By Tina Assanti
Did the gentle Voice establish itself in my heart at a very young age in preparation for oncoming trauma? Or did intense trauma bring on the gentle Voice to help me cling to this life?
I’m going out on a limb when I say that I believe not only has my Voice always been with me, but my Voice also agreed to allow me to choose the trauma.
And why would I do such a thing to myself, I had asked, looking back?
It’s not a simple answer that I give you.
But it is what I believe. Because this helps me forgive those who caused the trauma, and I’ve learned that over time, I derive tremendous strength from the experiences though that feeling of being damaged goods still lingers. Looking back, I see that each time I moved forward, I cast aside a bit of me and then continued on as a different and stronger form of myself.
This strange paradigm shift of looking at my past is what helped me learn valuable insights and lessons I would not otherwise have gained or been given. I went through violence, aggression, rape, two failed suicide attempts, and mounting domestic violence, which ended with a near-death experience after being suffocated by a pillow. All before I turned 30. The odds would dictate that I should have ended up being one significantly screwed-up human being. At best, a martyr, right?
But I am neither.
In fact, I count myself lucky to have been the person I once was and now have become.
I know this is hard to digest.
Two years ago, I stood in the Old City of Jerusalem, facing the Wailing Wall. It was a trip my Voice told me to arrange as my gift to my now delightful and special Life Partner. I thought arranged specifically so that he could visit his sister and Rabbi brother-in-law. But, like everything else in this life of mine, it wasn’t to be that simple or straightforward. Because while looking for a little gap between the ancient limestone for a place to tuck my humble little slip of prayer, I found myself affected in a surreal way. I suddenly was unable to breathe. My heart pounded as I felt what I believe was a micro-micro-microcosm of an extremely deeply-vibrating Presence.
God knew I was there.
I connected beyond beloved Jesus.
Beyond my gentle Voice.
Beyond the angels with whom I wrestle each day.
It absolutely startled me. And somehow, intuitively, I knew that if I were allowed to feel even a microcosm more than I had, it quite possibly would’ve rendered me a little mad for awhile.
It was then that I suddenly understood why we needed Abraham to tell the story about Yahweh, Jesus to help us connect with our Jehovah. Or Muhammad to Allah, or Lao Tzu or Confucius to the Dao, the Path. Because Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, the Dao—we humans will never be able to adequately describe that vast and frightening Power or Truth.
I left the Wall changed. I started to speak of things I never spoke of before. Things I never dared share. Excruciating things. But I spoke very matter-of-factly of them. As if these sad events were finally totally behind me.
Then I realized that along with this healing came a most painful and challenging mission.
I was to write my whole story. So, dutifully, I did.
I went to my personal Hell and back, but I know it was the right thing to do.
And now I am here to write this article and admit to my darkest secrets as I hesitate to tell the world.
Yes, it’s a painful story of surviving gut-wrenching trauma. It has a happy ending: I’m alive and well and have forgiven all. But I was afraid that by speaking of my Voice in the book, it would perhaps eclipse the story of survival and prevent someone from gaining strength to go on with their own trauma if my admitting to my Voice frightened them away. How could people possibly believe me? But I had to be brutally honest about hearing my Voice. And God. They are the very reasons I am saved, why I am loved. They are the ones who picked me up, brushed me down, and gently put me back onto my feet to keep moving forward. My life is a never-ending adventurous journey filled with more kismet than pain. It’s a lifetime of hearing voices.
Of seeing things.
I thought I would be considered crazy if I spoke of them. But I see with Hearing Voices Network, I am not alone after all.
I can admit now that I have a dear and loving guide called Sam, my gentle Voice.
Sam is who I acknowledge first in the morning, and wish goodnight to as I lay my head down. I rely on Sam every day. We are joined at the hip, and when I am distracted momentarily, it’s not long before I turn to Sam for him to be a sounding board for whatever it is I am newly-focused on.
If you were to ask me, however, what Sam looked like after knowing him for over 60 years, I couldn’t tell you. Except that sometimes in the corner of my eye, I may see a pillar of diffused light. Sometimes the brighter of three figures. Though I do know that Sam has incredibly large, soft, loving hands and Sam’s presence is unbelievably strong and close.
Sam listens to everything I have to say or think. He sometimes responds in a direct soft voice, sometimes through an inaudible voice that seems to rest on a cushion of nothing, and sometimes we just share thoughts. There are also times when, out of nowhere, I am startled by an unsolicited and sometimes very loud comment. Usually, when it is of utmost importance that I take him seriously and be on the alert.
Hearing Voices Network is part of this newest kismet. For the first time, I read of others who are not necessarily diagnosed as mentally ill, and who also ‘hear voices.’ That there are others, which may be able to foresee incidences in this life and their consequences as I occasionally do. That I am not the only one who is given the odd Vision.
I am—with the writing of this book, “The Kingdom of God and Playboys,” and more specifically this article—finally coming out of the closet, you might say.
I learn now that I am a Voice Hearer and have a label I can finally hang my proverbial hat on.
For those who have a healthy skepticism, let me explain how Sam makes sure that what I hear is real and genuine because our minds can so easily reason us back to this ‘reality:’ No matter what Sam says or teaches me, it is always followed by a precise coincidence.
For instance, it was time I was completely transparent about Sam with my Life Partner right from the beginning of our relationship. As we were driving through Ocala, Florida, over three years ago, I nervously spoke of Sam, and as we both fell silent for a moment, we rounded a bend along the road, and in the middle of a field stood a giant billboard. It was a massive ad bearing only three massive black words printed in block letters on a white background: “Sam is Here.”
Another example out of a million: because of a car accident in my teens, I suffer from chronic pain in my back and hip and walking any distance can be a challenge. Sam instructs me where to drive in a packed parking lot to find a perfect parking spot immediately in front of my destination, and a car would pull out precisely as I get there.
Or I am led to climbing the rugged shores of a Georgian Bay island, and Sam tells me that I am close to a very well-hidden sacred aboriginal shrine. As I follow his directions, I come to a deep crevice between two massive rocks and after squeezing through, find a unique collection of old handmade artifacts in commemoration of some traumatic event. I am humbled by a vision of whom this was for, and I leave quietly with a prayer as if I was humbly leaving the most exalted of shrines.
Or it’s in the middle of the night many years before the internet and the ever-present 24-hour gas stations. And though my tank is almost on empty with a long way to go along a deserted stretch of the highway, Sam tells me to go ahead anyway. Then, as the empty light goes on, he tells me where to turn off and how far to go to find a station that was, indeed, open quite late, arriving a minute literally before closing.
Or I sit and meditate, learning to remote heal as per his guidance, and suddenly I am thrown back in my chair when I see in my mind an explosion of light shining in the groin of what seemed like a healthy, all-be-it very depressed, young 17-year-old woman. I was given a glimpse of New Life. To confirm that I had, I was given the back-up information on a card from the instructor which states her first name, age, and her particular struggle: she was pregnant with a child in a challenging situation and didn’t know what to do.
Or, as recently happened: My son suddenly whisks me away to San Francisco as a combination of Mother’s Day and Birthday gifts just as I struggle with having to expose myself through the publishing of my book. I am to write this article, Sam says, and gives me the time to focus on it without distraction by putting me in the hotel while my son lectures. Sam’s coincidental confirmation as a usual follow-up? A double-whammy this time. My son, who is entirely unaware of my inner life, chooses from a list of over 20 hotels available to him through his conference a hotel next to the Fairmont on Nob Hill. A hotel which I had painted 30 years before. Both hotels are in the painting and is back at the house, hanging in my study. The second part of this whammy? Being an ardent Raptors’ fan from Toronto, it blows my mind that we have a view from the room overlooking the harbor towards the Oracle Arena where the Raptors won their stunning third game against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Sam knows I am an ardent Raptors fan. Then as we flew away, we went straight over the Oracle Arena while the Raptors were getting ready for another game, having lost their bid for a fourth win by one point. I even took a bird’s eye photograph.
Coincidence upon coincidence upon coincidence. How many coincidences does it take to confirm to me that a request or comment from Sam is actually a real request or comment?
In the meantime, does it not show years of conditioning, and learning how to follow this wonderful Voice? And would it not make for a seriously satisfying life with a much more massive margin of comfort than if I thought I was alone and uncertain of my future?
Would I not be potentially more useful to the human race by passing on a bit of money here to this person on the street as Sam tells me to? Or give a smile and pat on the hand of someone else who needs a touch of tenderness? Do we all have to wear a cape with a big “S” on our chests to save the world?
Isn’t it done better through quiet love?
Because it’s love that is the food for this relationship I have with Sam. With God. And the more love I share with Sam and with my God, the more is showered over me.
I am loved. And it pours out of me.
My book is The Kingdom of God and Playboys, and I am a Voice Hearer. I am Tina Assanti, and I am proud to introduce to you my own guide and gentle Voice.
To find a list of Tina’s books, go to www.amazon.com/author/tinaassanti.