To what extent can you trust the voice within?

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To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:36 pm

Hi,

you probably know "the voice in your head" (for lack of a better term). To what extent can you trust that voice? Which purpose does it serve? What do you guys think about it in general with respect to anattā?
I think the things and stories told by "the voice within" if not observed and recognized carefully and mindfully are a main hindrance to understanding;
Ud 1.10 wrote:"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

Because instead of training yourself like Bāhiya one easily
MN1 wrote:[...] perceives earth as earth. Perceiving earth as earth, he conceives [things] about earth, he conceives [things] in earth, he conceives [things] coming out of earth, he conceives earth as 'mine,' he delights in earth. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.


What's your opinion?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby fivebells » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:48 pm

Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.
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To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby IanAnd » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:20 pm

acinteyyo wrote:you probably know "the voice in your head" (for lack of a better term).

To what extent can you trust that voice?

Which purpose does it serve? What do you guys think about it in general with respect to anattā?

You ask a very loaded and controversial question, acinteyyo. You must know (even before asking the question) that any response you receive will be purely subjective. Therefore, I see little to be gained by asking such questions in a public forum. One would have thought that your wisdom excelled such speculative thought. (However, I stand corrected.)

But the way you word the question adds another dimension to the mix. You ask, prudently yet almost stealthily, "to what extent. . ." To which one can only reply, "To the extent that one knows oneself and the world he lives in."

From my own perspective and considerable experience, trusting in voices can be a double edged sword, sometimes with pleasant outcomes and other times not so pleasant. How much discernment does one have to be able to confirm one way or the other the validity of the intuitional inspiration? I suppose it all depends upon who the viewer is and what objective is being anticipated, to the extent that an objective is being anticipated. Is the viewer grasping at anticipations, or is he letting come what may and being content with that.

It is something that each individual must ask himself. As well as be prepared to accept the consequences of his answer.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:20 pm

thought is just thought it arises dependent upon that which determines it, and it ceases when that has ceased. Until we become an ariyan the thoughts are generally motivated by craving. And well, you know what the Buddha has to say about craving ;) Why complicate the matter by reifying the thoughts as a self of some sort?
Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:22 pm

Well if you're talking about a voice INSIDE your head, that could just be random thoughts or it could be your conscience talking, it would probably be a good idea to follow your conscience, but not before first testing it to see if its rational, for instance if your about to steal an apple and you here a voice saying "don't do that" that would probably be a good voice to listen to. On the other hand even your conscience might not be right all the time, or it might not be your conscience but just a 'voice' so use common sense.

As a person that used to hear voices that seemed to come from Outside my head, like God, Buddha, Tibetan deities etc, this is a really dangerous area, bordering on schitzophrenia. The voices seem to make sense up to a point, you're sure they aren't leading you wrong, until bingo, they're getting you in all kinds of trouble and leading you to do crazy things, and believe crazy things. Do I think its possible to have telepathic contact with deities and spirits, yes, would I recommend it, no, if you hear the voices anyway, take them with a grain of salt, unless you're absolutely sure they are pure good, OK, but if theres any doubt at all its better to ignore them.

When I was in my 20s I heard voices telling me I was going to be a buddha, I was almost totally convinced, I started writing down what the voices said, even channeled Gautama buddha, long story short, I hear virtually no voices today, and as to being a buddha, I definetly haven't lived up to the voices expectations!

However I can say on the whole the voices encouraged me to be a better person, and study more, but as soon as the voices became unbalanced; 5150 locked up in the Psych ward, very unpleasant, not at all something you would want to go through.

For me the solution was twofold, add Lithium to my anti psychotic medication, and for five years now, quit smoking pot and drinking; sobriety is the strongest medication for mania, psychotic type illnesses, many of which wouldn't have existed in the first place if drugs weren't involved.

For me it started with some bad LSD, terrible terrible risk to be taking stuff like that, you have no idea what drug you are taking, over 100 different drugs are sold on the street as LSD, only one of them is actually LSD. I actually took some poison mushrooms from some hippies that hated punks, instead of psylocibin they gave me Amanita Masacrita???? the poisoness kind, red with the white dots, could have killed me. Its a real minefield, the drug business. No wonder The Buddha and so many Buddhists consider sobriety to be one of the most important steps on the Buddhist path.

Anyway the reason I bring up drugs is people that try lots of drugs are much more likely to hear voices, and believe in God talking to them, buddha talking to them, not to say that it never happens, but if you need to do heavy drugs to hear something, its probably not a good idea, hope this can be of benefit to someone, sincerely former monk john
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby SDC » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:52 pm

The voice is a verbal representation of mental images which are interpretations of circumstances and thoughts on how to proceed regarding those circumstances. This is the case whether the interpretation be something in the immediate present right in front of you, memories of the past, or speculation about the future. For me this voice can only be trusted when it is in line with the dhamma however due to the nature of my common thinking that is not always the case. It is dynamic, flows with emotional state so it is easily corrupted and cannot be trusted as an end all be all of reason and goodness (accept for the arahant of course). When I am excited for whatever reason the voice is looking to take action to eliminate that excitement and this could mean doing something bad; but if I take the time to think and reason out the voice becomes more and more calm and reasonable and more in line with the dhamma.

Hope this was helpful.

Good question. :smile:

EDIT - Sarcasm/rudeness that seemed funny 10 minutes ago.
Last edited by SDC on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:20 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:, quit smoking pot and drinking; sobriety is the strongest medication for mania, psychotic type illnesses, many of which wouldn't have existed in the first place if drugs weren't involved.


The negative impact marijuana has on people with pre existing conditions is something that is not given nearlly enough attention.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:05 pm

BlackBird wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:, quit smoking pot and drinking; sobriety is the strongest medication for mania, psychotic type illnesses, many of which wouldn't have existed in the first place if drugs weren't involved.


The negative impact marijuana has on people with pre existing conditions is something that is not given nearlly enough attention.


Thank you Bird, they are just now starting to come out with reputable scientific studies linking pot to mental illness, proving what every mentally ill sober former addict already knows.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:33 am

fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.

Seconded.
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:55 am

fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.


Arguably the purpose of practice is to make the voice more coherent.
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:05 pm

acinteyyo wrote:I think the things and stories told by "the voice within" if not observed and recognized carefully and mindfully are a main hindrance to understanding;

I agree. When mindfulness is quick enough to notice the "things and stories" then they are just "things and stories." Then - be quiet.
Trivial thoughts, subtle thoughts,
Mental jerkings that follow one along:
Not understanding these mental thoughts,
One runs back and forth with wandering mind.

But having known these mental thoughts,
The ardent and mindful one restrains them.
An awakened one has entirely abandoned them,
These mental jerkings that follow one along.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:24 pm

:goodpost:

straight to the point, sadhu!
Last edited by acinteyyo on Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:24 pm

fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.

binocular wrote:
fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.

Seconded.


Do you verbalise thought?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:41 pm

IanAnd wrote:You ask a very loaded and controversial question, acinteyyo. You must know (even before asking the question) that any response you receive will be purely subjective.

I'm aware of that.
IanAnd wrote:Therefore, I see little to be gained by asking such questions in a public forum. One would have thought that your wisdom excelled such speculative thought. (However, I stand corrected.)

I didn't ask the questions in order to gain something for myself in the first place.
IanAnd wrote:But the way you word the question adds another dimension to the mix. You ask, prudently yet almost stealthily, "to what extent. . ." To which one can only reply, "To the extent that one knows oneself and the world he lives in."
I have chosen every word and the phrasing of the questions for a particular reason. Would you please be so kind to elaborate on your understanding of "knows" in your answer? Which I find very well phrased btw.
IanAnd wrote:From my own perspective and considerable experience, trusting in voices can be a double edged sword, sometimes with pleasant outcomes and other times not so pleasant. How much discernment does one have to be able to confirm one way or the other the validity of the intuitional inspiration? I suppose it all depends upon who the viewer is and what objective is being anticipated, to the extent that an objective is being anticipated. Is the viewer grasping at anticipations, or is he letting come what may and being content with that.

I looked for a better term as I've used in my initial post. Maybe "voices" alone is to vague. I also mean "verbalized thought", a special kind of discursive thinking.
IanAnd wrote:It is something that each individual must ask himself. As well as be prepared to accept the consequences of his answer.

Yes, of course. Which is the case for every phenomena if one's goal is to gain insight.

I wanted to establish a base for discussion on this matter with this particular thread.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:46 pm

BlackBird wrote:thought is just thought it arises dependent upon that which determines it, and it ceases when that has ceased. Until we become an ariyan the thoughts are generally motivated by craving. And well, you know what the Buddha has to say about craving ;) Why complicate the matter by reifying the thoughts as a self of some sort?

Do you act based on verbalized thought?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:49 pm

SDC wrote:The voice is a verbal representation of mental images which are interpretations of circumstances and thoughts on how to proceed regarding those circumstances. This is the case whether the interpretation be something in the immediate present right in front of you, memories of the past, or speculation about the future. For me this voice can only be trusted when it is in line with the dhamma however due to the nature of my common thinking that is not always the case. It is dynamic, flows with emotional state so it is easily corrupted and cannot be trusted as an end all be all of reason and goodness (accept for the arahant of course). When I am excited for whatever reason the voice is looking to take action to eliminate that excitement and this could mean doing something bad; but if I take the time to think and reason out the voice becomes more and more calm and reasonable and more in line with the dhamma.

Hope this was helpful.

Good question. :smile:

EDIT - Sarcasm/rudeness that seemed funny 10 minutes ago.

Thank you, good answer.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:53 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Well if you're talking about a voice INSIDE your head, that could just be random thoughts or it could be your conscience talking, it would probably be a good idea to follow your conscience, but not before first testing it to see if its rational, for instance if your about to steal an apple and you here a voice saying "don't do that" that would probably be a good voice to listen to. On the other hand even your conscience might not be right all the time, or it might not be your conscience but just a 'voice' so use common sense.
As a person that used to hear voices that seemed to come from Outside my head, like God, Buddha, Tibetan deities etc, ...

Thanks for your opinion. I think I'm quite sure about "voices in my head". But I want to ask you another question. On what do you base your distinction of INSIDE and OUTSIDE voice?
Last edited by acinteyyo on Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby fivebells » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:40 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.

Do you verbalise thought?


Some thoughts are verbal, some are visual, some are physical or emotional. The ones with a clear origin in skillful causes and conditions are the ones to trust. If there is any doubt, the causes and conditions can be analysed in terms of dependent origination, when the mind is stable enough.
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby Kamran » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:48 pm

Thanissaro Bikhu has many talks on this subject.

A quick google search found this one, The Committee of the Mind:

There are many different ideas of “you” in your mind, each with its own agenda. Each of these “yous” is a members of the committee of the mind. This is why the mind is less like a single mind and more like an unruly throng of people: lots of different voices, with lots of different opinions about what you should do.

One of the purposes of meditation is to bring these dealings out into the open, so that you can bring more order to the committee


http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=953
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:11 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.

binocular wrote:
fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.

Seconded.

Do you verbalise thought?

Sure. But as some others posters have mentioned, I too, tend to think of the mind as a committee - a lot of voices, and none of them in particular as solely mine, or my voice as opposed to foreign voices. Thanissaro Bhikkhu often speaks of thinking of the mind this way.
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