The world we live in is a frantic, busy place, with constant demands on our attention.
Smartphone notifications. Advertising designed to make us unhappy and ready to spend. Powerful companies promoting materialistic ideas of success through every media channel out there.
Amid the cacophony, it’s easy to drown out our inner voice. To neglect our dreams and desires. To choose a vision of success forced upon us rather than one we would choose for ourselves.
Sometimes, we need to take a step back. To slow down. To shut out the world’s endless racket so we can hear our inner self speaking.
Unplug From The Matrix
To hear the desires of your inner voice, you first need to stop listening to the outside world.
That’s easier said than done. These days, our attention is a premium commodity. Outside forces compete viciously to grab our attention and not let go.
For many people, an average day is a nonstop barrage of noise.
A person wakes up and checks their smartphone. They see a range of notifications from social networking sites. The same sites that aim to addict users and manipulate their emotions. They get up and turn on the radio, exposing themselves to advertising. On their way to work, they pass billboards, telling them how they ought to be. They spend their day making money for someone else, before returning home to sleep and repeat the cycle.
At no point during that type of day is the inner voice given room to express itself.
So what are some practical ways we can unplug from the outside world and listen to our inner self?
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking your smartphone is benevolent. It’s a proven fact that notifications cause a chemical reaction similar to that seen in addicts. Try turning off notifications for all but the most important apps. Also, commit to having times when your smartphone is not present. Its mere absence has been shown to make a significant difference.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending our time passively. Of following the path that is in front of us, rather than the one we want to walk. If you don’t have a powerful internal compass pointing you toward your goals, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Take the time to define your values and aims, and spend your time accordingly.
There’s a reason why so many spiritual practices emphasize solitude. Often, our own needs are drowned out by the people around us. Take time to yourself. This could be something as simple as relaxing in the bath with some essential oils, meditating, and reflecting. Or you could go further and spend time in nature on your own. No matter how you achieve it, solitude is one of the best ways to let your inner voice speak.
By shutting out the external noise around us, we create the space and calm needed for our inner voice to speak up.
After you’ve given yourself breathing room from the frantic pace of modern life, it’s time to gain profound knowledge of self.
Often, we view ourselves through the filters of society. We become so influenced by the world around us that we forget to stop and consider who we truly are.
This is a little like looking at our reflection in a pool of water. If the water is in motion, we cannot see ourselves clearly. Similarly, if the water contains impurities, we see ourselves in a distorted way.
By slowing our lives down, we allow the metaphorical water to settle. By removing distractions, we remove impurity. This allows us to then get to know who we truly are.
Some of the best activities for knowing yourself better include:
By journaling consistently, you gain a true insight into your thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to see things through rose-tinted glasses or to have our memories distorted by time. Journaling lets you look back on your experiences in a more accurate way and learn from them.
It’s well-known that meditation unlocks inner truth like little else. This can be unsettling. It can be scary. But it’s powerful. Give yourself the chance to truly know who you are through the power of meditation.
When we make profound connections with other people, we gain insight into ourselves. If you’ve ever been in a loving relationship based on deep connection, you’ll know this to be true. Similarly, if you’ve ever borne your deepest feelings to a therapist, you’ll know how powerful their insight can be. Sometimes, to know ourselves, we must open up to others.
Knowledge of self is essential to living an authentic life. Without it, we are merely following society’s script, rather than writing our own story.
Seize the Day
After you’ve shut out the outside world, and gained insight into your dreams and desires, what’s left to do?
To live. To live fearlessly and without hesitation. To make the most of this fleeting and profound gift called life.
Life flies by, and tomorrow is promised to none. Think how improbable it is that you are here. How many unlikely events needed to happen throughout the past for you to be sitting here reading this right now.
This isn’t something to be sniffed at.
So how can you ensure you seize the day and make the most of your life?
Pursue audacious dreams.
People prevent themselves from doing the things they truly want for many reasons. Fear of failure. Embarrassment. Lack of knowledge. We live in a time where we are blessed with more information than ever.
Go on your dream trip. Write the book that’s in your heart. Pursue love without fear.
Sometimes, we think we are doing the things that make us happy, but really we’re staying comfortable. To live to the fullest, we need to get comfortable with discomfort. Be willing to fail. Be willing to be rejected. Otherwise, we’ll stay stagnant and never truly grow.
Live for action, not outcome.
As the Bhagavad Gita says, “you are not entitled to the fruits of action.” Learn to love the journey rather than the destination. This will allow you to live in a flow state from moment to moment.
It’s easy to get stuck in day-to-day drudgery. By shutting out the outside world and listening to our inner voice, we give ourselves the chance to live vibrantly and make the most of each passing moment.