The purpose of the exercise
We can have extreme emotional reactions to what comes to mind involuntarily. It may sound strange but anxiety and depression can come from just being freaked out by our own thoughts. We can become addicted to "great ideas" which are soothing and develop an aversion to "depressing ideas" which are painful. What we are doing here in this exercise is cultivating an inner freedom such that we move freely between positive and negative experiences. That we learn to be open to our own thoughts and not get freaked out by them or seduced by them. Then we can be free and act powerfully and appropriately because our innate sense of reality is freed up to inform action spontaneously.
Primarily, the step by step process we are employing is designed to raise awareness or bring to salience the painful issue by a series of unpacking steps. Then we practise a procedure for processing that pain in a safe therapeutic space. Remember freedom to act creatively comes from exercising faith in the face of admitting unknowing about the relevance of awareness for action. In other words we are not doing this exercise to find "the answer" which we must immediately "act out". We suspend our judgement about the value of our great ideas for problematic personal issues. The purpose of the exercise is to cultivate the habit of openness while being aware of painful and pleasurable options which are addictive and therefore undermining of our inner freedom. We are building up our inner freedom which underpins our ability to think clearly and act freely on our feet in the risk opportunity moment.
Below are the steps.
Outline: What is problematic in my life?
i.e. what do I find doesn't shift regardless of my best efforts?
Write a page or two bringing to consciousness your experience of this problematic issue.
Alternatively if you have experienced a critical or traumatic incident write down step by step what happened in detail then outline what is problematic for you.
Once your problematic issue has become salient in your mind the naturally occurring question arises:
What are you going to do about it?
How we deal with this question determines our mental health, creativity and destructivity.
In other words, the question is potentially an agent for destructive behaviour if we don't learn to deal with it in faith and openness. Taking the question literally with the sense that it must be answered absolutely, that the answer must be adhered to fully, and the answer is knowable now in advance of action is a recipe for destructive 'acting out' behaviour.
The question, which can be so oppressive in overwhelming circumstances, (like for example job loss and relationship breakdown), needs to be allowed to generate awareness not compulsivity in the false reality of omniscience. Through an attitude of faith and openness we can allow it to disturb us without it compelling us in anxiety and self denial, i.e. denial of self as sane and capable of being creative.
My goal and values
In attempting to respond to the question it is helpful to be systematic. Firstly we could note our goals and values. Do I value family over money, money over relationships? Are these false dichotomies?
My solution --which I embrace like it is the only solution
For the purpose of this systematic exercise it is good to deeply involve oneself in presenting one solution, like it is the only solution. This single minded focus has research value because it forces us to see the limits of the efficacy of that option. Then we see the findings of those limits. We get the data back from the research, so to speak. We get the awareness and facts which come from that particular perspective. At least we can say then that we have thought it through and checked out if and how it could work. Our systematic conscious research may uncover genuine risks or opportunities. Then we know the real limits of the option. Then that awareness works against any denial of risk or opportunity which we may have been holding onto. Hence the dialogue between the conscious and less conscious mind is enhanced and facilitated.
The "how to" of that solution
What are the actual mechanics of that solution?
How would you do it in time and space? How would you execute your plan? This is an extension of 2C -pushing you to think out the limits of your proposal. You may realize it was a great idea in theory but in practice it involved something you just are not willing or able to do.
Pros and Cons of that solution
Draw a line down the middle of a page.
Randomly list pros and cons down either side.
Don't worry if the items on the list contradict each other
Brainstorm. Just get your fears and doubts, ambitions and hopes for your solution on paper.
Remember the idea is to bring to salience. In absolute terms we are not really trying to solve the problem literally here and now.
Meditation 20 minutes
Just stick to the three steps
You don't need to be processing the issues
Check out: Keywords "Bacash Meditation" on You tube… this is a concise 4 minute description of the meditation method.
Re-Read what you have written above
Three or four times
Note your involuntary feeling, thoughts, associations, symbols, memories as you read
Note thoughts and feeling on the "edges" of your consciousness. Edge means the thoughts and feeling sitting on the peripheral of your mind as you read. They are experienced as distractions i.e. not part of the focus of your mind or not seen as the main event.
Are you aware of some ambivalence emerging in these edge experiences?
Can you note that change of heart or that retreat from single mindedness?
Do you notice a different emotional reaction to your original solution now?
Mediation 20 minutes.
Just stick to the three steps again
When and if those feeling etc arise in the meditation, surrender to them without judgement about their value.
My name is ".........." and this is my story "………....."
Free associate… allow your pen to do the writing… don't think too much about what you are going to write…
Remember we are not focusing on the end realization or awareness…. Rather we are emphasizing listening and expressing…touching base with our sense of reality, our sense of self, our sense of truth, our sense of relevance…. and acknowledging that we can never capture that completely and consciously. They are just clues and symbolic sign posts; illusive and mysterious. Awareness always requires faith and openness to be allowed to help inform action in situ ie in the risk/opportunity moment.
Posted on 09 January 2012 in
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