Inner Dialog vs. Narratives

Inner Dialog is that ongoing conversation we have with ourselves in our heads. Narratives are those ideas and stories we tell ourselves about who we are and our place in the world.

Apparently some people say they don’t experience an Inner Dialog (see this article). But we all certainly have Narratives about ourselves: “I am a winner”, “I am a loser”, etc. So precisely where does Inner Dialog end and Narratives begin? Seems to me they are intimately if not inseparably connected.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7), after all. Which is also the title of the book As a Man Thinketh, a self-help book by James Allen published in 1903, which the author described as “[dealing] with the power of thought, and particularly with the use and application of thought to happy and beautiful issues.” In other words, this was one of the founding books of the self-help genre.

The prime importance of Narratives is also a core concept in Neurolinguistics (see this article). And elsewhere.

We “think” using language, and the kinds of language we use with ourselves has to have a profound impact on our Journey through Life.

The thing is, we hear narratives from others: from Society, and our parents and friends in particular, and it’s the most natural thing in the world for us to internalize those narratives and make them our own.

Since we act on our narratives, and collectively Society acts on its collective narratives, if we want to change how we are acting, we need to change our narratives — individually and collectively.

From that point of view, Meditation is one way to become conscious of our narratives, and begin to replace them with better ones. To ensure that our inner narratives and dialogs are the ones we want and have consciously chosen. After all, your attitudes and actions begin there.

So in a sense meditation is nothing less than a battle for your own mind. Whence flows your Journey.