Anatomy of voices

 

We all shift into different views and identities throughout the day, fluidly, depending on the situation. We may not always like it, and sometimes we do, but it happens anyway.

We shift into different voices or subpersonalities, taking on their perspectives, seeing and feeling the world from their viewpoints, relating to the world from their place.

And that is why we can shift in this way on command (or invitation) as well, sometimes with surprising ease, for instance in the context of voice dialog or the Big Mind process.

But what are those voices? Are they little men, women, animals, creatures, living in us, pulling our strings?

Here is a quick summary of what comes up for me when I look…

  • Each voice (subpersonality) is created from a story or combination of stories.
    • The story of separation creates fear.
    • The story of need creates wants.
    • The story of an identity gives flavor to attractions and aversions.
    • The story of loss creates sadness.
    • The story of wrong creates anger.
    • The story of lack creates seeking.
    • The story of fullness creates non-seeking.
  • Each voice has its own perspective, viewpoint, and filters the world in a particular way.
  • There are story, emotional and action components to each voice, all following from the initial story.
  • Voices can be identified with, disowned, or owned, familiar and free to function yet not taken as an “I”.
    • When voices are closely identified with, there is a belief in the stories creating them. (This tends to lead to a disowning of the polar opposite voices, and the validity of the reversals of the story.)
    • When voices are disowned, the validity of the stories creating them is also disowned.
    • When voices and their polar opposites are all familiar and owned, there is a fluidity among them. Each one is free to function when needed, and none of them are taken as an “I”.
  • These voices and stories can be identified with or not.
    • We are identified with a voice when we disown its polar opposites, just as we believe in a story when we deny the validity of its reversals. The voices and stories are taken as an I, we get caught up in the drama of it, and it all seems very real.
    • Identification is released out of a voice when we embrace, own and become familiar with it and all of its opposites, just a belief is released when we find the validity of its reversals. In this case, there is a fluidity among them, each one available to come out when the situation calls for it. From a voice appearing as “I” and a story as the absolute truth, they are revealed as simply tools for this human self to operate in the world.

So in the Big Mind process, we explore all the different voices, the gestalts of stories, emotions and behaviors created from an initial, often quite simple, story. We gradually disidentify with those we are overly identified with. We become familiar with and own those that were previously disowned. We find a larger space holding voices at each end of the polarities and find a new fluidity among them. Our identity expands to hold and be comfortable with more and more voices.

In The Work, there is a quite similar process. We find a belief and question it, finding what is already more true for us. Our identification releases out of the initial story and expands to embrace the validity of all of its reversals as well. We find a new fluidity among and within this initial story and each of its reversals.

And each of those stories have its own gestalt. They each have associated emotions and behaviors. So we (are invited to) find a new familiarity and fluidity with these as well, in our daily life.

Each of these gestalts, these voices, are more familiar, owned, part of the active repertoire of our human self. There is more of a fluidity among them in daily life. And less identification with them.

They just happen. Living their own life, on their own schedule. There is no “I” there, anywhere.

Initial draft…

We shift into different voices (subpersonalities) throughout the day, taking on their perspective, seeing and feeling the world from their viewpoint, relating to the world from their place.

And that is why we can shift in this way on command (or invitation) as well, sometimes with surprising ease, for instance in the context of voice dialog or the Big Mind process.

But what are those voices? Are they little men, women, animals, creatures, living in us, pulling our strings?

When I look, I find that each voice comes from a story, or a combination of stories, and they each have story, emotional (or feeling or mood) and behavioral components.

I also find that the Big Mind process is remarkably similar to other forms of inquiry, such as The Work.

Any story, whether believed in or not, becomes a voice. A perspective, point of view, a way of filtering the world. Each with their own emotions and ways of behaving in the world.

The voice of fear comes from a story of separation. The voice of anger from the story of something being wrong. The voice of sadness from a story of loss. The voice of seeking from a story of lack. And so on.

And as with stories in general, we can be overly identified with them, we can disown them, they work in mutually supporting groups, and there can be a rigid or fluid relationship among them.

If we are overly identified with a particular voice, we also believe in the story behind it. The story, and the voice, seems real, substantial, and as I.

If we disown a voice, we also disown the truth in the story behind it. We are not able to shift into the voice, or if we do, we struggle against it. And we are not able to find the validity in the stories behind it.

And those two go together. Whenever we are overly identified with a particular voice, we often disown its polar opposites. When we strongly believe a story, we disown the truth in its reversals.

When we identify with and disown voices, there is a rigidity in how we relate to them, how they relate to each other, and how they come out in our lives. And this brings a certain drama to the whole thing as well.

Voices also work in teams, and stories have supporting stories. There is a mutual support among voices and stories, so when we work on a particular voice or story, it is helpful to take the opportunity to explore how it relates to other ones. Which voices and stories support this one? How do they work together?

And finally, when we explore voices and stories, through for instance the Big Mind process and The Work, there is a disidentification with those we were overly identified with, and a owning of those we had disowned.

There is a release of blind identification with and disowning of them, and more of a fluidity in how we relate to them, how they relate to each other, and how and when they come out. There is a freedom for them to come out when the situation calls for it, without the drama of identification.

This reveals the voices and stories as what they are, as tools of practical value for this human self to function in the world.

There is no “I” inherent in any voice or any story, no separate self to be found anywhere in or among them.

To summarize:

  • Each voice (subpersonality) is created from a story or combination of stories.
    • The story of separation creates fear.
    • The story of need creates wants.
    • The story of an identity gives flavor to attractions and aversions.
    • The story of loss creates sadness.
    • The story of wrong creates anger.
    • The story of lack creates seeking.
    • The story of fullness creates non-seeking.
  • Each voice has its own perspective, viewpoint, and filters the world in a particular way.
  • There are story, emotional and action components to each voice, all following from the initial story.
  • Voices can be identified with, disowned, or owned, familiar and free to function yet not taken as an “I”.
    • When voices are closely identified with, there is a belief in the stories creating them. (This tends to lead to a disowning of the polar opposite voices, and the validity of the reversals of the story.)
    • When voices are disowned, the validity of the stories creating them is also disowned.
    • When voices and their polar opposites are all familiar and owned, there is a fluidity among them. Each one is free to function when needed, and none of them are taken as an “I”.
  • These voices and stories can be identified with or not.
    • We are identified with a voice when we disown its polar opposites, just as we believe in a story when we deny the validity of its reversals. The voices and stories are taken as an I, we get caught up in the drama of it, and it all seems very real.
    • Identification is released out of a voice when we embrace, own and become familiar with it and all of its opposites, just a belief is released when we find the validity of its reversals. In this case, there is a fluidity among them, each one available to come out when the situation calls for it. From a voice appearing as “I” and a story as the absolute truth, they are revealed as simply tools for this human self to operate in the world.

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