I hear voices. They are in my head. If you’re honest, you hear voices too. It is given to man to hear voices, lest we miss that still small voice within us. Similarly, it is imperative that we learn to recognize the voices in our heads, lest we take ownership of every single one. From before exiting the womb, my soul has been subjected to the voices of others. I had no control, nor frame of reference, for the nature and persuasions of those voices.
An acquaintance of mine checked himself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital some years ago. I don’t really know his reasons, he said he felt overwhelmed by life and decided to drop out for season. In hindsight this seems to have been a mistake, psych ward admittance is no small stigma on one’s record. During a visit, he told me he heard voices in his head, suggesting to him that he was of no use to anyone and would never amount to anything in life. I argued with him. Surely every soul is valuable under heaven, to someone, somewhere, somehow. God had need of him in the here and now. My earnest attempts at encouragement most likely we’re received as plebeian platitudes, I could not compete with such deep grooves in his wax.
I asked my friend if he told the hospital workers about the voices. “Oh no, you don’t do that here. You don’t say you hear voices. And they will ask you, it’s one of the first questions on their little clip boards. They’re very interested in your voices. But you never, ever say that you hear voices.” When I pressed him, he explained that he had become friendly with another young man in his ward, who also heard voices. “I told him to keep quiet about it. But he didn’t. When he was a no-show for our game of chess, I asked about him. The worker said he had been moved to the ‘blue wing’.” Stronger chemicals in the blue wing, I assumed. Perhaps they were merely washing his brain out of talkers.
It is no secret that, through mass media outlets and education establishments, we are all brainwashed. If we’re wise, we’ll choose that which washes over our brains with discretion and no small amount of intention. It’s important that the voices in one’s head be of value. For those we must search. There is seemingly no end to the negative programming that gets carved into our minds, from cradle to grave. Psychologists will tell you that replacing a bad habit with a good one is easier than trying to drop the habit cold. We squeeze out those things which are crippling when we fill our vessels with thoughts and activities intended to produce good fruit; victory by starving the baddies for time and attention. It is written, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.” It would not be incorrect to consider the first half of that statement on it’s own: faith comes by hearing. It is analogous to a spoonful of cough remedy. We may whinge and wince at the taste but, once swallowed, the medicine produces results. Similarly, whatever we allow into our conscious minds most certainly finds place in our long-term subconscious minds. Et voilá, we are programmed.
If we spend our listening hours in the company of detractors, we become down on ourselves by internalizing their estimations of us. No shame to the detractors, they are expressing their own programming; forgive and be forgiven. If we tune in to the news of the world, which is known to be produced with agenda back of it, we shall become angry and fearful…whereas everyone I know would prefer to be joyful and at peace. It cannot be otherwise, God is not mocked, we reap what is sown. So we must sow in our own gardens seed of our own choosing.
I continue to hear voices in my head. Most are ones I’ve invited in, a conscientious self-programming in accordance with those concepts I consider most valuable. There are other voices occasionally, spiritual entities connected to other programmers, controllers, tyrants. Those are like weeds and must be silenced immediately. Emerson wrote that “a man is what he thinks about all day long.” Before him, the writer of Proverbs illuminated the same truth: as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. These concepts bear out as self-evident after only a few years in one’s skin. We are the products of the thoughts we think.
Let us think well, with conviction toward the desired end of prospering. Let us think love. Confucius say, “The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” The apostle Paul expressed this notion most excellently in his letter to a church in Philippi, that we do well to meditate upon uplifting and honorable things, so as not to become bogged down in bleak despair. There is no shortage of valuable voices. We have only to seek them, study them for truth and internalize them. If we do not, we most certainly become the product of someone else’s intentions. And who’s to say they have our best interests at heart?