AK Reader: “Hearing Voices” (2007)

While it’s always been somewhat confusing to understand whether or not what one thinks is to be believed, even stranger and more confusing is when one hears something that no one else does, and the voice that speaks it seems utterly authoritative. Especially now, is this not just confusing, but downright suspicious. How many mind-controlled school shooters, for example, have received authoritative commands from “voice to skull” (also called “voice of God”) technology?  See for example, this post on Fred Burks wanttoknow.info website.

Electronic Harassment

BTW: Fred confines his site to mainstream sources. Were he to branch out into alternative sources, he would find plenty of other analyses of nasty psychic weaponry available now. For example, I just googled the phrase “voice to skull mind control technology” and got 7,240,000 results!

Which makes it all the more crucial that we explore and become deeply familiar with the mysterious terrain inside our own psyches. And especially, that we center ourselves, through meditative techniques of some kind, daily, minute by minute!

This essay was first published in late 2007 in Sagewoman magazine, where I was a columnist for 20 years. 

HEARING VOICES (2007)

by Ann Kreilkamp

One of the stranger aspects of my peripatetic life is that on certain rare occasions I have been “guided by an inner voice.” I clearly hear this voice, beamed in, either from elsewhere, or from deep within me. The first time it filled the room, made me look around, wonder who said that. Since then I’ve heard the voice inside my head.

“Clairaudient” guidance may sound familiar to SageWoman readers; for most people, however, such an announcement, confessed out loud, comes as a surprise, even shock. After all, look what happened to Joan of Arc! Nobody in their “right mind” admits to “hearing voices,” lest she be labeled schizophrenic, demonic, or pentecostal. But as comedian Lily Tomlin remarked, “Why, when we talk to God, it’s holy, and when God talks to us, it’s insanity?”

Yet, of course, sometimes hearing voices does seem truly mad. Witness, for example, “The Three Faces of Eve,” a 1957 book and movie, the true story of a woman who suffered from what her psychiatrist labeled “associative identity disorder.” Eve eventually unified her three distinct personalities by tracing the disassociative splits to a traumatic childhood event. But not all who feel hounded by inner voices are so fortunate. Tabloids scream stories of murderers instructed by their “voices” to kill.

And of course, Christian neocons, Islamic jihadists and crusading true believers of all kinds have always seen their need to stomp out “the other” as guided and justified by “God,” with whom they have a personal relationship and who, they invariably claim, is “on our side.”

Then there is the phenomenon of “channeling” disincarnate spirits, an age-old apparently supernatural marvel easily subject to quackery. In the U.S., Spiritualism flourished between 1840 and 1920, with mediums calling on spirits of the dead to enlighten them. And Thomas Sagrue’s classic 1945 book, There is a River, recounts the story of reluctant prophet Edgar Casey (1877-1945) whose spirit guides diagnosed disease and prescribed remedies while Casey, the medium, lay fast asleep.

In the late ‘60s, “channeling” gained new cultural currency with Seth Speaks, in which Jane Robert’s husband transcribed material that “came through” her in the voice of an entity named “Seth.” Since then channeled teachings about the supposed nature of reality have mushroomed. A November 2007 google search for “channeling” produced 1,750,000 hits—and for “new age channeling,” 1,740,000 hits!

At least among New Age circles, the phenomenon of an internal voice seemingly coming from nowhere but heard inside one’s head is not strange.

My own inner voice — and actually, at this point I could say “voices,” for a second one has recently entered — have not told me to do murderous things, nor do they seem to be  mouthpieces for alternate personalities, nor do they use my body as a medium to teach the masses.

If my voices belong to disincarnate spirits — or to a “higher” aspect of myself of which I’m not usually aware — what they have to say is always short, potent, and not meant for anyone but me.

I don’t ascribe my voices to God (or Goddess, or God/Goddess); after all, who or what is this “God” who so many millions “believe in” without question? To my mind, any such divinity must be incredibly local, perhaps “in charge” of yourlife, or yourlineage, or even, perhaps of Earth itself, or its solar system. But “in charge” of everything? All the galaxies? All the dimensions? All of space and time and what lies beyond? What would that mean?

Why must we suppose that there is an entity outside the universe that “caused” it? To my mind, “causality” refers to a law that describes relations among the various “parts” of creation. I balk at an imaginative leap that posits an external Deus Ex Machina as “first cause.”

Some might argue that the word “creation” itself implies a “creator,” and so obviously, God must exist. I call that argument an unconscious myopic blinker forced upon those who speak Indo-European languages.

Our peculiar need to ask “does God exist?”—and then to insist yes (theism), or no (atheism), or maybe (agnosticism) — may be the surface symptom of a terrible, but subtle underground sense of feeling separated, isolated—but from what?

It seems that we humans endure a fundamental longing to belong, to feel ourselves connected to something larger, something that matters. We need to know, with every fiber of our being, that the universe — and our own individual life —I s not random but meaningful. Fundamentalists of all stripes then twist that universal longing into a need to “believe in God” who then, magically, not only supplies meaning, but justifies actions taken on “His” behalf.

The noisy violence of contemporary fundamentalism obscures another, quieter, and ultimately, much more profound contemporary movement that aims to releases our identification with any and all of our beliefs. I speak here of meditation. Soberly, and with little fanfare, over the past 40 years, more and more people have disciplined themselves to engage in daily awareness practices that gradually dismantle the conditioned mind’s polarizing mental constructs.

This much-vaunted “mind” of ours, it appears, works like a fence. It confines us to a certain small-minded set of “beliefs” about the world which, when unrecognized, lead to all manner of mayhem, from subtle patterns of mental and emotional abuse, to suicide bombing, to nuclear war.

Luckily, the fence does have a gate, which, though when we first notice and try to pry it open, may appear locked. And no wonder! How long has it been closed, rusty with disuse! Meditative practices, when pursued with discipline over time, gradually open this gate to reveal a timeless presence that knows no boundaries. This mystical experience of union — at first only barely glimpsed, yet with years of practice, stabilized and deepened immeasurably — calls to us always, just below the surface turbulence — to return, return, return to the Oneness that is our birthright as beings.

And here is the crux point: rather than answer the question “Does God exist?” such awareness dissolves it. For when we fully surrender to the present moment, then we sense the whole universe as meaningful, alive and breathing, divine.

The longer I live, the more I sense this internal homing device that calls us back to our true nature as one with all of life. Unfortunately, our universal longing for what we have lost too often gets translated by the conditioned ego mind into the need for a parental God who tells us what to do and not do and protects us from the big bad world. So loaded has the “G” word become with connotations designed to separate good from evil, the saved from the damned, that I would rather lie low and stay clear of the fray.

And yet, I cannot, for there are times when, if my auditory apparatus is to be trusted — and I do trust my sense of hearing, more than I trust, say my sight, as less subject to projection — I know that I have been contacted by some kind of alien, and yes, I would say “higher” intelligence.

Is this intelligence “divine”? Does it live outside its creation? Well, certainly outside me, my normal awareness. And it certainly seems to know a lot more than I do. I’ve learned to trust its guidance. But “divine”? What would that appellation add to the situation besides ego inflation? So while I’d rather not use that term, I do admit to types of intelligence, or levels of awareness, dimensions other than the visible, in both myself and the larger world. And if the universe is itself divine, then it feels both unimaginably complex and mysteriously unified — a paradox to which, as usual, I must surrender. And yes, this apparently larger intelligence does sometimes take form as a voice, clear as a bell, coming out of nowhere.

Each time I have heard an internal voice I have stood at some kind of crossroads, paralyzed with indecision. And just then, timed precisely and out of the blue, a voice speaks to me in clear, unequivocable terms. It demands that I take action, or it clarifies my situation, or it lends reassurance and perspective.

Looking back on the seven occasions when I have heard voices — only seven, their rarity one measure of their value — I begin to admit that perhaps I have heard the loud, clear, alien voice inside my head because I needed to. Because I am so headstrong and stubborn that only an abrupt, even violent interruption in my obsessive thought patterns forces me sit up and take notice.

The first three occasions were all early on, when I was a young, saintly, Catholic wife, mother and graduate student in philosophy. Each nine months apart, they heralded three precisely timed stages in the initiatory process of waking up to my own life.

On the first occasion, I was 26 years old, in the hospital with general abdominal peritonitis. After a week of intervenous antibiotics that were not working, the doctor came in, said he didn’t know what else to do. I blurted out, “Am I going to die?” He shrugged, looked embarrassed, turned and walked out of the room.

The internal crisis precipitated by my unanswered question felt galvanic, so strong that I suddenly jerked my hand into the air and, in a first-ever obscene gesture, gave the finger to “God,” my Biblical, judgmental, all-seeing God who right then and there, I decided, did not exist.

Immediately, the implications of this newly cleared-out psychic space were clear — and terrifying. For if God did not exist, not only was I free to live my life the way I chose, but I was also responsible for that life.

And just then, suddenly, to my huge shock and surprise, an inner voice, huge, booming, male, filling the room, a single command: LIVE OR DIE. IT’S YOUR CHOICE.

I date my understanding of the body/mind/spirit relationship — that physical illness is a symptom/symbol of spiritual dis-ease, and that the body follows the spirit’s call — to that crucial moment in the hospital when, apparently, I chose to live; for within 24 hours the fever and infection had mysteriously disappeared.

The second occasion, nine months later, occurred one week after I had finally, and with fear and trembling, exercised my newly won freedom to leave my difficult marriage. I was at a party, stoned, twirling to the music of The Doors, ecstatic with relief and possibility. Just then, the same voice, abrupt, booming, and completely unexpected: YOU ARE ALONE, AND YOU HAVE NO CENTER.

Of course, the voice startled and scared me. And yet, even so, I also felt strangely comforted. Hearing the voice again both assured me that I had not imagined it the first time, and that, indeed, despite what it said, I was notalone. Big Daddy God in the sky may be dead, but someone or something was watching out for me, appeared to have my welfare at heart, and even told me what to do next: I must discover or create my own “center.”

A few days later, while keeping one eye on my two wandering toddlers, I was pushing their stroller through the aisles of a bookstore when my other eye was drawn to a book by Ouspensky, a disciple of the 19thcentury spiritual teacher Gurdjieff. As I took the book from the shelf it fell open to a page that, as I devoured its message, made my spine tingle.

Most humans, said the author, have no free will. Rather, they are mechanical beings, creatures of conditioning, reacting to external events like robots. In order to earn our free will, we must wake up to the present moment, over and over again, wake up to the eternal “I am.” Only in this way, he said, will we begin to develop a “magnetic center,” and thus create the possibility of making real choices.

An exquisite timing had joined the remark by the voice, and, only a few days later, the message in the book. A path had opened. I was to notice synchronicities as markers along the way, and I was to “work on myself.” From that eureka moment on, I vowed to learn how to wake up in the present moment, decondition myself from society’s programming, and discover what made me tick as an authentic human being.

Another nine months, another psychic gestation period, flew by. My work to decondition myself was bearing fruit, almost too much. One by one, by taking a careful look at each of my intellectual assumptions, I was stripping myself of the rules and roles that had governed my life so far, unshackling my being from invisible plates of armor that had protected me from the realities of both inner and outer worlds. I felt like a new-born baby — open, vulnerable, and very, very scared. What was going to happen to me? How could I live and work in the world when I no longer belonged; when I could not control my behavior but only watch, helpless and embarrassed as strange remarks flew from my mouth?

Each day I would go into the bathroom to look in the mirror. Not for vanity’s sake, but because I was changing so fast that I wondered who would look back at me. One afternoon, while staring into my mirrored eyes, I heard the voice for what turned out to be the final time in that round. DON’T WORRY. JUST KEEP GOING. DON’T GET STUCK.

Though startled by the ferocity of this sudden booming interruption into my confused, lost, fearful state, of course I felt comforted, even blessed and grateful, to hear it again, and to absorb its message.

That afternoon, I had a further revelation, this one not an auditory voice, but simply an intuition, clear and strong —of myself as one of the forerunners to an enormous cultural revolution; and that one day I would be able to help others go through the same kind of scary, wonderful, terrifying, liberating process. (Two years later I discovered astrology as the language I would learn to help others help themselves.)

Now we call this process “transformation,” and one by one, individuals have been transforming themselves, waking up to a larger life, for four decades.

And now, in November 2007, it appears that, thanks to the shockingly arrogant, even malevolent policies of the Bush/Cheney administration, plus the skyrocketing price of oil and the specter of global warming, our entire society has begun to arouse itself from the grand illusion that more and more sex, money, stuff and status can ever make us happy.

I’ve heard the booming male voice on two other occasions, many years after the first three-stage wake-up call. As before, both times it was loud, and sure to get my attention. No surprise; for I had strayed seriously from my path.

The year was 1980. I was involved with an archetypal bad man, a near end-stage alcoholic (though I, an ignorant Pollyanna, denied it) with liver damage and periodic esophageal and stomach bleeding wherein he would suddenly vomit nearly half his blood supply.

My mission was to heal his body, change his mind and save his soul — and of course, it wasn’t working.

Late one night, the very night when I had finally resolved to leave him, though I had never actually seen him drink, he arrived home in a drunken state. Drunk, and dangerous.

I had been asleep, and as the truck door slammed, burst awake to the loud, booming voice: CENTER YOURSELF. YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE.

And believe me, I did. Sat right up in bed and moved into my center. By the time he blew through the door of the bedroom I was prepared. And though it took a few hours, and though I had to take psychic power over him in order not be killed by the guns he pulled out of the closet, I managed to escape.

Cut to August 1987, seven years later. I am twirling like a Sufi at midnight in a giant 40-foot-diameter yurt with 75 others during the weekend of Harmonic Convergence when suddenly, with no warning, the voice, loud, booming: YOU MUST FINISH YOUR PERSONAL KARMA BY THE END OF THE YEAR.

I knew what it meant, and I didn’t want to do it. I had to go back and reconnect with the father of my children in order to heal their alienation from me, their mother, who had not seen or heard from them in six long years. Had the voice not demanded that I act, I don’t know if I would have had the courage or fortitude to actually do what I knew I had to do. Had the voice not kicked me in the butt, I might still be suffering from shame, guilt, and desolation as a mother separated from her children.

That was 20 years ago, and the last time I heard the booming male voice. I like to think that I don’t need rough wake-up calls anymore, because I hew closer to the naturally unfolding path of my own nature.

Within the past year, to my surprise I have been twice contacted by a new voice, this one female — soft, subtle, gentle, kind, and no less authoritative than the other.

I attribute my ability to hear this new voice to a lessening of the forcefulness of the obsessive, chattering monkey mind. Finally, after all these years of meditative practice, more and more I do seem to reside in a larger awareness that lies below the surface of daily busyness. It appears that a space has opened within my heart so that, twice now, I have been able to hear the guidance of subtle whispers rather than the huge, overwhelming boom so long required to break through the mental clamor.

These whisperings are still too new and fresh to speak of here. Instead, I nurture them as beautiful blessings, and I feel unspeakably grateful for this universe in which we are all so mysteriously held, and which apparently does “watch out for” all who reside in it in whatever way he or she requires, guiding us to follow our own soul’s call in the endless journey back to the here and now.

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