Communing with Aspects of Self - Including Higher Self
by April BenderHolly Makimaa, a Therapeutic Writing Institute instructor located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Holly lovingly and expertly guided us through several different self-illuminating writing and drawing exercises, interlaced with spiritual practice. One of these writing activities rung a large bell deep within me. It took me spiraling back in time to the exact moment when I first began cultivating my ability to channel Higher Self, as this technique was the exact one I had used! Suddenly, I thought of the one question I've heard asked countless times, "How can I learn to connect with or channel my Higher Self ?"
As I glanced around the room and saw others of various backgrounds and walks of life easily engaging with this activity, I realized this is something anyone can begin doing. This activity, especially done as a consistent practice, can help with not only communing with Higher Self and Soulful Self, but also many other aspects or qualities of self. Perhaps it was the frame in which it was introduced that made it feel so practical and doable. Perhaps it was the activity itself. In any case, I felt strongly compelled to share it with you, with the encouragement that you too can learn to hone communications with various aspects of self.
This technique within the journaling/writing world is known as "dialogue writing." In mediumship circles it's known as a form of "automatic writing." Although in this latter context, it is not limited to aspects of self but also includes other beings and forms of intelligence. However, for today's purposes we'll stick to the dialogue writing frame, as learning to commune with aspects of self should be cultivated first before moving on to work with other beings and intelligences.
The purpose of this dialogic exercise is to engage with various aspects of self in order to gain guidance, healing, and insight around a specific topic or issue. For example, say you wish to examine the issue of healthy living. Perhaps this is something you've struggled with in your life. Part of you knows you need to make healthier choices and yet, part of you is resisting this change. So not surprisingly, no progress or movement is made. Through the practice of dialogue writing you would allow these two aspects of self to speak to each other, hopefully allowing them to reach a conclusion and/or compromise for the benefit of all selves (or the full self). The conversation would look something like this:
Ideal Healthy Self: You know, you really should take better care of yourself. You should exercise more. Your health is important.
Self: Yes I know, but I don't want to have to get up early. And I don't like exercising.
I want to pause right here for a moment and ask you dear reader, if this sort of internal dialogue sounds familiar? We often go back and forth in our minds with different aspects of self in this way. However, we often end the dialogue at this point thinking it either useless to go on, or silly because now you're talking to yourself. But what if you were to extend this conversation?
Ideal Healthy Self: Well, who said you had to exercise in the morning? What about other times of the day?
Self: Well, I don't want to do it at night either. After work I'm usually too tired. But I could probably squeeze something in during the day, maybe at my lunch hour. However, this still doesn't address the fact that I don't like to exercise.
Ideal Healthy Self: Have you considered that there might be things you enjoy that you don't consider to be exercise but that are more active and would be a beneficial step in the right direction?
Self: Hmmm...maybe walking. I do like to be out in nature. I could commit to walking out in nature for about 20 minutes a day at lunchtime.
Ideal Healthy Self: Great, let's give it a go. That would definitely be progress.
Wow! Finally a step forward that both aspects of self can now embrace. Do note that sometimes, as Holly explained, if the conversation ends in a stalemate or can go no further, you may need to bring in another aspect of self to be the mediator or to provide additional clarity, such as your Higher/Wiser self. Here is an example of that sort of conversation, this time with the quality of Anxiety.
Self: Why won't you leave me alone? You're always around. I don't like the way you make me feel.
Anxiety: I'm here because you've summoned me to be here. I remember first beginning to visit you regularly when you were an adolescent. Think back. . .
Self: Oh yes, I remember! I was in high school and things in my family life started to fall apart. That's when you first started hanging around. It was a difficult time in my life and I can totally understand why you were around then. But why are you still here now? Many years later?
Anxiety: I cannot answer that. I do not know. I come because you summon me.
It is here that Self can pull in Higher Self for additional guidance.
Self to Higher Self: Why has anxiety stayed with me all these years?
Higher Self: Let's start by examining your beliefs about Anxiety. There is part of you that believes that the use of Anxiety will prevent suffering and disastrous circumstances from manifesting in your life. It feels that if it can imagine the worst case scenarios possible in any given situation, that you will be better prepared to face them if they do happen. In the meantime, you carry all the worry/stress of those possible outcome(s) with you.
Self: No wonder there is always this pit in my stomach! I think I should like to replace Anxiety with Trust. Trust that the Universe is working for my highest good, even if sometimes something at first appears to be bad. I'm exhausted from living this way and I just can't do it anymore.
Anxiety: I would so appreciate that! You've been over-working me. I can be helpful in a true life-threatening situation (working with Intuition) to alert you to impending danger, but you summon me all the time for a bunch of imagined what-ifs!
Self to Higher Self: What do I need to do to replace Anxiety with Trust?
Higher Self: Continue to examine any underlying beliefs that are now outdated around Anxiety. These beliefs flow into behavior and bodily patterns of expression/manifestation. Continue to affirm to yourself that you choose trust over anxiety and generate thoughts, followed by behaviors that support this choice. Intend it. Utilize the tools and resources that are sent your way to assist you in this endeavor.
It is important to know that sometimes you may need to have more than one dialogue in order to reach a resolution, compromise, or gain the clarity, guidance, and insight you seek. Sometimes you may be presented with opportunities for clarity/movement one step at a time (as in the above examples) and at other times, it could come all at once. It's also important when engaging in this sort of inner dialogue to never let any one aspect of self bully another. Both should have the opportunity to speak and offer their perspectives. Holly also stressed the importance of grounding oneself before and after such a practice, and I agree with this advice whole-heartedly. Anytime you access parts of self in this way, or do deep reflective work, one should definitely ground before-hand (to center appropriately) and re-ground upon returning (to fully return). Utilize movement practices, go outside and feel the earth beneath your feet, focus your breath into your lower belly instead of your lungs, etc. You want to enliven the energy flowing through the lower half of your body...to feel yourself situated firmly on earth. And lastly, please note that if you experience any feelings of overwhelm while engaging with this activity, that you stop immediately, ground, and allow yourself the time and space to process all that has been stirred within you.
Overall, I hope these examples illustrate to you how easy and natural it already is for us to access and commune/communicate with various aspects of self. We do it all the time. Although usually it's a very critical aspect most give voice to. However now, I hope you have begun to think about this in a broader sense, and see it as a very versatile skill, capacity, or tool that can be developed to serve you in the highest way possible.
In terms of using this technique to channel Higher Self, I used it much in the same way. My first dialogues were done in exactly this same format, question and answer style using a pen and paper. Which gradually led into a much more seamless flow of conversation. Had I been introduced to this practice within the frame that Holly provided, I would have progressed that much more quickly. For you see, coming at it from an "automatic writing" lens was to my detriment because I had a much harder time believing I was actually talking to Higher Self in the beginning. But through Holly's contextualization, I was able to see it right away as something we already naturally do. And most of the retreat participants also expressed this sentiment as well (none were mediums or channelers save me), another very powerful affirmation of its effectiveness.
If one can lend voice and affirmation to the inner critic voice, why can't one lend the same voice and affirmation to that of one's Higher/Wiser Self? Or any other aspect or quality of self for that matter?