Issue 33 – March 2008
THE ENERGETICS OF VOICE DIALOGUE
Drs Hal & Sidra Stone
There have been a great many periods of excitement in our adventures together, as we’ve developed this body of work. Certainly one of the most profound and most gratifying has been the Energetics of Voice Dialogue and the Psychology of Selves. Hal was first introduced to the world of energy by the work of William Brugh Joy in 1974 when he made his first public appearance at the Center for the Healing Arts summer conference. It was a truly seminal moment in the world of consciousness because large numbers of students flocked to Brugh and were introduced to the body’s energy fields and shown how to work with them.
At that time the energy had to do with healing. Hal was not interested in becoming a healer per se, but the world of energy was opened to him by Brugh and, over the next few years, he developed his own style of energy work that he called field clearing. It has always been a significant part of our lives and our work and has helped us move through difficult physical challenges in the course of our lives and travels.
It was only after we met that we began to consider the world of healing as it applies to personal relationship. Early on in our explorations together, we began to notice that different selves actually felt different from other selves. Being with a vulnerable child or a loving parent felt like being in the room with an energy machine that gave off a warm glow that could be sensed and that made a palpable connection. We called that “personal energy”. Facilitating the mind was totally different. The mind generally gave off no energy and we did not feel a connection. We called that “impersonal energy”. One was warm and connected, the other cool with clear, crisp boundaries. These are two very different ways of meeting the world.
We paid more and more attention to what we began to call “the energetics” of Voice Dialogue. Other selves had other energies connected to them. If we were facilitating sensual energy (which we called Aphrodite energy) we could sense a tingling in the skin of our whole body. If we were facilitating the higher self we could feel a powerful sensation in the top of our head, the crown energy. Though Hal had learned about energetic reality through the work at the Center, Sidra seemed to have a totally natural connection to it. We began to see that some of the difficulties of our interactions were based on energetic realities we hadn’t previously known. Sidra’s primary self was personal in those early years and Hal’s primary self was impersonal.
We began to recognize that some of our most impassioned judgments towards each other were based on this difference. When we first starting teaching together this was a real problem. Sidra said of Hal that if someone in the front row of the audience fainted and fell to the floor, Hal wouldn’t notice it. Hal said of Sidra that if someone in the last row of the audience got up to go to the bathroom, Sidra would be upset because she felt abandoned or judged.
One time we were teaching and at the end of the first hour at the break Sidra asked Hal if he had seen the couple in the front row right in front of him. Hal didn’t know what she was talking about. She then pointed them out to him and it was a couple that was apparently involved in S&M practices. The girl was wearing a very large metal collar around her neck and metal bands around her ankles embedded with metal rings for bondage. Hal was quite sure that he was the only one in the room that had missed seeing that.
Another time Sidra and Hal were walking on the beach near Santa Barbara and Hal was very immersed in the ideas they were addressing in full impersonal energy. Sidra stopped walking and asked Hal to stop and said to him: “Hal, would you mind looking around and seeing where you are?” To his great astonishment he discovered that they were in the middle of a nude beach and that all around him there were naked sun worshippers. It was not only impersonal energy that creates this diminished perception, but impersonal was certainly a good part of it. His basic primary selves were impersonal and he did not make an energetic connection with the world around him.
In more recent years, we have begun to use the word “linkage” or “energetic linkage” when talking about this energetic connection. When we got into negative bonding patterns, when judgments took over, we lost our linkage. Things felt hopeless between us. Then we did our work with each other. Maybe Hal discovered he had been holding back his reactions. Maybe Sidra discovered she was pushing too hard. Whatever the case, by doing our work with each other we got back our linkage. We would feel energetically connected again. We felt like newlyweds. This happened over and over again. We were beginning to see with absolute clarity that it wasn’t marriage that destroyed love and intimacy. It was the development of negative bonding patterns and the ensuing loss of linkage.
This happened over and over again. Hal’s feelings would get hurt. Maybe he was jealous of Sidra at a party when she was energetically connecting with other men. If he didn’t share his jealousy, his vulnerability – whatever forms that sharing took – his inner child disappeared from view. He used to joke about it disappearing into the universe about a hundred light years away when this happened. What we realized was that linkage ended at that moment. Linkage is real. When it is lacking it is very lonely and the relationship feels terrible. And – unless you know about what you have just lost – it is not so easy to get it back.
We began to examine the nature of peoples’ linkage. You can be linked to your dog or cat. You can be linked to a child. You can be linked to your work, or your computer, or your book, or your television set, or your secretary, or to money. Or to worry, or to your “to do” list. Or to alcohol, or to drugs, or to food, or to exercise. You can even be linked to your spiritual practices or to your consciousness process.
In relationship work we began to see that if the primary linkage wasn’t between the two people in the relationship, then there were problems. The primary linkage might go to one of the children, creating a kind of psychological marriage between the parent and that child. This happens with great frequency and then, if the marriage breaks up and the mother meets someone she loves, there is as wrenching disconnect between her and the son or daughter who had carried the primary linkage before she met her new partner. This awareness of linkage introduced a new dimension to our considerations of family relationships and led us to a deeper understanding of the intense pain involved in step parenting and the introduction of a new partner into a family system.
Our work with energetics was in two basic areas. First, there was the fact that every self could be experienced energetically and that the awareness of this was of utmost importance. We saw clearly that the effectiveness of the facilitator was dependent upon the recognition of the energy and the ability to hold this. We realized that the best facilitators worked at an energetic – rather than verbal – level. They paid more attention to maintaining the energetic integrity of a self than to asking it the “proper” questions.
There is another aspect to the facilitator’s sensitivity to energetics. If the facilitator was able to use energetics, then he or she could often help a self to emerge by a process of energetic induction. This works like a tuning fork – you strike the tuning fork and set it down on a sounding board. The sounding board then vibrates at the same frequency – giving off the same note. The facilitator operates like a tuning fork, calling up a specific energy within himself or herself and the subject responds with the same. In this way, and when appropriate, the facilitator can help to induct a sought-after energy. This is particularly helpful when helping people to learn how to utilize personal and impersonal energies.
This was a whole new world to explore. We also began to teach the Aware Ego how to bring into itself, or channel, the different energies and, here again, it was the awakening of a whole new world. We literally taught people how to “play their own instruments”, how to affect their own energy fields. This work was particularly important because it was a way of strengthening the Aware Ego Process and empowering the individual.
The second area of work with energetics was our exploration and experimentation with linkage. We looked at linkage as it related to bonding patterns and saw how it led to an increased understanding of the dynamics of family systems.
Hal has one strong memory here of an experience with Sidra that catapulted him to a new understanding and appreciation of linkage. A good many of the negative bonding patterns he got into with Sidra had to do with feeling left out when she was with her children. Since her basic energies were personal, the linkage with her daughters was very strong. One day they were alone in their home in Southern California; it was the first day that all of the children were away. They were sitting on the two ends of the couch and there was a very strong energetic linkage – they could feel a buzz between their hearts. Hal was a very happy man. This process went on for five minutes or so and suddenly stopped completely.
Hal asked Sidra what had happened. Sidra then said something that was truly remarkable for Hal. She said that she was doing an experiment. She wanted to see what would happen if she visualized her daughter in the next room. When she did that, the linkage between them ended totally and her energies automatically (or unconsciously) went to her daughter.
Hal had been working on his judgments about Sidra’s mothering for a long time. Suddenly he understood at a very deep level how this process works. If a mother has children, and if one or more of those children is near her, then her primary linkage is going to shift to the child. We don’t mean every time but we do mean most of the time. What Hal saw is that the mother is hard wired to link with her child. This is not a conscious choice so if we want to be very clear, we call it “unconscious linkage”.
If Hal wanted quality time with Sidra away from the children, he had to learn how to go to her with his own intimacy needs and make them clear to her without sounding either like a whiny victim child or a killer judgmental father (he had an advanced black belt in both, but they were not very useful). She then was able to become aware of where her energies were and was able to handle them in a more conscious way. She could reinstate her linkage with Hal – and she could even maintain her connection to a child at the same time. We call that “conscious linkage”.
This was a turning point in Hal’s life and interestingly enough, as we might well expect in this kind of process relationship, Sidra was able to more effectively look at her own linkage issues with her children. Because she now knew what was happening, she finally had some choice and she was able to begin to control where her energies went.
Everything changed in the work and in the theory with these kinds of experiences. For the newer person, Voice Dialogue may well look like a simple technique; just ask the right questions and you’ll get to the self. For anyone who senses into the underlying energetics of the work, it becomes something quite different. Experienced facilitators are able to work at deeper and deeper levels as they become more at home with the energetic realities that are in us and that determine so much of what happens in our lives and in our relationships.
And so it was that we began the practice of helping people to develop mastery in the world of energy. Sidra describes this process as teaching people how to play their own instruments so as to be able to meet the world within and the world outside with ever increasing levels of subtlety and imagination. And, as we age, we find this ability to dance with the energies is truly one of the loveliest gifts imaginable.
Recently Sidra had a dream in which three women in their mid 90s came to our home to teach us about aging. What they basically taught is that as we get older our relationship to energetics becomes more and more important. We had to learn at ever deepening levels how to run our own energies, how to call up the necessary energies to do whatever it is that we needed to do.
Thus it is that learning to play our energetic instrument becomes an integral part of Voice Dialogue and the Psychology of Selves.