Let me begin with this idea: Layer 3 is one of the more important Layers to understand? Why? Because people who consciously understand Layer 2, at least in theory, have the ability to begin to heal any wound. Any wound.
What does Layer 3 contain? Everything we organize with time, including anything we schedule to any time, money, relationship, or people we manage or are managed by.
More important still, where we do not recognize this layer's content consciously, we live, in a sense, "by the seat of our pants." By this I mean, we live the way we lived before age seven. What do I mean?
All of us once lived one moment at a time. We lived this way from birth through about age seven.
What age seven?
Because at about age seven, we learned watch and calendar time. At least most of us did.
What changed in us then?
Well, before this point in our personality development, while we may have been thinking about a moment in the past, or a moment in the future, we had yet to learn how to connect these moments in historical sequences.
How important is this skill?
Incredibly important. Without it, we can not learn from our mistakes, although at times, we may appear to learn from them.
Thus, without an ability to see how different points in time connect in sequences, we can not learn from the past.
So how do children before age seven learn?
They learn by association. Thus, when they learn, they learn, not because they see how things unfolded and how they played a part in it all, but rather, they simply associate some good or bad feeling with being in the situation. Thus, children may associate a mother's amazement with learning to write an "A." Then later, they may relive this "good" feeling as they attempt to write a "B."
Is this actually learning though?
In a way, yes it is. But it is a primitive, intuitive kind of learning and not the kind of learning wherein we can make choices based on our past experiences.
In fact, the "making choices" part of learning is the most important part. Without it, we more resemble trained animals then sentient, thinking human beings.
So do we all learn this historical, after-7 time thing at age seven?
Actually, no. In fact, a lot of us never do become conscious of this after-7 sense of time.
How can you know?
For one thing, people who have trouble managing anything from their money to being on time for appointments all have some kind of BLocked ability to experience after-7 time at least, when they are in these particular life situations.
For example, I recently worked with a couple wherein the husband was a financial planner and the wife had trouble with money. I asked her if, when she went to the ATM and got her balance, did she think the balance in the account was the balance she had to spend?
With a laugh.
This case is a perfect example of a woman with a BLocked ability to experience money in Layer 3. Please note, she was able to manage other time-management things, such as planning and doing laundry and meals. However, on the life stages which involved money management, she had little to no access to Layer 3. No surprise, she had married a financial planner.
How common is it for couples to have "the two halves to make a whole?"
Very common. In fact, you can almost expect that whatever is BLocked in one person will be complimented by an excellence in the other.
My point is, though, when people can not experience Layer 3 in a situation, they will have troubles managing life in this situation, troubles which which will affect their abilities to plan, schedule, and organize their lives.
Inversely, when people have access to only Layer 3 time, meaning, when they have little to no access to before-7 time consciousness, while they will manage their lives well, they will also have a difficult time not managing it. For example, they will have trouble letting go of schedules in times such as when they're on vacation. Or they may be overly controlling of how others manage their time.
And the "doing time" thing in Layer 3?
In the previous layer, layer 4, all people will experience criminal urges, at least the thoughts and feelings criminals feel.
What keeps us from acting on these urges?
Time. We can project out in time the consequences.
And we can picture "doing time" for the crime we are considering.
Most criminals, on the other hand, lack access to Layer 3 time consciousness. Thus, "doing time" rarely deters them. Similarly for children before age seven, for whom threats of "going to their rooms" rarely work until they are actually being told to go to their rooms.
Even mental illness is greatly affected by Layer 3. In fact, this Layer is so important that it is the single most significant part of any serious mental illness. How so?
Because the single most significant part of any serious mental illness is the person's inability to learn from their mistakes.
And what prevents them from learning?
They can not access Layer 3 time. Thus, they can not see how their acting out is connected to their consequences, neither to the bad outcomes nor to the good.
And people who have trouble managing money?
Not long ago I spoke at to a group of financial planners. On this occasion, I was speaking to them on how to connect to their clients.
One man, a person with a very high IQ, spoke with me on a break about his most difficult client, the one who could never do what he promised, neither in his outside financial life nor in his dealings with this planner.
What happened in our conversation?
I told this man about before and after seven time and how his client was still living as if he were still age six or younger, as far as his money.
The financial planner was able to picture what I was telling him. Then he welled up with tears. Why? Because he finally understood, in a non blaming way, what had been happening.
What I'm saying is, he finally knew it wasn't this man's fault.
His responsibility? Absolutely. But his fault? No.
Here, then is an example of a "managerial emergence," which is simply to say, this planner experienced a Layer 3 emergence.
Oh, and one more thing. AA and Layer 3?
Yes, AA does frequently tell you to "live in the day. In fact, they often tell you to live "in the moment" in fact. And yes, these encouragements are to live in before-7 time.
In the same meetings though, they will also ask "how much time do you have?" And is anyone celebrating an anniversary this month?
Both these things are Layer 3 things. Both these things involve "after-7 time."
Healthy people need access to both before-7 and after-7 time and they need to be able to choose which time they are living in.
No surprise AA helps people to learn to live well.
Guess we could all stand to learn something from their wisdom.