Managing thoughts, emotions & body sensations is key to high level health & performance. Those who become skillful at this work, be they adults or kids, will benefit in every area of life.... Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht
I get so relaxed when I do this work that I fall asleep & then get annoyed with myself for messing up my practice. How can I stop this from happening?
Harlan is self-judging because he hasn’t been perfect! Later on, as you begin working with emotional crayons, you will be able to spot these little offenders with ease. Meanwhile, let’s address the main issue.
It’s best to practice interactive awareness in a sitting position. If you find yourself dozing off, lighten the depth of your trance by placing a higher number on the mind screen. You can also open your eyes for a moment, re-center, going back down again. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to do interactive awareness. It is the doing, or action, that is important.
In the practice of interactive awareness you will need a focus. I like to work with my lower belly breath. It’s convenient, having the additional advantage of deepening the trance state simply by observing it. Place your fingers gently on your lower abdomen, below your navel, inviting it to become full & round with your breath. You can use the image of a merry-go-round horse going up & down, or a balloon that inflates & deflates.
After you have practiced for a few weeks, just thinking of the image will slow your brain waves & release stress.
Continue to observe your focus as if each breath, or rising of the ball was a completely new event. Each time you breathe it is a new breath! Observe it. Remember you are the producer/director, wanting to experience the details.
Your mind will wander. That is a part of the process. Your work is stay detached, out of the way. I like to use the image of a parade going by. You are the observer, standing on the curbside. You are not part of the parade. Whenever you find yourself involved in your thought processes ( the parade), return to the position of observer by bringing your attention back to your focus breath or ball. Your mind will continue to show you a thought, you will notice, returning then to the focus.
It’s not uncommon to get lost in thoughts. This is because your mind is not well disciplined. In the future, you will begin to notice much earlier, allowing you to return to the focus. The process of breathing, noticing a thought & then returning to the focus is a full release cycle. Releasing is also called “letting go.” If someone has ever told you to let something go, this is the actual process of doing just that.
There are three general classifications of what the mind will present to you. First are the thoughts. Some of these are presented in the form of pictures, others as sound bytes or inner mind audio tapes. They can be with or without video. There are many classifications of thoughts. Later on, in your work with your Inner Coach, you will be identifying some of your major thought areas, learning to work with them to profit you and your goals.
Your mind may also show you body communications. These are sensations representing body tension. The more stress, the more body tension. When practicing interactive awareness, place flowers on the body sensation, then open the flowers as you did earlier in your mental biofeedback work.
Next, return to your focus breath. Do not be tempted to stay in the sensation, nor to examine it. That is not the purpose of this practice. This is simply awareness of what is, providing you with an opportunity to observe your mind in action.
The third area includes the emotional states. In our work emotions will be viewed as images of children wearing tee shirts with their names on them. Identifying & separating emotions allows for easier release. If you are working with this image, notice that the children have crayons for coloring your experiences. Later on you will be identifying some of your most frequent emotions and their crayons.
Just as with mental biofeedback, it is important to make nteractive awareness part of your daily living. This is achieved through a self-discipline I call banking & fractionation. This self-discipline will prepare you for working “in the moment” in the workshop of your world.
The term “banking” is a metaphor for making valuable deposits in your mind & body bank. The more you practice the discipline, the more value you have to utilize in other areas of your life, be it managing addiction or anything else. For example, your body will become more stress-resistant, your cognitive functioning enhanced. You will be designing a doable self-discipline, but one that expands your current boundaries.
Few of us work to our potential, so this is a good opportunity to practice moving from mediocre to excellence. The steps that you are climbing to manage your addiction or disorderly eating, are the very same steps for accelerating learning & high level achievement. It is ironic that your addiction and disorder are becoming catalysts for optimum health & high level performance.
In the practice of banking your mind is set free, with you in the position as observer. This type of heightened awareness is an actual living meditation, but it is more than that. It is the opportunity for you to see clearly without judgment. You are now privy to your subtle stresses, the thoughts that are attached to them, as well as the emotions that carry the thoughts to your mind. Remember, you cannot change what your cannot see.
Now you are seeing much more than ever before. You are a detached observer, free from judgment. Your subconscious librarian is now willing to show you much more. Later on you will be able to work with your observations, having the opportunity to change them completely or edit them to meet your current goals.
Here we will fractionate the banking practice. This simply means breaking your day into segments. This is like taking out the garbage several times a day. It’s a great stress reducer, allowing for quality emotional & thought managing throughout a long day. I fractionate my day in this way. I sit for five minutes before work & again before lunch. After returning from lunch I do so again &then before I head for home at the end of my workday. I then sit again before going to sleep, especially because this is an excellent time to program the subconscious mind for dream work. You will learn more about dream programming in a later chapter.
If my day is very stressful, or if I have need for heightened creativity, I may fractionate even more frequently.
I’m getting quite good at fractionating & wonder if I can do this at other times to help my stress from building up. Right now I’m doing this more as a stress release, but I’d like to prevent the stress from coming at all. Is that possible?
Of course you can do that & even more! The world is like an enormous workshop for interactive awareness practice. At this level of skill building, you are working only with interactive awareness & not with interactive self-hypnosis. That is the fourth step. It will allow you to edit & change what you see, but remember that adults learn best in small spoonfuls, so practice patience. You will truly benefit from managing this particular emotion!
Moments are very small fragments of time, each holding automatic mind programs in the form of thoughts & emotions. The emotions color the moments with their crayons. The body is also involved as it responds to whatever is passing through the moment.
Keep in mind that every moment is valuable. You already know that you can only catch a small number of them. Later on you will learn how to program your subconscious mind for waking up to genres of thoughts of your choosing. For now the goal is simply to practice waking up & releasing.
It helps to set some triggers to help you wake up, just like little alarm clocks. Sticky notes work well for this. No one else needs to know what you are doing. It’s not necessary to write anything on them. You already know what they are for. When I’m working to improve this skill for myself, I place a sticky note just to the right on my telephone, one in the car, one on left wall in my office. At home I like the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, the head of my bed. Move the notes occasionally so that your automatic pilot doesn’t set up a program to ignore them.
Each time you notice a sticky note, check the moment. Pay attention to your thought processes, noticing the type of thought, the emotional states & crayons that are being utilized. Next, scan your body, noticing the stressors present, gently placing flowers on the bigger areas. This entire exercise takes less than thirty seconds, but provides tremendous benefits, immediate & in the future.
You are building awareness about who you are, your automatic program, your emotional terrain & what crayons you allow to color your life without deciding if they work for you or not.
There are many other tools for building Interactive Awareness skills that you will receive throughout the book. Later on when you meet your Inner Coach, you will have the opportunity to practice skill building on your road to addictions management and the practice of excellence. If you would like to build these skills utilizing Interactive Self-Hypnosis, I suggest the Heightened Awareness or Managing Thoughts CD or mp3 programs.