If you read enough books about the soul, you’ll come across a reoccurring theme. It’s the idea that we all have a small, still voice within us that is there to guide us as we make our way through life. The voice represents the deepest, truest part of us, our soul, and it knows what we want and need from life—if only we would listen to it.
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
The late American spiritual philosopher Ram Dass also discussed the power of the inner voice to help guide us through life. In this passage from his book Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita, he advises us to use this voice to our advantage, as it represents the equivalent of an inner sixth-sense:
Begin paying more attention to the inner voice of our intuition, because that’s the clue to what we should be doing. We start to listen to the tiny, intuitive whisper that the Quakers call “the still small voice within.”
There’s just one issue with the voice. We don’t always hear it. Sometimes we find it is easier to ignore it or brush it aside. The reason: What the soul wants does not always jibe with what the people around us want or what society expects from us. Richard Bode, writing in Beachcombing at Miramar, The Quest for an Authentic Life, explains it this way:
The world is full of those who would keep us from singing the songs we want to sing and painting the pictures we want to paint. Some are bosses, some are officials of oppressive regimes—and some are our mothers, fathers, teachers, husbands, or wives, who, for whatever their reasons, try to stifle the life force that makes us who we are. But we have the choice: We can empower them or we can empower ourselves.
We pay a price when we don’t listen to the voice within us. Some say the voice quiets, until it becomes just a whisper, eventually disappearing altogether. According to spirituality author Shakti Gawain, when we squash the voice and its message we pay a price for it:
Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.
Bode amplifies this point, warning of us something that no one wants:
The deep, driving hunger of the soul is there; it will not go away—and we pay an awesome price each time we push it down into the pit of our being. Little by little the colors fade and the sound of music goes out of our lives.
Has the still, small voice quieted in your life?
If you look inside and hear only the faintest of whispers or even silence, there are other ways that the inner voice makes itself known—signals that tell us we are on the right path. On her blog, Doctor Gail Brenner gives us a few clues as to how to know “when truth is talking.” She writes that:
- It moves us toward love – for ourselves and others.
- It ultimately brings enjoyment.
- There is no sinking feeling that something is wrong.
- The body unclenches.
- There is a sense of clarity, excitement, or relief, an undeniable knowing.
To hear this voice is one thing, but there’s more to it than that. We also need the courage to act. As Bode says “It astounds me when I think of the courage it takes to live, to behave as we want to behave, to be who we want to be.” But if we are being true to ourselves, and want to live the life we were meant to live, we have no other choice but to listen—and take action.