We talk about “finding your voice” as a positive thing, but not all of the voices that live inside you have your best interests at heart.
Today’s episode takes a deep dive into what drives our Inner Critic. My guest is Sebene Selassie, a meditation teacher and writer whose perspective is informed by her history as an Ethiopian immigrant, decades of work in the social justice sphere, her protracted battle with breast cancer, and 25 years of studying Buddhism, including a stint as the director of the New York Insight Meditation Center.
As we explore the ways in which our inner voices are conditioned by society, we talk about the importance of asking the question “What am I not willing to feel?”, how to break the habit of “future tripping,” where you’re always obsessing about what will happen next, and how meditation can help you build your capacity to hold more — more joy, more pain, more life.
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- How the voice of your “inner critic” has been conditioned and created by society
- Why pain x resistance = suffering
- How to stop “future-tripping” and get back in touch with the present moment
- Why you should ask the question: “What am I not willing to feel?”
- The difference between “joy” and “happiness”
- How meditation helps you build the capacity to “hold more”
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“Many of us can see the voice of the inner critic, but many cannot. We just operate on a default mode that there are these voices and these ideas in our heads that we take as truth — that we should be beating ourselves up to do better, that we should be pushing ourselves, that we’re not good enough, that we’re not smart enough, that we’re not doing enough. Not everyone necessarily realizes that those are conditioned voices, that they come from our society.”
“Meditation for me is practice for when the sh*t really hits the fan. Sometimes we can over-emphasize the present moment idea of meditation but it’s really building your capacity to hold more, whether that’s this week or in two years when something shows up that you didn’t necessarily plan for or want.”
“In a way, none of my thoughts are my own because I’ve learned language and learned ideas only through human beings. Not to mention that most of the thoughts you have are repetitive — something like 90% of your thoughts are not original.”
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A shortlist of the ideas & resources that come up in our conversation:
- Find meditations led by Sebene on the 10% Happier app
- Tara Brach on asking, “What are you unwilling to feel?”
- About mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- Krishnamurti and thinking the culture’s thoughts
- Charlotte Joko Beck on “the icy couch”
- The five recollections
- Follow Sebene on: Her blog | Instagram
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