By | Anand Bhaskar | CEO & Principal Consultant | Planet Ganges
In life we often spend an awful amount of time fretting about how we communicate with people on the outside. Our entire education system is geared around good language skills and external communication.
Ironically in-terms of sheer quantum of communication, I would dare say more than 90% communication is what happens in the inside (of us) vs how much we communicate with the world (outside of us). How much time do we spend watching what & how we communicate inside of us? My guess is, not a lot. If we actually did, most of us would be pretty sorted and truly happy. However, we aren’t. We are constantly dealing with dissatisfaction or unhappiness caused by variety of unfulfilled needs or desires or wants (call them whatever).
As a coach, I meet many truly brilliant people who I can’t but admire for all that they have achieved in life. Each time I am in a coaching conversations, there are reflections of my past, present or potential future I see in my clients. Each coaching conversation is an AHA moment for me. There is so much I get to learn from these sessions, that leads me to reflect on my past, present and how I need to work towards a better future.
As much as all of us are able to so easily articulate our worldly journey, most highly accomplished individuals are unable even notice the inner journey. When one doesn’t notice the inner journey, how in hell can he/she articulate any of it. Our mind is capable of operating in multiple layers, with each layer capable of observing the other almost simultaneously. What most highly achievement driven individuals are able to observe well is only 1 layer, that is their interaction with the world outside of them. They are unable to observe the dialogue within their mind, which eventually leads to what they do or say on the outside.
Why is it important for us to be able to observe the layers of conversations in our mind? How we think, is what feeds our belief system. What we believe is how we express ourselves to the world outside. How we express outside, is how the world perceives us. So if we want to be perceived differently, the only mechanism to change it is to observe our inner thoughts and change them suitably at the formative stage. Observing our thoughts is different from reflection. Reflection is revisiting our demonstrated behaviours and trying to understand what worked, what did not and why? Observing our inner thoughts is developing deeper consciousness, to understand what thoughts are coming to our mind, where are they coming from, which thoughts are we nurturing, which thoughts are we rejecting and how is it eventually manifesting in our belief system and thereby externally expressed through our behaviour. A simplistic word often used is, leading with a deeper sense of self-awareness.
As we make efforts to go through this process of deep introspection and lead ourselves through self-awareness, we are likely to encounter many ghosts. Ghosts are what I describe images of ourselves that we have believed about ourselves for years, but may not be true. Images that we accused others of displaying, which turn out to be true for ourselves. Ghosts in other words are innumerable myths about ourselves (good and bad) that we don’t want to see as they question the inner identity we carried (about ourselves) all our life. Who wants to see the ugly side of themselves? None I would assume, as it directly dents our self-esteem.
The interesting truth however is, the embarrassing inner identity that we might never want to see or would want to wish away; is something many people around us are already seeing but not telling us about. These people can also see that we are living a myth and are escapists. In the real-world, such people are called hypocrites. The journey within is about unravelling & discovering these ghosts; confronting & examining where they are coming from in our heads; and most importantly reconciling with their existence & forgiving oneself for having nurtured them for last many years. Empathising with oneself for who we are and accepting ourselves with all our so called flaws, is in my experience the best way to move forward. It is easier said than done.
I have seen many people I have cared for as a coach or well-wisher, avoid this inner journey. The normal tendency is to deny the existence of these ghosts and hope that if they do exist they will disappear on their own. The unfortunate reality however is that we are hoping to run away not from someone else, but ourselves. Is that ever going to happen? The answer is never.
I write this article today in the hope that a few of us who will take the pain to read and understand what I am trying to say; will eventually attempt this inner journey (if you already haven’t) to discover themselves and find peace of mind. I don’t say happiness because reconciling with who we are is the first step to finding peace of mind and hopefully will lead to happiness.
The ghost within is not someone else, it is us ! If we can’t face it, then how can we expect others to face it each day?
Do share your thoughts and your own journey. I am sure I would have a lot to learn from each one of you.