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Newsletter 19

                              17th April 2015

The Journey

To use Voice Dialogue as a tool for dealing with problems, issues or challenges in our lives, is to begin a journey - a journey into our psyche.... and beyond.

 

The first step can start with quite ordinary concerns. For example, we may be having difficulty deciding on a purchase: "I'm not sure which dress to buy for the party. Part of me thinks I'll look great in this one, but another part of me thinks it's too showy and people will judge me." Or it may concern a dilemma about our job: "Should I stay in this job or leave? A bit of me would really like more freedom to explore and try out new things. But I also feel very insecure about taking a leap into the unknown." It can involve relationship difficulties: "Part of me used to find his easy-going attitude very endearing. Now I find his indecision and lack of direction really hard to deal with." Or judgments of other people: "I can't stand their cold, ruthless approach to doing business."

 

All of these examples invite us to explore and embrace the multiplicity of who we are - our many I's, parts, aspects, bits or "selves". We learn which selves we are identified with as being "me", and as a consequence discover which selves have been relegated to the shadows as being "not me". It is a truly fascinating journey in which dreams, body symptoms, fantasies, judgments and conflicts all have something to teach us. Yet to meet all these many and varied aspects of our psyche is just the first part of the journey. It is not actually the goal of Voice Dialogue.

 

When in a Voice Dialogue session the facilitator helps us to separate from a self with which our ego is identified - for example a pushing self that by default has us work all hours without a break - we have the opportunity to meet the self that has been disowned as a consequence - in this case a chilled, laid back self that brings us the ability to switch off, relax and recharge. We now have an ego that is aware of this pair of opposite energies and a process can begin of holding the tension between their very different priorities and demands. We call this an Aware Ego Process and it enables us to make more conscious choices in our everyday lives. But there is more to this journey.

 

As we dialogue with more and more of our inner voices, deeper questions naturally arise. Just what is this place / space we call the Aware Ego that sits in between all our selves? If it's not a self, then what is it? Does it only operate on the material, worldly plain or does it include the realm of the spiritual? Where does the process ultimately lead? Is there something more behind or beyond it? Is there an "organising intelligence" that naturally informs and influences the Aware Ego Process? If so, what is its purpose? So from the ordinary concerns of daily life the journey leads us into extraordinary territory!

In the conclusion to his autobiographical essay From Enlightenment to the Aware Ego Process to Source Energy (2013) Hal Stone writes:

'What is it within us that drives us to learn to embrace opposing energies? It is the Source Energy that pushes us in this direction. It is this Source Energy that was instrumental in the discovery and evolution of the Voice Dialogue process. And please keep in mind that Voice Dialogue is simply a method for birthing the Aware Ego Process. For us, it is still the best method that we have found for birthing the Aware Ego process. Ultimately this Aware Ego Process can lead us to a deeper and more direct experience of the Source Energy that lies beyond apparent dualities; suddenly the apparent duality of earth/world energies vs. spiritual energies has a chance to become clear to us and this duality that has existed for so long, is no longer an issue.

The process of the Aware Ego brings honor to these two dimensions of reality and I do believe that the Universal Intelligence / Source Energy / Organizing Intelligence would smile, and even laugh, at the idea of our embracing a union of such opposites.'

In her article below, Transpersonal Dialogue - Voice Dialogue as a Transformational Practice, Ana Barner describes some techniques she has developed to explore this territory. And in Nothing At All, I describe how a mysterious message was delivered to me as I travelled in Finland.

 

Happy journeying!

John

 

To read previous newsletters click here.



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Transpersonal Dialogue - Voice Dialogue as a Transformational Practice
 - by Ana Barner

 


Voice Dialogue is an excellent tool to explore and extend our personality, helping us to navigate our world more effectively from the centered and grounded reality of the Aware Ego Process. The focus of Transpersonal Dialogue is to reconnect us with our Essence, a space within us that is more than our personality, where past and future fade away and we are deeply present in the Here and Now. Our intense attachment to the idea of a separate Identity starts to fade away and we are deeply connected to the universe and all living beings. Combining Voice Dialogue and Transpersonal Dialogue opens the opportunity to live our lives consciously grounded in our personality as well as deeply connected to a sense of spacious Being.


 
Who Are We?

 

There are a multitude of spiritual practices supporting people in the search for Enlightenment, Stillness, Being, Flow, Connection to Source. Voice Dialogue is in itself a consciousness process that can take us to a similar experience. By fully identifying with a self and then separating out and dis-identifying from this self, we can come to the realisation that even though we contain all these selves, we can also watch and describe them, therefore we are not them. So who are we? This can be disconcerting, especially if we are attached to the idea that we are a separate individual. Developing an ever increasing Aware Ego Process through Voice Dialogue and other practices it is possible to handle the sense of emptiness, dissolving and merging that can be experienced when following this path of inquiry.


Voice Dialogue

We can "stumble" upon an experience of the Transpersonal within a Voice Dialogue session at any time. For me it is worthwhile to assist my clients to have more deliberate access to this and I would like to share with you a few ways this can happen within a "traditional" Voice Dialogue session. It is possible to talk to an Inner Healer, Wise One, Sage, Higher Self, etc. and they might open us up to an experience of Being. Often though by exploring more Disowned Selves like terror, not knowing, grief, aloneness, depression, wanting to die, rage, strong vulnerability, etc., a space can open up that is so luminous and expansive that it is unmistakeably a spiritual experience. The selves that we are most afraid of can be gateways to our transcendent nature if we allow ourselves to stay with the energy and not move into our usual Primary Selves. My work as a facilitator is to hold this space and allow it to deepen and expand.

Another pathway is to work with a group of Primary Selves, what I call "the Gang" which can include the Rulemaker, Perfectionist, Pusher, and Critic, etc. After such an exploration people often experience the pressure, stress and depression that an overactive Primary Self System can produce. If I ask at that moment for a part of them that is not trapped within that system and we find a space in the room where this energy would be, we might drop into a Source experience.

Using elements of Genpo Roshi's Big Mind - Big Heart process is anotherway to deliberately access the Transpersonal, either with individuals but especially with groups. After training with Genpo Roshi some years ago I have integrated some of his processes into my teaching.

Transpersonal Dialogue

The reason I make a distinction between Voice Dialogue and Transpersonal Dialogue is that I have a sense that when I work with people once they are in an expanded sate my intention, focus and method changes. Initially I support the client in learning how to keep coming back to stillness by noticing other Selves that come in and practicing letting them go. These are usually Primary Selves like the Pleaser who is aware of being watched and wants to do it right, or the Critic that comments on this, the Rational Mind trying to understand what is going on, or some kind of Pusher wanting to make sure that the client remembers how to do this again next time. I invite the client to stay centred in Presence and let parts of the personality come and go, without judgement or attachment. Because the energy is contagious it is possible to induce the experience in the client by raising the vibration within myself. Once I have a feeling that the client has more continuous access to the energy I will start to extend and ground it by asking people to open their eyes, look around the room, connect with me and even walk around and talk. My role as a facilitator is to keep being connected to the spaciousness and notice when they lose that experience and bring them back to it. This process gives them the experience of being able to be active and linked to another person whilst resting in the experience of Being. Most of us have only experienced this kind of expansion when we are alone and inactive or through intense meditation or peak experiences. To be practicing this in a session can be life changing.

Towards the end of this exploration, before going back to the Aware Ego place, I usually spend some time brainstorming with the client about ways to remember and access the Transpersonal, such as meditation, being in nature, gardening, dancing, listening to certain kinds of music, etc. 

The Aware Ego Process

When I started working with this in the mid-nineties I had a tendency not to want to come back to the centre and reconnect with the personality. Clients often experience this shift as artificial, awkward and restricting, they want to stay in the expanded state. But the real gift of this exploration is, as always in Voice Dialogue, the Aware Ego Process. From here we can sit between the polarity of our personality on one side and Being in Source on the other. We can practice bringing both energies in and out and learn to have some choice about the intensity by dialling them up and down. Having more awareness and choice creates the possibility to start living grounded in Being whilst connecting with life out there through our personality with an Aware Ego process activated. 

The Transpersonal as a Resource

Apart from the obvious benefits of having more deliberate access to a space of emptiness and deep connection to the universe, this process can
also support people through difficult times. When life challenges us with illness, loss, trauma, aging, etc. our Primary Self system gets more activated to protect our vulnerability. Voice Dialogue teaches us to connect to our vulnerability directly and then having deliberate access to Source expands our capacity to take care of ourselves more consciously and stay present and connected during those turbulent times.

Training Other Facilitators

We know that it is important as a facilitator to have access to a part in order to be able to facilitate it in any depth. This is especially the case with the transcendent energies, as they are so subtle and refined that their presence can easily be missed. On the other hand, people who are interested in working with the Transcendent are often unconsciously identified with it. The Higher Self has become a Primary Self protecting them from the experience of their vulnerability and other parts of their personality. It is therefore important to become aware of and separate from any spiritual Primary self-system. 

Because the transcendent energy often comes through a deep experience of a Disowned Self, trainees have to become comfortable and confident with working with disowned energies. They have to be able to walk into the jungle whilst holding the Aware Ego Process for the client and themselves. 

It also takes some skill to notice the presence of a gateway, being able to intentionally access Beingness and then help the client to keep out interrupting voices and expand the transcendent energy. If inducing and holding the space presents challenges, being able to then connect with the client from emptiness and assist them in grounding the energy is often very confronting. A strong sense of intimacy opens up when we connect in this way with someone and it can be difficult for the facilitator to allow this to happen and be able to hold the impersonality of an Aware Ego at the same time. 

The work with the Aware Ego Process at the end of the session is important as well. Trainees need to know how to assist people in bringing in both energies (Personality and Transpersonal) and then consciously release the intense connection that often occurs between facilitator and client in this work. 

As with all aspects of facilitating, the personal gains for the trainees are immense. I often teach facilitating to participants even though they will never become facilitators. Learning how to be with another person from an Aware Ego space with mindfulness, non-judgement and total focus, is an incredibly empowering and satisfying skill. And if we can turn this compassionate attention and acceptance towards ourselves, so much of the suffering that is being caused especially by the Critic gets released. Facilitating the Transcendent teaches the trainee to deliberately tune into an experience of Being and Source within themselves and function in connection with others, without losing this link. Imagine being able to increasingly do this not just in sessions but also in your daily life!

___________________________

 

Ana will be in London in May to teach a master class. To see her website click here.

 

     
 
Nothing At All

- by John Kent


 

My first job after leaving university had been in Jyväskylä a small town in the centre of Finland. I had arrived in the middle of September to find Autumn well underway in this land of forests and lakes. I had grown up in the urban sprawl of London and the spectacular displays of red, yellow and orange leaves had dazzled and amazed me.

Now after an absence of twelve years I was back visiting friends. There was so much to tell them - my travels around the world, the different jobs I had done, relationships begun and ended. My Finnish friends were particularly interested to hear about the three years I had spent living and working in Japan - a strange and exotic country to them. While there I had begun studying a martial art which had its roots in esoteric Buddhism and it was something I still practiced. To my friends my life seemed as rich and varied as the colours of Autumn.

Coming down to breakfast one morning I found a letter waiting for me. It had been posted to my London address from Massachusetts and had then been forwarded on to friends in Helsinki who had redirected it to me here in Jyväskylä. It had been on quite a journey! I could feel something solid inside the thick brown manilla envelope. What could it be and who had sent it?

To my astonishment, when I opened it I found a sheet of paper carefully folded around a red maple leaf and a piece of birch bark. On the paper was written a simple message: 'So impressed by Fall in New England. Ito'. Ito-sensei was one of my Japanese martial arts teachers with whom I had a close connection. I looked carefully at the bark and realised that written in red ink in one corner were some Japanese characters (kanji). I had never learnt to read Japanese and was mystified. What did they mean and what was Ito-sensei trying to tell me? How on earth was I going to get it translated here in the middle of Finland? I guessed I would have to wait till I got back to London where I could ask a Japanese friend to decipher it for me.

Later that same day as I strolled down Jyväskylä's main shopping street I was amazed to see an Asian face walking straight towards me. As we got closer I realised that the young man looked like he might be Japanese! I approached him eagerly. "Excuse me. Do you speak English? Are you Japanese?" He looked startled. He must have thought that I was a street salesman or a religious evangelist. "Yes, I am Japanese and I speak a little English," he replied. I explained that I had just received a short note - just six kanji - from a Japanese friend and wondered if he would mind translating it for me. Once he understood that that was all I wanted he visibly relaxed and graciously agreed to meet later that afternoon in a local café.

Over a coffee and Finnish pastry I found out that he was an exchange student staying with a local family and had been in Finland for just a week. He was interested to hear that I had lived in Japan. The necessary pleasantries completed, I felt the moment was right to show him the script. I carefully took the bark out of the envelope and pointed to the kanji nestled in the corner.

As he read them, first a frown and then a smile passed over his face. "This is a Buddhist saying," he said. "Mu ichi butsu. Mu zin zou." I waited for the translation. "It means: 'Nothing at all. Limitless potential, or everything beyond measure'. I think the man who wrote this must be your sensei, your teacher." I explained who Ito-sensei was. "He must like you to send you this small gift with such a big meaning," he replied.

That was 25 years ago. I have carefully kept the leaf and the bark and they now hang in a frame on a wall of my home in London. From time to time something will happen that reminds me of Ito-sensei's gift and I am drawn to meditate on the message he sent me. So it was just the other day when I was listening to one of Hal and Sidra's CD's. The interviewer was wondering whether it was ever possible to find out precisely who we are and whether there is an 'ultimate self'. This is what Sidra replied:

'It's not always a question of who you are, but it's who you are not that we seem to work with... a constant refining of what we aren't. The beautiful thing about all this is that we are none of these selves... but we are all of them... This gives us a richness and a breadth that is extraordinarily exciting.'

_______________________________________


 
To see Hal and Sidra's books,  CD's, MP3's and videos click here


 
Voice Dialogue Facilitator Training
 
Couple Talking

Overview

This training is for therapists, counsellors, coaches, health care practitioners and anyone working in the area of personal growth and development. It provides a comprehensive grounding in the theory and practice of Voice Dialogue, The Psychology of Selves and the Aware Ego Process. At the end of the training participants will have a powerful new tool that will complement their practice and enhance their ability to help clients achieve more balance in their lives.

 

Structure

The training includes 4 workshops spaced over 9 months (total 10 days). Each workshop will focus on the theory and practice of Voice Dialogue and its application to a range of client issues.

 

In addition, over the course of the training, participants will have a total of 6 personal 90-minute facilitations from the trainer (face to face or via skype), and will be expected to complete and document ongoing practice sessions with other members of the group.

 

Participants will receive a comprehensive self-study pack of readings, videos and exercises covering every aspect of the work.

 

Certificates of attendance are available for CPD.

 

Maximum group size 4 participants

 

Places are still available for the course beginning the weekend of 20th - 21st June 2015

 

For more information click here.

 

 

 
In This Issue
Workshops,
Trainings & Events



This e-learning program is now available for you to study at any time to suit you.
 
 
30 May
 
 
21 May
 
 
16 - 17 May
 
 

 
 

Private Sessions
Face-to-face or via skype

email: John

 

or call:

+44 (0)7941141377
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
by John Kent

Book cover

How different parts of us inform and influence our daily lives.

Foreword by Drs Hal and Sidra Stone

Now available as an ebook!!


 























 

 


























































































































































































































Free copy of John's book

Get a free, signed copy of John's book Selves in Action when you book your first private Voice Dialogue session with him, face to face or via skype, before 31st May 2015.
 
To take advantage of this offer, please contact John: