‘Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely … think about these things.’ ‘Take all thoughts captive to Christ.’ ‘Keep in step with the Spirit.’ All of those are verses from scripture that I’ve learnt over the years. Lately they’re becoming more real to me. That first one is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It was the verse my high school chose as it’s foundation, so as a teenager I memorized it. Now, a long way from my teens, I’m grateful for the foundation it laid in my life.
For years I didn’t follow that spiritual wisdom. I listened to voices within myself that told me I was wrong, bad, dark, selfish, insufficient and not good enough. What a crowd would yell at me! And I know too that I spoke words that were aggressive, hurtful, demeaning, critical, and negative. I know there were moments of kindness and wisdom, but that spiritual energy, of consciously drawing on goodness, wasn’t directing my life.
I just finished reading Thomas King’s new novel, ‘Indians on Vacation’ where his hero Blackbird has a host of people who live inside him making suggestions to him on how to live. They represent the voices of self-loathing, fear, depression, despair and pride. His wife has given each voice a name, so we get to watch Eugene, Kitty and the others nag Blackbird during the day. At first, I didn’t like making those voices so familiar by naming them, but gradually I began to find some wisdom in the naming. Then I started to listen again to the voices within me. I relaxed a bit and thought that I too could name some persistent voices and in doing that, actually disarm them. I could put them in their place. I’ll decide whether to sit and have coffee with them or not. I’ll decide whether to listen to them or not. Yes, I’ll decide. I love the power of choice.
I don’t want to listen to Nelly the Nag who loves to repeat things, or Freddie the Fixer who is full of ideas for other people’s lives or Judge Judy or Speedy Gonzales who loves to interrupt! No, I don’t want to hang out with them or listen to them. I want to be aware of my thoughts, mindful of them, draw them close to Christ who is within me and follow the pathway in which Spirit leads me, a pathway of kindness, compassion, gentleness and hope. I love having the power of being able chose how to live. I will turn my attention to what is helpful, true, honest, pure, kind, and generous. I will think about these things. Yeah high school who tried to show me a pathway!
What do you think about? Who whispers suggestions in your ear? What do you think about naming the voices within?
Love and prayers
Mystic in Motion
Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire
Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder
Companion on The Rivendell Way
Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living