The Four Kinds of Personal Change

When it comes to personal growth and change, there are only two things you need to know. One—despite obvious differences, there are only four kinds of change. Two—to make changes, you must allow yourself to experience too much information. Know it's this second idea which explains why making changes is so hard. Each time you experience too much information, you suffer—sometimes a lot. The problem is, we by nature are programmed to do everything we can to avoid pain. This in part explains why we so trust things like science, psychology, and medicine. Science, psychology, and medicine focus mainly on rapid pain relief. Hence our difficulty with making changes. We focus more on avoiding pain than on learning to accept the pain of changing.

Then there's the idea that only two of the four kinds of change are permanent. If you must suffer in order to change, wouldn't it make sense to suffer once and be done with it? Unfortunately no one teaches us the four kinds of change, let alone that only two are permanent. So despite the logically obvious answer, few of us ever make permanent changes.

The point is, if you're interested in changing something about yourself, then it all comes down to this. Accept that there is no pain-free way to change and that all personal growth involves suffering. At the same time if you make a vow to not suffer without gain—and if you learn to tell the difference between temporary and permanent change—you won't have to keep suffering the same pain over and over again. Instead you'll take the path to permanent change and focus your efforts on finding and healing whatever blocks your ability to change. Or said more traditionally, you'll learn to find and heal your wounds.

This then is the focus of this section of the site; learning to find and heal anything which keeps you from making changes.

Ahas are the only personal change worth investing in. Ahas are the only personal change that lasts for life. But for most people, having ahas seems like mission impossible. The more you try, the less progress you make. This changes the moment you learn about the five steps. Not that this knowledge causes you to have ahas. What it does do though is it explains what has been keeping you from having ahas. And once you know, you mind literally opens.

The Five Steps to Personal Change (learning what prevents you from having ahas)

There are only four ways the mind can experience change. Two are temporary. Two are permanent. All four share one thing in common though. They all involve too much information—so they all involve pain. Know that most of what we experience is not painful. So most of what we experience has little or nothing to do with change. Given how many hours most of us put into trying to make changes, this thought can be disheartening. At least until you learn to identify and purposely choose things which heal you.

The Four Kinds of Personal Change (get overwhelmed, get wounded, relive a wound, heal) 2013 (coming soon)

For many of us, the promise of a new way to make changes elicits hope. New miracle diets. New personal therapies. New spiritual gurus. Amazingly these perennial promises almost always lead to failure. So why do we get fooled again and again?

What the Tao Has To Tell Us About The Secret (the Myth of an "All White" Philosophy)

Why Symptoms Return - How Healing Progresses (healing spirals) 2004

Jacob's Story (the baby who hated mustaches) 2000

What If Jacob Had Not Healed ? (why symptoms get worse over time) 2000

Healing, Enlightenment, and Permanent Change (healing by choice, not by accident)

On Reincarnation and Soul Evolution (a conversation with Susan) 2000

To therapists and clients alike, the word "issues" holds great promise. Ironically, the more you focus on issues, the less you heal. The problem is, issues focus on words rather than on pictures. In doing so, they depersonalize the entire healing process. This said, issues can be great starting points for healing. But only if you learn how to move from issues to issue statements.

How People Use Issues to Avoid Pain (why therapy cannot heal "issues")

Focusing During Therapy (the "stairs metaphor": a healer's tool)

Issues vs Issue Statements (how issues and issue statements differ)

Creating Issue Statements (using people's own words to heal)

Getting to the Issue ~ Level One (the general and personal problem-statement)

Getting to the Issue ~ Level Two (the specific and personal problem-statement)

To Eva (a Few Pointers on Creating Issue Statements)

Blame and Issues (issue statements and the circles of blame)

Emergence Therapy employs twelve "block markers," each of which can—with one hundred percent certainty—identify wounds. This is possible because each of the twelve markers refers to a fractal pattern which the mind uses to avoid pain. Learning these patterns is like what happens to you when you learn to recognize an acorn. You're permanently able to identify acorns with absolute certainty. Similarly, once you learn these block markers, you can identify wounds with one hundred percent certainty. Not the source of the wound, mind you. This source gets revealed only after you heal this wound. But the starting point for this healing. The blank spot in your mind.

Six Quick Ways to Identify Wounds (full text) 2013 revision

Six Quick Ways to Identify Wounds (a quik list) 2002

Six More Quick Ways to Identify Wounds (a quik list) 2003

In these articles, I introduce a powerful tool for self-healing. To be honest, I have no idea how I stumbled onto this technique. I do remember first using it in 1996, the month after I realized that startles are the root cause of all permanent injuries.

No Decaf (how I discovered Cycles of Three)

Cycles of Three (the emergence self-healing technique)

Doing Cycles of Three (some thoughts on how to begin)

Doing Cycles of Three (self emergence) (a quik list)

A Sister's Story (healing twenty-five years of hate with Cycles of Three)

The P-Curve is the shape of changes which occur in the mind as healing happens. It literally charts the visual intensity of what's on the screen of your mind before, during, and after an aha. In effect, by visually exploring your mind, you locate your wounds. P-Curves then guide and chart the healing process.

What Are P-Curves (an introduction)

The Worksheet Red Lines (mapping changes in the mind)

The Worksheet Elements (framing the wound)

a Blank Worksheet (a tool for creating personal manuals)

The Focus of the Work (an example)

In the technique known as "direct emergence," a guide, therapist, or friend helps a wounded person to face their demons. To do this, the guide, therapist, or friend does everything in his or her power to provoke these demons in the person. The guide may imitate someone from this person's past. Or she may act out a behavior that this person hates. Whatever the case, the goal is always the same—to pleasantly surprise this person while he or she expects pain.

The Dreaded "Uh-huh-uh: (using repetition to heal)

Will You Do That to Me Again? (the Parroting Technique)

According to inspirational speakers like Tony Robbins and Steven Covey, change is a matter of mind over life. They claim you can simply decide to act / think / and be different. And to hear them talk, you'd think they're right. After all, their life stories are inspiring. Unfortunately you have only to read the prefaces in their books to see the error in their claims. The evidence? They each mention a time when they were suffering—and a moment in which they had an aha—after which they "decided" to change.

So can you just decide to be different? Obviously not. If this was true, then based on your copious efforts, you'd have changed long ago. In truth then, to make a permanent change, you must suffer, then have an aha. The suffering puts you on the brink of change. The aha pushes you over. Know this the only way to gain personal access to new choices. You must have an aha. So why does inspiration fade, and why can't we just choose to be different? These articles posit an answer.

To Phillip: On Steven Covey's 8th Habit (accessing the moment between stimulus and response)

What Makes Inspiration Fade? (can you really will yourself to be different?)

What Makes Inspiration Fade? (on Steven Covey, Tony Robbins, etc. - summary version)

This simple series of five drawings is one of my first attempts to explain the nature of ahas. At the time, four years had passed since I'd had my realizations about the nature of startles and healing. Today they stand as one of the strongest proofs for that Emergence is real, in that myriad discoveries later, they remain conceptually unchanged.

How Emergences Happen ~ Step 1 (the failure-to-connect experience)

How Emergences Happen ~ Step 2 (the blocked experience)

How Emergences Happen ~ Step 3 (the basic experience)

How Emergences Happen ~ Step 4 (the personal experience)

How Emergences Happen ~ Step 5 (the teacher's experience)