There is a quiet voice within each of us. You may call it the voice of your heart, intuition, god, spirit or soul. It serves listening to that quiet voice within, especially when changing careers or making any other important decision. Yet, so many of us feel disconnected from this quiet inner guidance. You may wonder how to listen to your inner voice? An experience during choir practice helped me understand why we tend to dismiss our quiet inner voice. This experience revealed to me that you can learn how to listen to your inner voice with confidence.
While practicing for the summer concert of 2012, our late voice coach, Deborah Millar, helped us polish the songs for our performance. As Deborah listened to one of our songs, she noticed that our voices sounded restricted, weak and collapsed during the quieter passages of the song, as if we were holding back. She helped us focus our awareness on keeping the airflow going at the same rate while diminishing the volume of our voices.
We sang the same song again with this focus in mind and the difference was astonishing. Our voices sounded beautiful, warm and strong throughout the entire song. The quiet passages now seemed to have even more power than the loud ones.
The lessons I learn at choir often expand far beyond the music and become important life lessons for me. I was struck by this experience and it inspired me to explore the qualities I associate with quiet. As I sat down with a piece of paper and pen, these words poured onto the page: weak, small, shy, timid, held back, collapsed, restrained, afraid and scared.
Some of the associations that came to me are held as true in our culture, a culture that favours extraverted behaviours. No wonder our voices sounded weak and restrained at first during that choir practice when we were trying to sing quietly, since most of us associate negative attributes with the word quiet. It took me years to befriend my introverted nature and after all these years, I still hold negative associations with the word quiet. It is not surprising that most of us have a hard time learning how to listen to our inner voices, given that we are all influenced by our culture.
I thought back to the second experience of singing quietly together, the time following Deborah’s coaching, when we focused on keeping the airflow going in the same way as if we were singing loudly. The associations that came to me as I revisited that beautiful memory were: exquisite, graceful, soft, tender, moving, inspiring, touching, peaceful, connected and serene.
It is very difficult, if not impossible to think of a word such as quiet without immediately conjuring up associations such as images, feelings, words, colours, sounds, body sensations and smells. The good news is that when we invite a positive memory associated with the word quiet, we naturally access more positive associations. When you associate positive emotions, body sensations, words or images with quiet you are one step closer to knowing how to listen to your inner voice and receive your inner wisdom. The following steps will guide you in creating your own positive associations with quiet and will help you listen more often to your quiet voice within.
How to Listen to Your Inner Voice:
- Get up, stand tall on both feet. Slowly sway from side to side and back and forth until you find your centre. Breathe deeply into your centre and exhale slowly and fully.
- Take a moment to invite a positive memory of a quiet experience. Here are a few examples to get you started:
A stroll along the beach in the early morning, listening to the waves lapping on the shore.
Intently listening to a beautiful, soft piece of music.
Being with a loved one, feeling deeply connected without saying anything.
- Revel in the memory of your positive quiet experience while you stand tall, breathing deeply.
- Take note of your associations with this quiet experience. Associations may arise as images, colours, sounds, smells, body sensations, feelings and words.
Take a moment to anchor your positive associations with quiet, so that you can access them at any time in the future when you want to listen to the wisdom of your inner voice.
When you connect with positive memories of quiet experiences, you learn how to listen to your inner voice. Next time you are faced with a challenge or an important decision, stand up tall, breathe deeply and reconnect with your positive associations with quiet. Then pose your question and listen into the quiet, sacred places within yourself. The answers may arise in form of words, images, colours, sounds, body sensations or a combination. Take a moment to thank your inner voice for sharing this wisdom with you. May this practice serve you well as you learn how to listen to your inner voice and follow your inner wisdom.
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