“How do I know the difference between mind chatter (ego) and the quiet voice within? What part of me do I trust?”
Well, as I’ve said before, you really don’t know, so you keep falling on your face all the time because you keep mistaking the ego for the inner voice. The ego is very good at imitating the inner voice.
The key is to keep listening freshly again and again. Now, this is very strange to describe, and I don’t know that I can do it very well. We use expressions like, “That feels right on.” But it’s ‘right on’ in a lot of dimensions all at once, and you sort of run it through a lot of levels, because you’re a complex being that actually exists on many planes of consciousness simultaneously.
For example, when I am giving a lecture, if I look around the room in a lecture hall, there will be people of every level of consciousness and readiness, from all different backgrounds. When I listen and tune in, I can hear that what comes out of my mouth is appropriate to all those people all at once. The inside has connected to the outside so much, that the voice that’s coming out of me is collectively coming out of all those consciousnesses.
Joy comes when that happens, when I have connected. We listen in as deeply as we can, and then feel whether that thing we are feeling feels – as we run through the realities that are available to us – in harmony. It doesn’t mean that it’s an agreement between everything. I mean, it may be in opposition to things, but it will still be in harmony. Harmony includes opposition, as well as going along with something. I mean, there are some times when a “No” is in perfect harmony across the ether and you just sense the absolute rightness of an act.
Often you do the act thinking it’s coming from a deep place, and then a moment later, you see the dissonance that it creates, or the feeling that it’s not quite right, and there’s a tuning mechanism. You keep using feedback. There’s a feedback process, to learn how to listen to that. The more you go into meditative practice, the deeper you can hear it.
Part of it is learning how to trust that inner voice. People who are very enamored with their intellect don’t trust that inner space.
They don’t know how to tune to it. They just haven’t noticed its existence, because they were so busy thinking about everything. There’s very little you can say to somebody who’s going through that because it isn’t real to them. It doesn’t exist. You can remind them of moments they’ve been out of their mind, because once you have acknowledged the existence of that other plane of reality, in which you know that wisdom exists, then immediately all the moments when you had it in life, that you treated as irrelevant or as error, or as, “I was out of my mind,” suddenly become real to you, and you start to trust that dimension more.
But what happens is the minute you’re in an anxious moment, you go into your mind and try to think your way out of it again. Then you just feel the harshness of it, while the intuitive wisdom has a kind of flow with things. It has a soft way of being in the universe, not a harshness. Even a firmness is soft. Yeah, it’s a tricky one to talk about.
– Ram Dass