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Artwork by Andrew Gable: "Inner back chat personalities". Click the image to see more of Andrew's art

As I was listening to the interview Voices trapped me in my mind, I started looking back at my life and my experiences with voices in my head. When I was around 9-10 years old, I started noticing how there were several layers of thoughts in my mind. I started playing with it and discovered that I could sing in my head as the same time as I was thinking about something else. I got fascinated by it and the more I started looking at my thoughts, the more loud the thoughts seemed to become.

I remember how when I became aware of the fact that I was thinking that I started to verbalize thoughts in my mind as words and it became difficult to stop. Initially I was fascinated by it, i felt I was special and superior, but I also noticed how I constantly had conversations going on in my mind. It was as though I was sitting in a little bubble inside my head, that all “who” I was, was this little bubble of consciousness sitting in my head talking about what was going on outside my eyes. I would talk and talk and talk about what I saw and heard. Exactly as in the interview, the self-speak in my mind started becoming nasty and judgmental once I started becoming a teenager, towards others as well as towards myself. The thoughts were mean and brutal and I would feel ashamed. The girl in the interview Voices trapped me in my mind explained how she refused to accept that the voices were herself and that she simply could not accept that she was not the sweet girl that she had believed and experienced herself to be. For her it became the end.

I had no doubt that the voices in my head were my own, in fact I instead identified strongly with the voices. It became my comfort. As I grew older the thoughts and self-talk as back-chat in my mind became patterns that ran and ran in loops, like a constant noise from a radio. In my mind I would analyze how I had acted in situations, if I had been good enough, what I had said. I would also plan how I would be in the future, if I were to meet a boy, how I would act, what I would say.

At the same time I turned my thoughts against myself. I hated myself, I despised myself and others. I created thought loops of self-judgment where I would repeat the same words over and over: “I hate myself”, “I am such an idiot”… over and over.

An interesting aspect of my relationship with judgment as back chat was that through out my life I have listened to my mom verbalizing her back chat as judgments towards herself and others. When we watched TV, she would comment on the clothes people were wearing, their faces, hair, body form and place judging remarks, nasty comments and spite. She did the same towards herself, saying that she was a bad mother or that she hated herself.

I would judge my mom for her judgment of others. I would literally talk nasty shit about my mom in my mind for being judgmental. And within this, in promising myself that I would never be like my mom, I started building and creating a personality – a self-belief, definition and ideal of myself as the opposite of how I saw my mom . So I started suppressing my own back-chat and judgment. I judged myself for being judging and I created this personality of someone that is “nice”, “warm”, “tolerant”. I wanted to get as far away from how I saw my mom as possible. I wanted to get as far away from myself as possible. The more I suppressed the back chat, the more extensive it grew in the back of my mind and I would literally become possessed for days at a time, where I became completely apathetic and could do nothing but lay in my bed. It would take over my body and I would become tense in my back, shoulders, neck and in my legs.

After I listened to the interview Voices trapped me in my mind I started looking at when this pattern started with the voices in my head. And I saw that even when I was a small child and I experienced shock, I would start separating myself from my physical body. Ironically I have been using these thoughts to keep me pre-occupied and away from myself, even if the nature of the thoughts always, always have been self-centered. Even when I thought about others and how to support them, it would be part of my plan of making myself this “good-natured” personality.

In the book  New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle states the following:

“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

I used to read Echart Tolle and loved quotes like this. I believed that it made me enlightened, uplifted and an upstanding citizen. But what does it actually imply? It implies that we are not responsible for what goes on inside us, for what we participate in and as, as thoughts, emotions and feelings. According to Tolle we are not the voice in our head – we are the observer that sees the thoughts and so we apparently become “liberated” through separating ourselves from the voices in our head. Yes, that is liberating from the perspective that we then have a justification, with endorsement by the spiritual authority that Tolle has become, to not take responsibility for ourselves. It is like a permanent absolution or remission of sins for Catholics: “it is not you, so don’t you worry about it” – sure that gives a form of temporary relief but then what when the thoughts and voices just keep coming, keep speaking? And what happens when we gather in social settings and spiritual gatherings and everyone else is apparently “free” of thoughts and of the dense darkness of the material world and our inner shit just keep coming up? Who will we believe ourselves to be? I believed that there had to be something wrong with me because I could not get to that state of mind that I believed Tolle was in. I thought that there was something wrong with me because everyone else seemed so at ease, so comfortable.

A really cool thing about the interview on Voices trapped me in my mind that assisted me, was when she said that we are only able to judge ourselves because we separate ourselves from ourselves, the same with being hard on ourselves, self-hate and even these ideals we create about ourselves. We externalize ourselves and place ourselves in a relationship with the reflection we have created of ourselves in the splitting up of ourselves. This is what I have done even with and through walking with Desteni. And I can clearly see how I ironically have been holding onto the self-judgment in separating myself from myself because I wanted to hold onto the ideal image I had of myself as being tolerant, “good natured” – anything that I saw my mother was not. And in looking back, I was exactly like my mother. I judged and despised her for being judgmental and no-one is responsible for that than me.

So what is the solution? Not to reject the thoughts or the voices in our head saying “this is not me” – because it IS me – it is who and what I have created myself as, who and what I have accepted and allowed myself to be and become, through years and years of participation as the voices in my head, endorsing them, fueling them,  holding onto them as myself. This is the point: the voices in our head ARE us – they are a part of us that we have separated ourselves from and thereby given away our self-authority to in doing that.

Thus, it is when I accept the fact that these voices, these thoughts, experiences, emotions and feelings are my own creation of myself in separation of and from myself, that I become able to change. In taking responsibility for the fact that this IS who and what I have created and accepted myself, I can make the directive decision to change. Because until, unless I do that, I exist in a self-made prison, a prison made up of bits and pieces of myself secluded into parts in my mind, into bits and pieces, existing only as that voice as  those different voices in my head.

We cannot simply say “this is not me” as a positive affirmation and then be done with it. That is not taking self-responsibility. That is not self-direction. What it is, is self-suppression in fact and it is a direct abdication of self-responsibility. It is fear of what is inside us, as us — and then only way we can change, is by facing that.

Through walking this process, I have experienced extensive difficulty with self-judgment, meaning that I have found it difficult to stop. Listening to this interview, assisted me to see that there was a point I was missing. I was missing the point that I have been unwilling to let go of my ideals, ideas and definitions of myself that was positively charged. And they were so based on a fear that I was becoming my mother. When I judged my mother, I saw her as I believed others would see her. I judged her as I saw her through what I believed were the world’s eyes,  but it was my judgment of myself, it was me separating me from myself.

I could had looked at who my mother was within this judgment. I could have seen that it was her judgment of herself projected onto the world. I could have supported her to stop. I could have simply seen it for what it was and not participated. I could have learned to understand what judgment is and why it exist in the world. But I did not, because that is not what we learn in this world, that is not the pattern that has been established of how to live and exist. Instead we learn that we must unconditionally follow in our parents footsteps, take over from them, become like them — it is such an integrated rule that we do not even have to write it down in our constitutions or speak about it out loud. It is just the way it is.

No matter what – it is my responsibility because I created it within myself as who I am. I accepted the voices in my head as myself. I am the voices in my head that I have separated myself into and as. So it is my responsibility stop, stand up and change myself. See, the voices in my head might be who and what I have created and accepted myself as, but that does not mean that I have to stay this way forever.

Through participating with Desteni, the Destonians and especially through walking the Desteni I Process I have been assisted with tools and perspectives to actually, by my very own hand, to stop participating in thoughts and back chat. The difference is that we do not suppress the thoughts, we do not pretend that they are not us or who we have become — instead we embrace the thoughts and investigate them in detail, seeing exactly how we created them, one by one. For me this has been a continuous process and I see now that the idealized idea of myself has been a primary point as an obstacle with which I have placed road blocks for myself. So I am here, I am walking this process – I fall and I stand up. And if I can do that, anyone can.

Let’s walk.