Do You Hear Voices?
by Rachel Creager Ireland
Maybe you hear a voice speaking these words in your mind as you read them. Maybe you hear your own voice responding occasionally. Maybe a voice that you don’t identify as you jumps in to argue. It’s okay. I don’t think you’re crazy.
I once had a friend who did a stint in bed. She couldn’t sleep at night, but she couldn’t get up in the day. She couldn’t keep a job. She cried a lot. I thought, wow, she’s got a case of depression. But she went to a doctor and came back with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, because the doctor asked if she was hearing disembodied voices, and she said yes.
Now here’s where I start to get irked. I was not the first to be privy this fact, but I was definitely the first to ask, what are the voices saying? And her answer was, “I don’t know. They’re so faint I can barely hear them.” What? For that she needed anti-psychotic drugs that blew her up like a balloon? I don’t wish to disparage doctors, but for certain kinds of conditions, they are way off base.
When you or someone else hears voices with no apparent human source, there are two essential questions to ask.
1) What feelings are associated with the voices? Are they accompanied by a feeling of deep love, compassion, peace? Or do they leave you feeling anxiety, fear, agitation?
In A Course In Miracles, it is said that God is eternal, which is to say, without limit. There is no place, mind, creature, cell, atom, void, or black hole in the universe in which God is not, or which is not God. There is no separation. We are all one. Our access to Divine information and power is limited only by our belief in limitation. But the other fact we know about God (via many spiritual traditions) is that God is Love. Anything we perceive that is not infused with the beauty, compassion, and peace of Divine Love is illusion.
2) What do the voices tell you? Do they support you, help you, enable your highest purposes? Do they try to agitate you, isolate you, or convince you to do things that are morally repugnant or otherwise objectionable?
At an energy healing class, I once met a woman who told a lengthy story about going to a job interview. On the way, a voice told her to turn, then take another turn (this was before smart phones), then directed her all over town until she was hopelessly lost. Then the voice took her back to her hotel, where she went inside to call the potential employer, but the phone rang before she picked it up. Another employer was calling to offer her a better job.
The whole story always seemed kind of silly to me, and raises some questions, like, why didn’t the voice just tell her to cancel the interview and wait for a call? She could have relaxed, taken in some cable TV. But it doesn’t really matter, and she was happy, because she got the job she wanted, so ultimately the voice was helpful. A doctor could probably medicate that away, but why?
I know lots of people who regularly take advice from spirit guides. Some healers work directly with non-physical entities (including those entities called angels), who give them information about the client’s condition and how to help her/him. In some circles, no one would think twice about it if someone said s/he had heard a voice, if it was benevolent. Everyone would be concerned if the voice is manipulative, causes distress, tells you to do things you flat out believe to be wrong, or harmful to another person or yourself. This is where intuition must be tempered with reason. This is when you need help from a neutral person, if not a doctor, then find a shamanic healer, or energy healer, or spiritual teacher. If the first one doesn’t help, find someone else. If there isn’t someone near you, someone far might do distance work, or refer you to someone closer. See this article by Malidoma Some for more about different paradigms in mental health.
Events might transpire that will be very difficult to accept, painful, and threaten one’s identity or safety. This is life in three dimensions, in the physical realm, under the illusion of linear time and limitation. This is the world we live in. Every day we are alive, we have to navigate between danger and living and loving joyfully in the moment. Many, too many, of the problems we face in the world are desperately urgent, and far bigger than any of us individually. They are beyond our control, if we identify with our small selves and our fear. The compass is the heart. The heart is our compass. Look for the Divine Love within, and follow where it leads. Recognize fear, anxiety, separation, and isolation for the illusion they are. Your Divine self is bigger and more powerful than any illusion, because, in the words of my dear friend Mary Vukovic, “Love is the greatest power in the universe.”