Pursuing inner peace: Is it time to break up with your toxic internal monologue?

We’re having an intervention… it’s your internal monologue, it’s got to go

internal monologue voices in your head
We’d never tolerate the mean things our brain says if they were coming from a friend (Photo by Jakob Owens)

Picture this, your best friend always has a snide comment ready… Just had the best sex of your life: “I bet their last boyfriend was a 7ft nordic god.” Nailed your salmon en-croute: “You probably shouldn’t eat everything in pastry you know.” About to start a presentation – “YOU KNOW NOTHING YOU BLUBBERING BUFFOON – RUN, RUN FROM THE ROOM – CRY YOU CHILD!”  You would never choose to be friends with this human. But the thing is, it’s not a human is it? It’s your endless internal monologue. Your biggest critic that has decided to live in your mind forever. It’s just you, endlessly shouting “shame” at yourself like you are Cercei Lannister running round Dubrovnik in the nude. 

The truth about this is hard to swallow, which is why it has been regurgitated in a thousand forms. Whether it’s Eckhart Tolle and the Power of Now, Ram Dass, Russel Brand or your yoga teacher with a smug name like Brett – all things lead to the mastery of this difficult truth. You are not your thoughts

It was 5am and I was more concerned with where I might find a nice breakfast than seeing the light

But that morning I wasn’t to know. I had grown up in the West to extremely non-hippie parents and generally avoided self help – taking the pub-therapy route as often as required. So, as I sat cross legged, unsure how I had made it into an Indian Ashram with a few thousand people waving their arms in the air and looking questionably happy in their white linen – I realised I was now definitely a cult member. Any moment now something would get passed around to drink or smoke and then we would all worship this guy we had come to see… Well not this smug, judgemental Englishman. It was 5am and I was more concerned with where I might find a nice breakfast than seeing the light. You can’t make me see the light if I don’t want to. 

Ecstasy turned to hush and eventually the swarms of hippies reverted to the way I like them – sitting and silent. By this point I was having a good old chinwag in my head about how tedious this was about to get – as we all searched our heart chakras and healed the world from our lovely giant circle of unchecked, unwashed privilege… “Why did you not sit by an exit you tit?”

You and your thoughts are two completely separate entities

What actually happened was that my life was unquestionably changed from that day until I sit here writing this now. No, I did not convert to anything. No, I am not still there having shed all my material belongings. I broke up with my internal monologue via the help of Mooji Baba

Remember, you’re not your critical thoughts (Photo by Jakob Owens)

The thing about Mooji is that he’s not what you expect. Not so long ago he was selling incense at a market in Hackney, and although he is now an international guru – he still remains fairly grounded. 

So here’s what I learnt. 

First and foremost – you and your thoughts are two completely separate entities. They are not you figuring things out. They are a strange, toxic phenomena that requires keeping in check.

At this point your internal monologue may well be saying “separate entities, here we go, the bloody hippy has an audience – eyes – glaze”. But bear with me. 

We live under the illusion that our mind is our way of sussing out the world, making decisions, plotting, solving – that it is somehow the core of our being. But this is simply not true. If the mind is your wise best friend – then why is it as active revelling in your success or meeting a new love interest as it is cruel and brutal when you’re crumbling and defeated? 

The mind, Mooji says, is in fact just this thing inside of us that knows it must be busy to survive. It is the arch nemesis of yoga. We, for the most part, are pretty passive. It’s the mind that thinks that joke you told was insanely inappropriate; that you probably deserve to think about how each person took it, if they told their partner, maybe they woke up thinking about it and…. The real you probably just vaguely regrets telling it. 

The key to inner peace doesn’t require a lifetime of sitting on a rock

In a kinder, more thoughtful way, Mooji wants us all to know that your mind is a complete d*ck and that the key to inner peace doesn’t require a lifetime of sitting on a rock. All we need to do is remember to watch our mind when it gets busy and notice that we are observing the brain activity, we are not actually the activity itself. 

I think it highly unthoughtful that no one bothered to tell me this before, could have been worth a mention somewhere between my times tables and Henry the VIII… but better late than never. 

Thanks Mooji.