In the journaling world, we often refer to the process of listening to the still, small voice inside. But what does that mean, exactly? Whose voice is this and what does it sound like?
The still, small voice is your intuition. It’s the quiet whisper of your soul, a part of you that is connected to something greater. It offers comfort and wisdom. It offers guidance. It is both you and beyond you. When we begin the practice of journaling, we start to see many different aspects of ourself appearing on the page as we write. Our voice sometime sounds whiny, angry or fearful. And sometimes we sound joyful or profoundly grateful. This is the beauty of journaling: We give all aspects of ourselves a chance to speak. We simply write down what comes, and we welcome it. But sometimes the writing process intersects with a moment of transcendence as something profoundly wise or helpful comes through the pen and on to the paper. How does this intuitive voice stand out, particularly since it is quiet, still and small?
1. The voice of your intuition is always kind. It does not judge or berate you. It does not tell you that you are a lazy good-for-nothing. It offers unconditional support and encouragement. Sometimes if I’m trying to access this voice and I’m having trouble, I will ask a question of my inner self and then write a term of endearment as the first word of the response back, something like “Sweetheart…” or “Dear One…” and see where the answer goes from there. Our intuition is always looking out for us in a loving way.
2. This inner voice may sound incredibly wise, so much so that when you go back and read over what you wrote you might think, “Did I write that?” It is a voice that may be almost unrecognizable as your own. It is both you and beyond you. Here is an example of something I wrote while journaling that felt like it came from me and beyond me at the same time:
“Someone must be the shining light in the window to guide others home. Let yourself be that light. Not the bright sun overhead, but the lamp that quietly illuminates the darkness. Softening. Allowing the mystery to exist. The shadows to lengthen and deepen. This is the light the world needs now.”
Trust me, I am not this wise on my own. But as an open and willing participant with something greater I am able to access personalized wisdom like this. And what a profound gift it is to receive a beautiful, encouraging message from your higher self. It is reason enough to establish a journaling practice.
3. Your inner voice may offer advice that is both simple and complex at the same time. Like the example I offered above, the wisdom that comes forth is often poetic and cryptic in some way while offering very simple instructions. In this case, the advice as I read it is that by being yourself you help others. Simple but deeply profound.
4. The voice of your intuition has a tendency to see the big picture of what is going on, but it only offers a tiny step or two when it comes to what’s next. Sadly, our inner self is usually not in the business of delivering a detailed road map that will get you from here to there. It offers love, encouragement and an invitation to trust the larger process and then maybe an inkling of what to do next.
5. Your inner voice has a strength, certainty and directness to it. It doesn’t guess, suspect or think maybe this or maybe that, it knows. Not an arrogant kind of knowing, just a sense of plain and simple truth.
6. Intuitive wisdom comes with a particular feeling in the body. If we are paying attention, we notice that our bodies are incredibly fine-tuned instruments, capable of detecting truth and wisdom with subtle physical sensations. When you are reading through your journal, you may read a sentence and feel a profound sense of relaxation or inner freedom. Or something you wrote may land in your chest or your gut with a deep and calm sense of knowing. These sensations are different for everyone, but as a general rule, true intuition feels peaceful and open in the body whereas something that is not true for you feels tight and constricting. Practice feeling wisdom in your own body: Write something down that you know is false and see you how feel when you read it. Carefully note the physical sensations. Do the same thing with a bit of wisdom that you know to be true for you. Get to know and trust these feelings as you read through your own writing.