Nowadays, many people are discovering that they have a powerful sixth sense, and are seeking ways to understand and cultivate their intuitive powers. So a question that often comes up for my clients is how to discern between the inner voice of fear and negativity, as opposed to the inner voice of divine wisdom and guidance. How can we strengthen our connection to our Higher Selves (or however you prefer to name It)?
The fourth step of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity deals with this to a great extent, although she does not exactly frame it in those terms. It is about recovering our integrity, in order to heal our inner artist. For most of this chapter, she emphasizes the importance of the morning pages. In my view, the morning pages are an invaluable tool that can give us a reliable, clear connection for tuning in to our inner wisdom.
Rather than being a creative outlet for writers, (and as Madeline noted yesterday, triggering fears that they might dilute our “real” writing), the morning pages are for all manner of artists, including the emphatically non-verbal arts. While the seeds of art will almost certainly appear there, they are not the reason for this practice. They are our personal sounding board, where we can ask our deep questions, and find often surprising answers. Their purpose is to bring forth our inner voices, our conflicts, our wisdom and our fears.
The more we write it all down, without editing, without the Inner Critic looking over our shoulders (hinting darkly that it might or might not be publishable someday), the more we can get to the deep issues that we are holding on to. And the more clearly we will see, on paper, the difference between our inner negativity and loving warnings; between abusive fearfulness and wise caution; between self-deception and joy. In short, we can learn to detect the subtle personal variations between our Shadow and Soul.
I believe that much of our inner dialogue is on a continuous play loop, going round and round and round. But there is something about directing it outward, by speaking or writing, that turns its circular repetition into a linear shape. Writing it down, it becomes finite, with an end at last. We can then see it all in one place, perhaps in one session, perhaps over days and weeks. Eventually we will observe a beginning and a conclusion. All on a page, where we can consider it from afar.
Then we can step back. Now we have enough distance to evaluate and observe. We can see our thoughts, our beliefs, our fears, our assumptions, our gripes, our joys, our desires, our noise, all within the perspective of a context. Otherwise, the inner dialogue is just the Muzak in our brain that goes on and on and on, and we don’t know when, or if, to pay attention.
The morning pages, as they become a daily habit, are not only where we download our inner junk, but a safe place where we show up every day and listen for guidance. More about that tomorrow.