Photo of J'aime ona Pangaia

Expanding Voice Dialogue

by J'aime ona Pangaia
Copyright 2018

Some of the most common reasons people are attracted to Voice Dialogue is to either get help solving personal problems, relationship issues or to heal emotional pain (past emotional wounds or current pain of a strong inner critic.)
The founders of Voice Dialogue, Hal and Sidra Stone, began the titles of most of their books with the phrase, "Embracing our ..." (selves, each other, our inner critic). At the same time, the focus of their work is to 'separate from' identifying with any of our selves.
Let me take a side moment to define 'selves'. Examined carefully, these 'selves' are no more than a composite of ideas, feelings, sensations, perceptions. They are both 'universal' (everyone experiences them in their own way) and they seem to be made of 'me-ness'. The are not 'real people' in us; they are composites temporarily imbued with the full experience of "I am'.
When we 'embrace' a self, what that means is that we non- judgmentally embrace the fact that this self, or composition, is happening in our experience. When we 'separate' from a 'self', we are noting the difference between the composite experience of thought/feelings/sensations/ perceptions and what we essentially are: awareness aware of itself. We are recognizing that we are NOT that, rather, that happens (and passes). Little by little, through practice, we come to recognize our true aware nature, which has no essential form, yet is known to the mind, in disguise as infinite expressions.
This doesn't mean that the composites, the selves, the thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions go away. It means that little by little we become less identified with them and our true nature begins to shine through.
We don't have to practice at 'being good'. Goodness is our nature. We don't have to practice happiness. Happiness is our nature. When we're not identified with selves, this is clear.
In the end, using Voice Dialogue to solve any problems is an engaging distraction from the direct knowing of, being truth. The only 'problem' we actually have is being convinced that what we are are the compositions of thought / feelings / sensations / perceptions. It is THERE that we experience suffering, fear, longing, etc.
It took me many years of practice to really understand in my direct experience that what the Stones' call the 'aware ego process', is not at all about making more conscious choices. It's about awareness being directly experienced even as selves (thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions) are occurring, and not becoming caught up in them. From that, life still continues to happen.
In all honesty, I'm not sure if this is where the Stone's understanding is, but it's where mine is, and that is where I will continually teach from. Of course, I dearly love and respect what gifts the Stones have brought forth from their own direct experiences! And they were significantly instrumental to supporting me to come to 'this.'
For me, Voice Dialogue has gradually transformed from being primarily a psychological practice to an Awareness practice.