Your Critical Voice is an excerpt from How to Navigate the Five Steps of Your Spiritual Journey, Lesson Five.
Understanding the mechanics of the spiritual journey has changed my life. One of the most profound shifts was the effort I made to identify and quiet my critical voice. Quite noisy, bossy, and full of complaint, my critical voice made living almost intolerable at times and held me back from participating fully in my life. This voice made me eat to sooth and pushed me to believe that I couldn’t tolerate change and improvement. The vile voice showed up at odds moments and wasn’t beyond embarrassment and threats. Of all the improvements I have made for myself the effort invested to still this nastiness was the best investment ever. No magical cures, just a diligence in each moment to not listen, not fuel, not repeat. The payoff: Peace. Peace in my mind. Peace in my heart. Peace in my body. And space. Space to hear and embrace my true authentic voice as deepest heart guidance.
The Call, this first step on the spiritual journey, asks for awareness of the motion of spirit within. There are many obstacles to awareness. The most invasive is the critical voice.
Focused by an outside-in approach, mind can be distracted by the critical voice. Delivered through the mind, the critical voice will make every attempt to distract from the clear knowing of the heart. The critical voice as the flow of them will try every trigger at its command to exert control over and keep attention directed to the outside.
The critical voice also hopes to distract by convincing ego to dominate and control life by influencing decisions. Defined as an inflexible sense of self, ego doggedly refuses any effort to re-direct the focus of control away from itself. As such the ego has a vested interest in the success of the critical voice. Beginner’s mind is an excellent approach for counteracting the ego’s inflexibility, allowing new awareness and knowing to approach.
Instilling the belief that self is unworthy is the critical voice’s primary weapon. This sense of lack encourages self to believe preparation is not possible. Without preparation, the necessities needed to respond to the Call are not obtainable.
The next objective is to convince self that you are not ready. Even if you are worthy or prepared, you are certainly not ready to step out of your comfort zone. Your critical voice will try to assure you that nothing is ever worth the risk of discomfort, especially a discomfort which may lead to failure and disappointment. You are not ready. You are not worthy. The risk of mistake is too painful to bear.
Joined together, the critical voice and the inflexible ego try to perpetuate the myth of their dominance by maintaining there is no other inner voice for you to rely upon. This is not true. You do have another voice, your heart’s authentic voice. This authentic voice emerges from truth, relying on the inherent wisdom of body and soul, heart and mind. This authentic voice emerges from center of being and is moved by connection with spirit. Because this voice cannot be controlled by others or your ego, the critical voice has a vested interest in questioning its existence and defaming its relevance or connection with personal truth. The critical voice must dominate at any cost including the obliteration of authentic voice.
The critical voice is hard to resist. Layer after layer of mistruth and ill-serving judgments hoisted upon essential self make it hard to hear heart or authentic voice. In the first motion towards hearing The Call, to overcome this resistance direct focus towards the motion felt in heart. Sometimes this motion is easy to spot and, at other times, deceptively small and easy to miss. Practice is required to develop the skill to hear the Call, the motion of spirit within heart, and the authentic voice at center of being.
Know that flexibility is the key between critical voice and authentic voice. Critical voice is rigid, demanding, authoritative, resisting new ideas and learning. Authentic voice trusts your learning process and supports an open, receiving attitude to separate the relevant from the dominating, truth from fiction. Authentic voice helps you step beyond the inflexible NO! of ego to trust heart to make appropriate choices in each moment of life.
Your Critical Voice is an excerpt from How to Navigate the Five Steps of Your Spiritual Journey.