For the first time in my life, I heard a second voice in my mind.
The reason it sounded so strange to me was because it was so vastly different to the one I had always known.
Was my compass broken?
You see, I came from a world of immense mistrust. At the age of 3 I had a near death experience and in so doing, stopped trusting myself. Accordingly, I sought out constant evidence that the world and everyone in it also couldn’t be trusted. The problem with this approach is that for the looking, I found.
By the age of 16 I had collected so many betrayals, lies and wrongful deeds that I KNEW without a doubt the world was a mistrustful place. My internal dialogue had by this stage also fallen into step with the cadence of mistrust. ‘Look! See that over there? Proof that you are right not to trust!’
Those all persuasive voices which had screamed at me constantly for years had become so common place within my mind, that they were now my friends; they were my guidance, my compass. Just as death had spent years walking beside me with one hand on my shoulder telling me that it was ok, if things became too difficult, it was there for me. The voice of mistrust had its hand on the other shoulder, telling me that it was looking out for me.
It told me stories that at first sounded unrealistic and grandiose. Stories about actions other people were undertaking behind my back. Stories about how I wasn’t welcome in this group, or wanted by those friends. Ultimately, the stories became my truth.
It’s amazing just what you will allow into your circle of ‘normal’ given enough time.
After enough time, the actual reality of what was occurring held no real weight or validity. It wasn’t uncommon for my wife to say something directly to my face only for me to twist it around and come back with something completely different. After a while, each time we would get into an argument she would take her phone out and record what was being said. This was the only way for her to be able to show me that I was often living in a completely different (and quite distorted) version of reality.
The biggest issue with such a thing is that it doesn’t matter what is real and what isn’t. Because we create our own realities with our mind and then use that very same mind to navigate said “reality”. Any work we do from a place of mind to overcome this issue is akin to a thief telling you he’s honest.
One example I can give is regarding my jealousy in my relationships. My mind would tell me that my wife was on her phone so much because she was messaging with another man. It would become so convincing that it became justifiable for me to look through her phone in order to find the evidence. Once again, in looking, even if there really is nothing there, we will find something. The mind is a very powerful tool, but left unchecked an even more powerful nemesis. The stories it can create to validate its own version of things can be impossibly hard to break free from.
The journey home from delusional reality
It took removing the mind from the equation for me to be able to start recognizing this. I was fortunate enough to start working with plant medicines in Shamanic Journeying which allowed me the space to see exactly what was actually happening; all without my mind interfering with it’s own little realities.
When I came to realize that I had been forging my own delusional reality, I began the long journey back. I started recognizing that things were not as I had always perceived them to be. Although I couldn’t quite see the actual reality of a given situation, I started realizing that there was in fact one which stood in vast contrast to my stories. As I progressed in the work, I began understanding that each time my mind would tell me a story, I had a choice.
I could choose to walk the same path as always; validate the story by looking for the evidence.
Or I could take the path of contrary action.
The more I walked the path of contrary action, the more I began hearing a new voice. This one was softer, gentler and not convincing. It spoke its truth and then went silent, as opposed to the harsh, loud voice of doubt that had always walked with me.
The first several times it happen was quite disconcerting. I would hear the faithful old stories telling me to pry and dig. Then I would hear a soft voice pointing out the actual reality as it stood. It didn’t want to convince me of anything. Just to show me a different version of reality to what I was used to seeing.
I’m now at a point where I’m actively working with this gentle new voice; the voice of my heart as I’m coming to know it as.
Where it takes me from here… well that’s a whole new story!
***Do you struggle with mistrust or delusional versions of reality? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!