“Stopping the internal dialogue is singularly the most important act
an apprentice must accomplish.”
Internal dialogue is a form of possession. Conversations and dialogue with people or things not present. Something not you is controlling you, that is the definition of possession. These forces, or rather thoughts of these forces become possessive and control you and their arrival causes you to lock into them and act with them. They take up your valuable energy that could be used to do anything else. But there is more to internal dialogue than just stealing energy in mental conversation. Looked at closely you will see that it is this dialogue that in fact makes your external reality.
There is a way to stop internal dialogue for certain periods of time, but it is not done to find some happy place, though very happy places can be visited when there. Done properly stopping dialogue will more likely freak you out than make you happy. It is done to examine the mind as the very maker of this illusion we call reality, and to show what happens to reality when the thoughts stop. The world will break down, and in turn your mind will break down with it. Internal dialogue’s job is to protect our “description of the world”. Because of what we say to ourself the world always appears the same way. All thoughts are designed to reinforce the fictional dream character, thus to stop the thoughts and you will start to unravel. This is not about finding peace, it is about finding out about the reality of the world. Objects will change, shift, move and disappear. Wait until a tree turns into a medieval castle, or your walls or your wife disappears before you start talking about you know what reality as illusion means. When dialogue stops, the very nature of static reality stops top, thus the idea stopping the internal dialogue leads what is called “Stopping the world.” And this will not happen with your eyes closed.
Stopping internal dialogue comes by doing things that appear that will have no effect. Practices are sneaky because they don’t look like that is what they are for. We must use attention in non-ordinary ways, as attention and dialogue are linked. So any practice that diverts attention from the mind’s normal world will suspend internal dialogue if done long enough. In fact any activity that leads to total absorption (fishing, reading, bird watching, sports, whatever) is leading to this state of reduced mental activity. It is a refocusing of attention on the dream itself. We do awareness exercises to flood our tonal (the perceiving part), to overload it. Overloaded it shorts out, and thus is no longer able to maintain normal static reality. Things begin to break down. It is not the objects distorting of course, it is your mind distorting. You are experiencing a deeper fabric of the dream, be prepared, it’s wacky. Break down the idea of reality, and you can go looking for the ultimate reality behind it.
The best way I have found to do this is by walking. It does require a lot of space and time, so is often not suggested for modern city people. But I say if you can’t devote time to the quest for answers, then fuck it, you have already lost. To walk the right way is to bombard the tonal with so much information that it overloads and stops. And that is the point.
The first key is to have no final destination for your walk, you have to walk just to walk. You begin by doing something with your hands, different than normal, like curl your fingers or touch your thumb to your finger. Anything different will do. It is important not to be carrying anything in your hands, they have to be free. It can be done with someone else as long as no talking takes place. If you want to talk, you must stop and converse, then resume your silent walking.
As you walk, keep a constant rhythm, the actual speed is not important but it must be a different speed than you usually walk. Since most of us are mostly rushing around, most will walk very slowly. As you walk, keep your attention focused directly in front of you (but not at your feet). Look straight ahead. You can turn your head of course, but keep that gaze straight ahead of you. As you do this attempt to perceive a full 180 degrees, i.e. notice everything to the side as in front of you, but not focusing on anything in particular. See it all equally. Each thing we “see” in our environment requires some aspect of our mind to “create” it which is why we rarely focus on it. Notice mind is trying to say a word for every object that is being perceived, but see too many things, and mind can’t keep up its naming. Doing so will leave no energy left to pop off internal dialogue. All of mind’s energy will be focused on its creations. Just stay focused on the 180 degrees, and don’t associate with any thought as they come up. Watch your breath and pay attention to your body. Listen for sounds. It will likely take you many walks, but if you do it every day for a few months, one day-one walk- your mind will just shut off. Then just perceive what happens to reality around you. In my case the ground was flowing while the river was still. People just disappeared then re-appeared. Objects changed from one thing to another, some became transparent, and others droopy like a Salvador Dali painting. The belief the world was solid and real no longer stood a chance after that period!
Remember the goal is not to shut off your mind but to question the standard reality of you and world that you have always believed. As you begin to still the internal dialogue the ego/mind won’t like it. It will fight back to regain control, bringing situations that it knows causes us to break down. All you can do is commit to going on no matter what mind throws at you. It will give you it’s A game, your biggest fears, you just have to keep going through them. Eventually it will run out of fears, and all that will be left is the answer that you have been looking for.