In a previous article, I introduced the idea of the other voice–an inner knowing or truth that arises from fearlessness and stillness. I say “the other voice” because although this voice is ever-present, unfathomably deep, always accessible, and infinitely patient, it is listened to far less often than the voice of the ego. In the article “The Other Voice,” I described two portals for accessing this voice. Now, in this article, I offer you a step-by-step method for hearing this voice so you can have exactly the kind of day you want. Maybe that is a happy day!
How you begin your day pretty much shapes the rest of it, so starting first thing in the morning with a clear intention as to what kind of day you want is critical. If you read “Cherish Is The Word,” you will find at the end of the article an iteration of many states of mind, virtues, or character traits worth cherishing. All of them arise from listening to the other voice. Choose any one of these to be your intention for the day, or pick something especially relevant to you.
For illustration, I will choose “happy.” So, when I get out of bed, my first thought is “I want to have a happy day.” Of course, if I have slept past my alarm, I have already set in motion counterforces to having a happy day, so when I get up is also important. Setting my intention needs to take no more than a minute or two, especially if I do so quietly, deliberately, and with no distractions.
Most people have pretty set morning routines. Depending on what they are and how occupying they are, routines can help or hinder your ability to hear the other voice and to have the kind of day you want. If you notice that as soon as you get into your routine, you completely forget your intention, you may want to alter it in some way so it is not so consuming. On the other hand, if you discover that your routine keeps you more mindful of your intention, then there is no need to modify it. For example, if I typically watch or listen to the morning news, and I find the content disturbing, this will hinder my intent to have a happy day. Or, if I usually sit outside on the patio and sip my morning tea, this could facilitate my intention.
Another important phenomenon to notice is if your routines are unexpectedly disrupted, do you get upset (angry, anxious, frustrated, irritated, etc.)? If so, this can be very useful to you because getting upset is a likely indication you are exercising judgment which means you are listening to your ego. If my intention is to have a happy day, and I am getting angry about something, obviously I am not experiencing happiness at that moment!
When You Get Upset
When you get upset, if you get more upset over being upset, you are getting further and further from your intention. So what do you do? You use your awareness of getting upset as a signal to reestablish your intention. Staying with my example of wanting a happy day, as soon as I notice I am getting angry, I can be grateful I noticed because now I can remind myself I want a happy day, and what I am doing now is not working. Then I can ask to see the situation in a different way. I can step back and say to myself, “This is interesting. This is not what I want. What thoughts am I listening to that are getting me angry?”
In another article, “What Do You Control?” I write about thoughts being nothing more than thoughts. Thoughts are not reality. Thinking is just a secondary function subservient to attention. So, once I recognize my anger-inducing thoughts, I can choose to withdraw my attention from them, and turn it back to my intention to have a happy day.
Persistence and Gentleness
You most likely will discover you have to repeat the above strategy throughout the day in order to maintain and realize your intention to listen to the other voice. Strong intention inspires sustained persistence. However, your persistence must be gentle, perhaps, even amusing, because if you become harsh and demanding with yourself, you will be listening to the ego, not the other voice, and you will not have the kind of day you want. Any self-scolding is ill-advised! I certainly will not have a happy day if I am getting angry with myself for not being happy! Rather than be angry, I can be amused at how strong and dominant my ego is, acknowledge it with an inner chuckle, and refocus on my intention. Amusement is a peaceful, even joyful state of mind to cultivate and will always facilitate your intention to hear the other voice.
Intention Is not Mastery
I end with this thought because you might be inclined to be impatient with yourself. Please do not go there. Between intention and mastery, there is usually a lot of sustained effort. Hearing the other voice and having the kind of day you want are learnable skills. Nourish your intention, keep alert, follow this straightforward methodology, enjoy the process, and I can assure you, you will be changed.