That voice inside our head is a known torturer, somehow dissociating us from the physical land of the living: the sensual realm of direct experience and the ever-changing ocean of aliveness that quivers through physical sensations.
Sometimes the secret is hidden in plain sight. Across the spectrum of modern day nonduality, the mind has been demonized as the great illusionist and disillusionist - the demon within that keeps us up at night, weaving stories, creating realities, arguing with those same realities, rehearsing conversations that have already happened. Repeating sentences that could have been said. Creating tomorrow’s speech that will never be spoken.
“It’s a monkey brain,” we are told. “Just let go of your thoughts.” “Get out of your head.”
But the trance is a dance that runs deep into the linguistic fiber of thought itself. Association appears from association, action follows reaction, and for a while it can seem impossible to be anything but a failed creature of self-inquiry who even failed in the agenda of not thinking.
Take heart. You’re allowed to think. The heart has more than enough space for the resonance of thought. In fact, in Nondual Therapy, the allowance of these apparently random thoughts - and a deep listening to those thoughts - is a diagnostic gateway to discover where we are not free.
We lose our connection with our immutable, existential freedom in areas where our minds have been become conditioned. This is the realm where we feel restricted, stressed, sometimes exhausted. It's in that devils valley between who we essentially are and who we believe we SHOULD be.
Conditioning is often where we lose touch with ourselves, and conditioning is where we continue to keep our true nature within the conditions of energetic slavery.
In this, there are some hidden weapons in words that at first seem to be harmless and innocuous. These are little, almost invisible connecting words. Words that link other words together within your habitual comfort zone of suffering. Words like: “Only”, “If”, “Because.”
These sneaky undercover linguistic hypnotists are sewing up the illusion of the separate self, spreading the trance of limitation, and covering the field of possibility with a brittle shell of unsubstantiated conceit. When we catch them, we can invite the mind to shake off their shackles. When we listen to them repeating through liturgies of soul entrainment through the voice of our client, we can invite their deeper inner voice - the voice of endless possibility or true choice - to come to life.
Here is the list. Some are known to you as cut-rate hypnotists in our midst, others might be surprising.
Only the lonely. Seriously, this word is the queen of conditioning. Silently subversive and all-excluding, ONLY claims absolute control through rejection. It pre-conditions any conditioning that follows: “ONLY when I own a house will I feel at home.” “ONLY you can save me.” “I am the ONLY one that feels this.” The word ONLY hijacks the delicate paradox of our uniqueness and our universality, and makes it either-or. ONLY when you notice the only showing up, do you have a chance of mental freedom. Not true. ONLY is a celebration of uniqueness - meaning it’s a road to heaven, or to hell, through the pathology of psychological division and separation.
When asked “Why?” Every good school child knows they have to come with a BECAUSE. BECAUSE is a coping strategy. It’s also the word through which we construct causalities - we compose exclusive, single-dimensional causes for life. It seems that BECAUSE gives us reason for living, but actually it so often robs us of the sense of natural spontaneity. These causes which we create with the word BECAUSE encroach on our living authenticity. “Why did I lose my wallet? BECAUSE my wife distracted me.” Mmm.
Why was I born? Do you notice how any answer will be a drastic reduction of who I am? This same attribution of causes through the word BECAUSE, tends to feed directly into the blame game, in which we mentally try to compose a position for our separate self in which we are the innocent victim and someone or something else is the perpetrator.
When I say: “I suffer BECAUSE of you,” the BECAUSE has become the vehicle of blame. You are guilty and I am innocent within this suffering. The BECAUSE has also become the word through which we abandon our own source. If I am angry BECAUSE of you, then you have power over me. My power (which can be expressed as anger) is now in your control. I am disempowered, because I have disconnected from the deeper source of causality - the deeper source of all I am.
IF you’re reading this, then you might understand. Again, the word IF is the harbinger of conditions, especially when used with the conditional queen ONLY. Only if you never leave me can I love you. ONLY IF I feel relaxed will I be free. IF you speak behind my back, it’s over. IF I am falsely accused, then I don’t want to live anymore.
Notice the punitive conditioning? Rather than moving in a direction of being able to contain the unlimited possibilities of potential suffering, we start dictating conditions on that suffering, excluding ourselves from whole integrated areas of living experience. With the word IF, we condition our inner core based on the environment. In this, the outer world starts to control our inner world, and the split between inner and outer becomes more severe. IF can so often bring us to a hell loop. We will not feel safe until the environment is safe. But the environment never seems to be safe, because we are disconnected from the sense of safety that would be the soul of any outer form.
We end up feeling terrified in a fortress. When we could have felt safe just about anywhere. All thanks partly to that little word IF.
SHOULD also shows up out of the field of guilt, obligation and outer authority. SHOULD adds a good dash of illusion and emotional abstraction. It often precedes sentences that dictate form in some way, such as “Men SHOULD never cry.” These demands to deform our naturalness are always coming from the outside-in. From within ourselves, we hear a demand from the environment of how we SHOULD be (rather than allowing the naturalness of how we are). We cut corners, delude and deform our energy to try and conform to this.
After such an aberration, we return the favor. When we see a man crying, we become ashamed. Men SHOULDn’t cry (at least not in public). Notice how the SHOULD forms the language of fission and division, between ourselves and the world, and between fragments of ourselves and ourselves. One thing we could be alert to with the word SHOULD is that when you follow the demand of SHOULD , it is rarely, if ever good. You’ll always fall short. Because the whole structure of SHOULD was formed out of a strategic panic response to an insecure guessing game as to what on earth life wants from us.
Freedom of Mind, Heart, and Body
There are more words of course. Like the whole spectrum of absolutist language which dictates reality on ourselves and others with a kind of violence. Among these are the ALWAYS, ALL THE TIME, EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, NO-ONE, NEVER. These words, like the IFs, BECAUSEs, SHOULDs and ONLYs, have their place in the playground of our language. But they are here to entice us into wellbeing. When they link together subclauses that brings us to misery, then we can deconstruct the software of suffering, and open up again a vast energetic playing field of infinite possibility.
Language, and thought is not here to torture us, to enslave us, or to bring us out of life. It is here as an instrument of freedom, working for us, in the unfolding of the miracle of all it is to be alive.
We’d love to hear any thoughts or examples from the unconditionally free land of You-ness in the comments below!
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