Voice Dialogue, for yourself alone
This article was written by Madhuri for, and posted on, Osho News.
Dialoguing is one of the best tools I have in my toolbox.
Voice Dialogue – created by Hal and Sidra Stone – is a great method to use with clients. The therapist asks a list of questions to a ‘part’ of the client, while the client positions her body wherever that ‘part’ feels to be in the room. Typically in one session 5 or 6 different parts will be given a chance to share their reality, ending with a part called Buddha Nature (or whatever you or the client might want to call the Witness.) All of this is done without favoring one part over another. Angry or depressed parts get the same respect as joyful, resourceful parts. This gives your unconscious a wonderful feeling of deep acceptance… which is often all that it wants!
It’s a dynamic technique – my own experience is that many knots and lumps throughout one’s aura are simply detonated or vaporized, and one staggers away feeling blissfully, humbly empty and expanded. This feeling goes on for days. The issue I brought to the session simply vanishes.
A ‘part’ might be anything: a physical symptom, one’s anger, sadness, joy; a possibility / opportunity one is contemplating; one’s inner protector / controller; critic; praiser; another person one is having trouble with; parents; so many possibilities are there.
When I give a Voice Dialogue session, I write down the different voices I am perceiving, in the very beginning as the client shares what’s going on with her. When I do a session alone, I just allow the different relevant voices in my own psychology to bubble up and pull at me. But it would not hurt to write a list before you give yourself a session; just let it be flexible as things change and reveal themselves.
To ‘become’ you just consciously (and physically) step out of ‘you’ and into the ‘part’, whatever it might be, letting your body position itself as it feels. This is all very easy – anybody can do it – and once you are in the part, it’s amazing what is easily available for the asking. Unconscious material is turned over and shown to the light.
I recommend the Stones’ book about the technique.
But I want here to discuss doing this work on your own, for yourself. It’s something I do a very great deal of, and it is so helpful! How handy to have such a tool when you are alone!
Type and print the list of Questions below, and have it to hand.
You have an issue: a bodily symptom, trouble with a friend / lover / boss / colleague / family member / government agency… whatever it might be. Even a decision you are having trouble making. Pretty much anything at all – barring war, famine, earthquake, and suchlike! that is troubling you can be better understood – and quite possibly healed / solved – with Voice Dialogue. And even those calamities might very well come into perspective (later, when you have time and space) with this method. (‘Becoming’ an earthquake! Yay! What might you viscerally experience and discover?) I cannot tell you this from my own experience, but perhaps very bad diseases and terrible griefs could at least show you new sides of themselves as well, and perhaps thus gain some space and a little restfulness.
You’ll need an hour or more, depending on how many Voices you’ll be meeting. I’d recommend giving yourself an hour and half; and it might not last that long. You’ll need a good-sized room without too much clutter in it, and a guarantee of no interruption. A few cushions are good to have available in case one of the Voices wants to sit down.
You will start standing, and will be moving your body about the room as you visit different parts. (Later, when you are comfortable with the method, you can do it while out on your walks, or even while lying in bed in the morning – if you have a symptom and want to visit it. But at first please start with standing and using the whole room.)
So, think of your issue, and identify the first Voice you will be visiting. If you’ve already made a list, start with the first character on that. If you haven’t made a list, and you’re having trouble with someone the first voices might be anger, and then the other person, and then your Mom… If it’s a symptom, it might be the body part involved, and then whatever memory is triggered and what parts are in that… You might find, as you progress, Guilt, Sadness, Shame, Fear, Money, Dad, Rebel, Hermit, Child… anything is possible. It’s generally useful to visit both sides of any opposition in you.
First you just stand there feeling Yourself. Breathe, relax, be present. Look around the room to see where that first Voice is. If it was in the room, where would it be? Over in that corner? On the couch? Curled up over there? Then say aloud, “I’m now moving my consciousness out of ‘me’ and into…” (whichever Voice you are starting with). Then physically step out of you and over into that place, and allow your body to adopt whatever shape / position it likes.
You are now going to ask questions of this Voice. This might seem odd – you are both the questioner, and the questioned – and I can only tell you that it is a knack, and becomes easier with time. As to the questions, it takes practice to remember them all and be thus able to ask each part each set of questions. The unconscious really likes a safe space in which to show itself; a certain list of questions gives it that sense of security. So although sometimes the order of the questions accidentally changes while I’m working, I try to ask all of them and in more or less the right order. The unconscious does not want to feel surprised and unseated. Let the questions proceed in a stately way.
Each part, no matter what it is, is to be treated with complete respect. You are not to judge any of them. Only then will the part share its treasures with you (and they will surprise you).
- Hello, ….. (name of Voice.) Is it okay with you to be here with us today?
- What should we call you? What is your name? (After this, use the Voice’s name it has given you as you are talking with it and asking it the Questions.)
- How long have you been with …..? (insert your name here)
- What is your job in …..’s life? (insert your name here)
- How does ….. treat you? (insert your name here)
- How would you like her to treat you?
- Do you think she can do that?
- How do you see the way ….. lives her life? (insert your name here)
- If you were in charge of her life, what changes would you make?
- Is there anything you need from ….. that she’s not giving you? (insert your name here)
- Do you think she can do that?
- Is there anything you’d like to say to her before we leave you?
- Thank you! That was very helpful. Is it okay with you if we leave you now, and go to another part?
And there are a few additional questions you can add in if it feels relevant, perhaps after Question 9:
- How do you feel about …..’s mother? (insert your name here)
- Anything you’d like to say to her?
- Does she hear you?
- What would it take to get her to hear you?
- How do you feel about …..’s father? (insert your name here)
- Anything you’d like to say to him?
- Does he hear you?
- What would it take to get him to hear you?
- How do you feel about ….. (a previous Part you’ve already spoken to in this session)?
So this series – at least the first 13 questions – is gone through with each Voice.
Now for (almost) the last thing – the dessert, if you will
There is a Voice we might call Buddha Nature, or Goddess, or Universe, or any divine entity that is meaningful to you.
You are going to step into that Voice last. Take some time to sit down on one of the cushions, and just Be… present, still, breathing: “breathing in light, breathing out light…” I say this aloud. Take all the time you need to ‘become’ this Buddha Nature. It’s always here, always available…
When you feel centered and grounded in this Voice, begin the questions; the same ones as you have asked all the other voices.
You might get a picture in your mind of this Entity sitting at the side of everything and just watching, as if your own life is a drama being played out on a stage, and the Buddha Nature is simply observing it. That Voice will have a wisdom and an overview that might be amazing to you.
When you’ve gone through all the questions with the Buddha Nature, thank it and go back to ‘you’, deliberately, stepping back in. Then go to the center of the room and sit on a pillow.
From the pillow, look around the room and find the first Voice. Breathe it in… and let it go. Repeat with all the other Voices – including Buddha Nature.
You are now sitting on the cushion and are just ‘you’, whatever that might mean!
The session is done. You might feel quite blasted and want to lie down for a bit! Or go out in nature for a walk. Give yourself some space to let it all settle and integrate.
This technique is a wonderful way to open up the book of your inner world and not only see what’s what, but see it all transform as each part is finally heard, finally able to share itself without judgment or censorship.
Download this technique as PDF file
Image credit to Ekaterina Bolovtsova – www.pexels.com (@ekaterina-bolovtsova)