Originally written in 2013, this is a message I felt bears repeating now.
It helps to have someone to talk to, to tell our troubles to, to receive wisdom from. So, we talk with partners, friends or go to professional listeners such as therapists. Yet there is one we can talk with who is often overlooked. This one is our own mind.
In Yoga, there is a process called "self-dialogue", in which we have a conversation with our mind. So, when experiencing mental agitation, we may ask, "Mind, my friend, why are you so agitated? Is there something I need to do that you are trying to tell me?"
The Himalayan Sage, Swami Rama, recommended self-dialogue as one of the most important practices for a student of meditation. He taught that self-dialogue is very helpful at the beginning of a meditation session to calm the mind: We ask the mind to tell us if there is something it wants us to know, and we listen. We also can invite the mind to calm down and meditate.
Many people don't treat their minds with loving kindness. Swami Rama suggested befriending our mind. If we make our mind our friend, he said, it will listen to us.
Our minds are not monolithic. Different points of view exist within our own personality and within our mind. Self-dialogue can be a form of self-counseling which allows us to have interactions between different aspects of our personality and our innate wisdom. In this way, one part of our mind can converse with another part and come to greater understanding. As we dialogue, we may experience the clarity and insight that exist within us but often go unnoticed.
Taking a further step and writing our self-dialogue is akin to talking with another person, with the additional benefit that we may have such a written communication over an extended period of time.
So if you would like to increase your inner peace, and have an inner friend, practice self-dialogue.