I was standing in front of a roomful of people I had met that morning talking with one of my long-time spiritual “heroines” Shakti Gawain. It was the first day of a Voice Dialogue workshop at Shakti’s home and she had invited me to be her demonstration participant in front of the group. I was nervous and unsure… not knowing what to expect or what would come out as she led me into dialogue with my inner voices.
Shakti expertly guided me through the Voice Dialogue process and we “met” a series of my Sub Personalities until we arrived at a sub personality who called itself my Inner Seeker. The Inner Seeker said with more than a hint of pride and justification:
“Edward’s mission in this life is to evolve, to expand and to awaken. If he is spending too much of his time teaching, working and making and spending money it is a distraction from his true purpose. That’s why I keep pulling him away from his work and getting him back on track.”
This was about 3-years ago, but I remember it as clearly as if it was happening right now.
I had always known that we have subconscious forces influencing our lives. But none of those inner forces had ever so clearly articulated their thoughts in that way. When I heard those unexpected words coming out of “my” mouth I really GOT that “I” am not the only one determining my level of abundance in the world.
During that workshop I discovered a number of sub-personalities or Inner Selves that have very strong ideas about abundance… ideas that are not always conducive to the creation of a life of TRUE abundance.
Have you ever done something so absurd and obviously harmful to your financial well-being, something that “you” would definitely not consciously do?
And, after the fact, have you scratched your head and wondered what caused you to take such a self-sabotaging action?
Well it’s quite possible that some part (or parts) of you believes Abundance is actually bad for you!
We may not all have Multiple Personality Disorders, but we all have multiple personalities. Hal and Sidra Stone, the creators of the Voice Dialogue Process call them “Selves.” And we all have many different Selves within us.
Now this is not a bad thing. After all, there are times when it is beneficial to switch from a Self that is confident and focused to one that is playful and fun.
The problem – and the opportunity – lies in what are called our “Disowned Selves.” These are the selves that we have not wanted to acknowledge, the ones, like my Inner Seeker, that we have pushed into the corners of our subconscious mind.
But, as Carl Jung observed, “what you resist persists.” These disowned selves operate from your subconscious mind and cause you to sabotage your efforts to create Abundance.
My Inner Seeker Self was scared that my focus on work and teaching would distract me from what it sees as my true purpose – to grow and evolve. So that disowned part of me was working silently but powerfully from the shadows to ensure that I would never get too successful and thus too distracted.
Now there is some good news in all of this because when you discover a disowned self two really positive things happen:
First, when you acknowledge a Self it is no longer “disowned” and no longer confined to the shadows. So it no longer has to exert its influence on your life from your subconscious mind. You become aware of its presence and its influence on your life.
Second, there is almost always a positive aspect to that self that you have been missing.
For instance, as I got to know my Inner Seeker it reminded me of the importance of a daily spiritual practice. It pointed out, accurately, that a daily spiritual practice keeps me connected with my higher self and higher guidance even when I am focusing a lot of my attention on my work.
My Inner Seeker agreed that, as long as I remained committed to a daily spiritual practice, even when my life is full, it would no longer create blocks and obstacles to my work.
And I have to say that my Inner Seeker has lived up to it’s part of that deal… As long as I’ve stayed committed to a daily practice my Inner Seeker has been a powerful ally in all areas of my life.
And, of course, I now know that when my spiritual practice sputters or slows my Inner Seeker will quickly remind me to get back into it.
The beautiful thing is that the Inner Seeker can now “speak” with me rather than needing to act out silently from the shadows of my subconscious. It’s a much more productive relationship!
The best part of this Voice Dialogue work is its simplicity. While the nuances of this work go deep, the basic premise is quite straightforward.
Here’s an exercise you can do right now to discover some of your Selves:
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side write down 10 – 15 of the characteristics that most clearly define who you are. For example: Outgoing, good looking, helpful, caring, compassionate, short-tempered, shy, flirty, spiritual, fun, playful, hard-working, devoted, etc.
Don’t take too long; just write down the first things that come to you.
When you’re done with the left side, go to the right side of the page and write down the opposite characteristic. For example if you wrote Outgoing on the left side, on the right side you could write Shy. Hard-working could become Flaky. Fun could become Serious or perhaps Boring.
Once you’re done, take a look at the right side of the page. Most of the characteristics you wrote will reflect one of your disowned Selves.
As you look at the characteristics on the right side, this is a really good time to practice acceptance! If you can’t bear to think of yourself as boring or serious or flaky, it’s a good sign that they are part of a disowned self.
A powerful practice is picking one of those qualities and seeing if you can embrace it and accept it. What does it feel like to allow yourself to be boring or flaky or jealous or angry or…?
The more you accept your disowned qualities and selves the less power they will have to influence and sabotage your thoughts and actions from the shadows of your inner landscape.
And the more you will be able to soar into your abundance with the help and cooperation of all of YOU!
Oh, and be sure to have fun meeting your Inner Selves. They are here to help you… in fact, YOU created them to help you! Now it may be time to thank them and give them a slightly new “job.