Inner Dialogue / Selbstgespräche

inner dialogue

Do you talk with yourself? When we hear people talking aloud with themselves, we consider it weird. But have you noticed that all people, with no exception, talk silently with themselves? This, we do not consider as odd or weird.

If someone hurts you in some way, or says something you do not like, what do you do?

You enact a whole scene of anger in your mind! You envision yourself talking angrily, shouting, and saying not so nice things.

One spends hours in such destructive inner dialogues.

There is a continuous conversation going on in everyone’s head. A lot of energy, time and attention are wasted on discussing small unimportant incidents. This conversation goes on from the moment of waking until falling asleep.

The inner dialogue continues while working, studying, reading, watching TV, talking, walking and eating. There is a constant judging of people, commenting on what is going on, planning, gossiping, and mental conversations with people you know or don’t know.

These inner dialogues bring about a snowball effect. The more you conduct them, the more you become chained to them, unable to stop them. When the emotions are also evoked, more power, energy and attachment are added. This has an adverse effect on the behavior, judgment and general performance.

The notion of human consciousness being configured as interior conversation or inner dialogue can be traced back to early philosophers and thinkers in Greece and elsewhere who examined its role in the art of rhetoric. Many writers in the history of literature have used the landscape of inner conversations as a portal into the consciousness of persons. Perhaps no other figure has explored the possibilities of this approach as extensively as the Russian writer Dostoevsky, whose literary journeys through the labyrinth of inner conversation and outer dialogue and their intersections are featured in works such as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov.

The literary theorist and philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin and psychologist Lev Vygotsky devoted considerable attention to investigating the character of thinking as inner dialogues, and inquired as to how inner and outer conversations are related to one another. More recently, researchers have drawn upon this work in order to reconceptualize psychology as focused on the interactional rather than the individual and the “self” as dialogical.

So, your ‘self’ is this ongoing activity of ‘inner dialogue’. The inner dialogue goes on, even when physically, you are engaged with something else. It is not so easy to mentally separate oneself from the thoughts and words the flow through the mind.

Over and over again, endeavor to keep your attention of what is going inside your head, and eventually you will be able to become aware of your inner dialogues for longer periods of time. Watching the mind and what is going on inside your skull is detachment from the activity of inner dialogue. The question arises. Who does this ‘detachment’ from the ongoing activity of inner dialogue? Who is watching this inner dialogue, if the self IS this ongoing activity of inner dialogue? There seems to arise sort of paradox. Does one split one’s mind by way of introspection? Yes, and so introspection definitely is not the way to inquire into one’s inner dialogues. Such ‘self-observation’ of inner dialogue is a rare activity, it’s human consciousness becoming aware of itself. What does this mean?

It does mean the following: becoming aware of one’s automatisms of inner dialogue one becomes aware of one’s self as ongoing remembrance, pleasant or unpleasant, every minute of the day. One is doing it not for any motive, not in order to enter into some other, more pleasurable state of mind, not to end the ongoing activity of inner dialogue. No. No motive except inquiry into the nature of one’s self, the motive is to gain self-knowledge (and not to ‘change one’s self’, whatever that may mean).

Why am I worried, why is my mind eternally chattering, why am I cruel. You understand? Why is my mind so often rotating in vicious circles? Why am I neurotic? A neurotic person never says, ‚I am neurotic‘. But one can observe the person who is neurotic, it may be my wife, or my husband who is neurotic, but we never apparently deal with questions that affect our daily existence. I wonder why.

As Jiddu Krishnamurti did ask:

“Why is my mind chattering, so restless? You follow? You don’t ask such a question! Have you ever asked that question to yourself, why are you so restless, especially in this country, the mind so chattering, restless, moving, going from one thing to another, constant entertainment. Right? Why is your mind chattering? And what will you do about it. Right? Your immediate response is to control it. Right? Say, I must not chatter, which means what? The very controller is chattering. I don’t know if you see that. Do you see that? There is a controller who says, ‚I mustn’t chatter‘ , is in himself part of chattering. See the beauty of it?

So, when one realizes, if one does, your mind is chattering and look at it – you follow? – wait with it, stay with it – I don’t know if I am explaining. My mind is chattering. All right, I’ll watch it. I say, ‚All right, chatter‘. I am attending to it. You follow? I wonder if you understand this. I am attending, which means I am not trying not to chatter, I am not saying, I must not suppress it, or any of it. I am just attending to chattering. If you do, you will see what happens. Then your mind is so clear, free of all this. And probably that is the state of a normal, healthy human being. Right?“

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