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Most of us live in a constant state of reactivity being pushed and pulled by the thoughts and emotions that we are experiencing at any moment. We are controlled by a voice in our head that worries about everything that can go wrong. Criticizes us for everything that we do wrong and feels guilty or angry about everything that went wrong. This voice interprets every situation instantaneously and we don’t question it just like we don’t question our breathing.

It happens unconsciously meaning we’re unaware of it and then we feel and act based on the voice’s interpretation. The truth is that everyone has a voice in their head including you. Some people’s voices are nicer than others but everyone’s voice tends to have the same dysfunction.

But the good news and perhaps the best news anyone can ever hear is that the voice is not who you are!

And for others, it might be the first time that you’ve heard it. Or perhaps the first time you truly understand it. If you’ve ever argued with yourself or you’ve ever noticed yourself thinking about something ridiculous or you’ve ever talked to yourself in your mind, then you’ve experienced that there are two of you.

There’s the one that’s doing the thinking, feeling and reacting. And then there is the one that is aware of the thoughts emotions and reactions you are that awareness. You are the presence that witnesses the voice. You are not the voice. Knowing this allows you to observe what your inner voice is doing and thinking and this is called self-mastery or self-awareness.

You will likely live much of your life on autopilot feeling like you have little control over your thoughts, emotions, or your life. The truth is that unless you know what you’re thinking feeling you’re doing you have no way of changing it.

And as you become more and more aware of what has always been going on unconsciously beneath the surface of your awareness you become conscious. You wake up from the dream and the process of developing this awareness is called mindfulness.

Simply developing this self-mastery or awareness is the key that unlocks all of your power to direct your inner voice. Choose better-feeling emotions and make better decisions. So start by listening to the voice in your head as often as you can pay particular attention to any thoughts that tend to repeat themselves over and over and over and over again.

Be the observer of what is happening inside of you both the surface of the lake and the depths. See if you can find and feel the deep calm at the bottom of the lake even when the surface is rough as you practice mindfulness and observe your thoughts and reactions you’ll be better able to recognize even more clearly that the presence doing the observing is the true you when you notice yourself feeling angry.

You’ll observe that the angry part and the part observing it are not the same thing. This is important to know because your true self never becomes disrupted or entangled in these surface-level dramas.

There’s a part of you that is at peace content safe and joyful no matter what is going on around you in your mind your higher self is untouchable and unacceptable and knowing it is always there means you can seek to find it at any moment because think about this.

Just like when the sun dips below the horizon you know that it still exists even though you cannot see it. And so this calm peaceful presence that is you is always there. Even if you cannot see it or feel it in the moment. So as you begin to pay attention with a sense of curiosity to discover what your inner voice is up to you’ll begin to notice interesting things that it does.

You’ll notice when you’re behaving in a way that is in alignment with your goals and your values. And when you’re not you’ll notice when you’re smiling even though you’re sad or when you say you’re fine. Even though you’re not you might notice that you’re pretending to be mad when you aren’t. Just because you’re trying to influence someone else’s behavior.

Or maybe you’ll notice that you’re thinking negative thoughts about yourself and making yourself feel insecure and you might even hopefully notice that you’re feeling relaxed and happy.

The last thing you need to know about cultivating self-mastery before we move on is that the doorway to all self-mastery and awareness is the present moment.