frustration & suffering. When our LBE consciousness is trying to tackle existential issues such as Who am I? Why am I here? What is my calling? Why did my loved one die?, we can almost feel the gears in our brains being stripped, as the poor little LBE train goes round & round in circles, faster & faster (wallowing or catastrophizing). It's simply the wrong tool for the job!

We recognize the (above) mental strain / friction from awareness. Instead of working harder & harder with the wrong tool, meditation provides the training to accept our "noisy ego" as is, "let words be", and embody a deep, spacious, still, silent awareness that transcends words & concepts (post-symbolic), so can only be appreciated through direct experience.

from Mindful Living FB page

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