– Daisaku Ikeda
I feel as if the voices are receding farther and farther away – from me, from my own life, from my family and from my husband. I still hear them here and there, in bits and pieces, their whispering floats in and out of my head and my mind. There is very little screaming and yelling anymore. Occasionally I’ll hear a siren or two out on the street behind our house in Sunnyvale, but for the most part, the evil, intrusive insidiousness of the voices is gone. I still have myself to work on, but I believe in 2014 I will experience a newfound freedom I haven’t felt for many years. My life will never be the same.
I believe what Buddhism teaches: that death is a part of life. The above quote about dying is very true. Although many people die tragically before their time from accident or illness, isn’t it much worse to live life without purpose or meaning? To live as if dead? To me, this is what the terrible voices represent – people who lived, but were not alive. The voices started out in life as people (I always thought of them as people, at least initially) – yet somehow, somewhere along the way, for who knows what reason – their lives deteriorated and degenerated into something less than human. The voices were people who lived as if dead.
Needless to say, I never felt much compassion or pity for the voices, even when I thought of them as real people. There was nothing I had ever said or done that warranted the type of persecution I experienced. It is only by looking at my experiences from a Buddhist [faith] perspective, that I have found meaning and value in something that was so horrific. By sharing my experience in the form of a memoir, I aim to encourage other people with their own challenges and weaknesses.