Week One – SUNDAY
The focus of Layer One is to get to know your body, the sensations present and your personal recipe for resistance. The tools in this layer will help to reorient your central nervous system to prioritizing sensation over thought. We will start with simple relaxation and breathing techniques and throw in some sensation awareness. As you progress through the layer, you will learn techniques to release tension, lower emotional defenses and begin to get to know your unconscious patterns. The tools will help you stay energized, reduce stress and disregard mental chatter.
The next four weeks will help you connect with and explore the sensations you feel. We will talk about setting intentions and moving in a direction as opposed to focusing on goals and outcomes. The practices will help you unwind and recharge. These simple practices are incredibly powerful and life-changing. You will feel more present, alive and connected to your world and the people in it. You will learn to accept that habits are a decision, take personal responsibility and set clear intentions to change.
We will show you ways to quiet and focus your mind with meditation and we will begin an exploration of simple breathing/awareness techniques. These are powerful and aren’t complicated but you might find your subconscious mind trying to convince you otherwise.
One of the most valuable components in making beneficial change is consistency. You are teaching your body and mind a new
normal; both will resist. Habits are your inner Sméagol your anti-muse. To develop new habits, I like the visual of falling into a movement … you go about your day and when your “Sit/Unwind” alarm goes off (you did set alarms?), you start without making any sort of decision, judgment or internal conversation, you fall into it.
Here is something else to contemplate. Every habit has room for improvement and limits us in some way. There are not good habits and bad habits … they are more or less beneficial in some way.
Spend the next three days focusing on the movements (walks and sit/unwind). Overcome your resistance and any excuses
by trying to fall into the movements. Don’t think, do. One of the biggest change challenges is that we have to overcome our resistance to modifying our default patterns. Our systems rebel and balk at being asked to alter something they perceive as safe. As you play with these movements over the next couple of days, see if you can feel the sensorial qualities of your particular resistance. Listen to the stories your mind creates, identify the emotions that arise and feel what resistance feels like in your body.
Why it matters – A map is worthless until you know where you are. These practices will help you find yourself and identify the terrain of your resistance, patterns and beliefs. When you know what you are up against, it is much easier to develop a strategy for efficient, fun and fulfilling movement (beneficial change). It starts with feeling.
We are going to try to give you some leeway in these by coming up with maxi/mini versions. The mini version of the next few
days if you are crunched for time is to do the sit and unwind and instead of the walk, use the suggestions in the walk while you are driving, waiting, cooking, etc.
Week One – Tuesday Concepts – Energy, Resistance and Healthy Discomfort
The movement we talk about in Movement Based Personal Development is life-force (energy, prana, ch’i, mojo, Shakti, Manitou divine spark, Qi, élan vital, aura, The Force). We will be using physical movement as the primary doorway because it most closely mirrors and translates to energy movement (life-force).
In addition to the physical movement we will explore the nature of energy and how it relates to our thoughts, emotions, reactions and predispositions.
Over the last few days, you have been challenged to step outside of your existing habits and change something(s). How did it go? Let us know in the FB group.
Over the next few days begin to become more aware of your resistance.
From Jeff’s book The Discomfort of Happiness, Mastering the Art of Vitality, page 5: (This is dense. It might take a few readings to absorb and digest; but it is some good stuff.)
Think about something you habitually do to feel better and ask yourself what conditions existed just before you fell into the pattern. When you find the answer, it will involve some degree of discomfort. If you had been comfortable, you wouldn’t have looked to regain comfort.
Discomfort is a sign that there are more stimuli present than your subconscious mind judges that you are able to digest.
Stimuli are energy. Energy fuels vitality. Too much stimuli triggers your mind into judging your present vitality as undesirable. Your mind connects undesirable with unsafe and looks to regain familiarity. When your mind recognizes familiar patterns of expansion (vitality), it will begin to resist proactively. It encourages you to be stubborn, withdrawn or reactive. Not because resistance is healthy but because it is familiar. Think about the excuses you create to delay or resist exercise. None of your stories are healthy; they are dogmatic and expedient. It is more comfortable to cycle into old patterns of resistance than it is to pedal a bicycle.
Most of us have an area of our lives (or a segment of an area) where we are habitually sub-optimal. This book addresses the pre-causal states that lead and enable those limitations. These are the places where you limit your success or actively fail, the areas of your personality where you distance and diffuse, where you restrict intimacy and deflect connection.
Healthy growth and adaptation requires healthy discomfort. You gain strength, flexibility and fluidity through adaptation. Your bodies (mental, emotional and physical) will make an effort to adapt to healthy discomfort, to expand your range and capacity to include your current accumulations and expenditures.
As you move through your day, feel or reflect back on what obstacles, drag or resistance you perceived. What did it feel like you had to overcome? What felt hard or effortful? What did you just not want to do. Where did you not want to be? When did you judge how you were feeling in a negative way?
Make a list or keep a mental list of your resistances. When you write them down, they might seem frivolous, obvious, juvenile or negative. They might reflect poorly on you and not show you in your best light. That is the point. Our subconscious minds are petty, immature and cowardly.
As you continue to identify your habits, begin to become aware of what resistance feels like for you and the thoughts and emotions you connect to it.
Why it matters:
You may not believe it quite yet, but resistance is the single biggest hindrance to happiness, success and fulfillment in your life. It is the defender of habit, the champion of complacency and the monger of fear. I curse it. We will begin by getting to know our own resistance, but soon you will be able to identify it in others. What you will find is that their resistance is rarely in line with what they are saying.
When you can understand what someone feels and begin to communicate with their fear instead of their words, you will gain intimacy, empathy and insight. Your communications will become transparent and effective.
Week One – Thursday Concepts
We are going to be spending quite a bit of time on sensation. As you increase your sensorial awareness and are able to feel more and more subtle sensations, several things will happen. You will become much more present to what is affecting your mood, energy, mindset and motivation. You will be able to feel more quickly when things begin to change or transition. Feeling your sensations is a foundational level of energy awareness.
Most ancient spiritual texts have some version of “When we know our own nature, we know all things.” I really like Stephen Mitchell’s interpretation of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
What we will be sensing as we increase our ability to feel are two things: resistance and proprioception. Proprioception is our internal GPS. Physical proprioception allows us to subconsciously scratch our nose without poking out our eye or walk down stairs while texting. There is also mental, emotional and energetic proprioception that deal with our relationships to others and our environment.
When we feel the nature of our relationships and the qualities of our resistance, we will come to understand our relationships in a new, deep and very transparent way. We will feel the fear, hope, demand, projection, anticipation and expectation that drives our and others subconscious minds to limit intimacy, connection and collaboration.
Why it matters:
As you are able to identify your energy and its configurations, you will be in a place to learn to direct the flow of that energy toward your intentions, aspirations, and proximal objectives (to-do list, short-term goals). As you are able to direct the flow, your life will find increasing moments of effortlessness and fluidity. The fluidity and effortlessness arise from the seamless integration with your environment. You will come to know and feel yourself and you will be able to recognize yourself in others. Recognition leads to empathy, a feeling of shared experience, and community.
Week Two Sunday Concepts
Three of the main concepts we consider in Layer One are self-determination, resistance and healthy discomfort. You might have felt all three in the movements.
The quality and timbre of our lives is largely determined by the choices we make, the value we assign and the challenges we allow ourselves to embark upon. Watch the linked video of timbre twice. Watch it once all the way through and then come back to this …
Now watch it again, picturing your emotions as the different instruments. Imagine the notes as sensations. Each instrument might be playing the same note, but we interpret it differently. As we interpret it, we assign it value. The notes are the same but how we feel about them changes as do the labels we assign.
Listen to the part where he plays the trumpet and the violin.
Which do you prefer? Which do you think is better? What values do you assign to each? How do you feel differently when each plays? Which draws you closer and which makes you want to move away, shrink back or stop the video?
How are you affected by the combination of instruments? Are your opinions based upon feelings? Do you have history with any of the components that is influencing your feelings?
Think about your emotions. If emotions are feelings … you are feeling something. If you are feeling something, there are sensations present. So, if you have emotions, you have sensations. Sensations are not inherently good or bad, and don’t have any specific value.
Here is where it gets interesting. We always have sensations and our subconscious mind constantly tries to take our current set of sensations and label them as a some previously felt emotion or emotions. Our subconscious mind keeps flashing labels to our conscious mind until it grabs onto one.
Listen to this video and skip forward to the 56:45 and start listening. See if you can focus on just one instrument, like the bass notes in the background. Let the bass be your preference. Prioritize the bass over the others. Once you get the hang of it, connect that you do the same things with the emotions you typically feel.
Use the timbre analogy for your thoughts. We have tens of thousands of thoughts a day and choose to focus on only a small handful. From this handful, we determine just about everything we focus on, judge, value, long for, and demand.
Our feelings, thoughts and personalities are all decisions we make but most of them happen in the background, outside the scope or range of our conscious mind … until we start focusing on them.
Why it Matters:
After we bring something into awareness we have the ability to make a decision, to decide for ourselves what to do with this awareness. Awareness is power, the power to determine, direct and distinguish where we are and where we want to go next. Awareness highlights opportunities. We can use it as a constant feedback loop to increase efficiency, productivity and fulfilliment.
When you become more aware of your sensations, labels, and beliefs, your movements will be decisions. More of what you do will foster joy, success, growth and fulfillment.
Awareness allows self-determination and self-responsibility. We can determine our path and always maintain the ability to respond. Awareness gives us choice.
As we become more aware, we move away from blame, expectation, entitlement, regret, jealousy, resentment and fear.
As you start deciding what labels to assign to your sensations, you can choose the labels that serve you best; labels like happy, fulfilled, confident, motivated, energized and intimate. You are not a slave of your emotions, thoughts or feelings. You decide. Decide wisely!
Week Two – Tuesday Concepts
The next few days, begin to feel for the ways you burn off extra energy. I usually call this diffusion. We get overly energized and do something to return to a more familiar level of energy. See if you can begin to identify yours. As a clue, everything you do that doesn’t have a positive return on your investment of energy is probably diffusion.
Here is another excerpt from Jeff’s book –
If you believe that stress exists, you probably do things to relieve stress: exercise, medication, meditation, alcohol, food, sex or therapy. So, in effect, stress is draining your energy and then you are exerting more energy trying to relieve it, creating a double deficit.
What if stress didn’t exist until you created it? What if you are using stress like a thermostat, pressure release valve or energy regulator? What if you create stress just so you can do something else to relieve it?
What if the primary benefit of stress was to maintain and sustain a habitual range?
What if you could learn to devalue your stressors and eliminate that holding of energy? And most importantly, what if all of the energy you are expending worrying about stress, being stressed and relieving stress could be spent on other things, things that bring you happiness, fulfillment and success?
So, my next question became why would I choose to be stressed? What benefit did I gain from being stressed or from the many other non-optimal decisions I made? How did it serve me to be angry, sad, fat, tense, lazy or spacey? How did the less than stellar components of my personality play into this? How did I benefit from being sarcastic, irreverent, judgmental, domineering, dismissive, manipulative, untruthful and unkind? I realized all of these things required energy expenditures, and if I was burning energy I was less energized afterwards.
Dysfunctions deplete. My dysfunctions and personality shortfalls were ways I diminished my vitality. Somehow, I had judged myself to be over-vitalized and decided I needed to be less.
I made non-optimal choices because optimal began to feel uncomfortable.
I am designed to absorb energy, to take in my environment. I interact by absorbing the stimuli present. I am an infinite sponge, and if I don’t squeeze, I will continue to absorb. I have the innate ability to take in more than I expend, which increases my vital reserves. I can be in a constant state of expansion!
As I take in my environment, it becomes a part of me and then I get bigger. At some point, bigger begins to feel untenable. My mind fashions an image of who I am, a fictional boundary of my capability and capacity. When I approach this imagined threshold, my mind starts looking for ways to re-conform to habitual ranges and limits that pre-exist. I strive for the familiar because I experience it as safe. Familiar becomes habitual. Habitual is comfortable. Comfortable is survivable. I have a 100% survival rate from the past.
I came to realize that I have tension, injury, disease, suffering and dysfunction because AS I reach an intolerable level of vitality, I look to regain my comfort zone. I came to believe a majority of my personality deficits serve to deflate me back to what is habitual and familiar. I took this awareness and began to look for confirmation in my environment and in others. I used the idea of excess vitality as a filter to see the world. It dawned on me that the biological imperative of homeostasis had (has) been co-opted by my mental and emotional systems.
A significant portion of my personality is utilized to limit potential, reduce options and restrict growth.
The conclusions I came to:
The burgeoning vitality that can lead to dysfunction is the foundation of our existence. We eat, we breathe, hear, smell, taste and feel. We listen and empathize. We sense the emotions and receive the ideas of others. All of these things bring energy into our system. When our subconscious mind judges us to be overfull (uncomfortably fulfilled) it starts to look for ways to purge, vent, or compress us to a place of less-than-overfull, back to what we are accustomed to, back to the habitual. Not necessarily good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, successful or unsuccessful, happy or unhappy: just typical. There is a range to the typical, a zone of comfort. It may be fantastic or it may be a place of unhappiness or pain, anger or sadness, injury or disease, addiction or affliction.
Since it is typical, we get comfortable there, and it becomes a habit and our default script. When we absorb more stimuli than is typical, when possibilities and potential increase our reserves out of this familiar range, our mind begins to look for ways to vent this excess energy. Not because it is healthy or a biological necessity, but because our minds have associated familiar with safe and unfamiliar as unsafe. As we reach the edge of our comfort zone, our dysfunctions are triggered as our minds try to maneuver us back to the habitual.
As we look to reconfirm familiar ranges, it requires a dissipation of our excess vitality. We vent … with anger, sadness, injury, suffering, disease, jealousy, gossip, over-eating, under-eating, addiction, judgment, projection, subjectification, demand, blame, stress, Netflixing, over-exercising, etc. All of these require and bleed energy, leaving us less vital.
Familiar and comfortable aren’t necessarily healthy. Smoking can be both familiar and a comfort. It is not healthy.
How we vent, our psychological and physiological deficits, becomes the WAY not the why.
Discomfort is a sign that there are more stimuli present than you judge you are able to digest. Stimuli are energy. Energy fuels vitality. Too much stimuli triggers your mind into judging your present vitality as undesirable. Your mind connects undesirable with unsafe and looks to regain familiarity. When your mind recognizes familiar patterns of expansion, it will begin to resist proactively. It encourages you to be stubborn, withdrawn or reactive. Not because resistance is healthy but because it is familiar. Think about the excuses you create to delay or resist exercise. None of your stories are healthy; they are dogmatic and expedient. It is more comfortable to cycle into old patterns of resistance than it is to pedal a bicycle.
Most of us have an area of our lives (or a segment of an area) where we are habitually sub-optimal. This book addresses the pre-causal states that lead and enable those limitations. These are the places where you limit your success or actively fail, the areas of your personality where you distance and diffuse, where you restrict intimacy and deflect connection.
Healthy growth and adaptation requires healthy discomfort. You gain strength, flexibility and fluidity through adaptation. Your bodies (mental, emotional and physical) will make an effort to adapt to healthy discomfort, to expand your range and capacity to include your current accumulations and expenditures. You increase your capacity and capability by tolerating healthy discomfort.
Why it matters:
Our personality is the combination of our habits. It is not “who we are.” Our personality is a reflection of what we typically do. It isn’t hard wired; it is habit wired. Change your habits and you will change your personality.
Our dysfunctions, addictions, ailments, drama and stories are the way we maintain a limited presence. They provide ways to diffuse the energy our subconscious mind believes is “unsafe.”
When you challenge your familiar patterns (what I call comfort zones in the above excerpt), you give yourself an opportunity to make different decisions. As you consistently make different decisions, you change your habits. As your habits change, you change, bit by bit and piece by piece. Change and growth are a trajectory, not a goal.
“Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time
might make the worst of us good.”
Benjamin Franklin, Poor
Richard’s Almanack (1738)
Week Two – Thursday Concepts
When we feel any strong reactive emotion it is usually because we have allowed something or someone to push us past our ability to stay kind, generous and empathetic.
We get “too” something and we do something. We find ourselves at the edge of a cliff and something sends us over the edge.
As we reach the edges of our familiar range, we get triggered because our subconscious mind is trying to bully us back to a level that it thinks is acceptable, not safe or healthy but away from our edges. It wants us to purge energy until we are deflated back to something that falls within our typical levels.
Homeostasis is our physical body’s predisposition to stay balanced within a typical range. What becomes typical is not necessarily healthy. Our subconscious mind is primarily concerned with survival, not growth. If our body were great at prioritizing health over comfort, we wouldn’t get fat or lazy. We get fat because our mind prioritizes fat storage ahead of metabolic efficiency. We get lazy because our subconscious mind prioritizes complacency over fitness. The same thing can happen with emotions, relationships or beliefs. We get into dysfunctional ruts because we fall into our familiar compensations.
Compensations include mental and emotional things like stress, blame, resignation, jealousy, frustration, impatience, disconnection, anger, sadness, grief, awe, excitement, detachment and any variety of fear. Physical compensations include tension, addictions, food, nail biting, foot tapping, gesturing, sex, exercise and napping. Yes, even napping.
Each of our compensations will burn energy and return us to a range that is typical, habitual and to some degree, manageable.
These ranges are fictitious (we’ll get into that more later). As you get close to the edges of your familiar range; your mental, emotional and physical bodies prepare to react, compensate.
When you get too something, you do something. What you do are your compensations.
To understand your dissipations and compensations, get to know your physical, emotional, and mental too points!
Compensations may be dysfunctions on their own or just the means to an end. And remember, this isn’t about good and bad, right or wrong, or judging your personality, dysfunctions and compensations; it is about gaining the awareness that your energy and vitality are being compromised.
“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot,
and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
George Carlin, Carlin on Campus (1984)
Why it matters:
You can learn to discern your mental and emotional “too” points. You can become aware of what it feels like to approach your “too” edges. Elevating and expanding your sensory awareness will allow you to discern when you approach the edge between what is typical and familiar and what is typically and familiarly uncomfortable. It will feel as if your energy is ramping up. As you feel an edge approaching, you can choose a beneficial action before you fall into habitual reaction (which is usually less than beneficial).
Stopping at the edge of the cliff is much better than kicking spastically and screaming manically on the way down.
As you get better at identifying the paths that lead to the edge of your cliffs, you can see the paths approaching and start looking for other paths … that lead to places without cliffs.
Week Three – Sunday Concepts
We have talked about resistance and on Thursday, we talked about compensation. Compensation is what you do when you feel resistance. Compensation and resistance are the coping mechanisms your subconscious mind uses to reassure itself that you are not going to get “too.” C&R keep us enveloped in our subconscious limited reality. C&R are what we use to stifle growth, moderate happiness and constrain success. Our subconscious mind worships average and compensation and resistance are its two most loyal apostles.
There are levels of compensation in everything we do. We are never 100% involved, committed, or invested. Compensation and resistance are how we limit our presence, connection and engagement.
If I resist exercising, I resist it physically by not moving and resist it emotionally by bringing about feelings of lethargy, inadequacy or hopelessness. Mentally, I give value to stories about how it is better to not exercise, how I might get injured or won’t have the energy left over to do what I need to do later. I convince myself it is too hard or pointless, that there are more important things to do. Energetically, I create an atmosphere of sticky immobility or isometric uncertainty.
Compensation is the wicked bedfellow to resistance. Compensation is the negotiation and accommodation our subconscious mind makes when it feels threatened. It finds the easy way; unfortunately, it is usually the less beneficial way.
Every movement, action and decision has some form of resistance and compensation. When you can highlight them, you give yourself opportunity to begin to alter, mitigate or change them.
Begin to question, be curious and explore your movements, actions and decisions. Look for the compensations and resistances you use and when you find them challenge yourself to be a little more engaged, involved and connected. Be persistent. Your subconscious mind is going to fight you. It wants you to be average. It strives to constantly moderate toward mediocrity. You can kick its ass or be half-ass, the choice is yours.
Week Three – Tuesday Concepts
The sides of the breath are symbolic of the seasons and the stages of our lives, loves, careers, relationships, addictions, and habits. Everything in our lives is in one of the four seasons or stages of the breath. The square breath practice connects the seasons into a loop. Once our subconscious mind relaxes into the loop, it begins to feel safe, loosens control and then things start to move … onto the next season in the sequence … and toward the season that holds the most fear for our subconscious mind.
The inhale is spring, full of birth, growth and potential, a blossoming adolescence. The spring of the inhale holds the fear of our enoughness and the possibility of life. It is the season of opportunity and expansive transformation. The inhale is Eros, the God of Love. It is the season of the illicit, the germinator of the previously inconceivable. The inhale is the rule breaker and the taker of chances.
Summer is the top hold, the confirmation of our enoughness in a wave of abundance. Summer is the placeholder for the fear of success and our fear of fearlessness. The top hold nullifies excuses. If offers the opportunity to exist without limits. Summer is the birthplace of conformity as a way to constrain fulfillment, happiness and playfulness. To laugh, you must exhale and the top hold keeps that from happening.
The exhalation is the fall, a falling off of potential and a letting go of all that didn’t serve us. Fall challenges our concepts of attachment, ownership, demand and expectation. Exhale is grief and offers the distinctly uncomfortable opportunity to let go. Exhales feed the feelings of failure, incompleteness and lost opportunities. It is the bi-polar season of self-doubt and determination. Leaves are lost but seeds are born in every exhale. It is the season of indecision. Exhales are full of incredulity and raucous laughter. The exhale is the acceptance of effort and hard work. Exhales are the current failures that lead to future successes.
Winter is the time to remain empty, surviving in the quiet lack until death. It is the season of resolution and an end to possibility. The bottom of the breath is the season of decay, deconstruction, poverty and exhaustion. It is completion. Winter is the black and white of heaven and hell. It is intolerance, judgment and hate. Winter is everlasting life. Winter is the power of memory and the power of nothingness. Ecstasy lives in winter. All potential is conceived in the bottom of the breath.
Why it matters:
Our subconscious mind doesn’t want to acknowledge any of the places we are stuck. It likes stuck. Stuck is under control and predictable. Usually, our subconscious mind allows us to skip over the season that we fear or are fearing in the moment. It detours around the greatest potential for change; the possibility for completion and the opportunity for the birth of something better.
This simple breath connects those stuck places to the sides of the breath. It takes them by the hand and coaxes them forward; sometimes just a step, other times with mad dash for the exit. Occasionally this breath pattern grabs hold of the things we don’t want to face and immolates them in a flash of understanding, resignation, and acceptance. Movement brings about change.
Contracting and releasing the perineum works like a hand water pump, gently pulling and pushing, encouraging movement and release. The perineum contraction sequence challenges your systems to maintain a connection with your center while simultaneously connecting your center with each side of your breath. When challenged, the systems begin working together, overcoming fear, resistance, and the subconscious mind’s desire to hold onto pain.
Thursday Concepts – Week Three
As a member of The Change Militia, you will build curiosity, tenacity, and the ability to tolerate healthy discomfort. As you begin to master these concepts and movements you will be increasingly powerful, relaxed and confident. Stress, judgment and resistance will fall away and your successes will feel begin to feel effortless. You will get healthier, have increased energy and sleep better. Your interactions with others will be fuller, deeper and transparent. Your relationships will be more intimate, playful and fulfilling.
The biggest hurdle you will face is identifying and reducing all of the different iterations, flavors and configurations of your resistance. How open are you to new ideas? How much do you resist change or modification? How does it feel for you to express a new idea? Where and how in your body do you feel rejection or admiration?
I’ve put together a list of energy configurations as the gross indicators of your degree of receptivity and your levels of opposition and resistance. Your current and habitual moods (resistance configurations) will fall into one or more of these categories:
• Stagnant – Low, weak and unmoving, stuck, lethargic, depressed;
• Compressive – Pent up, tense, strained, holding back, capitulated, constipated;
• Expansive – Growing, glowing, ecstatic, generous, blissful, elated;
• Transitive – Shifting, changing, unstable, mutable;
• Isometric – Pushing and pulling, conflicted, tense, passive aggressive, actively nonmoving;
• Isotonic – Unbalanced isometric, concentric, eccentric, leaning, tense, resistant but moving;
• Fluid – Effortless, flowing without resistance, carefree, fearless, relaxed, confident;
• Fluctuating – Unresolved, variable, searching for balance;
• Percolating – Compressed but beginning to move;
• Explosive – Instant decompression, hyper-reactive;
• Scattered – Unfocused, multi-directional;
• Bleeding – Leaking, dissipating, deflating;
• Accumulating – Drawing in, actively ingesting with limited expansion. Pressurizing.
Each of your bodies: physical, mental, emotional and energetic might hold a different configuration. Body parts will generally not be configured the same. As you are able to identify (through Current30’s) what your configurations are; you can begin to change them.
If your energy feels stagnant, you will have tools to get it moving. If you are mentally stagnant; you can use any of the meditations to re-center yourself. Feeling explosive? Do five minutes of square breaths.
See if you can discern the above configurations as you move through your day. Transitive will exist every time you transition from one configuration to another. Fluid is the target. Feel for it, bask in it, and make it your default.
All of the configurations in each of your bodies: physical, mental, emotional and energetic are created and controlled by your subconscious mind … until you make them conscious and decide to configure yourself differently. Decide wisely and often. Be fluid.Be a dancing monkey.
Why it matters:
When you lower your resistance an uber-natural harmony and resonance is created, sometimes instantly. As your harmony increases, your capacities and capabilities expand. As your capacity expands, each of your challenges will be a smaller percentage of your total. Think of the things that cause you stress, overwhelm, frustration and fatigue as if they were pull-ups.
When you can only do 5 pull-ups, each one is 20% of your capacity and every one feels effortful. After focusing on increasing your ability to do pull-ups, you will be able to do 40, and each one will only be 2.5% of your capacity. Daily stressors won’t affect you like they do now. Everything will feel easier because every action will be a smaller percentage of your capability.
Week Four – Sunday Concepts
Week Four – Sunday/Monday Concepts
“The language of God is not English or Latin; the language of God is cellular and molecular.”
Timothy Leary, Harvard Law School Forum (1966)
Let’s talk a bit about the images and beliefs that you hold. Images and beliefs are the foundations of your fears, the silhouettes of your defenses and the basis for all of your intolerance, subjectification and blame. Images and beliefs generate your demands. Demands necessitate that your energy be funneled toward encouraging one outcome and discouraging all other outcomes. Demands dictate your behaviors. They are your reactions to the fears you hold. When you shunt enough energy to them, demands will trump every intention you hold. When demands become your driving force; they become how you react and who you are.
- Your demands become your nature and form the all of the limiting aspects of your personality.
Your demands become habitual. What has worked before to reestablish your comfort zone is used again and again. As you become predisposed toward your demands, your demands breed new patterns of behavior. Your demands begin to redefine the images you have of the world and you create even more limiting beliefs about how the world should be to match your demands. Your behaviors are then defined by new, narrower images and more restrictive beliefs because they are the only things you allow yourself to see as possibilities.
- Images and beliefs are purses for the fears you clutch… sewn into sentences and satchels of truth.
Images are the situational biases you hold, blinders on what you allow yourself to consider. They are the limited and limiting definitions that you give to words, concepts, things, places, people and thoughts. When you picture good breakfast what comes to mind? How about when picturing great relationship? How has your definition of good breakfast and great relationship changed over time? Your images, limiting definitions, aren’t actual or factual; they are proximal and situational. You create images to predefine what you are going to consider as inside or outside your comfort zone. Predefinition requires predicting future safety parameters, placing a perimeter on potential possibility. Images define what you will value in the future as acceptable.
- Beliefs are the feeling side of images, the emotional curtains you draw to keep out everything that might dawn outside the windows of your circumscribed and proscribed horizon.
Most of your beliefs were taught to you. The bricks in your walls: your parents, friends, community, society and culture, told you what think and how to be intolerant. Your demands and habits become the fictional comfort zones you create: the predispositions, fictional biases, of good/bad, right/wrong, should/shouldn’t, can/can’t, will/won’t, wanted/unwanted and safe/unsafe.
Behaviors are the habitual consequences of your images and beliefs. You are the mouse and your images and beliefs are the walls of the maze. When you limit your options, the limited options are the only ones you see, not the only ones possible. Since the habitual behaviors are all that you see, they become all that you do, how you fashion yourself. Habit becomes personality. Your personality isn’t who you are; it is the result of your images, beliefs and behaviors.
- Personality is the well-trodden path your habitual behaviors walk.
Images, beliefs and behaviors are the root of your dysfunctions. They are the illusory excuses you create to limit potential and diffuse your vibrancy. Your dysfunctions all have demands, accompanying agendas, patterns or components that you use to limit or diffuse your vitality. As you can recognize your demands, you can identify your habits and then distinguish your images, patterns and beliefs. After DIStinguishing them, you can begin to DISmantle, DISregard and DIScard them. ‘DIS is the key!
• When you hang on to your beliefs, images and patterns of behavior, they become the trap door below the noose.
”Many of us seek peace and by “peace” we ordinarily mean
either to be at peace with ourselves or to reach some state of equilibrium
in which we are not overly affected by life’s trials and tribulations.”
Joel Kramer, The Passionate Mind Revisited (2009)
When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. I was also a moderate stutterer. When I would get to a new school, I would puff up my chest and walk around quietly, not engaging. I was the new kid and I didn’t want to be messed with. I was shy and afraid and didn’t have the social skills necessary to make friends easily.
My image was that I wasn’t safe in unfamiliar territory with people I didn’t know. My pattern was to try to make myself bigger and unapproachable. The beliefs I held included: not being accepted or acceptable, I was different and therefore bad, I didn’t make friends easily, the other kids already had their social circles and there wasn’t room for me and the most powerful belief I had was that I was shy and would be rejected for my stuttering. Even though all of those things proved to be false every single time, I continued to use them as coping mechanisms for the expanded potential new places and new people brought.
Even today, being gregarious is something that I warm up to. I can see now that having my own business was a way to become the center of my universe. I didn’t have to adjust to new environments, my environments revolved around me. Growing and expanding my business gave me the feeling that I had a larger base of safety. I started in an 800 sq. ft. warehouse and ended in a 30,000 sq. ft. building. Interestingly enough, I never felt safer than after I sold my business, houses and cars.
Week Four – Tuesday Concepts
Week Four – Tuesday/Wednesday Concepts
Your subconscious mind likes ruts, excuses and quitting. It feeds off of fear and drama. It is the overseer of the habits that make up the majority of your personality. Your subconscious mind uses current stimuli to cue scenario generation, predicting threats or benefits.
When there are more stimuli than your mind can manage, it begins to look for scenarios that will get you back to what it thinks is a manageable and familiar range. When the present is judged as out of control, a limit your subconscious mind has set, it instigates a cascade of movement to regain control. These movements are your habits, dysfunctions and personality shortcomings. Your life is a never-ending series of these movements, movements as simple as facial expressions and including most of the aspects of your personality and all of the habitual ways you diffuse or bleed energy.
Your mind burns the majority of the energy it consumes deciding if this moment is subjectively better than some previous moment and what might be better in the next moment. Your personality is the outward display of these cycles of subjectivity.
- Your mind starts a motion by having a notion, concocting a potion and then … making a drop into an ocean.
As you increase your subtle awareness, when you begin to direct your mind, you will decide that the past can have no bearing and the future (the next moment or next month) will most probably be safe. This awareness will reduce the resistance you have to your current discomfort and will help you to tolerate that discomfort until your systems adapts to the new, more expanded, levels. If your personality determines who you are, and your personality is a habit, as you change your habits, you change who you are.
Why it matters:
The extended meditation of Square Breath, Level Four will map a new frontier for your conscious mind. It will give you a personal experience of conscious mastery. The meditation may require you to make dozens of decisions to continue; to tolerate and to ignore your sub-conscious mind. It can be a shifting of absolute power from your sub-conscious mind to your conscious mind.
Once you have one experience of successfully enduring healthy discomfort, your subconscious mind can no longer get away with telling your conscious mind that it is impossible or pretend that it is inconceivable. Every time you challenge your subconscious mind successfully, it gets weaker and your conscious mind gets stronger. Your moment to moment awareness will grow and you will react less habitually. Beneficial decisions will get easier to see and to make.
As you begin to decide what your action is going to be instead of reacting habitually; you will begin to meet your intentions and find levels of happiness and fulfillment that you have never known.
Your movements (physical, mental, emotional and energetic) will be aligned, balanced, and all on the same trajectory … and then your outer world will begin to entrain. You will choose to grow, to find increased happiness and fulfillment. The components of your world will either get in sync or they will fall away.
Week Four – Thursday Concepts
Concepts: Value and Attachment
Value is the hypothetical benefit or deficit you assign, the amount of energy you give, consciously or non-consciously, to potentials or possibilities you have identified or created. Attachment is the value you give a person, place, thing, belief, pattern or idea coupled with the amount of suffering you fear if it is lost. Fear of loss is the projection that suffering will occur when something is taken away … before you are ready to let it go.
If you have resistance to suffering, you look for ways to forestall it. When you fear loss, you assign a value to potential future pain, you create an attachment, and then distort yourself in the moment in anticipation of the possibility of that future suffering. Valuations of your past can be felt as attachments, resistance, held energy constructs, stuff. But it is not only the past that drains you. You are attached to your current demands, held beliefs, images about the world and the patterns you have developed. You create attachments to mitigate the potential for change in your environment. Your mind takes the value you have created and your attachment to that value and begins to create stories.
- If something has value to you, it is limiting or draining your energy in some way.
How do you animate the inanimate? As you value and attach to potentials, you take a possibility and make it a part of your being. You are giving a single potential life by creating a story about how it is important and how you would suffer if it was gone. You create a fictional future and then invest in that fiction. The degree to which you energize your stories is the amount they drain your vitality. When you create a story, you are creating a limited future. Fear is the overriding and limiting factor in attachment. You are afraid the past will repeat itself and flood you with suffering, so you build a boat (create a story) and start rowing (give the story life, energy) Both the construction and propulsion of the boat drain you and if you are concentrating on that particular boat, all other boats instantly have less or no value. If you believe you have to row, all other forms of propulsion won’t have any value to you.
What I am talking about are held beliefs, recurring memories and regurgitated events (good or bad) that you feel attached to or entitled to. The scenarios you create and the things you do to ensure your belief’s continued existence. You have attachments to all of your habits, patterns and beliefs. You have a fear of loss for each, a pain quotient. The value you hold in place, the attachment, is the degree of suffering you project if you were to let them go. Years ago, I participated in a workshop with Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, authors of The Passionate Mind and The Guru Papers. One thing said that has been a seed for me ever since is “when you have a direct experience of something, you no longer need a belief in its existence.” Which I interpreted as “when I am able to perceive the world as it is, I no longer need someone to explain it to me and I no longer need to follow someone else’s rules or get guided by their rules.” Check out everything they offer at joeldiana.com, you will be glad you did.
If your belief in a supreme deity prevents you from living your life to the fullest, it is limiting. If you believe that you are a failure and that belief keeps you from taking chances, that preconception most certainly limits you. If you have a belief that only brown haired, blue-eyed partners that square dance are attractive, you are seriously limiting yourself. Religion can be a constant referencing to something outside of the present moment. If you use religion as a way to distance yourself from current potential, it is just another of your diffusionary tactics.
What is your experience of religion? When have you felt spiritual? There is a difference between being spiritual and being religious. Simply put, for me, being religious is a drain and being spiritual is a gain. If you focus on crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, every religious belief system will require that you limit your thoughts and control your movements. Being spiritual is to live the teachings (or at least to move with intention toward their intent). Spirituality is in the moment, a being, not a doing. If I am concentrating on what I am supposed to do and what I am not supposed to do, I have less energy available to be. Spirituality, for me, is about being: being kind and being connected to my environment and the beings in it. If you concentrate on the rules of any religion, you will create doors and corridors. Spirituality has a limitless expansiveness. Religion can be rigid, defined and confining, if that becomes your focus. De-focusing on the rules and focusing on the intention of the teachings will give you a direction, it will foster knowledge, insight, kindness and empathy.
- If you are walking the dogma, yours is the neck the collar is tightening around.
“There is always in the healthy mind
an obscure prompting that religion teaches us rather to dig than to climb;
that if we could once understand the common clay of earth we should understand everything.
Similarly, we have the sentiment that if we could destroy custom at a blow
and see the stars as a child sees them, we should need no other apocalypse.”
G.K. Chesterton (1901)
Make a list of the things you believe, the judgments you hold and the truths you hold dear. And then deconstruct them. How important are each of your attachments to you? How does it serve you to have beliefs? All attachments and beliefs function to limit or promote fear. Examine your beliefs for the fear they conceal. Investigate your attachments for the doors they close and the corridors they shunt you to. Allow yourself to see their chains, shackles, muzzles, earplugs and blindfolds. Disregard whether or not they serve you, disallow validity and experiences, let go of right and wrong. Look at them solely for their taint and constraint.
How do your beliefs limit you and affirm your fears? How do they keep you small, compressed or repressed? I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have any beliefs or that all beliefs are bad; I’m suggesting that you begin to understand how they limit you, even if they are healthy, joyful or fulfilling.
- How much energy do your beliefs require to continue to exist? Facts and direct personal experience require zero energy.
Beliefs come into play when you are uncomfortable or fearful. You fall on your beliefs to descend back to your comfort zone. You pull on your attachments to burn energy. You limit your reality and then make an effort toward that limited reality, so that your fictionality can become an actuality.
Why it Matters:
When you understand the fear at the core of your beliefs and the basis of your attachments, you can begin to devalue them. As they lose value, attachment is reduced. When they lose all value, they lose all attachment. Every belief you have, every limiting thought, pattern, addiction or dysfunction can be devalued and let go.
Beliefs that bring happiness and contentment are still limiting. They are limiting the amount of happiness and the degree of fulfillment. Attachments are the emotion and thought behind your resistance to being all you can be. Attachments are the army you employ to destroy, delay or disempower change. Understanding your attachments will be the window you look through to see your created pain: the suffering you invent, invest in and maintain. Lose all attachment and you will lose all suffering. Life is not suffering … unless you choose it to be.
Beta Test – Wrap Up