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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Beliefs: Conscious and Tacit


As I continue to read further into the book,  "Cured: The LIfe-Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing" by Dr. Jeffrey Riediger, I am amazed at the findins and wisdom. I was fortunate enough to be sitting at a table back in 2019 at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology with Dr. Rediger and Lissa Rankin MD. I discovered not only was he a psychiatrist but also had a Master of Divinity degree like me.

His book is a gem. In his chapter on "The Power of Placebo" he writes about the difference between Tacit knowledge/beliefs and Conscious knowledge/beliefs.

He postulates that there is more than just conscious beliefs at play with healing. He defines tacit beliefs as what we would call subconscious beliefs in Intention Tapping.

In many of the self-improvement and in performance psychology books, you will find an emphasis that focuses on conscious knowledge and beliefs. Conscious knowledge is explaining how to change a tire or reboot your computer. It is about consciously focusing your mind in a particular direction or way. This is important and good to teach.

Whenever I can consciously observe I have an emotional attachment to something it reminds me to apply IT, to breathe deeply or listen to brainwave entrainment music.

But ultimately, in Intention Tapping when we follow the breadcrumbs, we get to beliefs and knowledge at a tacit or subconscious level. Tacit knowledge is what we believe about ourselves, others, the world, and the Universe at a deeper level in the body, or subconscious nervous system.

Let's take a closer look at my love of playing tennis and winning. I have won first place in my league often enough to get attached to it (belief: I should win). Of course taking first place over opponents 20 years younger also creates an emotional attachment about the rejecting the aging process.

Using my conscious belief that age doesn't matter and that I am a good tennis player is why sometimes I can perform at a high level when playing in a match.

What I consciously believe is driving my perceptions. But when I mess up or get behind in the score, my subconscious or tacit beliefs begin to drive my perceptions and my mind and body get out of sync. I start telling myself what I need to do, instead of reacting and just hitting the ball.

I experience this as getting up in my head and getting out of flow. I'm sure it can be seen in the look on my face and body language.

Using my conscious knowledge and beliefs does help to manage my nervous system.

But I also discovered that working at deeper level by using a one word statement of "flow," addresses my monkey mind and helps me to return to flow in real time while playing match.

One could argue that my cue word is just using my conscious mind. But it feels deeper and more implicit. Something shifts without effort.

Intention Tapping is a wonderful way to access the subconscious mind or tacit knowledge. I am always amazed at its elegance, simplicity and depth.

I like the fact that it can be used on the fly while playing tennis, during my meditation practice or with another practitioner.

Dr. Rediger at the end of his book writes about the shifts people made in their lives. He states that what is common to the studies of spontaneous remissions was people healing their diets, immune systems, stress response and their identities (the way they see themselves in the world).

Healing in my mind doesn’t mean cure but rather wholeness. I witnessed my late wife experience healing of her mind/soul during her last week of life, while her body was not cured from cancer.

Exceptional cases of healing is not about blaming others who don't get better. The study is about empowering people to participate in the healing process.

Intention Tapping is a wonderful way to assist in that process.

Dr. Rediger suggests these areas for exploration.

-What are my triggers?

-What is the vision I have for my life?

-Who can I trust to counsel me in this situation?

-What "reward" can I give myself for following through?

-What will help me understand my value and worth and see the importance and goodness that I bring into the world?

-Why did I decide to make this change in my life?

Monday, November 27, 2023

I am currently reading a book by Jeffrey Rediger MD. "Cured: The Life-Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing.” I had met Dr. Rediger back in 2019 when we were sitting at the same banquet table at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference. He is a psychiatrist who also had an interest in healing and spirituality.

 I was eager to read his book and jumped around and scanned different chapters.

Dr. Rediger first went to seminary and then onto medical school. In seminary he was looking for answers and this is what one of his professor’s stated, "The goal is not necessarily to arrive at an absolute answer. The goal is to improve the quality of your questions. The quality of your questions determines the quality of your answers."

 Dr. Rediger goes on to state, "The questions we ask are the guiding light that moves us forward. If we're asking good questions, we very well might be moving in a good direction.”

 Here are three questions I find helpful when trying to dig deeper into what values are guiding your life.

 1. What is most important to you?

2. What do you most want to feel or experience?

3. What do you most want to avoid feeling or experiencing?

 Many of my counseling clients come in guided by what they want to avoid. Quite often they value security above all else. There is nothing wrong with that being your top value. But for many of my clients, they realized their life was driven by fear and what they didn't want to feel.

 Part of the goal of counseling is to “walk along side” my clients as they shift from avoiding what they don't want to experience and move to seeking what is truly most important to them.  The beginning point of this journey is asking the right questions.  What is the guiding lights and questions that are organizing your perceptions?

 Long ago I was exposed to this old adage during one of my trainings. 

 Our Perceptions yields our Behavior which yields our Destiny.

 We could reframe that and add to the beginning…

 Our Questions yield our Perceptions which yields our Behavior which yields our Destiny.”

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Solid Flexible Self and Intimacy


I just finished reading "Intimacy and Desire" by David Snarch. I met Dr. Snarch decades ago at a workshop when I was in my 30's. He is a relationship and sex therapist with an emphasis on self-differentiation (more on that later). I had read his book “Passionate Marriage” back then and was amazed at his insights and wisdom.

Self-Differentiation was a big concept applied to leadership back in the day when I was a pastor of a local church. It was very helpful in learning how to be self-defined and stay open and connected.

Some people are very self-defined and autonomous but very rigid and closed to being influenced by others. On the other hand, there are folk who are not self-defined and are driven by the anxiety to people please and avoid conflict.  

His goes on to define the Solid Flexible Self by stating, "The more solid your sense of self, the more important you can let your partner be to you, and the more you can let yourself be truly known. You can change you mind when warranted. You can be flexible without losing your identity."

His book Intimacy & Desire is less about technique and method than it is about exploring how natural it is for folk in committed relationships to get stuck. Getting stuck is a call to grow, expand and find yourself.

David wrote this book in 2009. I was sad to see he had died suddenly. He was a great asset to the therapy and relationship community.  His concept of The Four Points of Balance is very helpful. Here is the link if you would like to read about these four points in more detail than I am offering here or without reading the entire book. 

Here they are, but I recommend clicking on the link to go into what seems simple but is full of profound wisdom and insight. Click Here

The Four Points of Balance... 

1. Solid Flexible Self - "the ability to be clear about who your are and what you're about, especially when your partner pressures you to adapt and conform."

2. Quiet Mind - Calm Heart - "being able to calm yourself down, soothe your own hurts, and regulate your own anxieties."

3. Grounded Response - "the ability to stay calm and not overreact, rather than creating distance or running away when your partner gets anxious or upset."

4. Meaningful Endurance - "being able to step up and face the issues that bedevil you and your relationships, and the ability to tolerate discomfort for the sake of growth.

Dr. Snarch goes on to give examples of how difficulties in the Four Points of Balance™ create an emotional gridlock in relationships.  He describes one couple’s difficulty in the Four Points of Balance.

1.  Difficulty staying clear about their value and worth in the face of criticism from their partner.

2.  Difficulty calming their anxieties and soothing their emotional bruises.

3.  Difficulty staying grounded and not overreacting when their partner was anxious or on edge.  Attempts to calm themselves down consisted of avoiding conversation or clinging and arguing.

4. Difficulty confronting themselves about what they were doing or not doing.  They wouldn't tolerate frustration or put forth the sustained effort required to achieve their goals.

In my own relationship, I have found that working on my Solid Flexible Self, Quieting my Mind and having a Calm Heart, avoiding overreacting and having a Grounded Response. and facing my issues with Meaningful Endurance has been very effective.  

I tell myself and my clients that if you are way over a 5 on a 1 - 10 scale (10 being the highest distress and 0 no stress) then other memories and wounds are most likely dog piling onto your current situation.   We are wired to be at a 10 during life and death situations.  But our brain can take the past or our fear of the future and spin them in such a way that we react to our partners as if it is life or death.

I hope you will click on the above link and dig deeper into Dr. Snarch's Four Points of Balance™.  I believe you will find them very helpful.


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Your "WIndow of Tolerance"

 The other day someone was angry with me and started to “go off” and cross over the line of my tolerance. I felt myself getting angry and about to walk away (flight) and at the same time words were running through my mind like “piss off” or something worse (fight). I was able to catch myself, step back internally and take a deep breath and re-engage the person angry with me.

For me the goal in these moments is to listen to the part of me that is angry, take the information in a grounded way and advocate for that part without becoming emotional driven by my primitive brain. Easier said than done. On this day it was a win for managing my emotions effectively with a productive outcome and resolution. I have also experienced situations that felt overwhelming where the freeze response kicked in and I felt a little “out of body,” spacey or numb. Fight, Flight or Freeze states are nervous system response to when we feel threated or overwhelmed.
The "Window of Tolerance" is a concept in psychology and trauma therapy coined by Dr. Dan Siegal. This metaphorical window represents the zone where we can function at our best emotionally. When we are inside the Window of Tolerance, we can experience our emotions and feelings without jumping into the emotional dysregulation of the fight, flight or freeze response. It describes the desired emotional state where we can effectively cope with stress, emotions, and daily life challenges. Life lived inside the Window of Tolerance feels centered and good. When we get outside of this window, it is harder to manage our emotions, think clearly and engage in problem-solving and adapt to what life is throwing at us. Life lived within the Window of Tolerance means experiencing a sense of well-being and centeredness.
Traumatic experiences, extreme stress, or other factors can push a person outside of their Window of Tolerance. This can lead to one of two states:
1. Hyperarousal: When a person is in a state of hyperarousal, they are overly activated and may experience intense emotions such as anxiety, anger, or panic. They may be in a constant "fight or flight" mode, making it difficult to think rationally or engage in effective problem-solving.
2. Hypo-arousal: In a state of hypo-arousal, a person becomes emotionally numb, detached, or dissociated. They may feel emotionally shut down, have difficulty connecting with their own feelings, and struggle to engage with the world around them.
In my counseling work, I help clients learn techniques to help manage emotions when they get dysregulated (fight, flight or freeze). My go to tools is tapping on acupoints, Intention Energy Process, listening to brainwave entrainment music, and breath work.
My personal work in this area has resulted in better sleep, feeling more centered in the storms of life and a healthier heart beat (my heart used to skip a beat)
For more information on the helpful concept of The Window of Tolerance, go to NICABM link - click here
I have included a cool visual hand out created by NICABM on the Windor of Tolerance
There you will find some more practical methods for managing you emotions so you can stay inside or get back to the Window of Tolerance. Hope you find this concept and practice helpful.