Photo by Bill Wellhouse   /  Dharma Prompts, General

Finding your voice

Finding your voice:
to prepare for speaking,
to manage to say something after being too nervous or afraid to speak, 
to express yourself and your ideas in the way you want.

It is not unusual for other voices to enter our meditation sittings, have their say, and leave us wondering what that was all about?  Finding your own voice and knowing when to use it can be like sorting through a mob of kangaroos ‘in there’ (remember I am in Australia now!).  I will use an excerpt from my meditation sitting as an example:

I was sitting in the early morning and in a dreamy state. Someone had brought Charlie Rose into a group to speak for us as an expert opinion.  I did not want to hear from him, wanted to follow my own thinking but I found myself agreeing and saying “good, good”.  A familiar and typical purple light-show started to form behind my eyelids, and I could feel myself relaxing, downshifting.  A dear friend’s voice countered my position “you don’t even like what he is saying!”  I felt a mild shock throughout my body like her words punctured a habitual compliance and passivity I can fall into.  The phrase ‘If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ starts repeating. I don’t recognize the voice and in the sitting I could not remember when it started or how often I heard it – a few times it seemed. Towards the end, the quiet inside deepened and where I usually drop off I wondered if I needed to use words at all, and felt a strong pull to withdraw.  My spine straightened, the wind outside picked up, and the phrase blew away. I was left with a sense of ‘now is not the time to be quiet’ and the bell chimed.

Charlie’s voice, a friend’s voice, an unknown voice, no voice, a narrator and witness voice, a sense voice – all part of the mix.  There are many directions I can go in my reflections on this meditation sitting but I will tell you what I am left with: some patience not to jump to any conclusions, some ideas about other situations where I have to choose how to speak, much gratitude for this practice, and a few more things that I am not able to articulate, yet.    

— Linda Modaro