Confession...I talk to myself. Out loud. Not only do I talk to myself, I talk to other people. People who aren't there. Usually people I am pissed off at. I sometimes say what I wish I would have said...sometimes what I am going to say...and sometimes what I would say if there were no holds barred and I didn't care about the nuclear fall out from telling it like it is. Or wait...probably telling it like I THINK it is would be a more accurate assessment.
Eckhart Tolle talks about a woman who rode the same bus he did...a woman who kept up a running dialogue...a conversation with herself and an imaginary non existent person. She was very angry...and expressed the anger, out loud, for all to hear. Eckhart thought she was as crazy as a loon...
He writes about the experience in his book, A New Earth and I found an online interview from 2008 where he tells the same story. I am thinking that he has probably told that same story countless times in countless interviews sort of like a singer who has a hit in the early days of their career and then are forced to sing that same song ad nauseam...for the rest of their professional lives.
Ms. Tippett: You know, you told a story in A New Earth about an experience you had, which was actually a few years before you really had kind of a breakthrough and came out of that, where you experienced a woman talking to herself on the train, right? On the tube train.
Mr. Tolle: Yes.
Ms. Tippett: Tell that story. Kind of caught in her thoughts, and then you came to understand that you had some of the same problems.
Mr. Tolle: Yes. So she would — I would sometimes see her on the train. I call it the tube, the subway, in the morning. And she would continuously talk to herself or, rather, to an imaginary person in a very angry voice. Continuously complaining, "And then he did this to me. Then he said, and I said — then how dare he tell me this," and I watched in amazement how can anybody be so insane and still apparently have a job? Because she would catch the subway every morning.
Ms. Tippett: [Laughter] She was going somewhere, right?
Mr. Tolle: And one day I was sitting opposite her on the subway, and she got off at the same station that I needed to get off to go the university library. I followed her, and we got closer and closer and finally I realized, oh, my God, she's going to the university.
Mr. Tolle: Because at that time, I still thought the university was the great temple of knowledge, and the professors and so on, they had all the answers and I would eventually find them too. I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I thought, "My God. Her voice. She never stops talking." And I suddenly realized, well, I do that too, except that I don't do it out loud. And then I thought, "I hope I don't end up like her," and somebody next to me looked at me and I suddenly realized in shock that I had actually said these words aloud just like her. I said, "I hope I don't end up like her." [Laughter] So I realized my mind was as incessantly active as hers. Our only difference was that my thought was mostly based on feeling sorry for myself. It was kind of depressed kind of thinking. My patterns were fueled by anger. But that was only a very brief …
Ms. Tippett: Right.
Mr. Tolle: … flash of realization. But I always remember it because that was — it took years before I finally was able to really step out of the stream of thinking and realize there is a place inside me that is far more powerful than the continuous mental noise with which for many, many years I had been completely identified, just like that woman.
Yep...I know that feeling well. The constant audio going on in my head. And I've actually...dare I admit this without concern that the guys with the white coats will show up unexpectedly at my door...I've blurted out things in public places. Just like Eckhart did. Just like the lady in his story. I remember distinctly one sideways WTF look from a woman in the parking lot of the grocery store...when, as I pushed my empty cart to the cart corral, I said a few things to myself out loud. Yes...out loud in an annoyed tone....with nobody anywhere near me to be annoyed with. Hmmmmm.
I told this little tale to Emily yesterday as we chatted in the kitchen. She laughed and said, "Mom, you're nuts" and then suggested I get a blue tooth earpiece and wear it 24/7...or at least when I am out and about in public...to dispel any concerns about my sanity :)
But back to the women in the parking lot. I wonder if, perhaps, she was doing the exact same thing I was doing...conversing with the voice inside her head....but with the good sense not to do it out loud.
This reminds me of a quote I ran across recently in a book by Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight, Further Reflections On The Parable of The Prodigal Son.....
There is one sort of person who seems to be silent, but inwardly criticizes other people. Such a person is really talking all the time. From Desert Winds by Yushi Nomura
So where am I going with all this? A lot of what fuels this inner dialogue...this merry go round, whirlwind....sink hole ...of thoughts is resentment. As expressed in the quote by Nomura, even if the words are only spoken silently, in our minds, they are still just as hurtful, harmful...dysfunctional. We must rid ourselves of the resentment...the old anger, the wounds that we've covered with a bandage and left to fester and ooze their toxins...
And that is why this 4th Step from AA's 12 Steps seems brilliant.
More on that....tomorrow...