Who is running your life?

“Most people live in a constant state of inner conflict and suffer from a barrage of negative thoughts that sabotage productivity.”

Mary Jaksch

For the majority of people, fighting their inner voice is the greatest battle of all.

They know what they should do – stay healthy, control their anger, be happy or love more – but something always gets in the way: the inner critic.

Some people try to confront their inner demons by positive affirmation. Others by quiet contemplation. But, for most, they soldier on, rarely finding inner peace.

We are complex beings. It’s in our nature to constantly search or crave something. Rarely are we content with life as it is. If we were then our critic wouldn’t have anything to work on.

But, even if we can’t wrestle our demons to the ground long enough to draw breath, one thing we can work on is aligninment between our inner and outer story.

·         Who am I?
·         What’s my purpose?
·         Where am I headed?
·         What makes me happy?

Too often we work on the outer persona – which involves the accretion of more – but seldom do we address the inner issues that are seriously holding us back.

One of the most helpful things you can do is to start a journal. Your journal will serve not only as a means of expressing your inner turmoil but, in time, will inform and help you address the life-affirming questions.

Keeping a journal isn’t something you turn to only in moments of stress. It’s something you keep every single day. Even if you only manage to write for 10 minutes, those 10 minutes could be the difference between staying out of true alignment and finding inner peace.

You are wise to be sceptical that the act of writing is enough to address all those warped thoughts, particularly those that seem to take you further away from who you are, but, trust me, as someone who has had to confront more than my fair share of ‘why am I doing this?’ moments, keeping a journal is far more powerful than you can imagine.

The thing is if you keep writing down the same thing day in day out sooner or later your brain will, as it’s programmed to do, work on a solution.

In addition to keeping a journal, you need to reconnect with the real you. Very often this means going back to your childhood and reminding yourself of things that made you happy. For many people this is tied up in the creative act. It could be drawing, music, photography or using our hands to create something.

Too often we let our paid work stand in the way of self-recreation. But is work more important than happiness?

Finally, you may have noticed that mindfulness is now being spoken of as means to inner peace. Unfortunately, it’s getting wrapped up in the productivity paradigm so beloved of industrialists; but its practice behoves all of us to slow down, think more carefully about what we are doing and live in the present.

There is a plenty of material for you to read. But the truth is, mindfulness isn’t about reading. It’s about daily practice. And living our lives at a different pace.

If you have a moment, here is an excellent technique called the four count breath that if used religiously will allow you to concentrate and understand what is really going on in your mind.

Four Count Breath from Lightning Path on Vimeo.

In summary, taken together these suggestions may not quell your inner critic, but they will open a space for you to start witnessing more of what is being said without having to react every time. It’s often in the reaction or overreaction that we lose that precious insight that enables us to see who we really are.

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