So, last week I was telling Z about Dapper and other things going on and he asked me a question that lots of people who hear/sense ethereal beings get asked. “How do you hear them?”
I didn’t really have an answer for him. How do you explain hearing without sound, or sensing without touch? How do you explain the flutter of intuition or the pressure of a god’s presence? We take our senses for granted, and we have no words to describe their use or their feeling. Anything we try to explain them with invariably requires an understanding of them that confounds the explanation. Rule one of defining is that you do not use the word or experience in the definition of itself. It defeats the purpose. If I cannot see and ask you what red looks like, you would not tell me it is the color of a tomato, because that would require me to be able to see the tomato. You would, hopefully, describe it with other sensory references, but obviously that isn’t entirely accurate, since most people don’t really know what a color feels like, or what a sound looks like. (Unless you’re a synesthestite, but that’s a different bag of worms and not everyone with synesthesia experiences the same warping of senses).
I told him flat out that I don’t really know how to describe it, and that I don’t hear them literally like I can hear him. He knew this, of course, but it still confounded him. I mentioned that it isn’t always words either, sometimes it’s feelings and sensations. Sometimes it’s intuition. We went on to discuss that he had tried before, to talk to God, but that he could never be sure he wasn’t making things up. I told him that everyone who has a godphone feels that way, because it’s true. In fact, I’d wager that the more strongly you’re god-bothered, the more likely you are to think you’re crazy and making shit up. The more doubtful you are. He went on to say that may be true, but at least sometimes they know, at least sometimes they’re sure. I neglected to mention that they almost never know, and are almost never sure, at least the people I know. I did mention that even the people I trust for advice and discernment go through that and that I doubt a lot too, but that’s where faith comes in.
It’s true though, that’s where faith comes in. At some point everyone hears something false or fights sock puppets. But, especially as you get more used to it, you can start to tell when you’re hearing truth and other beings. However, that doesn’t stop the mind numbing and terrifying doubt that you’re a lunatic. And from what I’ve seen, that’s normal as you get better at listening. From what I’ve seen, the better you are at this spirit-talking god-phone thing, the more you doubt and the scarier it is. You don’t have the complete, fearless, undying confidence of a newb. Amateurs are often brave to the point of being cocky, because they haven’t seen the scary shit, or been disappointed or crushed. They haven’t had their world trampled and changed and twisted up by reality. Their heads haven’t been cracked open.
Z asked me this question and all I could think was he didn’t want to hear. It isn’t all fun and games, it isn’t always cool and awesome. While it is nice to know they’re real and can respond, it also means they can talk to you without you asking, and they can ignore you when you talk. And often times, once they realize you’re listening, they want you to listen. And what they might have to say isn’t always great. Don’t get me wrong, I love my gods, but I also see what happens with others and I see that they are on the move. I know I’ll probably get swept up in that. Luckily I have advanced friends who care about me and told me the truth about what it’s like. They speak candidly about their experiences and got the naiveté out of my head so that I can make better choices and have realistic expectations. Maybe that was by design, who knows.
In the end, who really knows anything? There are times when even the gods are unsure and who can know what we’re really hearing? It’s really a matter of faith at that point.