How do you distinguish between soul murmurs and societal sayings? Recognizing the difference is like learning the sound of someone’s voice on the phone. The more we pay attention, the more familiar we become with the characteristics of each voice. At the same time, each of us is so unique that the ways you identify these voices might be very different from the suggestions offered in this post. Be assured that there is no single, right way to decide whether you are hearing the expressions of your soul. The following paragraphs describe markers I use to discern the origin of my thoughts. These indicators include body sensations, emotional responses and the words that structure my inner conversation.
In terms of the body, I pay attention to my level of physical tension. For example, information from the soul is associated with a relaxed body, a soft belly and inner spaciousness. Societal messages cause my muscles to constrict, my belly to clench and my breathing to be interrupted or shallow.
My emotional responses range from calm to stressed. Soul whispers accompany feelings of peace and ease. Communications from society activate a sense of urgency along with feelings of responsibility, duty or obligation.
As I listen to my inner language, I recognize that the soul’s voice is gentle. When I hear myself wonder about possibilities or ask questions such as “What if,” then I know I am pondering the realm of soul. Phrases such as “I should,” “It’s time to” and “I need” inhabit the domain of society’s strictures.
While these markers provide reliable information about the source of my thoughts, I also know that certain soul sentiments create body sensations and emotional responses that are the OPPOSITE of what I have just described. For example, soul nudges activate anxiety when they encourage me to step beyond my comfort zone. Similarly, thoughts that reflect societal concerns can be calming when they strengthen the status quo. Even so, if my inner witness dives beneath the surface of my initial response, then soul and societal differences match the indicators described in the first few paragraphs of this post. In addition, when I traverse the anxiety arising from soul voicings, the apprehension propels me through the heavy atmosphere of societal norms into the lighter stratosphere of ease, well-being and joy. In contrast, when stress originates from societal sayings, it neither dissipates nor serves as a propellent. Instead it spins like a gerbil wheel generating movement but going nowhere.
These physical sensations and emotional responses are VERY subtle. They are easily overlooked when I am in a hurry, focused on outer circumstances, multi-tasking, trying to figure something out or so involved in a task or process that I find it difficult to turn my attention inward. In other words, I miss these quiet cues when I am operating in my head rather than my heart.
It is important to remember that we are infinite beings. Therefore, our understanding of these signposts continues to change and grows more subtle as we deepen into the expansively refined dimensions of soul. Nevertheless, the more we pay attention the more easily we recognize the soul’s voice.
Next month I will describe practices that help us hear the whispers of the soul. If you feel like sharing your wisdom and experience on this topic, please use the comment box at the end of this post.
Michaelangelo’s Isaiah courtesy of Google