She’s known nationally as a ghostbuster who helped promote the movie Ghost. She’s a healer who wrote the books Hands That Heal and Passion to Heal. But Echo Bodine is more than that. She documented her perception of heaven in the best-selling book Echoes of the Soul, and now, with a new release planned in June, she is focused on helping others identify that still, small voice within us and learn to use it as a guide through life.
In an interview with The EDGE, Echo Bodine discusses her latest book, A Still Small Voice: A Psychic’s Guide to Awakening Intuition (New World Library), and offers encouragement to those who are on the path to knowing themselves.
The first chapter of your new book is entitled, “Humankind’s Best Kept Secret.” You are referring to that still small voice. What is it, really?
Echo Bodine: Very simply, it’s your intuition. It’s that gut feeling inside. It’s the feeling of having a hunch. What describes it best is when we hear ourselves saying, “I just know what I’m supposed to do.” Knowing is the same thing as the inner voice.
There are a lot of voices inside of us. We have the voices of our parents, our grandparents, our society, our bosses, our own should’s and shouldn’ts, and our self-worth is in us, controlling us a lot. When we can get past all of those, and get to the deep, core part of us, there’s a voice within our soul that I believe is connected to our Divine or Higher Self. That voice within is there to guide us through all aspects of our lives.
There are some problems with hearing that voice. Men have never really been encouraged to listen to their intuition, or told that they have an intuition. It’s been more of a female thing, at least according to our society, but that’s not true at all.
Intuition is something all of us have been given. I think of the inner voice as a compass or as a wayshower to guide our path. People say to me all the time, “I talk to God all the time and He never answers me, so I’ve given up.” A lot of us have been raised with the Bible and with movies from Hollywood to believe that God shouts down from the heavens or appears in a burning bush. It’s always so dramatic and kind of scary. So that’s what we all expect when we’re asking God for some answers.
It says in the Bible, “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and break in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” — 1 Kings: 19
I’ve come to believe, on the journey of mine, that we have a still, small voice — and that voice does come from God. It’s there to bring us comfort and to bring us guidance with everything.
You talked about all the voices that exist in our minds. How does one strip those away to hear the still, small voice?
Bodine: First of all, it’s important to identify the other voices. There are so many situations that we go through in life. In the book, I use the example of a young man who goes out to buy a new truck. He’s at the dealership and the car dealer is really putting the pressure on him, telling him that he has to buy today at the special deal.
Then in his mind he hears the voice of his grandma saying, “I’d never ride in that. It’s way too souped up for me.” He can hear the voice of his Dad asking, “Are you going to be responsible enough to pay for that thing? It looks pretty expensive.” He can hear the voice of his best friend saying, “Cool, man. Can I take it for a ride? Can I borrow it for my date Friday night?” His self-worth pipes up, saying, “You don’t deserve that! You haven’t worked hard enough for that.” He’s standing there, and he’s listening to all the voices.
We need to learn how to identify them and shove them aside, saying, “OK, Dad, that’s your voice. Grandma, that’s your voice. Best friend, that’s your voice. Self-worth, that’s your voice.” We need to be able to set all of those voices aside, and then go to the still, small voice and say, “Show me the truth of this situation.”
You will get a response, like a thought coming from the inside of your stomach. You may get a knowing: “Yes, you should buy this, because it is a good deal, and your job and paycheck will remain steady.” Or the inner voice may say, “No, don’t buy this.” It could be because there are some changes coming in this person’s life that he can’t see yet.
The thing about the intuition is that there’s always a calmness to it, if it says yes to us or even if it says no. It’s always very calm and a feeling of wisdom comes with it.
Part of the journey here on Earth is learning how to discipline ourselves to set aside all of those voices and get to that deep voice within. A lot of people, unfortunately, say to me, “Oh, that’s too much work. I’m just going to do things the way I’ve always done them and hopefully life will turn out OK.”
Most people do that.
Bodine: Yes. And then when life doesn’t turn out the way they had hoped, they blame God. “Look at what God has done to me. Look at the mess I’m in because of God.” Or, “God’s never here for me. God doesn’t help me.”
It isn’t that easy to live according to intuition, yet, it’s so totally cool once we can get beyond the other voices and hear our intuition. The day does come when you can instantly recognize the other voices, push them aside and feel and hear the intuition so clearly. Once you’re there, you’re on the path and you’re ready to roll. Now you’re aware of the inner guidance and the two of you can do anything together.
It seems that those people who say it’s too much work to use intuition are forsaking their responsibility to connect with God to get the answers they are looking for.
Bodine: One of the voices that we struggle with inside is the voice of religion. Religion teaches us some very strict things about God and our relationship with God. Some religions teach us that we aren’t worthy of having a personal relationship with God.
People will say to me, “Well, I’m a sinner. I can’t have that kind of close relationship with God. God would never love me. God would never care about me, or help me with my life’s decisions.” Their church teaches them that they are sinners. What I have found is that when we get to that still, small voice inside and begin to live by it, we see that that still, small voice doesn’t judge us the way we are being judged by others all the time.
Using your intuition is such a wonderful way to live. It’s very exciting.
The other thing about it is, a lot of people are not comfortable being apart from the group, from the whole herd, and listening to that inner voice. They just follow what the crowd does and wear what the crowd wears and think what the crowd thinks. They get very caught up in doing what the world says is the cool thing to do and living the way the rest of the world lives. Once we make a decision to break away from that and not be part of the herd anymore — by going inside and finding our own voice — then life just becomes magical.
But it is scary, because we’re always taking a chance of not being accepted by others. A lot of people tell me that I’m crazy for living this way.
And who has the roadmap of where this will take us?
Bodine: That’s right. And you know, we have a lot of controlling people who are trying to tell us how to live our lives, and a lot of co-dependent people around us. We bump up against these people, too, when we’re trying to get on the spiritual path.
There are lots of roadblocks, but the thing is, all the roadblocks can come down — but it takes work. I think so many people are asking themselves, “What am I searching for? What is the emptiness inside?” These seem to be different times right now, with a lot of crisis and living lives in different ways.
Perhaps a sense that what we have been doing hasn’t worked, so let’s try to go within?
Bodine: Yes. We’re getting older — and I don’t mean that in a physical way. Our souls are getting older and we’re tired of doing things the same old way. We want to find some real solutions here.
Everybody read Neale Donald Walsch’s books because they wanted to know what God had to say. And yet, you don’t have to go to the books to find out what God is saying. All you have to do is start talking to God yourself, have a conversation with God yourself. You can get the same kind of information that Neale received. A lot of people want to stay a part of the herd and say, “No, Neale, you do the work and you tell us what God is saying.” People do not always take responsibility for their own spirituality and their own spiritual relationship with God.
From a positive perspective, I think this is a good time, because people are searching more. I don’t know if it’s just my age group — I don’t know if the younger people are doing it — but it seems fewer people are reaching out for the material things to fill up the empty hole inside of them. A lot of people are continuing to read and study and go to lectures to figure out the missing piece.
For me, listening to the still, small voice is the missing piece for all of us.
How do you know if this inner voice truly is that of your Higher Self, of God?
Bodine: I think the word “voice” still throws people off. It’s really an inner feeling, a thought, a knowing. Once we hear it and get used to going directly to that part of ourselves and communicating for guidance, it just gets easier and easier to decipher it.
In the second chapter of the new book, you mention that one’s attitude about God plays a part in whether or not a person will try to make that inner connection with that still, small voice.
Bodine: At the beginning of my intuition classes, we go around the circle and share intuition stories from the past week. And most often, I’ll have the whole group sitting there silently, looking at me. “OK guys, what?” When talking about it, I learn that they are afraid, because they’re still in the mindset of the old religious God: “God’s not going to tell me to go buy the new car. God’s going to tell me to go get that used Pinto. God’s not going to want me to try to get that new job. God’s going to want me to suffer. God’s angry with me because I’ve done wrong things in my life. I can’t turn to God. I’m afraid.”
That comes up a lot. Another big challenge relates to when Jesus told his disciples, “OK, just leave all your belongings here and follow me.” A lot of people are afraid that God is going to say to them, “Just leave everything that’s important to you behind, and come follow me and live a life of abstinence where you can’t have a nice home or nice furniture or new clothes. Just wear what’s on your back and come with me.”
A lot of people tell me they cannot give up the things they love. They wonder, “Am I going to have to give up the things I love if I get on my spiritual path?” A wealthy friend of mine several years ago was struggling and praying and asking for God’s will. I asked him what he thought it was, but he didn’t know. Finally my friend told me he was scared to death that he’d have to give away all his money because there’s a story in the Bible of a man who had to give up all of his money.
“Echo,” he said, “I’ve worked so hard. Just the thought of it is too much.”
“Maybe God doesn’t want you to give up all your money,” I said. “Maybe God wants you to make more money.”
He had never thought of it that way, because of what he had read in the Bible. We think we have to prove our allegiance to God by being poor. Many years ago, my own psychic development teacher taught me that to be on a spiritual path meant that you needed to be poor, because that was proving your allegiance to God. So growing up with that kind of teaching from her was a real struggle for me, also. I see a lot of healers and “spiritual” people having that mindset that doing God’s work means they have to be poor like Mother Teresa was or like the Disciples.
Or even that they don’t feel worthy to be considered a disciple of God.
Bodine: That’s right. There’re a lot of old religious beliefs that keep us stuck. Because we’re afraid of the answers, a lot of us just don’t ask the questions of God. We think we know what the answers are going to be, but it’s just not that way. God doesn’t want all of us to relinquish all of our material possessions.
A few years ago, I thought my inner voice was telling me it was time to sell my house and get rid of everything that I had. But what I was told was to just make my load lighter. I was paying for my own house and I had nice furniture and there were bills and payments. When the voice said that it was time to let it all go, at first I felt like a victim — poor me. But, all kinds of doors and opportunities opened up and my load got so much lighter. I was no longer so burdened by all the material responsibilities. I was then able to hear my inner voice more clearly. You know, if you’re sitting around worrying about bills all day, it’s hard to hear the guidance that’s coming from the inside.
If we are guided to give up our possessions, it will be a positive thing for us. What we have to realize is that when the inner voice gives us guidance, it’s always going to be for our highest good — and it’s always going to bring us more joy than we think.
I believe you wrote about how much easier it was for you to hear the inner voice when you were single than when you were in partnership.
Bodine: It’s not harder to hear the inner voice when you’re in a relationship, but it’s more of a challenge to follow it. When I’m in a relationship, I’m always thinking, “Well, what about them? How’s this going to affect them?” And yet, I’ve learned over and over that God has a plan for “them” as well. Again, it always comes back to the fact that it is best to listen to that inner voice, whether you’re in a relationship or not.
People are worried that their inner voice will tell them to leave their husbands or wives — or their jobs. Well, if that’s really what your inner guidance is saying, then that is for your highest good and for your spouse’s or partner’s. There is a plan for everyone.
It all boils down to trusting and believing that this inner voice is the voice of the Source that created us. This inner voice really, truly loves us, and believe it or not, it wants to make our path easier, not harder.
How do you know if this inner voice truly is that of your Higher Self, of God?
Bodine: A guy said to me recently that he really wants to get out of his marriage and thinks it’s his Higher Self telling him to get out of the marriage. But how does he know?
I asked him, “Do you feel peaceful when you hear it?
“No, not really,” he said.
I said, “Then you’re not ready to act on this. You need to get really clear about whether this is your inner voice or just a desire that you have.”
One thing my teacher taught me about getting psychic information with my intuition was to say, “Just show me the truth of this situation, God.” That helps us to be able to read it more clearly.
In the Bible, it talks about going to the secret place within. That’s the place I think they’re talking about. It’s a very secret place inside where it’s just you and God talking about your life. You ask for guidance by going inside, not outside of yourself.
It’s a very sacred place. When I am in meditation and go to that place, I see it in many different forms. Sometimes I see it as a room with beautiful white light in it. Sometimes I see it as an energy form, as a male, perhaps as a female. But it always has a voice. I mentioned in the book that the first time I ever saw it, I saw it as a white sword. I was kind of surprised. I closed my eyes and was looking in the area of my solar plexus. I asked, “God, are you in there?” And this white light just appeared to me and it made itself into the shape of a sword.
And I asked, “Why do you look like a sword?”
This inner knowing said, “Because I’m your protector, as well.”
It was just so beautiful. Then for a while every time I meditated, I would go inside and look for the sword. After a while, it took on different shapes and colors.
There are guides and other helpers one can connect with. Do you believe it is important to first make a clear connection with that still, small voice inside before connecting with guides?
Bodine: I was a little girl when my Mom began teaching me about my intuition. I am really glad that I connected to it as a child. I wasn’t in my head intellectualizing it all too much, so I listened to my intuition many years before anyone ever told me I had spirit guides or angels.
I just had surgery not too long ago, and many of my students asked me, “Well, how come your guides didn’t tell you that you were going to have surgery?” You know what? I don’t really turn to my guides for guidance. I turn to my guides when I am doing psychic or healing work with people. I always turn to my intuition for personal guidance. When I wake up in the morning I ask, “Is there anything I need to do today?” I get plugged into that inner voice right away, before I even crawl out of bed.
I don’t focus outside of myself to my guides. I always focus inside to that secret place.
Some people pray to their guides and feel let down by their guides when they go through a challenge in life. I think too much importance is placed on spirit guides. They involve looking outside of ourselves to do it, to fix it, to tell us what to do. The real freedom comes to us when we can learn to go inside and connect with that voice. Then, we’re not relying on outsiders.
So it is actually a disadvantage to put so much focus on guides and angels.
Bodine: I think so. I’m sure people are going to be shocked that I say that. Here I am a psychic and I talk about spirit guides and teach about them, but I do think it’s a disadvantage. It keeps people not focused on God but on these spirits out there. I can’t see them, I can’t hear them, but they’re there and are supposed to protect me and take care of me.
I cannot tell you how many times guides have said to me, “Please tell them to stop praying to me. I can’t make things happen. I can’t protect them from going through challenging experiences. These are experiences their soul has chosen to go through. I’m here to keep them on their path, but I don’t want them to give me all this attention or power or focus.” Realistically, the guides I work with are really encouraging people to find their inner voice.
I have heard in a class I have had that your angels or guides may not be the best place to ask a question about earthly concerns, because they may not have ever incarnated on Earth and may not have any idea about how things work here, materially.
Bodine: And those who have been here on Earth may not be highly developed. A lot of times, our guides are at the same level that we are at spiritually. We are their jobs, and they are growing through our life experiences. People have this illusion that their guides are all-knowing and all-wise, and why would we need God if we have our guides?
Some people also rely extensively on books, as well as on particular authors and lecturers, for guidance, as opposed to their inner guidance. Speak to that issue of how to use books.
Bodine: I only read a book if I feel intuitively led to read it. I’ve never read any of Neale Donald Walsch’s books. It doesn’t mean they’re not good books, but when I go to buy a book, I always ask if it is right for me at this time, something I need right now. I think a lot of people go out and buy books because they love to read. They read it really fast and then move on to the next book. I don’t do that.
If I am intuitively led to buy and read a book, what that means is that there is something there that will help me grow spiritually. Sometimes people run out and read a lot of books, but they don’t absorb anything from them. They want to read the next popular book.
Again, if we’re stepping outside of the herd, we ask God, “OK, help me on my path, and show me what I need to learn. Guide me to the right books, to the right teachers and to the right classes.” That’s the most important thing to strive for, to stop doing what everybody else is doing. Stop reading a hundred metaphysical books and think that you’re a spiritual person. I have met people who have read every book there is, and yet, they are still in their heads, they’re still angry and they have no idea what intuition is. They’re usually controlling people who are telling everybody else what to do and how to do it.
I think it’s very important for someone going to buy a book, taking a class or listening to a lecturer to ask, “Is this the right thing for me to do now? If it isn’t, guide me to what I need.”
In your work, you’re helping to connect people with themselves.
Bodine: I want to help put some of the pieces together for people. I want to empower people so they don’t have to keep going to others outside of themselves for guidance. What they’re searching for can be found inside. I want to help people understand themselves a little bit better, to stop being so critical and judgmental of themselves, and to help them understand why they are going through some of the difficult things in their lives.
And on a much deeper level, I want to help them to connect with their souls, helping them to connect with God. I want people, when they leave “An Evening with Echo Bodine,” to go, “Yes, I can do this. This is exciting.”
It is an exciting path to be on. I see my role here as being a person who says, “Here, try this on and see how this fits.”
And give them permission to do it.
Echo Bodine is a teacher, spiritual healer and one of America’s top psychics. She has an extensive practice of consulting and healing based in Minneapolis, Minn. For more information on her books or meditation tapes, write her at P.O. Box 385321, Bloomington, MN 55438. Visit echobodine.com