Calling the Allies, Susan Seddon Boulet
I still talk in my sleep.
I still dream.
How can there be perfect stillness
When my brain’s so noisy?
We carry on a constant dialogue within ourselves. This is the origin of our problems.
The very word dialogue means talking between two sides. We could not have an inner dialogue unless there was a split in our minds. We all have two sides; as long as they are not united, we cannot attain the wholeness that spirituality requires.
Even with years of self-cultivation, it is not easy to tame the wild mind. One might appear to have attained perfect control in all waking situations, only to find endless turbulence during meditation and sleep. This is a sign of incomplete attainment. Perfection must be total.
The process of perfection is long and must be methodical. Although our efforts must be to the utmost, we must never risk repressing ourselves. Indeed, rather than shutting away the unpleasant or unruly aspects of ourselves, we must take them all out and examine them. Daily introspection brings harmony to all our facets. Those aspects that are bad can be dissolved. Those that are of advantage can be cultivated. This effort will take many years, but in this gradual way, we resolve ourselves with our subconscious mind and free ourselves from struggle and conflict.
Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear.
Can’t know except in moments
Steadly growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe out, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
We pray that it will be done
— “Eagle Poem”, Joy Harjo (Muskogee)
We create our own reality by keeping a dialogue going with ourselves about our world and what we perceive or imagine is happening. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it helps keep us grounded and able to relate to other people and the world in general (the ‘tonal’). The problem is when we get caught up with this inner dialogue and forget there is anything else. If we learn to turn off the inner dialogue we can reach a place of silence in which we contact our real inner power and purpose. We reach the world behind images, thoughts, fantasies, feelings, sensations and so on (the ‘naugal’).
There are many ways of doing this, and it appears as the central theme in most practical teachings. For a shaman, there is no more important goal than turning off the inner dialogue. Indeed Don Juan tells Carlos Castaneda that this is the most important goal in sorcery, for when it is achieved everything else becomes possible. In the Western Mystery Tradition, the same aim is described as one-pointedness. It is claimed that any thought which is held in this state of silence becomes a definite command since there are no other thoughts to compete with it.
In yoga, there are various practices which lead to the same goal. Firstly there is asana, controlling the body through various postures, then yama and niyama for controlling emotional reactions, then dharana for controlling the mind. These techniques have the single aim of achieving dhyana – which is turning off the inner dialogue, reaching a still, silent place within. Dhyana is the original root of the word zen, and the main aim of zen meditation is the same – to stop the rational mind and reach states beyond the incessant questioning, thinking and reasoning which holds us back from our inner peace and true identity. In Taoism the aim is again the same: in the Tao Teh Ching we are told that the tao resembles the emptiness of space; to employ it we must avoid creating an inner dialogue, which we can do through `making our sharpness blunt’.
— Coloring Therapy
“When a warrior learns to stop the internal dialogue, everything becomes possible; the most far-fetched schemes become attainable.” — Carlos Castaneda
“The internal dialogue is what grounds people in the daily world. The world is such and such or so and so, only because we talk to ourselves about its being such and such and so and so. The passageway into the world of shamans opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off his internal dialogue.” — Carlos Castaneda
“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.”
— Deepak Chopra
Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.
Therefore wise men embrace the one
And set an example to all.
Not putting on a display,
They shine forth.
Not justifying themselves,
They are distinguished.
They never falter.
They do not quarrel,
So no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients ay,
“Yield and overcome”.
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.
— Tao Te Ching, 22
So what is the Tao, or any spiritual training, really all about? It is about becoming one – with yourself. Knowing your self, understanding yourself, and being able to calm and quiet yourself. And that is the beginning. Then you can connect with others – without judging, without blaming, without controlling, without the need for their approval. You become truly whole – truly able to deal with anything that comes your way, because you don’t have to worry about how you will react to it. You are the one in control of your own body, emotions and reactions. You learn to anticipate what will happen in a particular circumstance, you can plan for things. You learn how things work, how things naturally happen, and you give up trying to control them, because you know you can’t control the natural consequences of action and reaction. You stop blaming and judging others for the circumstances of their lives, their thinking, their illnesses and weaknesses.
You stop needing anyone else or even yourself to approve of what you do – but you do the right things in your life because you fully understand the consequences of doing the wrong things. Life becomes a natural process of growth, reproduction, gradual declines, and death, because that, underneath all the crap and bullshit and material things we build and try to comfort ourselves with, is what life is. You stop needing things, you stop needing approval, you stop needing to be right, you stop needing to control. You let go of all of these things, a little at a time, until you are left with you. And then, you begin.