“My inner critic is mute.” I’m in a session with a client and I’m quite perplexed by this statement. Mute? No one has ever made this claim before. How could your inner critic be mute I wondered? I get curious.
As I listened to my client share her story I could see what was happening. It looked something like this:
Cue radio station 1 (Intuition) - Lots of clarity about her next steps and how she could make her big beautiful dream come true of a career change and location change from urban to rural. Creative ideas for tiny steps she could take now that would bring this dream closer...sooner.
Cue radio station 2 (ego) - All the reasons why it just couldn’t happen, like ever, or never, or maybe in 20 years, but definitely not now. On second thought, all those tiny steps are definitely not realistic. Forget it….
Cue radio station 1 (intuition) - But she’s always known deep in her bones, for years, that this change is what her soul deeply wants. So it has to happen. I mean she’s just born for it.
Cue radio station 2 (ego) - Yeah, but again, this couldn’t happen because there aren’t the right funds and...oh man...we’re back to the beginning again… How did this happen?
Listening to this I feel dizzy. I pause. Her flip flopping back and forth looks familiar. I smile to myself. I know this dizziness. Oh, that’s what I was doing! I think to myself. I treated my inner critic as “mute” too, but never realized it. I used to believe that the stream inside my head was one singular stream. One singular stream of truth. When I discovered there was an inner critic, I struggled to sift through everything to find my own wisdom, my truth...my intuition. Because my truth was my critic for decades and then suddenly I realized...it wasn’t.
Most of us believe there is one singular radio station running in our head and we label it Truth.
We label it “me.” We label it “I.” But the truth is, we are tuned into a lot of radio stations. Radio stations imparted from your parents, friends, society, teachers, older versions of yourself, and your own fearful narrations. For simplification sake, let’s just keep it to two for now:
Radio station #1 - Intuition.
Radio station #2 - Ego.
What do I mean by ego? One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Adyashanti explains it best:
This concept blew my mind. Mainly because after dancing in spiritual circles for so long, I believed my ego was an actual, true, separate thing. Understanding it simply as a pattern of thinking in my mind was quite freeing because I no longer needed to get rid of anything. I just need to shift my thinking. My relationship with my ego. Bingo.
Your ego is just here to help you survive. It’s job is to keep you alive.
When your mind shrinks down into an egoic pattern of thinking, it’s often coming from the bare minimum. Think food, water, shelter, alive. Our minds are wired with a negativity bias to keep us alive, so we hang out here a lot. A LOT. Sometimes it’s super fearful (I don’t have enough money, how will I pay rent?) Sometimes it’s an older fearful version of ourselves (He’s doing that thing just like so-and-so did, I should just cut and run before he breaks my heart). If you are anything like most people, you often don’t distinguish this pattern of thinking as different from other patterns of thinking. You basically believe your mind has one pretty clear radio station. And when it’s ramped up, when you feel irritated, angry, frustrated, that station is crystal clear and it feels like what people might call intuition.
Intuition, is our inner wisdom. The magic is that it is already there.
It’s ready under the surface patiently waiting for us to turn towards it. Yet pretty much 99% of the time we are tuned into egoic patterns of thinking. But why? This is a societal thing. It’s NORMAL to live in a state of anxiety and fear. Anxiety, worry, this was my baseline...for decades. I had no idea I could change that baseline and make it anything different. I just learned how to cope rather than changing which radio station in essence I was listening to upstairs in my mind.
So back to intuition. Intuition is your best guiding light if you allow it. My intuition is pretty spot on. Most people I know who experience moments of tuning into it say the same thing. It’s like creepily on par with life all the time. From telling me to move my phone so it doesn’t fall in the water and I get cocky and leave it where it is. Five minutes later I’m putting my cellphone in a bag of rice because you know...water. Or whether it’s far more complicated, telling me to take time off when I have a VERY long to do list. Take a nap and then have a huge AHA that I’ve spent weeks waiting for.
For the longest time, I absolutely doubted everything my Intuition had to say. In essence, I distrusted myself. This was a strange realization for someone who felt pretty clear in who they were, but it was absolutely true. I put egoic thought patterns and intuition in the same bucket, so it all sounded the same.
This is where your best ally for knowing the difference comes in. Hello body sensations. Hello gut knowing. Hello I don’t know why I know what I know because there is no logic behind it knowing.
Intuition feels less familiar, less real because for decades we perfected listening to our ego.
Egoic thinking is logical, ironclad arguments and stories, and definitely linear. Our minds perfectly package reality with a bow and hand it back all simple and clear. There is no messiness in the whole thing. And this concise, linear, logical piece feels very real because it’s precisely how we are taught to understand what is true.
For this week’s Joy Tip Wednesday I want to invite you to become familiar with which radio station you are tuned into most of the time.
Pay attention to the “markers” listed below as guide posts for you to watch for. Notice which voice dominates your decision making. Your solution creating. Just pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. Journal about it, or create a chart that you put check marks next to station 1 (intuition) and station 2 (ego) every time you notice how you are tuned in.
Here’s a list of some map markers:
Stories with should's, emotionally charged “negative” emotions, pressure, blame, and a heaping side of guilt.
Fueled by anger, frustration, and irritation.
A whole lotta fear. Scarcity. Shrinking. Constriction even in your body. It feels tight.
Overwhelming urgency for situations that do not require urgency.
There are clearly two choices...it’s either this or it’s that.
Quiet. Boy it’s quiet in here. This radio station is often found in the space between thoughts. Whenever you’ve stopped thinking about that thing and analyzing it, this wiser voice comes in to have a conversation about it.
Steady. Even when it’s clear you need to take a swift decision it’s never panicked.
Love, joy, ease, are the fuel of this clarity. It feels far more open and expansive.
Possibilities rule. The options are many and the solutions are open.
Knowing with a long logic behind it. A deep gut sense of knowing that feels deeply understood.
Let me know how this goes and what you notice by writing in the comments below. I have some plans in the works to develop some exciting projects around intuition, so I’d love to know, how often are you paying attention to your intuition? Is it easy for you to tune in, or did you just discover that you’ve been listening to your inner critic this whole time?