VOICES IN THE HEAD RAP
 
(for Inpresence List - 11/22/99)
To those of you who may have wondered in the past, "What's a linguist doing on a list of intuitives?", let me share some of my teaching -- in a public university as well as two private ones.

Early in the quarter, after reminding them that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for her answer to the question, I begin by asking how many voices my students have in their heads. The properly socialized ones readily answer "One," and some of those stick with that answer to the very end, especially in public school. Some have actually paid attention internally before, and answer that there are 3 or 4 or 5. And then there are the rest, who've never really wondered about it or even paid attention before, who come back weeks later in journals and write about it. Just to spur their thinking, I say, "If you tell me 'only one,' then I'll have to ask you, 'Then who is it that you argue with in your head sometimes, and who's that who criticizes you and beats you up in your head?'"

I wind up focusing on the critizing voice, and ask them if they're satisfied with the way that voice treats them, or if they'd like to modify that voice somehow -- make it be less insistant on all or some things, or more respectful, or just go away completely -- and tell them they can confront that voice and ask or even tell it to change. Who's in charge, after all?

By the end of the quarter, my students have had a chance to explore, shallowly or deeply as they please, an aspect of their humanity that is usually covered over by our culture, and in the relatively safe confines of a university class with the non-judgmental lens of linguistics as the context.

This and the other examples of maverick waking-up insights that I provide constantly amaze my public-school students, in particular. But, maverick though I am, even I have to hold back and respect the boundaries sometimes, so I've never taken them to the next level -- as I do with the private-school students, who have paid extra money to get a wider truth along with their degree, in my experience.

At the next level, it's about finding a particular voice and going with it unquestioningly and with no hesitation as, in pairs, in light trance, one looks in soft focus at the other for five or more minutes, looking first at the third eye position and later at the heart, saying out loud for the other, in an uncensored way, absolutely everything seen, heard or felt during that time; then, both going back into trance, the previous readee becomes the reader, after which they have time to compare notes and link up everything. When I ask how many of them had psychic hits happening in their team, all the hands usually go up.

This is especially useful in my JFKU Spring class, "Speaking Matters: Metaphors of Dis-Easing and Healing." When those students can realize in the second or third week that ALL of us -- not just the professionals -- are incredibly psychic when we relax and allow ourselves to be so, they become even more open to the quantum medicine insights of Larry Dossey and the spiritual medicine insights of Native America, compared and contrasted with popular allopathic models. A highlight of this class, for me, is assigning them to go out and actually experience an alternative form of therapy they'd never tried; fully 80% come back from that assignment MINUS some long-standing physical problem.

Even my passing along past classroom experiences can have astounding effects. I love to tell the story about a student whose mother, going blind, took the full battery of eye tests, only to be told by the ophthamologist that she'd been hit with two eye diseases at once -- either of which would be terrible, but together they were catastrophic and irreversible. Rather than just caving in, this woman took up again various practices she'd abandoned: meditation, visualization, affirmation. It was in a meditation that it hit her like a ton of bricks that, for at least the last decade or more, she'd been habitually using the phrase, "I just can't stand to SEE that!" Once she took responsibility for the challenge, she was able to jettison that and other self-limiting phrases from her daily chattering repertoire, and practice linguistic mindfulness. A few months later, feeling her eyesight returning and taking the same battery of tests again, the same doctor came out, surprised, and told her that her conditions were reversing. This story, in particular, was pointed to by a student a couple of years ago who was in knee-braces for some weeks into the class and then wasn't wearing them. During the final week she told everybody that the above story got her examining her own life, and she found she'd been saying habitually for years the phrase, "I can't STAND that!"

The new field of quantum linguistics has consciousness -- different levels of consciousness -- as a foundation. Speaking actually matters, in our own bodies over time, and usually what we're doing in those habitual cases is repeating out loud what a voice in our head said, so confronting and dialoguing with those voices becomes of even more concern. How great it is to present all of these ideas in a higher-education setting!