Photo of J'aime ona Pangaia

Becoming a More Self-Aware Person

by J'aime ona Pangaia
Copyright 2013

Consciousness Work: We use the Psychology of the Aware Ego to understand the nature of our own personality and how to engage in all the various kinds of our relationships more consciously. And we use the methods of Voice Dialogue facilitation, energy training and dream process to consciously experience and become non-judgmentally aware of our inner selves. Why? This helps us to eventually know and accept all parts of ourselves. As a consequence, we become less judgmental of others and more responsive and caring towards our own vulnerable (open-natured) selves. This leads to an increased sensitivity to others' vulnerable selves as well. As we engage in this form of consciousness work, we develop better boundaries and the capacity for more honest and attuned connections with others.
As we begin to accomplish this over time through active practice, this leads us to be more aware of how we have 'projected' our idealized and our unwanted inner selves onto other people. In fact, most of our relationships, without a consciousness process is primarily based on these projections! These can get us into very stuck patterns of relationship where the other people in our lives are experienced as either ideally wonderful, painfully hurtful, or that they need us to take care of them somehow since we believe they are unable to. All of these feelings are a sign, to the consciousness practitioner, that they are in a limited 'bonding pattern'.
In terms of spiritual development, what makes the Voice Dialogue methods stand out is that we intentionally attend to the state of 'Empty Awareness' as part of this process. Recently, a student of mine sent me this dharma quote, asking me if this was the same as the Aware Ego Process:
"The essence of mind is somewhat difficult to explain, so we look at it from the negative point of view, that is, what mind is not. First of all, we see that it is not something which arises or ceases of abides. It is free of these three things. From the begining-less time, there is no arising, no cessation and no abiding in terms of staying in one place, not moving, or changing. It is completely free of all three of these. It is also free of being a thing or a substance composed of particles. The essential entity, or substance, of mind is not something that can be defiled or stained by grasping at subject and object. It is completely fee of the stains from these activities. Further, when we look at the essential substance of mind, we find that no matter how much we search for it, no matter how much we analyze it, there is no thing there to be found. There is no entity that we can come up with by searching, evaluating and analyzing. No matter how much we seek for its essential substance, we cannot find it. The searcher, the one who does the search for essential substance of mind, cannot find it. Therefore it is said that the essential substance of mind itself is emptiness." (Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche)
There is a significant difference between this 'Empty Mind', or Awareness (the term we use in the practice of Voice Dialogue) and the Aware Ego Process (AEP). The AEP is the union of ego in the field of selves WITH the detached, present, clear Awareness (Empty Mind). The AEP does contain the felt (in the body and energy of emotions) and known experience of one or more 'selves' (such as a set of opposing selves). In the AEP, we are not ego-identified with either self in that moment (however long that moment lasts). In the AEP, we simultaneously and paradoxically experience both emptiness of mind and fullness of experience.
Therefore, while experiencing an AEP, we are IN an energy field, but again, we're not identified with this or that self. The value of the AEP is that we remain energetically engaged with the world, with our life. We live life through the energy of selves as much as we live life through the physical body. This 'essence of mind' quality is an essential element of a consciously enlightened life, and for my part, the AEP keeps us IN the lively experience of life, for ourselves, with others, and in nature. The ego, in those AEP moments, is engaged with the acting/being of one or more selves "in this moment", in relationship non-judgmentally, more open (vulnerable) and open to Source of Life.
Awareness (Empty Mind) IS quite empty itself of energy fields/currents. It witnesses life without any judgment, choices, urges, predilections, desires - we don't engage with or live life from the Awareness state; we watch it and know of it. That's why we, Voice Dialogue practitioners, bridge to include this Awareness WITH the ego-container holding the selves. Live life with Awareness and Consciousness. . . consciousness of the selves, consciousness of Awareness. That's why Hal and Sidra Stone, founders of Voice Dialogue , consider the practice of Voice Dialogue as consciousness work rather than solely spiritual work. These two practices - meditation to realize Aware, Empty Presence and Voice Dialogue to develop the Aware Ego Process - go hand in hand.