by Toni Steenson, Coraki, NSW
The other day I was at work, cleaning a toilet, and I came to a very simple but profound understanding: I now understand that our inner voice has more strength than any other voice or activity.
We are raised in families that bring us to understandings about how and why life is as it is. For example, we may have been brought up being told that family is the most important thing in our life and that we need to honour and support this no matter what it takes – to put family above all else. Yet we have this little voice inside us that quietly poses a question like, “But what about those that have no family to support them?” or “What happens if I do not agree with my family?”
This little inner voice is what I call the voice of the Soul; it is the voice of truth. It always carries more weight than any other voice, even though its voice is the quietest and least imposing, gently saying what it needs to. It never gives up.
I have been hearing this voice all throughout my life. When I was young I remember my parish priest preaching how we were all sinners and born evil, but I simply knew this not to be true as babies did not feel this way to me.
Later I remember making my first communion and being given a bit of wafer on my tongue as a practice run, and being told it was the body of Christ. Knowing this was not the fact, I asked why I was being told this, and all the adults around me called me a blasphemer.
When I was a teen everyone was saying it was okay to smoke pot, it was okay to have fun, but the little voice inside me told me how it actually was. When I met my abusive partner my little voice practically screamed at me to run far and fast. When I was pregnant, no matter how many nurses or doctors told me how good something was for my baby, my little voice would once again announce itself. This has continued throughout my life, although because I now listen to it, I hear it more regularly.
Family, religion, society, education and history have told me over and over, proving beyond doubt, the truth as they know it. But still the little voice inside consistently prods me to explore the actual truth.
It is the voice that triumphs over years of conditioning. It always questions the things in life I perceive to be true, that are constantly ‘proved’ from every corner of my life to be true.
This voice will not be silenced no matter how much I ignore it or try to suffocate it with busy-ness, activities or substances.
This voice is myself, in my most pure and natural form: the more I nurture, honour and treasure this voice, the louder it becomes, until it is not a whisper but my guiding light in life.
To honour this voice all I need to do is listen to it and follow its impulse.