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Conversations and different inner "Voices" during Meditation?

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Yay first post! Some background: I currently practice TM, have also been on intensive retreats at Suan Mokkh (10 day) and Chom Tong (21 day) in 2013.

Recently, in the past couple of months during my meditation sessions  I will occasionally mentally "hear" voices often of different qualities. They almost never sound the same; there is no real consistency. I have never been alarmed by this, and have always just taken it to be a projection from within my consciousness, and the dialogues I will have with these "voices" or what they have to say are/is always rather friendly or neutral.

I have no memory of what we talk about, and when it happens I am almost never in what would be considered a wakeful normal state, it is almost always when I am in a deeper "murkier" one within my meditation. Does not happen when I'm falling asleep either. Today, it happened during a "more wakeful" session where I wasn't as fully deep as others, and there seemed to be humans (did not recognize them) that were engaging me in a dialogue during the session. Once again I have no memory of what we talked about, but it was pretty neutral emotionally.

Anyway I am curious if other people have experienced this? What exactly is it I may be experiencing? Is it a mental projection, or potentially a ghost or spirit or something? It is even more strange because this only happens to me during meditation.

RE: Conversations and different inner "Voices" during Meditation?
Answer
11/6/15 2:42 PM as a reply to LakeWalker.
I have experienced this and continue to experience it, more and more consciously. Sometimes it is very obvious who or what is speaking, but there are many degrees of filtration and it may be coloured by feeling or suggestion- the habituated tendencies and structures of thinking, capacities for feeling, etc. become vessals for the communicative activity, so there may be tendencies that are parts of ourselves as well as potentially points of resonance between people. What we think and expereince, we resonate with, and with other indiviuals or experiences in that state or similar states. People in love will often have the  experience of hearing each other's thoughts, so you can see how the mutual orientation (ie thinking of one another) facilitates this phenomenon. Here are some pics from Sri Aurobindo's Synthesis of Yoga where he discusses this topic:

RE: Conversations and different inner "Voices" during Meditation?
Answer
11/6/15 10:53 PM as a reply to LakeWalker.
Hi LakeWalker,

During and after retreats where I go particularly deep, I have had auditory and visual hallucinations. The auditory hallucinations tend to involve hearing voices of friends telling me to do things which are not in my best interest, devas, and also daemons. The visual hallucinations are even more, crazy. If you want more detail, check out my memoir, Silicon Valley Monk, free for download from Smashwords, Google Play/Books, and Apple iStore. I talk about one retreat in 2011 where I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for a week.

I've recently had an insight into why this happens. My mind tends to get bored really easily. Boredom is a kind of soft judgement. Reality as it is manifesting to me is just not good enough, even though, as a practical matter, really, it is all there is at that moment. So my mind starts making stuff up to make reality more "interesting". This is a long standing habit, deeply ingrained, which I have a whole lot of difficulty seeing through. Sometimes, the "this is boring" isn't even a thought, it's a kind of background mind state that arises by default. When that kind of deeply ingrained aversion hits a mind experiencing high concentration states, chaos ensues. Now that I have a clue about what is happening, I'm working with it, but until I have evidence that I've mastered the problem, I'm not doing any more long retreats.

So I would encourage you to look behind the voices and see whether there isn't something going on that is not obvious.

RE: Conversations and different inner "Voices" during Meditation?
Answer
11/7/15 1:58 PM as a reply to Nick Ethan Molchanov Collins.
Thanks for the references to Sri Aurobindo's Synthesis of Yoga.  I'm reading Culadasa's "The Mind Illuminated", and in the "Fifth Interlude, The Mind System", he presents a view of the mind that follows closely the first image you linked (the image from chapter 2, Self Consecration).  Culadasa says the model he is presenting is from the Yogācāra school of Buddhism, specifically the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, but also rounded with his knowledge of neuroscience.

Bringing up Sri Aurobindo has given me another avenue I am looking forward to explore.

RE: Conversations and different inner "Voices" during Meditation?
Answer
11/7/15 4:47 PM as a reply to C P M.
Thank you for your responses.

Nick, that was really an amazing quote from Aurobindo. I will have to check out that book!

I think it really does perhaps get to the heart of what is going on; maybe I am experiencing different dimensions of "myself" so to speak that are subconsciously coming to the fore. Or perhaps what we call the world really does involve psychic "spirit" and "ghost" elements and it is those that are coming up. I am not sure, but I would love to be able to distinguish in some way.

SVMonk, I have heard of your book and it looks great, just downloaded it a bit ago. I had checked it out before on Amazon, as both SV and monasticism are of interest to me. I was deterred by the 99cent pricetag haha as I already have so many books I need to read.. thank you very much for the free links!

Right now the attitude I am taking to the "voices" is the Zen one of, if they are not related to the practice they are distractions. They are part of samsara as I see it, and not relevant to my mantra practice so I simply return to the mantra. I would not call them auditory hallucinations either as it is very clear to me I am perceiving them within my own mind, yet they "sound different" and do not seem to belong to my internal dialogue and I am not consciously initiating them.


 

RE: Conversations and different inner "Voices" during Meditation?
Answer
11/8/15 7:35 PM as a reply to LakeWalker.
LakeWalker:
Yay first post! Some background: I currently practice TM, have also been on intensive retreats at Suan Mokkh (10 day) and Chom Tong (21 day) in 2013.

Recently, in the past couple of months during my meditation sessions  I will occasionally mentally "hear" voices often of different qualities. They almost never sound the same; there is no real consistency. I have never been alarmed by this, and have always just taken it to be a projection from within my consciousness, and the dialogues I will have with these "voices" or what they have to say are/is always rather friendly or neutral.

I have no memory of what we talk about, and when it happens I am almost never in what would be considered a wakeful normal state, it is almost always when I am in a deeper "murkier" one within my meditation. Does not happen when I'm falling asleep either. Today, it happened during a "more wakeful" session where I wasn't as fully deep as others, and there seemed to be humans (did not recognize them) that were engaging me in a dialogue during the session. Once again I have no memory of what we talked about, but it was pretty neutral emotionally.

Anyway I am curious if other people have experienced this? What exactly is it I may be experiencing? Is it a mental projection, or potentially a ghost or spirit or something? It is even more strange because this only happens to me during meditation.
Yes, I have experienced this.  Actually, I was just experiencing this, I just finished a meditation session, and was able to observe this phenomenon a little closer.  

This phenomenon is definitely of the conversational type of communication. It has some characteristics, I will try to list while it is still fresh in the mind, and also from past experience with this phenomenon.

It can be as if one is listening to other people speak with each other, like eavesdropping.

It can be as if I was communicating with someone.

There are other distinct voices, not my voice.  Sometimes it is too quiet to really understand, wispy.

Sometimes the phenomenon is as though it is a lecture, a teaching being given.

From what I can tell, once this phenomenon arises it can be made to be the new object of meditation.  One has to use the mind as the objective observer as in any higher jhana, i.e. too much mind interaction and it all slips away.

Exactly what this phenomenon is or is not, I could only speculate, the usual suspects, i.e.

Mental phenomenon, daydream type fantasies, Devas, Higher Guardian Angel, Telepathy, a Normally Subconscious activity, some kind of Multiple personality phenomenon, Lucid Dream-like phenomenon, Divine Ear, Neuroscience something or other, Psychological something or other, etc. etc.

My gut says it is some kind of Telepathy, but my rational mind says it is just Mental Chatter, My life experiences say it could be both are possible.  Too many coincidences and sychronicities start to add up to say there is something going on that just does not yet have a rational explanation.  

What we do not yet fully understand we like to call magick, but when we understand it we like to call it science, either way it was always just phenomenon.

Psi