9 – Thought & Voices – Thinking in Voice

Part 2: Introduction To Meditation

- Lesson #09


Before I go on, allow me to ask you some questions.

  • Do you have voices in your head?


  • When you read, is there a voice reading the words?


  • When you have a thought, is that thought voiced in your head?


  • Is it your voice or someone else?


I’m guessing there’s a good chance that you do hear voices in your head.

There is no call for concern. It certainly doesn’t make you crazy. Most of us actually do think in voice. It is called ‘inner speech’ and actually uses the same parts of the brain as using your real voice.

There are a few theories as to why this is the case. One of the most likely is that it comes from the importance we place on language. As a human, language is one of the most important aspects of communicating. It is a primary focus throughout our education. From our days as a toddler, learning to speak, through school where we learn to read and write, into almost all of our interactions with others. We are either listening to language or speaking it, or most likely, doing both.

Thought can occur incredibly fast, often faster than we are aware of. Because of this, quite often when we talk, we aren’t aware of the thoughts that are forming the words until they have already come out of our mouths.

There has actually been research done at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, where fMRI was used for reading thoughts and could pinpoint a thought or decision up to 7 seconds before the subject became aware of it themselves.

Because of this delayed awareness of our own thoughts, in our own perception, we often think and speak as one. This can give us the illusion that the thought is the voice. Combine this with the fact that most of what we learn, we learned from language, it is easy to understand why we think in voice.

However, a pure thought doesn’t have a voice. It is simply a thought. The voice comes as a result of the thought and it is entirely possible to turn that voice off.

One of the key factors in speed reading is the ability to read without the voice reading along. Once you get rid of the voice, you no longer need to read one word, then the next, then the next, in sequential order. You can take in whole sentences or even paragraphs at once.

Turning off this inner voice and becoming aware of your own pure thought, is one of the goals of meditation. To let go of the voice and simply observe the thoughts as they enter and leave your mind.

Don’t expect, however, to turn that voice off the first time you practice meditating. It takes time and commitment to the practice in order to reach this level of pure thought.

The length of time varies greatly from person to person and what is going on in their lives. It could be anything from a few days to several months.

I know for myself, if life is relaxed and stress-free, I can reach this state most of the times I meditate. However, if there are a lot of stressful influences or I’ve been in a very analytical frame of mind, or haven’t meditated for a while, I may not be able to turn the voice off at all.

As with all aspects of learning to meditate, be gentle and patient with yourself. Getting frustrated that things aren’t happening the way you want them to, will only make it take even longer.

Your Teacher

James Cole

James Cole

James is an author of the book Empowering Thoughts, a meditation educator, empowerment specialist, hypnotherapist, filmmaker, and photo-artist. He has had a passion for meditation since being introduced at high school. Since then he has studied various forms of meditation before discovering hypnosis and recognising the similarities. He now teaches hypnotic meditation, as well as creating and publishing guided meditations that people can use for personal development. his creative work can be found at JamesCole.com.au

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