Glossolalia-Speaking in Tongues

Communication is a necessary part of living beings. According to David Attenborough, “plants can see…count and communicate with one another…react to touch and estimate time.” These claims are supported by the facts that plants turn towards the light, and even prepare themselves for sunrise by facing east in anticipation; trigger hairs on plants react to touch; there is even a social element in plant behaviour in that they fight enemies for territory and compete for mates in order to ensure the survival of the species.

One function of the unconscious and dreams is to bring aspects of our thinking and feeling which may be ill defined, toward clarification. Foreign or strange language may therefore illustrate something which is being communicated to us from within but is still not clear. The unconscious, as in speaking in tongues – glossolalia – and of course in dreams, frequently moves toward clear awareness in stages. The strange language is a half-way house toward focused critical awareness, as is a dream. If we bring focused attention to these, as explained in processing dreams, the next step, clear verbal expression, can be reached.

Glossolalia is speech arising not from our conscious mind but from the source of our life or as it is commonly called, ‘our unconscious’.

W.V. Caldwell, writing about the way Van Rhijn has defined the levels of consciousness says there are four stages. It says that dreams and unknown voices come from a part of us that is not known – unconscious. To become conscious the impulse has to travel through several levels of our mind:

a] The deeply unconscious physiological process, such as cell generation and digestion. Problems which cannot move more fully into consciousness and so are held at this level become psychosomatic pains or illness. This becomes clearer if we consider human life in relationship with other life forms. A plant for instance might have some sort of bacterial illness but would not be able to bring that to awareness. In a sense many things which occur to us, although they are very real and definite, never become a part of our conscious life, but always remain in the ‘plant’ or cellular level. If they are to move from ‘deeply unconscious physiological process’ to becoming known consciously, there are stages such events go through.

b] As the physiological or psychobiological process moves nearer consciousness, its next level of expression is postural or gestural. Thus, we may express our deepest hidden feelings in an unconscious body posture or movement. Not only our feelings express in this way, but also our physical tone or health shows in our postures and movements. Even the plant droops if it needs water.

c] Next, when something moves from the gestural to the next stage of expression it becomes a dream or a dream image or symbolic expression, which although it may not be understood, is now entering the arena of awareness. It is still a part of the move toward consciousness. This is sometimes called the mythic level and is something we see working in producing religious thinking or myth creation. It still remains at the symbolic level. So, in this level any speaking (in tongues) is still in the symbolic or non-understandable expression, and only clarifies as it enters the next level.

d] At this stage, what had been deeply unconscious, then symbolised, now rises into consciousness and is capable of being verbalised or thought about and analysed. If one had attempted to verbalise something in level two it would have been so far outside of consciousness as to defy description. Also, when looking at these levels or stages, they suggest that the dream process is a means by which deeper stages can be portrayed to awareness in order to make them known. Therefore, by working with the dream process we can tap deeper levels of awareness and make them known. It is not by thinking about a dream that makes it known but by working with the process that has taken it from the psychosomatic, through the postural upwards to the dream level. See Dreams – Practica Techniques to explore them

An interesting example of these four stages and how someone can work through them is given by Reich. When the abdominal tensions of a patient were released the man found his body making spontaneous movements. These were allowed and the movements gradually led the man to take on the posture of an animal – he and Reich both felt it to be a fish. This puzzled both of them as to it meaning, but as the movements continued the man first realised, that he felt like a fish caught on a hook and line, then suddenly, that was how he felt in regard to his mother.

As can be plainly seen, the first level is seen in the example as the man’s unconscious abdominal tensions, built into his physical structure. When these are loosened and considered by the man’s conscious attention, and the spontaneous self-regulatory/dream process is allowed to function, level two manifests as movement and gesture. This moves to level three where the movements are recognised as a symbol – the fish. Then the fourth level, insight and understanding are achieved when the man realises the fish represents previously unconscious feelings he has about his mother. At this point he can verbalise and analyse. I believe that being aware of such facts enables us more easily to open ourselves to the process of self-regulation and trust what it produces. It is not by thinking about a dream that makes it known but by working with the process that has taken it from the psychosomatic, through the postural upwards to the dream level.

Pentecostal Christianity speaks of gifts of the spirit. These are listed as the gift of: the word of wisdom; the word of knowledge; faith healing; the working of miracles; prophecy; the discerning of spirits; diverse kinds of tongues; and interpretation of tongues.

Most of these are easily recognisable descriptions of faculties of the unconscious. The unconscious is constantly scanning information and considering the highest probable outcome – thus prophecy. Access to universal aspects of consciousness allows the gaining of insights which might also account for prophecy, wisdom and words of knowledge. See Edgar Cayce

Speaking in tongues is a common way in which the unconscious expresses its feelings and insights. It is a level three expression in Van Rhijn/Caldwell’s levels of consciousness – given above; so when the ‘tongues’ are considered as symbolic expression they transform into meaningful words, just as dream symbols do. My experiments with such phenomena convincingly show the common link between these often-considered unrelated or meaningless phenomena and LifeStream. See How it Flows

While we sleep our conscious self is largely or totally unconscious, and while we dream our voluntary muscles are paralysed – therefore another will or motivating force moves our body. So, we have a Conscious Will, and what I will call a Life Will. The first one we have experience of as we can move our arm or speak in everyday activities; but the second will is in full operation when we sleep and in fact runs all our important life processes like breathing, heartbeat, digestion and also dreams as spontaneous movements.

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