How many Voice Dialogue sessions will I need? How can I get an Aware Ego? Is it possible to be completely aware?
People sometimes ask these kinds of questions, particularly ‘How many Voice Dialogue sessions will I need?’. If you want to resolve a particular issue, or you wish to reach some state of consciousness, then it’s natural to expect some kind of timeframe you can achieve your goal in. I remember thinking this way too!
The truth is you can never have enough Voice Dialogue sessions, but also that you may not even need all that many. I realise that statement appears contradictory, but bear with me.
Although Voice Dialogue is a powerful therapeutic and personal growth method, and it’s the quickest and most direct method I’m aware of for experiencing a shift in consciousness, it is only a technique.
It’s not an end in itself, nor a belief system, nor a pre-set path to a particular destination.
But it is also so much more than that.
Because it so quickly leads to a transformation of consciousness and the consequent changes in your lived experience, it’s a pretty awesome technique!
The changes you experience when and after doing Voice Dialogue can be attributed to Voice Dialogue itself (and in part to the skill of the person you are doing it with), so it is easy to mistake the technique for the consciousness experience – which is really the Aware Ego Process in action.
Because the Aware Ego Process is the goal with doing Voice Dialogue, and because an Aware Ego Process is a process and not an end you can rest in, and also because it could be activated in some other way, it is not necessarily dependant on Voice Dialogue the technique.
So although I’ve called this post ‘The Way of Voice Dialogue’, what I am really referring to is ‘The Way of the Aware Ego’.
But because Voice Dialogue is the term most people associate with this consciousness work, I’m using it as a kind of shorthand for this work.
What’s involved in the Way of Voice Dialogue?
What this means to me is that as I live my life, I consider the people, things and events around me and affecting me as a reflection of myself, maybe a part I know well or maybe a part I haven’t yet met, or a part I would rather not meet.
I see the world as a mirror of myself but one which is in constant relationship with me.
The boundary where I begin and the outside world ends is a boundary that is malleable, sometimes distinct, at other times blurry, and at yet at other times it is a boundary I am in charge of.
If I go about my day paying attention to what life brings to me, and to my responses to the things life brings, I become increasingly aware of where my comfort zones, judgments and blind spots lie.
If I look at everything and everyone as a teacher for me, as a reflection of my inner family, which I am in some sort of relationship with, and if I respond to the outside world with a sense of acknowledgement, curiosity and respect required of the situation, while at the same time being aware of how people and things are affecting me, then, to me, I am living ‘The Way of Voice Dialogue’. That is, I am in a process of becoming more conscious of the multi-faceted nature of myself.
My reactions and responses tell me where I’m at – or who I am in that moment, and the outside world tells me what is.
I then continue to move on with my life with that information.
Sometimes I’m not able to do much with it except carry it with me while continuing to experience my reactions to what’s going on in my life.
But at other times I enjoy those ‘aha’ moments when something shifts, and I feel myself becoming able to act with greater choice and compassion.
With this approach I’m not trying to be a particular type of person or to feel compassionate towards each person I encounter.
If you feel you have to be compassionate and loving toward everyone, and you have to suppress other feelings, then you are identified with a self who holds those particular rules about compassion.
Whereas the compassion that arises from accepting who you are, and eventually embracing the ‘other’ in yourself, emerges naturally and effortlessly.
I like how the ancient Indian texts describe us all as ‘one’ in reality but in our lives (a different kind of reality) we have become many individual selves who have lost touch with our fundamental connectedness. The ‘I’ we all share at our centre is described as part of a greater ‘I’, which becomes, soon after birth, even before, bound to the selves which form and arrive with us, enabling us to experience and interact with the world we find ourselves born into.
So our ‘I’ becomes identified with a self or group of selves and we lose our connection to other selves, to our essence and to the greater whole.
And so we all have our individual experiences and perceptions which are limited to the personality we have constructed and identified with.
But if we could unhook from being bound to our personality, then we would realise that not only were we bound to only a part of our personality (our primary selves as opposed to the selves we have disowned), but we were in fact, or in a deeper sense of reality, part of the greater ‘I’.
The Voice Dialogue process is about becoming aware that we have identified with one or a few selves and that in fact we are made of up many selves, and then separating from our identifications so we can embrace the whole.
It honours relationship as a teacher, in fact the method requires relationship – between the subject and the facilitator.
So the way of Voice Dialogue for me is about relationship – with our selves, with our partner, with our children (who not only mirror us and teach us but also give us unconditional love and are among the most forgiving people we will encounter), our relationship with our parents, friends, colleagues and neighbours, our relationship with the natural world around us, our relationship with the spiritual world, and our relationship with the unconscious, the all-pervading, all-knowing intelligence which, if we are willing to listen to, will guide us in our process.
If we pay attention to our reactions to the people who come into our lives and we also pay attention to who in those people might be dominant and defining their personality, in much the same way as we meet the selves in a Voice Dialogue session, we can learn much and support our Aware Ego Process.
This ‘Way’ requires that we relate with each person we encounter with the attitude of engagement and interest we would use in a Voice Dialogue session, and when we realise that we are stuck in judgment (or awe) about someone, or we can’t help but become enmeshed with someone, or we are afraid of someone, or any other response where we lose the ability to relate with some choice and so become destabilised, we accept that too, and use it as a teaching.
And then we can go and have a formal session, or countless sessions if that is what it takes, and if we feel that is right for us at the time.
That’s the ‘Way of Voice Dialogue’ for me.