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.'