So how do we free ourselves of the incessant voice in our head that is never content?
In his book The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer says, "Don't ask, 'What should I do about this? Ask, 'What part of me is disturbed by this?'" (chapter 2, p.15, 2nd para).
There is no problem outside of yourself that cannot be solved within, because the root cause of the problem in the first place is inside of you. The issue is about how you perceive the situation. No matter what the situation is.
Why do we perceive anything as a problem?
Because we don't want to experience the feelings and emotions that are welling up in the moment. We have become very proficient at burying those feelings and emotions.
We've been taught by well-meaning parents and teachers and other members of our circle that feelings and emotions have no place in society. Or we've adopted coping skills to help us through traumatic events.
Most of us choose not to experience pain. So we unconsciously push that pain down. We don't allow ourselves to actually feel whatever is painful.
The problem with burying our pain is that it keeps trying to resurface. And it will try to do so in every aspect of our lives. Which is why we see so many things as problems.
The way to peace is through our pain, not circumventing it.
When we ask, "What part of me is disturbed by this?" we take responsibility for our feelings and emotions. We are really saying, "It's my perception that is causing me to see this as a problem."
But even more than that, is where the problem lies in the first place. Who is it really that's having the problem?
This is all very deep, I know...just bear with me.
If you're frustrated, the moment you notice that you are frustrated, ask yourself, "What part of me is frustrated?" This will take you inward. Where you need to be in order to see that something inside of you is having a problem with being frustrated.
Once you go inward, ask yourself, "Who is it that is noticing this problem with frustration (or any inner disturbance)?" When you tell a friend, "He makes me so frustrated!" who do you think it is that sees this?
You have a Witness inside of you. A Witness that sees your inner disturbance. The Witness is Who You Really Are. And Who You Really Are is not the one with the problem. Who You Really Are is the one noticing the problem.
So change your frame of reference. Rather than see problems as outside of yourself, see them from the inside.
Problems are not usually what they appear to be. Your perception and what you fear are at the heart of all problems you face. So ask the questions that will take you inward, because that's where the solutions lie.
Clarity comes with the understanding that something inside of you is what has the problem with any disturbance that comes up.
And when that clarity comes, you can break the habit of believing you can solve your problems from the outside. This is what can bring about a permanent solution to the problems you have with reality in this world.