Ref251 Habits of Mind
• Persisting: Stick to it! Persevering in a task through completion; remaining focused; looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck; not giving up.
• Listening with Understanding and Empathy: Understand others. Devoting mental energy to another person’s thought and ideas; making an effort to perceive another’s point of view and emotions.
• Thinking About Your Thinking (metacognition):Know your knowing! Being aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings, and actions, and their effects on others.
• Questioning and Posing Problems: How do you know? Having a questioning attitude, knowing what data are needed and developing questioning strategies to produce those data; finding problems to solve.
• Thinking and Communicating With Clarity and Precision: Be clear! Striving for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding over-generalizations, distortions, deletions, and exaggerations.
• Creating, Imagining, and Innovating: Try a different way! Generating new and novel ideas, fluency, originality.
• Taking Responsible Risks: Venture Out! Being adventuresome; living on the edge of your competence; trying new things constantly.
• Thinking Interdependently: Work Together! Being able to work with and learn from others in reciprocal situations; working in teams.
• Managing Impulsivity: Take Your Time! Thinking before acting; remaining calm, thoughtful and deliberative.
• Thinking Flexibly: Look at it another way! Being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options.
• Striving for Accuracy: Check it Again! Always doing your best; setting high standards; checking and finding ways to improve constantly.
• Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations: Use what you learn! Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.
• Gathering Data Through All Senses: Use Your Natural Pathways! Paying attention to the world around you; gathering data through taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight.
• Responding with Wonderment and Awe: Have fun figuring it out! Finding the world awesome and mysterious; being intrigued with phenomena and beauty.
• Finding Humor: Laugh a little! Finding the whimsical, incongruous, and unexpected; being able to laugh at yourself.
• Remaining Open to Continuous Learning: I have so much more to learn! Having humility and pride when admitting you don’t know; resisting complacency.
1. Practice empathy.
2. Practice compassion.
3. How would you want to be treated?
4. Be friendly.
5. Be helpful.
6. Be courteous in traffic.
7. Listen to others..
8. Overcome prejudice.
9. Stop criticism.
10. Don’t control others.
11. Be a child.
12. Send yourself a reminder.
13. Tie a string to your finger
14. Post it on your wall or make it your home page.
15. Rise above retaliation.
16. Be the change.
17. Notice how it makes you feel..
18. May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.
May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need.
May I never fail a friend in trouble.
• Tense up for more willpower.
• Use your non-dominant hand when dieting.
• Pretend like you’re interested in a subject to get over procrastination.
• Adopt a power pose for confidence.
• Subtly nod to convince people to agree with you.
some practical tips for living the Golden Rule in your daily life:
1. Practice empathy. Make it a habit to try to place yourself in the shoes of another person. Any person. Loved ones, co-workers, people you meet on the street. Really try to understand, to the extent that you can, what it is like to be them, what they are going through, and why they do what they do.
2. Practice compassion. Once you can understand another person, and feel what they’re going through, learn to want to end their suffering. And when you can, take even a small action to somehow ease their suffering in some way.
3. How would you want to be treated? The Golden Rule doesn’t really mean that you should treat someone else exactly as you’d want them to treat you … it means that you should try to imagine how they want to be treated, and do that. So when you put yourself in their shoes, ask yourself how you think they want to be treated. Ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. John F. Kennedy did that during the controversial days of de-segregation in the 1960s, asking white Americans to imagine being looked down upon and treated badly based only on the color of their skin. He asked them to imagine how they would want to be treated if they were in that situation, and act accordingly towards the blacks.
4. Be friendly. When in doubt, follow this tip. It’s usually safe to be friendly towards others. Of course, there are times when others just don’t want someone acting friendly towards them, and you should be sensitive to that. You should also be friendly within the bounds of appropriateness. But who doesn’t like to feel welcome and wanted?
5. Be helpful. This is probably one of the weaknesses of our society. Sure, there are many people who go out of their way to be helpful, and I applaud them. But in general there is a tendency to keep to yourself, and to ignore the problems of others. Don’t be blind to the needs and troubles of others. Look to help even before you’re asked.
6. Be courteous in traffic. Another weakness of our society. There are few times when we are as selfish as when we’re driving. We don’t want to give up the right of way, we cut people off, we honk and curse. Perhaps it’s the isolation of the automobile. We certainly don’t act that rude in person, most of the time. So try to be courteous in traffic.
7. Listen to others. Another weakness: we all want to talk, but very few of us want to listen. And yet, we all want to be listened to. So take the time to actually listen to another person, rather than just wait your turn to talk. It’ll also go a long way to helping you understand others.
8. Overcome prejudice. We all have our prejudices, whether it’s based on skin color, attractiveness, height, age, gender … it’s human nature, I guess. But try to see each person as an individual human being, with different backgrounds and needs and dreams. And try to see the commonalities between you and that person, despite your differences.
9. Stop criticism. We all have a tendency to criticize others, whether it’s people we know or people we see on television. However, ask yourself if you would like to be criticized in that person’s situation. The answer is almost always “no”. So hold back your criticism, and instead learn to interact with others in a positive way.
10. Don’t control others. It’s also rare that people want to be controlled. Trust me. So don’t do it. This is a difficult thing, especially if we are conditioned to control people. But when you get the urge to control, put yourself in that person’s shoes. You would want freedom and autonomy and trust, wouldn’t you? Give that to others then.
11. Be a child. The urge to control and criticize is especially strong when we are adults dealing with children. In some cases, it’s necessary, of course: you don’t want the child to hurt himself, for example. But in most cases, it’s not. Put yourself in the shoes of that child. Remember what it was like to be a child, and to be criticized and controlled. You probably didn’t like it. How would you want to be treated if you were that child?
12. Send yourself a reminder. Email yourself a daily reminder (use Google Calendar or memotome.com, for example) to live your life by the Golden Rule, so you don’t forget.
13. Tie a string to your finger. Or give yourself some other reminder throughout the day so that you don’t forget to follow the Golden Rule in all interactions with others. Perhaps a fake golden ring on your keychain? A tattoo? 🙂
14. Post it on your wall or make it your home page. The Golden Rule makes a great mantra, and a great poster.
15. Rise above retaliation. We have a tendency to strike back when we’re treated badly. This is natural. Resist that urge. The Golden Rule isn’t about retaliation. It’s about treating others well, despite how they treat you. Does that mean you should be a doormat? No … you have to assert your rights, of course, but you can do so in a way where you still treat others well and don’t strike back just because they treated you badly first. Remember Jesus’ wise (but difficult to follow) advice: turn the other cheek.
16. Be the change. Gandhi famously told us to be the change we want to see in the world. Well, we often think of that quote as applying to grand changes, such as poverty and racism and violence. Well, sure, it does apply to those things … but it also applies on a much smaller scale: to all the small interactions between people. Do you want people to treat each other with more compassion and kindness? Then let it start with you. Even if the world doesn’t change, at least you have.
17. Notice how it makes you feel. Notice how your actions affect others, especially when you start to treat them with kindness, compassion, respect, trust, love. But also notice the change in yourself. Do you feel better about yourself? Happier? More secure? More willing to trust others, now that you trust yourself? These changes come slowly and in small increments, but if you pay attention, you’ll see them.
18. Say a prayer. There is a prayer on the Golden Rule, attributed to Eusebius of Caesarea, that would be worth saying once a day. It includes the following lines, among others: “May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.
May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary
help to my friends and to all who are in need.
May I never fail a friend in trouble.”
Respect those you disagree with (But!)
o Seek to re-express your opponent’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your opponent says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way:’
o List any points of agreement.
o Mention anything you have learned from your opponent.
o Only then are you allowing yourself to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
Employ Occam’s Razor: The idea is straightforward: don’t concoct a complicated, extravagant theory if you’ve got a simpler one.
Don’t Waste Your Time on Rubbish: This is Sturgeon’s law and it is often expressed as over 90% of proffered information is crap.
The following general purpose check-list of attitudes is a sound basis for on-going diligent application:
- Open mind
- Cautious judgment — Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.
- Acceptance (acknowledgement)
In adopting an attitude you must take account of your underlying moods and fatigue
Thus there are serious hindrances to the diligent practice of doing what is right for your well-being
In order to do the right things we need Achievement Habits, such as an Open Mind, Self-Respect, and Self-Reliance.
Self-Respect (Esteem) can be seriously undermined by bullies, bosses, bigots and other Bs — and all the worse if you are sensitive, responsive, isolated, etc. It is the way some people behave — any “victim” will bolster their ego.
Don’t let them get at you and dismiss (let-go) past malevolent impositions!
Self-reliance – also called Trust or confidence: It is far better to trust in your intuition and your own authority, even if you make some “mistakes” along the way, than always to look outside yourself for guidance – Next time you will be even better.
Open mind: Try sometimes to see things as new and fresh – as if for the first time – and with a sense of curiosity. A favourite Mindfulness example – The next time you see somebody you know – ask yourself if you are just seeing the reflection of your own thoughts about this person!
Then there are enabling habits: Patience, Acceptance, Letting-Go, and Composure
Acceptance is a willingness to accept matters as they are here and now. We often waste a lot of energy denying and resisting what is already so! Acceptance does not mean that you should stop trying to improve – to give up on your desire to change and grow – or tolerate injustice. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change – Do you want to change?)
(Letting-Go: We have to be aware of – and let go our negative thoughts, beliefs and feelings – apply yourself to this task (negative?) – You have to decide! Alternatively, we can allow ourselves to feel the negative feelings, identify them & then decide.)
Mindfulness also includes being Non-judgmental, and there are situations where this is applicable. However, in applying Attitudes/Habits of Acceptance, etc. we need to exercise sound Judgement. We should avoid being judgemental when Angry, in a Casual way, or as a Bad Habit, etc. as these give rise to “Red Reactions” .
We must practice the Mindfulness Attitude Habit of “Letting-Go” things that we can’t do anything about.
Finally, Self-Compassion. Mindfulness considers that you should cultivate love for yourself – as you are – without self-blame or criticism.
For more demanding learning, the stages in achieving a skill can follow this sort of pattern:
• Unconscious incompetence: I don’t really know what I want – Will this do what I want – Will I ever understand?
• Conscious incompetence: I’m getting a vague understanding! – This is what I want to do ….. If I’m diligent, I can afford to make little mistakes – I’ll backup as I go.
• Conscious competence: Why didn’t I see this before.
• Unconscious competence: I hardly notice how easy it is – I’m actually getting better at other things!
This proposed the self-perception view of emotion that behaviours cause feelings.
Subsequent research has shown that, in almost all aspects of our everyday lives, acting as if you are a certain type of person, you become that person – what I call the “As If” principle.
Our everyday experience tells us that our emotions cause us to behave in certain ways. Feeling happy makes us smile, and feeling sad makes us frown. Case closed, mystery solved. However, James became convinced that this commonsense view was incomplete and proposed a radical new theory.
James hypothesised that the relationship between emotion and behaviour was a two-way street, and that behaviour can cause emotion
For 10 quick and effective exercises that use the As If principle to transform how you think and behave. – see How to change — “Act the Part action not plans!
It helps if you are interested or are motivated in some way.
Autogenic — Psychic Scrub
When it comes to rejuvenation on an emotional and spiritual level the most powerful way there is to liberate life energy is simply to tell the truth. This means nothing more than allowing yourself to be what you are, without the pretensions or self-limiting assumptions that can unconsciously block the experience of being fully alive and able to make full use of your potentials. Far too much vitality lies still-born beneath patterns of addictive behaviour, fear, and heavy psychological baggage – the kind of stuff we all carry around with us to thwart our energy and make simply being who we are hard work.
Life Energy Thwarted
The physical, emotional, spiritual and social environment in which most of us grow up rarely supports the full unfolding of our individual nature. As a result, like a plant trying to develop in depleted soil with too little rain and not enough sun, each of us develops our own brand of disharmony and distortion. We may try to change ourselves to be what we think others want us to be, or to bury deep inside us all our fears, disappointments and frustrations lest they rock the boat of our day-to-day lives.
Every past experience, all our thoughts, perceptions and fears can become encoded within the molecular structures of the body in the form of layer after layer of old ‘stress’.
Later on in life such ‘encoding’ can manifest as muscle tension, metabolic processes that don’t function as well as they should, negative thought patterns and recurring emotions such as fear, anxiety or depression.
This happens to all of us to some degree. When we carry around a lot of old stress we can also gradually develop a lack of trust in ourselves, a lack of confidence, or a feeling of being unworthy or guilty. We can even end up burdened by a sense of meaninglessness which leads to addiction, or greed for material things so that no matter how much we acquire we never fill up our emptiness.
Polishing the Lens of Perception
At the core, at the very centre of our being, beneath whatever physical, emotional or mental rubbish we have accumulated, is where true freedom is to be found. Rediscovering this freedom is essential for rejuvenation. It asks that we let go of distorted habit patterns, fears and frustrations which have developed over the years and gradually reassert our trust in our essential self. The false ideas, notions and habit patterns that suppress and squander our life energy make us highly susceptible to early ageing. They represent psychic and spiritual rubbish which is not only a big energy drainer but can cause as much free radical damage as living on junk food or taking drugs.
The wonderful thing about the psyche is that, like the body, given half the chance it will detoxify itself so that life-changing psychic and spiritual energy is released. Psychic detoxification brings a spiritual rejuvenation in its wake that can echo throughout your whole life adding the freshness of a child’s vision to the wisdom you have developed over the years.
There are many ways to go about it. Good psychotherapy Later on in life can help. So can meditation, certain energy approaches to exercise such as Chi Chung, Tai Chi, Yoga and martial arts practices – provided always that they are taught with a real understanding of the spiritual power that underlies them. But one of the simplest to learn yet most effective ways of cleaning the psyche is autogenic training. It costs nothing but a little time to learn the technique. Once learned, you can do it for five or ten minutes a day over time, and it will be of immense help in clearing away psychological blocks and lifting off stresses that have been locked deep within, often virtually for a lifetime.
Detox the Psyche
A thorough, comprehensive technique for relaxation and personal transformation, autogenic training was developed in the early 1930s by the German psychiatrist Johannes H Schultz. It consists of a series of simple mental exercises designed to turn off the body’s ‘fight or flight’ mechanism and turn on the restorative rhythms and harmonizing associated with profound psychophysical relaxation. Practised daily, it can bring results comparable to those achieved by serious Eastern meditators. Yet unlike medita¬tion, autogenics has no cultural, religious or cosmological overtones. It demands no special clothing, unusual postures or practices. When you practise autogenics emotional and spiritual detoxification happens in just the way physical detoxification occurs on Clean Sweep Diet, and once again the whole process is generated from within.
Freedom From Within
Johannes Schultz was a student of the clinically orientated neuro-pathologist Oskar Vogt, who at the turn of the cen-tury at the Berlin Neurological Institute was deeply involved in research on sleep and hypnosis. Vogt remarked that some of his patients who had been subjected to hypnosis developed the ability to put themselves in and out of a hypnotic state – or rather autohypnotic, since it was self-induced. These people experienced remarkable relief from tension and fatigue and also tended to recover from whatever psychosomatic disorders they had been suffering from. Drawing on Vogt’s observations. Schultz went on to design techniques that would enable people to induce this deep mental and psychological relaxation at will.
Schultz found that when men and women enter the autohypnotic state they experience two specific physical phenomena: the first is a sensation of heaviness in the limbs and torso, and the second a feeling of diffuse warmth throughout the body. The sensation of heaviness is caused by deep relaxation in the body’s muscles and the warmth is the result of vasodilation in the peripheral arteries. Schultz reasoned that if he taught people to suggest to themselves that these things were happening to their bodies they might rapidly and simply be able to experience a state of passive concentration which in turn would exert a positive influence over the autonomic nervous system, balancing energies of mind and body, helping the person experience a high level of relaxed vitality and freedom from premature degeneration, and gradually clearing away negative thought and behaviour patterns that have been interfering with the person making full use of his or her potential.
Schultz discovered – as have many since – that in a state of passive concentration all activities governed by the autonomic nervous system, once believed to be out of our control, can in fact be influenced by us. This happens not by .exercising any conscious act of will but rather by learn-ing to abandon oneself to an ongoing organismic process.
This strange paradox of self-induced passivity is central to the way in which autogenic training works its wonders. It is a skill which Eastern yogis, famous for their ability to resist cold and heat, to change the rate of their heartbeat, levitate and perform many other extraordinary feats, have long practised. But until the development of biofeedback and autogenic training and the arrival of Eastern medita-tion techniques, this passive concentration largely remained a curiosity in the West, where active, logical, linear, verbal thinking has been encouraged to the detriment of practising our innate ability to simply be. Many experts on the psychological processes of ageing believe that it is overemphasis on the use of the conscious will in the West that makes us so prone to premature ageing and stress- based illnesses in the first place.
Get Warm and Heavy
To help his patients induce the autogenic state, Schultz worked with the sensations of heaviness and warmth. Later he added suggestions about regular heartbeat and gentle quiet breathing – two more natural physiological characteristics of relaxation – and then went on to suggestions of warmth in the belly and coolness of the forehead. These six physiologically-orientated directions – heaviness and warmth in the legs and arms, regulation of the heartbeat and breathing, abdominal warmth and cool-ing of the forehead – form the core of autogenic training.
A person learning autogenics goes through each of the six steps, one by one, each time he or she practises. Because of the body and mind’s ability to use repetition to slip more and more rapidly into the deeply relaxed yet highly aware autogenic state, the steps become quicker to accomplish until after a few weeks or months of practising you can virtually induce a state of profound psychophysical relaxation at will. Once you have mastered the exercises they can be practised anywhere – even sitting on a bus.
Balance Life Energies
A key principle on which autogenics is based is that the body will naturally balance its life energies, biochemically and psychologically, when allowed repeatedly to enter a relaxed state. The benefits of being able to do this are virtually endless. Some of them come immediately – such as being able to counteract acute stress and fatigue, refresh yourself and clear your mind. People with high blood pressure who learn autogenics report drops in systolic (contracting) blood pressure of i.e. 11-25% or more, and 5-15% in diastolic (dilatating) pressure. Brain-wave activity also changes, inducing a better balance of right and left hemisphere that can lead to improved creativity at work and a sense of being at peace with oneself. Other benefits come more slowly over the weeks and months and years that you practise. Recoveries from bronchial asthma and a whole range of other psychosomatic disorders have been reported, as well as the elimination of self-destructive behaviour patterns and habits such as drug-taking, com¬pulsive eating and alcoholism. As a result autogenic train¬ing is now given as standard instruction in Germany and Switzerland.
Soon after you start The 10-Day Plan it is time to begin polishing the lens of perception and rejuvenating the psyche.
The basic autogenic exercises are simple. Taking up one of three optional postures – sitting slumped rather like a rag doll on a stool, lounging in an easy chair, or lying on your back with your arms at your side – make sure you are reasonably protected from noise and disturbances and that your clothes are loose and comfortable. It is easiest to learn autogenics lying flat on a floor or on a very firm bed. Once you have got the basic exercise under your belt you can do it just about any time, anywhere, sitting up or even very discreetly on a bus on the way ro work. If you like you can record the autogenic exercises that follow on tape very slowly and play it to yourself in the beginning. I generally find, however, that it is better to learn it very simply from the words in the box below.
Lie down on your back in bed or on the floor. Make yourself comfortable with whatever pillows or covers you need in order to do so. Close your eyes gently. Take a deep slow breath and pause for a moment. Now exhale fully and com¬pletely. Let yourself breathe slowly and naturally. Feel your body sinking back into the floor. Now repeat the following phrases to yourself slowly and silently, letting yourself savour the sensations of heaviness and warmth as you do. The first phrase is: My left arm is heavy . . . my left arm is heavy . . . my left arm is heavy … my right arm is heavy . . . my right arm is heavy … my right arm is heavy . . . Let go of any tension in your arms as you say to yourself: My left arm is heavy … my left arm is heavy . . . my left arm is heavy . . . repeating each suggestion three times. Continue to breathe slowly and naturally, remembering to exhale fully. Say to yourself: Both arms are heavy . . . both arms are heavy . . . both arms are heavy. Let go of any tension in your arms. Then say: Both legs are heavy . . . both legs are heavy .. . both legs are heavy … As you continue to breathe slowly and naturally, say to yourself: Arms and legs heavy . . . arms and legs heavy . . . arms and legs heavy . . . arms and legs warm . . . arms and legs warm .. . arms and legs warm …
Feel the warmth flow through to your arms and legs as you say to yourself: Arms and legs warm . .. arms and legs warm . . . arms and legs warm . . . Continue to breathe slowly and freely while you repeat silently to yourself: My breathing calm and easy . . . my breathing calm and easy … my breathing calm and easy … my heartbeat calm and regular . . . my heartbeat calm and regular . . . my heartbeat calm and regular . . . Feel your strong, regular heartbeat as you say the words to yourself. Continue to breathe easily and say to yourself: My solar plexus is warm… my solar plexus is warm … my solar plexus is warm . . . Feel the muscles in your face relax as you say to yourself: My forehead is cool and clear … my forehead is cool and clear . . . my forehead is cool and clear . . . Enjoy the feeling of softness and calm throughout your body and say to yourself: I am at peace . . . 1 am at peace . . . I am at peace . . .
When you have finished the exercise you are ready for the return. It will bring you back to normal everyday con-sciousness: Quickly clench both fists, take a deep breath in, flex both arms up in a stretch, then breathe out slowly and completely, returning your arms with unclenched fists to your sides. Now open your eyes. Lie for a moment with your eyes open and just allow yourself to: BE HERE NOW WITH WHATEVER IS, then get up and go about your life,
When first learning autogenics, you will need to repeat each suggestion three times and the entire exercise itself needs to be repeated at three different periods each day. The best time is just before you get out of bed, just before you go to sleep, and at some other moment of the day. If there is no way you can lie down during the day you can always do the exercise sitting in a chair. If you are practising in public, for instance on a bus or at your desk in an office, draw your fists up to your chest by bending your elbows rather than bringing the whole arm above the head for the return.
Before long you will find that even the simple suggestion my right arm is heavy will trigger the psychophysical relaxation process in the whole body. Some people get feelings of heaviness and warmth right away. For others it can take as long as a week or two of practising three times a day for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. To everybody it comes eventually, and with it comes a profound sense of relaxation. Cancelling the training session occurs when you clench your hand into a fist and raise your arm straight above your head, or bend your arm and draw your fist to your shoulders, at the same time taking a deep breath and then stretching. This trains your body to return to normal consciousness right away. Meanwhile your temporary excursion into the realm of deep relaxation keeps working its magic.
Discharge The Blocks
Although autogenic training brings about a ‘low-arousal’ state similar to yoga and meditation, where parasympa-thetic activity dominates, it stems from exercises meant specifically to induce simple physical sensations, leading to a state of relaxation of a purely physical nature. The benefits which come with practising it go far beyond the physical, however. In addition to slowing the heartbeat, reducing blood pressure, regenerating and rejuvenating the
AUTOGENIC TRAINING MADE SIMPLE
Here is an aide memoire for practice. Repeat each suggestion 3 times:
MY LEFT ARM IS HEAVY . ..
MY RIGHT ARM IS HEAVY BOTH ARMS ARE HEAVY …
BOTH ARMS ARE WARM …
BOTH LEGS ARE HEAVY ARMS AND LEGS HEAVY …
ARMS AND LEGS WARM
BREATHING IS CALM AND EASY … HEARTBEAT CALM AND REGULAR MY SOLAR PLEXUS IS WARM …
MY FOREHEAD IS COOL I AM AT PEACE
CLENCH BOTH FISTS
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
FLEX BOTH ARMS UP IN A STRETCH
BREATHE OUT SLOWLY
OPEN YOUR EYES
LIE FOR A MOMENT WITH EYES OPEN I!I- HERE NOW WITH WHATEVER IS.
Repeat each suggestion three times, repeat the exercise three times a day.
body, autogenics triggers changes in the reticulav activating system in the brain stem which can result in what are known as ‘autogenic discharges’. These are a spontaneous way of de-stressing and de-ageing the body, eliminating old tensions and wiping away thought patterns that may have been inhibiting the full expression of your being.
Autogenic discharges can manifest themselves as tempo-rary twitching of the arms or legs – much like the twitch experienced occasionally on falling into a deep sleep – during the session itself, or increased peristaltic movement – stomach grumbles – or various transient feelings of dizzi-ness, or visual or auditory effects. These phenomena are harmless, quick to come and go, yet an important part of throwing out life-accumulated, stressful material stored in the body or psyche.
A few people – I myself among them – when they first begin autogenic training go through two or three weeks where a lot of old stress and emotional rubbish gets released through autogenic discharge. Old feelings of dis-couragement or depression or even laughter or anxiety can sometimes rise to the surface. It is important to be aware of this possibility and to be aware of what is happening if it does occur. It is only the psychic side of detox that will help renew, refresh, and rejuvenate you as old stress you have been carrying about with you comes to the surface and is permanently cleared away.
Because of this discharge phenomenon, some psycholo-gists in the English-speaking world who teach autogenics like to work on a one-to-one basis with their students in order to help them gain perspective on what is coming up from their consciousness. In Germany and Switzerland this is not considered important. There, autogenic training is taught as a matter of course both to adults and school-children with no such psychological backup. The impor-tant thing to remember is whatever surfaces is likely to be very old indeed, stuff you’ve been carrying around for a long time and which you are far better off without.
Three’s The Charm
Begin your practice of autogenics on day 2 of The 10-Day Plan, while you are following the Clean Sweep Diet. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to run through autogenics while you are learning it. Afterwards the exercises can be done much more quickly – eventually in two or three minutes if necessary. Rather like Pavlov’s dog who learned to salivate simply because the bell sounded and the food appeared together so many times, the magic of autogenics depends on your continual repetition of the exercise again and again, day after day. Once the initial period of learning is completed you can then choose to practice the exercises once or twice a day whenever you like. In the process you will have gained a life-long skill that is invaluable for de-ageing the body and mind.
Within 10 days to 2 weeks of practising autogenics most people feel a steady and increasing release of creative energy and a sense that great burdens are being lifted away so that – often for the first time – they begin to feel more free to live their own life by their own values. It is rejuvenation at its very best.
The Zen of Now
There are two important aspects to making autogenic learning work for you. The first is a real acceptance of your current circumstances or position – knowing that anything that you feel just now, whether it happens to be fear, anxiety, joy, frustration, inadequacy or environmental Kfi’css, is OK for the moment. It is only through acceptance of what is now that we open the gateways to change. The secnnd important thing about autogenic training is self- dimriplme. You need to make time to do the exercises each day and to establish a routine during The Plan where you are practising the exercises 3 times a day. This will set up the foundation for life-long practice.
“Act the Part action not plans!
Mindfulness Basis — The Present