A Matter of Voice


When is a voice not a voice or why does the voice inside my head not resemble the voice in the movie, Field of Dreams? Beyond the obvious answer of “it’s only a movie,” there is also the reality of building a baseball field, which I could never do. That’s the kind of voice I hear.

Perhaps chatter is a better term but regardless of word choice, the voice is not reality, incessant as it is. The voice is so pervasive that it filters the reality of living for us, if we allow it. Why is that?

Michael Singer says that “…reality is just too real for most of us, so we temper it with the mind… As long as that’s what you want, you’ll be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life, instead of living it…. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you really are just trying to hold yourself together”(The Untethered Soul).

I admit I have relied on this voice for almost all my life. As a writer, I’ve considered voice essential for I do hear the word as I type or I did. Now that I use voice recognition software, I am not aware of hearing words before I speak them. Inadvertently, voice recognition software has helped me be more present in life.

In short, I am no longer interested in listening to the voice in my head “… [take] both sides of the conversation, [not caring]… which side it takes, just as long as it gets to keep on talking” (Singer).

As I understand space-time, past, present, and future are all occurring simultaneously. All we ever have is the moment, which is completely free for it is attached to neither past nor future but is simply occurring.

The present is not a comfortable setting for the voice, as it is attached to past and future outcomes. The voice builds on situations that exist in either the past or the future. Situation is the foundation for the voice; it is the known. When we listen to the voice, our focus (and thus our perspective) narrows so rather than exploring the infinite field of possibilities, we explore only what we have known for that is all the voice knows.

Vividly, the voice narrates image after image stored within our memory archives. When it reaches the end of that file, it creates one future scenario after another. The voice is like a pendulum, swinging toward what has been and then all the way to the edge of what might be, with nary a pause at what is.

When we are still, we are in the moment, where the voice does not reside. “There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind–you are the one who hears it. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you.” And we are none of those things for consciousness—being aware that we are aware—is observing the voice we hear without engaging it. In being aware, our focus broadens.

We experience life as it is and only for what it is. “If you’re willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts, you will see that the vast majority of them have no relevance” (Singer). Rather than defining ourselves as past or future events—what has happened or what may happen–we immerse ourselves in the infinite field of possibilities that is the moment, free from past or future outcomes.

When we are in the moment, we are completely involved in all that is. There is nothing for the voice to attach to. We do not focus on the outcome of that moment, which is not to say that we are passive, not at all. It is to say that we do not react; we do not reach for what we have always known.

Rather, we “…decide not to narrate and, instead, just consciously observe the world, [feeling] more open and exposed” (Singer). Consciously observing the world is experiencing all that life is. It means that our every action is one that encompasses compassion, gratitude, love, and joy—maybe even simultaneously– for these are the emotions that are never felt in the presence of the voice, the ego of the known.

These four emotions reverberate throughout our physiology as it connects to our consciousness. In the moment, we are all that we are completely.  This possibility always exists if we forgo the pendulum swing of the voice of the known. Yet, it is not as if the voice will be still but we are not the voice. We are the oneness that observes the voice, for we have more to observe than we have ever known.

I consider it quite a challenge not to engage the voice but the unknown has always intrigued me. As a writer, the role of the witness is certainly not new to me but once again, my switch to voice recognition software provided yet another unanticipated benefit.

Obviously, using the software is a physical change in how I write but while adjusting to speaking my writing as opposed to typing my writing, I became aware of another voice. In speaking my words, there is an immediacy that does not exist with my typing. At times, the words are a pure surprise. Sometimes that is the software doing its best to communicate what it thinks I said while other times, I do surprise myself in the words I say.

Regardless, the thought is rough, meaning there is no longer any thinking through a sentence before I speak it. I wasn’t aware that I had been a writer who edited as I created but my voice recognition software revealed otherwise. Now, I am no longer aware of that voice even when I do edit finished drafts.

And there is this about writing: no matter how or what I write, it is story. In story, there is always a voice–as there should be–just as there is a conclusion–the outcome of the story–as there should be. In story, voice frees us from clinging to outcome, releasing us into the moment, perhaps into a field of dreams.

(All Michael Singer quotes excerpted from The Untethered Soul, Kindle Edition, 2007: New Harbinger Publications)