"Listening to oneself" is an icon in the new age arena. Many spiritual and new age advocate the practice of” listening to oneself”. When asked to listen, most people naturally expect to hear voices. You sit for meditation, pull you full focus inward and expect to hear voices giving you specific and enlightening guidance but all you hear is the mumbling of your abdomen digesting lunch.

“Listening to oneself” is in fact very important for people who wish to grow or heal. In order to know what exactly to do and how to benefit from this practice there are two terms that need clarification.

First in the use of term “The Self” and second is the use of the verbs “to hear” or “to listen”.

The Self is an immaterial aspect. You can't see the Self on X-ray, ultra-sound or MRI imaging. The self does not reside in one specific place in the body and can't be detected using technology. The Self is an energy entity that resides parallel to the physical body but not in one specific location. The Self is in every cell.

Different traditions associate the Self with different body areas such as the heart, the abdomen or the third eye but these are only symbolic reference points. The Self is actually everywhere.

Considering that the Self is energy, connecting to the Self must involve understanding the laws of energy and learning how to apply them in everyday life. Most relevant to this discussion, is the law of resonance and dissonance.

Energy responds to other energies on the basis of compatibility. Energies that are compatible, synchronize. They work together well and are suitable to each other. Energies that are incompatible do not work well together are unsuitable to each other and in many cases repel each other.
The language of the Self is the language of energy.

Information from the Self is conveyed using laws of energy compatibility. In order to listen to the Self we need to learn its language of resonance and dissonance.
Learning the language of the Self.

The energy body is held within the physical body. The nervous system is responsible for transmitting physiological information and as such plays a significant role in holding and conveying energy information as well. This implies that the Self conveys information in energetic form through the physical body, using the nervous system as its carrier.

When the Self interacts with energies that are compatible to it, the body relaxes. When the Self interacts with energies that are incompatible to it, the body contracts.
Following is an exercise for articulating the sensation of relaxation verses contraction.

Sit quietly, close your eyes and allow your body to relax. Focus on the center of your diaphragm and notice how it feels at the beginning of the exercise. Be with this sensation for a few minutes.

Now think about someone who significantly upsets you and use your imagination to bring his or her image into the center of your diaphragm. Notice how this image affects your body.
Once you have noticed the affect, allow the image to disperse and re-focus your breathing as at the beginning of the exercise.

Once the diaphragm area has returned to the initial sensation, think about someone you love dearly. Use your imagination and bring his or her image into the center of your diaphragm and notice how this image affects your body.
Once you have noticed the affect, allow the image to disperse and re-focus your breathing. Continue to sit quietly allowing your body to relax for a few more minutes and then end the exercise and open your eyes.

Most likely you will have noticed that the upsetting image caused contraction and the loving image caused relaxation. If you didn’t feel this difference you may need to keep practicing in order to re-activate the ability to feel.
Listening to the Self means listening to the way the people and events of our life affect us.

We can know that by noticing the way our body responds to what is going on in our life or to the people we interact with.

The mechanism used by the Self to convey its stand point is automatic and on-going. You don’t need to do anything in particular to turn it “on”. Although there are people who access audio type information, for the most part, information is conveyed via the body as sensations not as sound or voices.

The use of the verbs “to hear” or “to listen” is therefore metaphoric not figurative and actually means “to notice, pay attention, identify” which relates to sensations not voices.
Everyday life causes many distractions that prevent us from noticing these fine sensations. Most people are so contracted most of the time, they have a hard time noticing the difference. In these cases I recommend you practice as described above. As you master the ability to notice these sensations you will be able to notice more easily and more frequently.

Tuning into body sensations and using them as inner guidelines is the true meaning of listening to our-self.

Author's Bio: 

Joan Jacobs, holistic healer, has 25 years experience as clinical healer, educator and speaker. Her clinical expertise is emotional, spiritual and personality –related healing. Joan teaches at the Faculty of Health Sciences and at the School of Continuing Education for The Medical Profession at The Ben Gurion University, Israel, and has held senior teaching and directing positions at leading schools of complementary medicine. Joan instructs cancer and substance abuse recovery programs as well as programs on women’s empowerment and health.
In 2010 she created The Light Within International Healing and Personal Transformation Workshop Program and published her first book titled Messages from the Soul-A Holistic Approach to Healing. She is former host of The Light Within Weekly Radio Talk Show on VoiceAmerica Variety channel and founder of The Light Within Community. www.jjacobshealth.com