The Voice in Your Head Sutra

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It is told that once in a land far away and long ago, a being appeared who was radiant with presence. When that being spoke, each listener heard the truth they longed for in a language they could understand.

golden buddhasAnd so it happened that people gathered to be with that being and to ask for help.

One morning at such a gathering, a person stood and asked, “Dear being, please instruct me how to stop the voice in my head, for it continually talks and complains and has opinions, and will not leave me in peace.”

The being answered, “Dear one, it is not necessary to stop the voice in your head, nor is it even possible, for your head has been taught language and likes to use it, just as the bird likes to sing and the cricket likes to make cricket sounds in the evening.”

“But,” replied the questioner, “the song of the bird and the cricket is pleasant, while the voice in my head is not. It complains about me. It makes judgments. It is worried.”

“If that is the case,” answered the being, “this is what I would advise. Simply ask the voice in your head to be your best friend. Your very best friend — one who cares about you and wants only the best for you, one who will not blame you no matter what mistakes you have made. Ask the voice in your head to love you that well. And ask that it be curious too, and creative with what happens in your days. Above all, ask the voice in your head to be kind.

“That is my advice. Make the voice in your head your kindest friend. When you fall, it will help you up. When you are despondent, it will comfort you. When you hurt someone, it will help you ask for forgiveness and make amends.”

“But,” the questioner replied, “what if I ask the voice in my head to be my kindest friend and it refuses?”

“Ask it again,” answered the being, “and again and again. Ask it kindly, for it needs a kind friend just as you do.”

The questioner stood silently for several moments and then said, “Dear being, I have just done as you suggested. I have asked the voice in my head to be my best and kindest friend.”

“And what did it say?” asked the being.

“I could not hear it say anything,” replied the questioner. “But now I am not sure who it is who longs to be treated kindly, and who the voice is who I have asked to be kind. Are we two?”

The being smiled, and then the questioner smiled, and then the whole congregation murmured to themselves, and understood.