Why do I choose what I choose? What makes me do things over and over that do not work? Most of our thinking is subconscious. On average, only 1 to 5 percent of our thinking is conscious. We make choices all day long that we do not consider carefully.
Sixty-five percent of our thoughts are negative and redundant. Am I doomed to a life of negativity and failure? What can I do if the odds seemed stacked so high against me?
One remedy for unconscious motivations that undermine our life is mindfulness. We can choose to be aware of our choices. If I observe myself, I am able to override patterns that are self-defeating.
When I develop my ability to focus, I can be mindful. We live in a world dominated by screen time. The average American spends 10 hours and 39 minutes daily using a tablet, smartphone, personal computer, multimedia device, video game, radio, DVD, DVR or TV.
This constant use of devices divides our attention. We are losing our ability to focus and be mindful. It is important to be able to contemplate our life experiences and our emotions. This enables us to live balanced and conscious lives. Our quality of life depends on our objectivity and our choices.
Please watch this video where John Omaha explores the biological dynamics of our unconscious motivation:
What is Psych-K?
Psych-K is a process that changes our beliefs and improves the functioning of our brain. Our beliefs have a great effect on our experience. The Oxford dictionary defines belief as “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.” The second definition is that “one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.”
My beliefs have a great deal of influence over my life – my moods, my physical health, my performance at work, my relationships, and my spiritual beliefs. I have beliefs that are conscious and also have beliefs that are subconscious. I have beliefs about myself, others, and the world of which I am not consciously aware. John may think that he wants to succeed at his work, yet he may sabotage his work by avoiding important tasks. John’s procrastination is due to a subconscious belief, such as “I am a failure.”
Our beliefs come from our personal experience, our families, our culture, and the world as a whole. When I have experiences, they shape my beliefs. The conscious mind is aware of the environment. Subconscious mind is below our level of the conscious mind. Professor Emeritus Gerald Zaltman writes that neuroscience reveals that at least 95% of our thoughts and decisions originate at the subconscious level of the mind.
Tor Nørretranders writes that the conscious mind processes information at 40 bits of information per second approximately. Yet the subconscious mind processes 40 million bits of information per second approximately. Most of the common approaches to psychotherapy only work with the conscious mind, and ignore that enormous power of the subconscious mind. This is despite the fact that the subconscious mind has a million times more ability to process information than the conscious mind.
“Brain Dominance Theory” has been studied for many decades. The left side of the brain uses logic and thinks in words. Whereas, the right side of the brain uses emotion and thinks in pictures. It is best for us to identify with both our right and left sides of our brain at the same time. When we experience an event as traumatic, then one side of our brain tends to dominate. Psych-k helps us achieve a “Whole Brain State” where we are able to identify with both sides of our brain simultaneously when we think about a traumatic event from our past. A “Whole Brain State” also helps us solve our current challenges more effectively. Perhaps the best evidence of its effectiveness is that Psych-K has been used by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, professional performance coaches and others since 1989.
Research in three papers published in peer reviewed journals establish the effectiveness of Psych-K in changing the physical brain. These articles concluded that there is a significant connection between beliefs, the “Whole Brain State,” and rapid change in a person’s attitudes or in other words – mindset. Additionally, in order for a therapist to be optimally effective, she will be in a “Whole-Brain State” when doing psychotherapy with a client. Please watch this video and learn about Psych-K:
What Is the Matrix?
What is possible? Do I really know? I have assumptions that help me navigate each day. I assume there is day and night. I get up each weekday morning with the morning sunlight and go to work. In the evening, I return home after work and I have leisure time. I go to sleep after the sun sets. The next weekday I get up and do the same.
There are somethings that we assume will never change. Yet all things do change. Leap year reminds us that our calendar and the universe are out of sync. We add a day every four years, because our way of measuring time is not a perfect fit with the movement of the planet earth around the star we call the sun. There are trillions and trillions of stars in the universe.
If we just consider human life on planet earth, light is quite varied. If I travel to Alaska, USA, in July, the sun sets at 10:30pm. In winter, the sun only briefly reveals itself.
The speed of light changes as does gravity. Our world changes in ways we may not realize.
As much as I may deny it, I must acknowledge that I live in an unpredictable universe. Death can stop me in my tracks. Suddenly the rhythm of my life can be thrown into chaos.
Yet there is nothing so bad that something good cannot come of it. Even Jesus’ crucifixion, enabled others to see and understand new possibilities that changed our world forever.
Learning to withhold our judgments can be very powerful. Once we make assumptions, we exclude options. There is a place of total possibility, some name the Quantum Field or the Matrix. This reality identified in quantum physics is a very powerful concept. Physics is the most validated science today.
It is modern physics and the study of electromagnetic fields that enables my iPhone to post this blog on my website which allows you to read it from almost anywhere in the world. Modern communication is remarkable thanks to modern physics. Quantum physics reveals a universe that is ripe with possibilities.
When we can approach life with an open mind, many constructive things can emerge. If I can set my assumptions aside, I can see the world in a new way.
My assumptions can act like blinders which limit my vision. It is like looking at the world standing in a valley. If I can set my assumptions aside, I can see the world from a larger perspective. It is like moving from the ground level of the valley to the top of a hill.
This is a mindful position of awareness. When I can observe others, events, and myself from a wider vantage point, I can see more choices. Our two basic powers as humans are to observe reality and make choices. Seeing more possibilities is empowering for each of us.
Please watch this video on a whole brain state which opens up our perception enabling us to see the world more clearly and to see more options:
“It is not the end of the world,” my dad would say. Often, the crises we perceive as so ominous are not the end of our life as we know it. Sometimes an event, such as disease, divorce, or death can deliver a blow so severe that our life changes. Life can then seem meaningless.
Yet amidst this devastation, we may find something of value. Carl Jung said, “There is nothing so bad that some good can’t come of it.”
That which breaks our hearts, makes it larger. In this breaking, we may find a mysterious wholeness or – in other words – The Self.
The Self is the whole or total personality. A whole personality embraces the unconscious part of our mind which includes our spiritual center. A connection between our self awareness (also called “ego”) and this spiritual (psychic) center is of vital importance for our health and well-being, asserts John Sanford.
Please watch this video by Manuel Costa about the Self and living with a sense of purpose:
What Time Is It?
How do you relate to time? Are you a punctual person?
Our relationship with time is important. Some of us are more oriented to the clock. When someone prefers to use our Judging process in the outer world, then one often has a different relationship to time. One is more aware of Chronos – a sense of time from ancient Greece related to chronological or sequential time. As human beings we have evolved from the sundial to the grandfather clock to the pocket watch to the digital wristwatch to the Apple Watch. Perhaps, we just look at our iPhone for the time. People who prefer their Judging Function prefer to be timely and organized. They tend to like planning and being methodical.
People who prefer to use their Perceiving Function are more spontaneous and flexible. They seek to experience and understand life as opposed to wanting to control it. They are adaptive and change course. People who prefer their Perceiving Function are more aware of Kairos – another sense of time from ancient Greece that is related to “a time in between.” While Chronos is quantitative, Kairos is qualitative.
The term Kairos reflects an earlier sense of time before sundials or clocks. Originally, our sense of time as human beings came from the cycles of nature – summer, fall, winter, and spring. The length of a day changes throughout the year depending on the season. The weather often varies from season to season. Time is variable. Farmers plant in spring and reap in the summer. The length of the light during the day waxes and wanes. Our bodies change with the cycles of nature – a woman has a period.
Yet the clock has become an unquestioned assumption for many modern people. We have a mechanical counting which reflects a 24 hour day. Our digital time is different from the rhythms of nature. A day in late December is very different from a day in the middle of June in Kansas City, USA, or Jakarta,Indonesia or Johannesburg, South Africa as well as for most of the world. Before we developed clocks our sense of time was different – more natural.
We had a different consciousness: sometimes referred to as mythical consciousness. These ancient people were keenly aware of nature and its rhythms. They perceived time as more of a circle of death and rebirth. “The ancients are said to have perceived events as iterations of a cosmic eternal return and regeneration within a specific place, whereas we believe that events occur on an irreversible, linear timeline that is independent of place,” writes Glen Aparicio Parry.
Most of us just assume that this ancient perception of time is fairytale, but that linear time is real. We do not even consider the possibility that this ancient view of time has validity. “The idea that time and space exist as independent dimensions is a relatively recent development. For most of mankind’s existence, knowledge of time and space was dependent upon place, for it was closely tied to the observation of the natural cycles of celestial and earthly phenomena surrounding one’s homeland. Knowing when and how to hunt, gather, and eventually to plant food all depended upon a close monitoring of the recurring rhythms of a place. What we know as time and space were merged into place,” writes Glen Aparicio Parry.
Our present day view of historical time assumes that time is simply a mathematical abstraction. This belief came from Isaac Newton who asserted that there was an “absolute” time. He asserted that time was then divorced from space.
Much of our modern thought originates from ancient Greece. One needs to carefully tune in to recognize an opening of Kairos. This is the source of the expression, “Seize the Day!” Kairos is also associated with an ever moving wheel of fortune. “Kairos time lives somewhere between intervals of Kronos time,” writes Glen Aparicio Parry.
“An Indigenous sense of time, it seems to me, includes both Kronos and Kairos and then maybe something more. It is understood that all is in flux, that everything is always changing and that even natural rhythms must be closely monitored because they are not guaranteed to remain the same. Monitoring these natural rhythms and cycles helps to develop an intuitive awareness, an awareness that recognizes the opportune time to act within a given cycle. This awareness seamlessly takes into account as host of variables, which are not logical or able to be broken down or counted because they are far too numerous – but they are understood nonetheless at an intuitive level,” concludes Glen Aparicio Parry.
Please watch this video on the Whole Brain State by Dr. John Omaha:
What Type of Person are You?
“Psychological Type is nothing static – it changes in the course of life,” writes Carl Jung.
“We cannot safely assume that other people’s minds work on the same principles as our own. All too often, others with whom we come in contact do not reason as we reason, or do not value the things we value, or are not interested in what interests us,” writes Isabel Briggs Myers.
All of us humans have the same psychological equipment to perceive what happens inside us as well as outside us. We use four different kinds of building blocks to form ideas about our experiences and decide how to respond to events – sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition. Virtually every one of us is born with a preference for one of these four psychological functions in a descending order. We will use all four of these functions, but our preference will determine how much we will use sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition.
“Sensation tells us something exists; thinking tells you what it is; feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not; and intuition tells you (from where) whence it comes and where it is going,” writes Carl Jung.
Sensation is simple to explain – how one relates with material things in the world. When a person who prefers sensation type person enters a room, he evaluates the things in it. “There is a solid black table and wooden shelves. The walls are brick, and ceiling has exposed beams.”
The thinking function is rational, cool, and logical. One who prefers thinking will interpret events as they happen, working what it means. This rational psychological function is high valued and almost exclusively taught in North American schools. Our capacity to think is tested and an I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) labels us. Our place in the modern American world is almost exclusively determined by our ability to think, says Robert Johnson.
The feeling function is a way of judging using values. One who prefers feeling function responds to what happens with value judgment. “Awesome concert, Dude!” “This class bites!”
This name can be confusing, because the term “feeling” function is often confused with emotion or affect. Feeling, in this sense, is the capacity to place value on people, places, things, and events. For many, the feeling function is the orphan of these four and largely misunderstood and haphazardly named.
The person who prefers intuition is able to ‘see’ the whole picture, asserts Anthony Stevens. This is a mysterious process. Intuition is very hard to define. “It is an extraordinary and out of the world capacity of knowing without knowing how one knows,” says Robert Johnson.
These four functions are like radio stations, we can either use our thinking function or our feeling function at one time. Jung assumes that we are born with a preference for one of these. Due to this preference, we will often develop skills related to one of these functions. If we are not supported in our family and schools to develop our preferred functions, then we may have difficulty. For the psychological functions that we naturally prefer may be undeveloped. We are like a fish trying to fly. A fish needs to swim; this is what they are naturally inclined to do.
Balancing our brain helps us to use more of our mind. It is very helpful to learn over time to access all our psychological functions. Please consider watching this video on the importance of balancing your brain:
What is Emotional Regulation?
An important part of psychological well-being is healthy self-soothing. Being able to calm yourself down is important. When someone feels too much anger, he may yell, curse, or hit someone else. Acting out our emotions destructively is one consequence of poor emotional regulation. Another way of dealing with painful emotions is to try to numb ourselves with alcohol or other drugs. Many problems result from our inability to regulate our feelings well.
When we are born, we rely on our mother (or primary caregivers) to calm down. Our brain is designed to rely on interactions with others to find balance and adjust to surrounding circumstances. Early in life, infants need connections to caregivers in order to develop healthy brain function. The interactions between the child and parent enable the child to achieve balance or regulation within her own mind. Interactions with caregivers allow the child’s brain to develop the structures necessary to move from emotional regulation with a parent to more independent forms of emotional regulation.
When children who are infants, toddlers, and preschoolers experience healthy emotional regulation in their relationships with their mom, they become school children who are seen by peers and teachers as likable. These children also perform well in school, show good social skills, and act in ways that build their relationships with others. But children with poor emotion socialization have difficulty in peer relationships, have trouble in school, and are at risk for emotional problems such as anxiety and depression during their childhood. These effects persist into adulthood.
Children need environments, like home and school, where they can be emotionally expressive. Children need parents who express their emotions, but do not overwhelm their children. A mother’s emotions have a powerful influence on her child’s emotional development. Children benefit when mothers talk about their own emotions. When their children are emotional, mothers who avoid yelling and punishing and provide positive responses to their children, enable their children understand their emotions better. Children also need their emotions to be accepted. When children are raised in an environment where they learn to explore their own emotions, and they learn to make connections between their emotional experience and events they see. They are able to understand their emotions in various situations.
After they reach school age, children who assess and process emotional information will in turn respond more appropriately to others and have skills that promote their own emotion self-soothing. The more emotional intelligence that children have, the greater their empathy they have with peers. These children also behave in ways that promote relationships, and they are more popular. The children who can identify their emotions and who self-sooth them well are seen as more likable and more prosocial in relationships with their peers. These early emotional experiences are a foundation for emotional intelligence.
When we are feeling highly emotional, we are in a state of emotional imbalance. An event with the people or events around us can trigger an emotional reaction. These emotional reactions are made more likely by past experiences that created vulnerabilities within the individual. These vulnerabilities are embedded in our memory and directly influence our thoughts, feelings, and choices.
Our emotions and affect influence what we see and hear. Our perceptions can be changed by the affect being experienced by the perceiver. “An affect oriented clinician can help a client more accurately perceive his environments by teaching him (Affect Management Skills Training) AMST skills to regulate his affect,” writes Dr. John Omaha.
The development of affect regulation, enables the emergence of a strong sense of self. When one has poor sense of self, he will not be able to self-soothe well. An adult with a strong sense of self is able to manage disturbing events and respond quickly to stressful demands. She will be able to remain self-aware during a disturbing event. This optimally functioning adult will be flexible, highly skillful, and self-aware in the area of emotions and affect. She will genuinely and with authority increase positive emotions, like joy, and calm negative emotions, like shame. This has been called a self-reflective function. Self-soothing with be accomplished by making use of inner images of safety, soothing, validation, and affirmation. The optimally functioning adult will not use alcohol, other drugs, food, sex, relationship, or work to numb out emotions. They will manifest vitality and will pursue the goals she sets for herself with energy and persistence. Please watch this video and learn about healthy emotional regulation from Dr. John Omaha:
Do you worry too much? When our minds will not stop with its their endless negative thoughts, it can be really upsetting. Affect Management Skills Training (AMST) is a type of therapy that has a remedy for worry. When we have upsetting memories that will not stop, there is a skill to empower yourself to change it. “The mind can change the brain,” says Dr. Daniel Siegel.
During the container skill, we imagine a container that will hold every disturbing thing. The goal of the Container Skill is to wall off the memories of harmful experiences and the unpleasant overwhelming emotions connected to them.
AMST uses imagery as well as techniques to activate both the right and left sides of the brain. This enables one to be in a whole brain state which enables one to see reality from a clearer vantage point. When we see things more as they are we think, feel and act differently.
The Butterfly Hug is one of many techniques used to activate both the left and right sides of the brain. The activation of both the left and right hemispheres of the brain is called, Bilateral Brain Stimulation. In her book, “Getting Past Your Past,” Dr. Shapiro recommends crossing “your arms in front of you with your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right. Then, you tap your hands alternately on each shoulder slowly four to six times.”
Dr. John Omaha, creator of “Affect Centered Therapy,” says that he demonstrates the Butterfly Hug to clients without emphasizing any particular speed and pressure of the tapping. He said he figures that each client will find the best rate and strength of touch that works for them.
Francine Shapiro suggests another technique to activate both sides of the brain: “alternate tapping your thighs (with the tips of your right index finger, then left index finger) at the same slow speed for the same for length of time (as she suggests above for the Butterfly Hug).”
AMST not only used Bilateral Brain Stimulation, but also uses symbols to influence the subconscious mind. The language of the subconscious is symbolic, like in our dreams. Advertisers and film producers know how to use the power of symbols. Commercials on television and on the internet motivate people to buy products with symbols. We can learn to use images to motivate ourselves. If we wish to use religious or spiritual images, AMST has the means to do so.
By rehearsing these skills of emotional regulation when our upsetting emotions are at a lower level, we develop mastery. Just like a musical instrument or a sport, the more we practice the skills, the better we perform. Please watch this video and learn how to use the container skill from AMST.
Blogs by Daniel Davis, Container Skill 2
John Omaha, Butterfly Hug 2 & Container Skill 2
Francine Shapiro, detailed description of Butterfly Hug and Bilateral Brain Stimulation
Daniel Siegel, mind
Affect Management Skills Training (AMST), Container Skill 2
Butterfly Hug – detailed description
“Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy,” book
What is a Whole Brain State?
Do I Need to Feel Pain to Heal Psychologically?