Listen, do you want to know a secret?
Some say, 'there is always a part of you chattering away in your head.' This part of you, a voice inside you, nags incessantly, reminding you of all the things you have not done properly; about how tough life has been/will be and how you have let everyone down. It never seems to quieten down. It is sometimes called 'the monkey mind'.
When people talk to one another, their minds are chattering away internally too. This concept may remind us of the film 'What Women Want', where Mel Gibson plays a reluctant mind reader, who has to contend with and listen to the chattering minds of others as well as his own minds contribution! Enough to drive you mad!
It is, however, this Gibson example, which helps distinguish between our thinking self (the 'chatterer') and the observing self (the 'listener'), because if part of our self continually chatters, there has to be part that hears and makes sense of the chatter. Doesn't there?
Some people find it fun and helpful to jot down on paper what the chatter is saying. If they do, they have demonstrated the ability and existence of the 'listener' – that is that the observing aspect of ourselves is listening. So in a way, it is yourself listening to yourself.
If you continue the process of writing down your 'chattering' thoughts, it is likely you will find a chain of constant thoughts and it will soon dawn on you that the 'listener' is attentive and observing, as if looking down (the helicopter view) onto your internal self, where the 'chatterer' is holding court.
This internal self is also fully aware of the sensations and experiences in our body that is the physical self, which can add further towards the current noisy chatter. With all that happening internally and externally of ourselves, it is not surprising that we sometimes find it hard to pay attention.
But we can learn to become more attentive. We can get in touch with our observing self through the process and practice of Mindfulness, which is the idea of focusing our attention with openness, curiosity and flexibility, in the present moment. This is easily and frequently taught as part of a hypnotherapeutic process.
This is important because attentiveness brings us to the place of personal self-awareness, where thoughts, feelings and sensations can be experienced as separate and distinct from the thinking self and physical self, and made more sense of, toned down or used more helpfully.
In this way mindfulness gives us access to more information, by increasing attention, and leads to increasing psychological flexibility by supporting the processes of:
- Acceptance so that our power over difficult events is reduced.
- Observing ourselves where the monkey chatter can be understood and quietened.
- Being present and more aware of what is unfolding now.
Come closer to you. Have you been listening?
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