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On Shock, Healing, and Attraction

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of March 20, 2006

these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor."

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Colleen A.]
  • Can being shocked delight us?
  • Do opposites attract, or are people drawn to those with similar issues?
  • How does knowing the topography of the mind help us to know where we need to heal?

Do you know?

[Question 1] On falling in love... do the "rocks in your head fit the holes in mine," or do "birds of a feather flock together"? In other words, do opposites attract or are people drawn to those with similar issues?
[Answer] Both. Rather than give you too much detail though, let me simply say that all romantic-type falling in love includes two people of opposite character type, at least as far as the initial "me" - "you" starting point parts of their character type go. In other words, there is always one person who starts in a "me" place and one person who starts in a "you" place. More over this holds true even for same sex relationships.

Falling in love also includes a lot of the "rocks in your head fit the holes in mine" thing, as in we always feel passionately drawn to those who hold our keys. In fact, the more of our keys a person holds, the more passion we feel for that person, even in non-romantic type relationships, such as with your neighbors, friends, or bosses.

Not surprisingly, personality systems as different as psychology and astrology allude to both these types of attraction, albeit, each in their own way. For instance, formal astrology (meaning, the non Sunday newspaper variety) talks about the idea of "oppositions" and "squares." Oppositions are said to be "complementary," and "squares" are the people with whom we will feel friction, the people with which we will likely "square off."

My point is, we are attracted to both those who are opposites and to those with whom we feel sparks.

[Question 2] On "why logic" and "blame," why is it in our nature to use "why logic" and "blame" when we know using these things will distance us from ourselves and others?
[Answer] To begin with, most people do not know realize this happens. We EP's know this only because we have a theory we use to guide us in times wherein we go into shock.

With or without this knowledge though, when people go into shock, they forget whatever visual wisdom they may know. Moreover, this forgetting is not our fault. It is simply our nature. We humans simply cannot go into shock and retain access to our visual wisdom.

Said in other words, when people blame, whether with punishing blame, time limited blame, or excusing blame (why logic), they do this because they have regressed to an earlier experiential age. Most times they have regressed to an age prior to age seven.

When this happens, they lose access to all of their "cause and effect" wisdom, a kind of learning which people acquire only after age seven, if then. In addition, they also lose access to any life skills acquired after the "regressed to" age. This then leaves them largely unable to help themselves, even if they are normally the healthiest of people.

Finally, whenever healthy people regress, their most common response to this regression is to blame with "why logic."

One more thing. Know that when we regress, we never simply exist in a stationary mode within one state. What I'm saying is, whenever we regress, in a sense, we return to a prior age. And this is true. But only in so far as we relive having the life skills we had at that age and none we acquired after.

So the question becomes, if we regress to age three, for instance, and if the ability to blame comes into being only after age seven, how could we blame if we are regressed to age three?

We blame because we alternately exist as the three year old and as observer of ourselves at age three. Moreover, this cycling in and out of the wounded state happens very rapidly, we, by nature, rarely realize we are cycling.

In a sense then, blame is the counterpoint to the wounding experience, and both themes (blame, and suffering) are running in our psyche at the very same time, a kind of preemptively multitasked suffering, if you will. Said in other words, we literally cycle back and forth between being in the past and suffering and being in the present and blaming for this suffering.

What I'm saying is, regression rarely puts us back into a stable experience. It only cycles us in and out of that painful experience, between the painful past and the blaming present. Moreover, this alternating, dual existence is simply a part of way we humans experience shock. It is also one of the explanations for why Emergence Therapy works. It works, in part, because we prevent this cycling, helping the person to stabilize in the experience of the past suffering.

[Question 3] You wrote, "By knowing how the topography of our minds comes into being, we can know exactly where, in our natures, we need this healing. And we can ground and guide these healing efforts in clear and useful theory." I don't get it. How does knowing about the topography of the mind help me know exactly where in my nature I need healing? And even if I know where, how does that help me heal?
[Answer] Answering this one could be complicated. I'll do my best to uncomplicate it.

We use a three compartment, developmental model of the mind. The idea of "knowing which state of consciousness we are in" is simply
another way to say "knowing which compartment of the mind we are in." Why would this help? For several reasons. For one, because knowing the age at which an injury occurs helps us to use age appropriate healing measures. For another, because knowing which compartment of the mind we are currently in helps us to know where we are in the wounding script, allowing us to move in and out of the wound while we try to heal. Finally, when therapists grasp and internalize this model, they can use it to gauge peoples' state of consciousness, word by word. This equates to doing psychospiritual microsurgery; meaning, smaller incisions, less blood and guts, and faster healing.

Finally, to use this metaphor itself (that of the mind having a topography), imagine trying to drive somewhere that you had never been to and for which you had no map? This is what I meant.

[Question 4] If at birth, our minds have only one level; the conscious, and if that is where we are most vulnerable to injury, then what happens to all the injuries (BLocks) we incur in this early stage of life, if there is no "unconscious" for them to reside?
Good question. Picture a brand new fish tank. All the glass is clean and clear. Drop some food into the tank. Some will settle on the bottom, and if the fish do not see it, it will rot and decay.

What will happen to this rotten food? Of course, it will stay there until someone cleans the tank. But consider what would happen if no one did clean this tank, in other words, if this rotten food were allowed to simply build up, along with algae and such on inside of the glass.

Where would this build up be the darkest? At the bottom of the glass, of course, And as you looked higher on the glass, would it get easier to see into the tank? Yes, it would. And if you were to look through the glass at the top of the tank, how easy would it be to see into the tank there? Easy, of course, as this glass would probably remain clear because the built up dirt would accumulate most at the bottom of the tank.

Our minds are like this fish tank. We come into life with clear glass, and even when we get wounds, we can see them rather easily. As we get older, dirt accumulates on our glass and we get less and less able to see things in life in these particular areas. Why? Because the dirt is our wounds, and these wounds block our ability to further explore in the wounded life area.

We have in effect blind spots, places in our minds wherein we can not even remember ever having seen life clearly. And the older we get, the more these blinds spots affect us, as they impair more and more of our life decisions.

[Question 5] You wrote, "I am saying that in all three of these kinds of life events, people experience life in the same level of the mind; in the Conscious level. Which happens to be the only level of the mind wherein our personalities can get programmed; as babies; by hypnosis, and by traumatic life events." So if you think of emergence as deprogramming one's personality, or as deprogramming some aspect of one's personality so that we can see the options that were previously blocked, are you saying that one must be in a state of hyperawareness to have an emergence? Why did you not include Emergence (or healing a traumatic life event) on the list of personality altering events?
[Answer] Emergence is a form of hypnosis. Or rather hypnosis is a primitive way in which to do emergence. Thus I did include it in the list. But to answer your question more directly, emergence does not deprogram us. It actually adds to our existing programming. To see this think of how we respond when we relive injury. Here, I love Pierre Janet's concept of "fixed ideas" as it so mirrors our own idea that wound program us with a wounding script.

So what happens when we emerge from this wounding script? Actually, we never cease to be programmed with this wounding script. We only get a doorway past this wounding script. In other words, the process of emergence is like finding your way out of a nightmare, only with emergence, you never forget the way out. Because we both remember what it used to be like (we had no way out) and what it is like now (we have many ways out), even though we still relive this script for an instant, we feel delight rather than fear or anger as we have been programmed with a doorway to an infinite number of solutions.

Think of it this way. Before healing, we are programmed to relive a wounding script with no alternatives. This script is actually very brief, however, once it begins to run, we grossly over or under react to whatever we are currently experiencing. These over and under reactions are the main source of our suffering, not the wounding script. thus, when a "way out" emerges in us, while these scripts still run, they run only for their actual length of time and not past this time. In other words, emergence is like having an infinitely beautiful source of alternatives spliced onto the tail end of a wounding script. When this script runs then, we are programmed to run both programs, both the scripted program and the beautiful alternatives program.

In a way then, while emergence does program us, rather than program us to respond like trained seals, it programs us not to get stuck.

[Question 6] Can being shocked delight us, or do we feel delight only from emergences?
[Answer] Emergences always involve shock. We simply do not realize this. To understand, see my previous answer.

Said in other words, being shocked can delight us if we go into shock and then immediately come out of it. Or at least, if we immediately see it for what it is. To see this, remember there are five stages we go through in the sequence of healing; meaning going from being BLocked and not knowing we are to being a teacher of this BLock. The five stages are, [1] we do not know we have this BLock; [2] we discover we have a BLock; [3] the first reference scene emerges; [4] a thread of similar scenes from throughout your life emerges; and finally [5] a thread of similar scenes common in many other people emerges.

Stage two is the one I believe you were referring to, and while technically we do not call the realization we have a BLock, an "emergence," nonetheless, we will, afterwards, feel delighted at times, even when we go into shock. We feel delighted every time we realize we can now see this BLock for what it is. Even when we can not yet prevent this wounding script from continuing to run.

Said in other words, before we get to stage three (the first emergence), we cannot prevent ourselves from going into shock. However, even getting to stage two (realizing we have a BLock) makes us feel delight each time we go into shock, as we can see now where we need to focus our healing efforts.

[Question 7] When a child is in shock in school during a lesson, how can the teacher help bring that child to a state where she is more available for learning?
[Answer] Visual stimulation usually works best, especially if the teacher presents the visual part of the lesson as the clues to some sort of a mystery. Personifying can work well too, such as in cases wherein letters of the alphabet become characters or you ask kids to imagine how historical people lived or responded.

Older kids often respond well to structured irreverence, such as using mildly disrespectful inferences about authority and then drawing the kids into a dialogue as to how they feel. And almost all kids respond to sound and light, meaning, use something interesting to you and perhaps the kids will be interested too.And time your interventions at unexpected times, as even timing can be a very stimulating tool.

Shock means boredom. Boredom means unconsciousness. Unconsciousness means disconnection, and disconnection means aloneness. When kids act out, often, they are simply responding to some variations of these four situations. Be personal. Be interesting. Be connected. Above all, though, don't blame, either the kids or yourself. Just keep trying to learn how to better connect to the kids, especially by noticing the points at which you, yourself, disconnect.

[Question 8] Aside from the obviously recognizable signs when students have blank looks on their faces, how can a teacher "scan the room" for blankness?
[Answer] Gut reactions are usually very effective, especially if you take the time to learn to read yourself. Try focusing on the point just below where the bottom of your ribs meet, and learn to read how this reflects the state of the people in a room. In fact, Eastern medicine calls this your "Third Chakra" and sees this point as the root of your gut reactions. what I'm saying then is, use your gut as well as your eyes.

[Question 9] You wrote, "In essence it is like being in a constant state of openness to learning, whether this learning involves discovering the wonder of life, as in Madame Curie's "Eureka," or the wounded learning of Janet's automatism's; as in life's "scripted responses." I thought "scripted responses" and "automatisms" were like the magnetized ferrous metals, for us, the only path we can see when we're in shock. Yet, here you compare it to a "Eureka." I'm confused.
[Answer] Here again, offering you a full answer would be quite complicated. Thus, let me start by saying that in your quote, I contrast and compare the wounded learning of "scripted responses" to the healthy learning of "Eurekas." I also refer to Janet's idea of "automatisms" as being "scripted responses." Let me first address the idea of the two kinds of learning.

We Emergence practitioners see submergences and emergences as simply being two different kinds of learning. Thus, we see submergences, or getting BLocks, as a kind of "wounded learning," while we see emergences, or "Eurekas," as what we call, a "healthy learning." What is the difference?

"Wounded learning" refers to how we are programmed to respond to some given life situation by experiencing trauma. We become unable to see as viable our good choices in these situations, even if we know they exist. What we learn here is a kind of painfully scripted way of responding to a given life situation. This script then is why we feel such painful resistance during these situations. Regardless of the exact nature of the script, they all make us feel trapped and unable to be ourselves.

"Healthy learning" is the polar opposite. Healthy learning is realizing that there are an infinite number of possibilities in a given situation and being able to choose which one we would like to do in each instance. Thus, we feel delight in these situations, largely because we feel so absolutely free to be ourselves.

As for Janet's word, "automatisms," what he means by this word is a bit different from what we mean by "scripted responses." Thus, I do understand how you could this word would sound like it refers to the "scripted responses" of wounding scenes. It does not. He called these scripts, "fixed ideas." In the other hand, Janet and I both use this word similarly when we refer to the snippets of life the mind records, especially the little scenes which babies use to create a kind of interface between themselves and life.

An example then would be that a baby might see how a spoon touches someone's lips and then try to imitate this little scene. This scene might even have been a composite of many previous scenes, some involving things as small as the way lips move and that spoons hold food. It might even be made from even smaller automatisms such as observing the color and or texture of the food on the spoon.

I use Janet's word automatisms because this idea simply fascinates me. In fact, of all the personality theorists, I think he comes closest to constructing a realistic model of the mind. No surprise he is the one who actually coined the word, "subconscious." Or that practiced a therapy which in many ways is the same as we practice; he used hypnosis to access and heal what he called peoples' "fixed ideas."

That he did this over a hundred years ago is amazing. That I only discovered and read his work this year is sad.

[Question 10] Did you have an enjoyable vacation? I missed you.
[Answer] I missed you too. And yes, I did.

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