Thursday, January 31, 2008

Slide Show: Thoughts from the Road 2

Dropping in on a discussion of musicopilia, musical hallucinations, on NPR while driving:

Oliver Sacks believes musicopilia occurs in some deaf or hearing-impaired people because the musical portions of the brain are so bored with lack of stimulation that it makes its own sounds so it can have something to hear.

Cheryl C., the patient being discussed on the program, got a cochlear implant to see if that would end the continuous music playing in her head. It didn’t. Cochlear implants aren’t perfect, and the external music she did hear was flat and tinny, while her brain music was symphonic, beautiful.

Cheryl hears music. I have a voice that talks, or usually frets, nags or rants, to me endlessly. My husband said he didn’t have that voice, but then he began studying A Course in Miracles shortly after I started reading it, and discovered he just had his volume turned down.

A Course says the memory of God returns to the quiet mind. God is All and Everthing; that chugga chugga chugga voice is the little ego, strutting its importance above all and everything. Give the little ego some silence, and it will quickly grow bored and afraid, afraid it's not all it's cracked itself up to be, and will turn up the volume, writing epics and staging plays about how special and entitled and threatened it is--or rather, you are.

But no matter how enticing or beautiful or scary that voice is, it's best not to forget it's just a hallucination deviling up a little stimulation, because if you remember God, how can it be emperor of the Universe?

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