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A GUIDE FOR SELF HELP

FOCUSING ON THE EMOTIONS OF DAILY LIFE
A GUIDE FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE

Or
How to change without trying too hard
by
Ilan Shalif (Ph.D.)

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Back to the CONTENTS To do it yourself - now To the Daily Focusing To the recycled emotions To the Special projects To the Guide for the guide To the Emotions

What are the emotions The activation programs Ad hoc activation programs Supra-Programs The emotional Supra-Programs The cover-programs The trash-programs How it really works
to the Impossible missions???
You ask by e-mail I answer here.

CHAPTER 5 - IV. Second stage - Recycled Emotions (for very advanced focusers only)

The most benefit and the least damage to be derived from the following steps is promised only to experienced focusers. In the course of these steps one can encounter high intensity emotional experiences that only focusers with a few months of training can tackle successfully.

Only a skilled focuser can remember in a time of trouble to use the tactics that enable a swift escape from extreme unpleasant feelings and other felt sensations: i. e. "closing the nape of the neck", "rubbing the palms of the hands" and other means of diverting the attention.

A beginner who "looks for trouble" and tries them prematurely, may find himself loaded with very unpleasant feelings for prolonged periods of time - even for hours and days. And the suffering is not worth it. SO BE WARNED!!!

In addition to the unpleasantness of the invoked experiences, the turmoil the "sleeping demons" may cause when aroused without the suitable precautions may wreak havoc. The supra-programs of the beginners, which deal with strong feelings, are not updated and mended enough. When confronted with these strong and unpleasant feelings and "dangerous" contents, the trash-programs may usually prefer to build new complicated cover-programs, in order to evade the need to tackle the unpleasant ones. SO BE WARNED AGAIN!!!

From a practical point of view, even after a few months training with the sensate focus technique, it is not a good tactic to "invite" (recycle) too intense feelings, emotions or other sensations from the past. Usually, the most benefit is derived when one focuses on a felt sensation of moderate intensity.

The criterion for the decision as to whether a target is inside the moderate range or not is subjective, and changes according to the circumstances. The rule of thumb about the optimum intensity is as follows: "the best target for focusing is the felt sensation, the intensity of which is such - that one can tackle it for a few minutes, without arousing within oneself too strong an urge to escape".

So, refrain from intentionally recycling targets that
you cannot focus on comfortably.

Why to recycle
Often, even when you become used to the new technique and are in the habit of focusing frequently, you cannot extract all that can be exploited from every sensation and experience. Actually, even the most obsessive and arduous focuser does not use more then 20% of the options. Nevertheless, sometimes, on looking back (even after weeks, months or years) one may realize that an important opportunity was overlooked.

In every one of those cases, in spite of the negligence, all is still not lost. Upon reaching the conclusion that there is a treasure buried in that missed opportunity, one can nearly always recycle it.

Though the vividness of the recycled experience is always wanting, the intensity of the recycled feeling is milder than the original one, and most often its quality too is not near the original one or even quite different, there are always strong association chains connecting them to the origin.

Thus, it can be used as a suitable feedback from the trash-programs involved in the mending processes. Therefore, when the recycling does not bring to the awareness the sensation sought, one of its "relatives" created by the imagination might be good enough.

After one of the recycling steps bring about a suitable sensation, start to divert some of your effort to the focusing on it. If no feeling or any other felt sensation reaches awareness, you can still focus on the subliminal ones tied to the subject you picked.

In the following paragraphs, the various aspects of the activity of sensate focusing which bases itself on recycled felt sensations, will be discussed in detail - including the description of the most benefiting tactics.

Why not Psychoanalysis?

The General Sensate Focusing Technique is most distinct from the main schools of psychotherapy in its regard to the causality of the things one want to change. This is most strikingly expressed in our recycling tactics and in their general strategy.

In theory and in practice nearly all schools and versions of psychotherapy hold in high esteem the recognition, understanding, comprehension, insight, etc. of the "pathology" (or at least, of it's symptoms).

They pay considerable attention to the specific connections between the behavioral problems, the sensations and the feelings of the present - the symptoms, and the past events and mechanisms that are supposed to have caused them.

In contrast, practice of the sensate focus points to the conclusion that the sharp awareness of these connections is generally of only secondary importance and most often even only marginal.

It seems that the effort to understand the exact root of the problems one is encountering in one's life even hinders the processes of the sensate focusing. The most deleterious influence of the search for meaning and insight during focusing is due to the fact that the brain resources are limited. Since the verbal thinking processes are competing for the limited attentional and others of the brain's mind resources, they infringe on those needed for the sensate focusing.

Thus, thinking on the emotional problem in order to solve it wastes resources on verbal thinking activity, that cannot really do the job. This activity tends to diverge most of the available resources to the left hemisphere (half) of the brain - the half which is dedicated mostly to logical thinking and reasoning and not to emotional appraisals. Thus, even if one is not prejudiced against the habit of paying attention to the felt sensations of one's body, only a scant amount of it remains available for this task.

In addition, it seems that the application of the common habit of analyzing the causality and logic of one's own emotional experience strengthens the cover-programs. Sometimes, these efforts even make complicated things more so, as it makes the UN-tangling of the complexity of the defenses nearly impossible.

Many people were "brain washed" into believing that an improvement in the quality of their emotional life is possible - only if they can acquire an insight into their problems. The following "coin" is brought in order to alleviate a bit of their uneasiness: On one of its sides is written the proverb - "Have you come to steal grapes or to quarrel with the vineyard guard". On the other side it is written that, in all the important matters, the solution of the problem brings about the understanding of its roots.

Thus, refrain from chasing thoughts and ideas while you
hunt emotions, feelings and felt sensations

Hurrah for the practical leftism.
For about 97% of the population, the management of their emotional life is done mainly by the right half (hemisphere) of the brain. Therefore, nearly any activity that increases the amount of brain resources, usable by this hemisphere, enhances the processes related to the activity of sensate focusing. Consequently, it is most recommended, while focusing, to attend mainly to the sensations of the left part of the body, which is directly connected to the right side of the brain.

Sometimes, the sensations are only partly or more clearly felt in the right side of the body. In these cases focusing on the parallel place of the left side may "force" the transfer, or the appearance of other felt sensations there. When the sensations are at the medial plain of the body, it is most preferred to focus on the points that are more to the left of the center.

However, when one is working on the recycling of emotions and feelings as in any other sensate focus activity, the use of the left hemisphere of logic, analytic and other verbal thinking processes is not forbidden. There is much benefit to be gained from these processes if correctly applied.

For instance, the decisions on the timing of the sensate focus activity, and the decisions about the target and specific tactic of recycling the emotions, are usually best taken by the left hemisphere of the brain. It is especially so with regard to the initiation of focusing sessions, but also in the semi-spontaneous focusing on each felt sensation encountered during the day.

The continual effort to keep the processes of focusing on the felt sensation of the time, and the prevention of diversions and distractions is also mainly done by this half of the brain.

The application of the thinking processes of the left hemisphere to reviewing the results of the sensate focus can help too. It can help in five important ways:
a)
It can be used to organize the ongoing daily focusing activity which is done in addition to the spontaneous one.

b)
It can be used for analyzing problematic areas in order to choose specific targets to focus on.

c)
It can be used to choose a verbal means to recycle emotions, in order to incite a domain the content of which is not accessible through other means and does not express itself in felt sensations.

d)
It is especially important when applied after the first few successes of focusing at the beginning, after focusing on a new topic, and at specific "crossroads" - for the assessment of the benefit derived from past focusing. This verbal contemplation and review of previous successful focusings is one of the best ways to boost the morale. It contributes immensely to the strengthening of the tendency to dedicate attentional resources to future focusings.

e)
It is the best means to choose a new "project" or emotional domain, after one gains more resources from focusing on previous ones.

As a rule, thinking about problems related to focusing can contribute towards their solution, but usually, only by serving as a means to draw from it inspiration for future focusing.

It is also important to remember that the activity of focusing is motivated by many incentives. The satisfaction derived from the understanding of the roots of the solved emotional problems is very seldom high on the list.

However, sometimes, the solution of a long standing, puzzling problem is so moving and satisfying that it temporarily climbs to a very high standing on the list. In these instances it becomes only secondary to that derived from the improvement in the quality of the emotional climate.

Recycled emotions A - Reconstruction of neglected opportunities

Frequently, we encounter intense sensations and feelings that are worth focusing on, for the improvement of the quality of life, but alas, the circumstances - i.e. the time, the place, the company etc. - are not suitable. The variety of reasons for not focusing at the time is huge: from situations in which we cannot afford to spare attentional efforts and divert them to focusing from what we are doing at the time, to those situations we do not want to dwell due to our wish to curtail the episode or interpersonal interaction that has created the specific felt sensation.

For instance, very often we find ourselves involved in situations wherein we have to enlist all our resources to overcome an obstacle, a problem or emergency; situations that we want to shorten; situations where we need to cover our real emotions - or even lie about them, for fear of direct damage to us by a bully, a policeman, the boss at work, judge, customs officer, etc.; situations in which we are afraid to hurt the feelings of others; etc.

More often we find ourselves involved in situations that are emotionally loaded, with acquaintances or strangers, but in circumstances we are not free to indulge or to stress our point.

Many times, in such situations, we feel intuitively or even recognize clearly why the focusing - on feelings we discarded at the time - can contribute immensely to the quality of our life. Though we feel at these moments that we only have to focus briefly in order to be relieved of much unfinished business, or "only" improve significantly our emotional climate, we nevertheless have to refrain from doing so at the time.

In less dramatic situations and conditions we also miss out on many divergent opportunities for focusing. In these cases the reasons are usually the result of laziness, negligence, or underestimation of the value of the potential target for focusing.

It also happens time and again that only afterwards, when we are reflecting on an event of the past, that we see it as being a key to the door of an important locked store of trash-programs.

The factor that contributes the majority of reasons for missed opportunities for focusing is their sheer quantity. No one can utilize all of them. Most of us lack the sufficient single-mindedness that would force us to utilize most of them, by sacrificing everything in the service of focusing.

Not even the most arduous believer in the technique, nor even the most obsessive one - when at the peak of involvement with the focusing project - dedicates more than 20% of the time to focusing.

Sometimes, only after much contemplation can we reach the conclusion that an occurrence and the feelings involved therein, are the target to tackle in order to solve a certain trash-program.

In nearly all these circumstances the convinced focuser would want to concentrate on his sensations and feelings (focus on his felt sensations) so that his enhanced natural biofeedback processes would contribute to his well-being.

In all these circumstances and in many others which have not been mentioned here, "wrong can be rectified" post facto - with out too tiring an effort. The most common tool used for this mission is the memory. Often, with little effort, one can get in touch with the memory traces of a situation or a scene of the past and feel something that is connected with it.

Whenever you are recycling past feelings be cautious!!! Do not try
to tackle strong feelings that are connected to traumatic
experiences before you have invested a few months in
the "head cleaning" of lesser ones.
Choose now an emotionally loaded experience of the previous
week, the focusing potential of which you have not yet
exhausted. Use your imagination to get back to that
episode. Focus for a while on the
resulting felt sense.

Recycled emotions B - Lost & Found

Often, during the focusing on a felt sensation, or between focusing sessions, we remember emotional experiences of pre-focusing periods of the near or distant past. Sometimes, specific memories become available to the awareness processes only after we have acquired sufficient achievements using the sensate focus technique. An example of this are certain memories of childhood that had not been available to us for years. Whenever this occurs, it is worth treating those "lost and found" memories as treasures.

It is not only worth focusing on these feelings of the past when they have their spontaneous comeback, but it is also worth recycling them often during the next few weeks, before they fade again. Like the feelings accompanying the fresh memories of a dream which tend to fade if nothing is done to treasure them, so are these of the memory which came back. Both can be used as keys to a magic store of trash-programs.

Experiences of this kind are usually denied entrance to the awareness due to the active gate keeping activities of cover-programs. They can enter the awareness after many years of absence for a plethora of reasons. It does not matter whether the memory was allowed to enter the awareness because the covering-programs were updated by focusing, or because they have failed temporarily to do their job. Whatever the reason, do not miss the opportunity!!!

Usually, the lost and found memory is an intimate summary of some personal emotional past, that plays an essential part in an ancient and fundamental supra-program, which has not been updated for many years. Supra-programs of this kind are usually the base, or at least an important component, of many trash-programs that are executed frequently in the present.

As a result of this, the recycling of each of these found memories usually causes change and improvement in a whole series of trash-programs. Consequently, within one successful focusing one can bring about a significant improvement in the emotional climate and a significant breakthrough in the systematic project of improving the quality of life.

Recycled emotions C - Changing behavioral patterns

Very often, during a general "head cleaning", the focuser discovers a habit or an emotional pattern he wants to get rid of, but cannot achieve this through sheer will-power. Often, too, the wish to rid himself of a whole life style or pattern is the initial reason for starting focusing training. It is most commonly to be found amongst those called "introverts", "obsessives" or "compulsives". It is usually clear for those types who are aware of having this kind of "personality trait", that this is the root of most of their emotional problems.

Alas, the organized formation of trash-programs that are responsible for the maintenance of this style of life, do not usually send direct emotional announcements - through feelings and sensations - to the focus of awareness. The announcements related to these trash-programs that do reach the awareness are not directly tied to them. They are nearly always at the end of a long chain of covering programs.

Therefore, the updating processes which are supposed to use the natural biofeedback enhanced by the focusing effort are still hardly able to trace back the whole chain effectively. These "organized crime families" are very hard to infiltrate. If one relies on the usual tactics of focusing alone, one cannot nourish a realistic hope of passing through the protecting barriers.

In these cases, focusing on the feelings that do reach awareness, improves the general emotional climate and the cognitive functioning, but does not solve the main problems. The emotional announcements of the central trash-programs - that seldom enter the awareness - are thinly spread along the time continuum, and one cannot seriously rely on them.

In both cases - whether the direct announcement does reach the awareness or not - special preparations are needed if one wants to succeed in tackling the life style. The core of the preparation is the reconstruction of scenes or scripts relevant to the original socialization pattern suspected of being the root of this life style.

Based on specific private memories (mainly from childhood), personal idiosyncrasies, and on general psychological knowledge - one can build oneself a schedule. It is recommended to include in the list (or script) the most distressing pronouncements, occurrences, expressions and instances of the said life style or behavioral pattern.

If the preliminary preparations are carried out well, and one has the basic know how of recycling emotions, one can proceed and create the suitable felt sensation(s) for the focusing.

Sometimes, all these efforts to reconstruct and recycle fail. This can be the result of too strong cover-programs or too weak "sensual memory" (parallel to the visual, echoic, semantic, etc. memories) or because of both. In these cases, the best recycling tactics are the guided fantasy and imagery. Doing this, one can substitute the reluctant real episodes for counterfeit ones.

One can imagine real or imagined scenes that suit the content of one's problem, but do not necessarily conform to reality. One can use scenes that one is sure never happened. One can even use those one is sure will never happen. For instance, when one cannot reconstruct a violent struggle with a deceased brother, which happened at one's parents' home in childhood - one can imagine the struggle taking place in the new country club one has just joined.

When nothing at all works, when even the combination of imagery, verbal declarations and the simultaneous "opening of the nape of the neck" does not bring to the awareness any felt sensation one can focus on - there is still one remedy left. One (and you too) can always combine the memories, imaginary scenes and verbal declarations, related to the target of recycling, with the focusing on subliminal sensations of the face and vocal cords. After a while - usually less than a month - the cover-programs will start to yield, and the effort needed decrease.

Recycled emotions D - A violent patrol

Frequently, we decide to do one thing or another, but one way or another nothing really gets done. Often, in order to execute a task at hand we only have to sit and write down the things that are already organized and well-phrased in our head, but we seem unable to "do this", as in a nightmare.

When this happens it seems that there is an unsettled argument between the two main subsystems of our mind - the left-verbal-logical one and the right-intuitive-emotional one. It mainly happens when the logical processes and the left side of the brain reach the conclusion that we need to do something: utter a word, write, create, perform a duty, etc.

However, the right side in general and the emotional system specifically does not agree with it. So, instead of cooperating, the emotional system (which is the base of motivation) obstructs the execution of the decision. Thus, time and again without any apparent cause, the "final decisions" we reach remain without the behavioral compliance to them: we postpone, evade, forget and so on.

Though it seems to be a conflict between the logical part and the emotional one, it is not really so. The real cause is a deeper one; it is a contradiction between different emotions or trash-programs. In addition to all the troubles, to make things worse, the control procedures of the trash-programs involved seem most of the time to be indifferent to the conflict and the failure. They do not give any "excuse" and do not send any sensation or feeling to alert the awareness.

It seems as if the right hemisphere and the trash-programs know that "conspiracy is their best protection". It seems they are wise to the fact that if they remain silent and do not "protest too loudly", they can evade responsibility and are secure from the wrath of the left hemisphere and the verbal processes.

Luckily, during the development of the focusing technique, a remedy to that problem was found. It seems that one can very easily force the emotional system to yield, and give a feeling or a sensation as an excuse to its recalcitrance, to be used as a natural biofeedback by mending processes.

It has been found that here - as in many other obstructions - the roundabout approach is the best way to tackle the problem. Using it, the subsystem of logical thinking can find a graduated schedule, that will enable the mending processes to settle the actual and the original conflicts, without arousing too intense sensations and an emergency retreat.

For instance, if the evaded mission is to write some thing like a paper, poem, story, request, or any other compulsory or wished-for writing, do the following:
a)
Arrange on your table or any other working surface the materials needed for the mission.

b)
Promise yourself that you will not try to do your mission at this time.

c)
Sit at the table or the working surface and put your hand on the writing utensils or the printing instrument.

d)
After a few seconds of comfortably sitting in that position start to search for sensations to focus on. (Nearly everything you feel at this stage is related to the trash-program and the cover-program you are after.)

e)
Start to focus on the felt sensation that the "as if" situation arouses in you. (If the trash-programs and the cover-programs are so stubborn that even at this stage they do not yield any felt sensation that you are aware of, you can always help yourself by using the technique of opening the nape of the neck.

In the rare instance that this also fails, you can still revert to the focusing on the subliminal activities of the facial muscles and the vocal cords. You can always build on the finding, so far, that the emotions, feelings, moods sensations, etc. at the time of recycling - including the subliminal ones and those that are just above it - are closely associated with your mission.)

f)
During each of the following few days initiate a few short periods of focusing on the scene of the future "crime".

g)
After a few sessions of focusing, approach the work area with the inclination to try to do the job. It is worth checking from time to time to see if the original barrier that prevented the wished for activity is still there. At one of those checking points you are going to find that you can already do what you wanted (or had to do).
This procedure smells of a miracle, because while you adhere to its rules, you can easily sit near the task materials you evaded for so long. The source of the miracle is entirely secular - the configuration of the cover-programs and the other trash-programs that before hindered you, have no in-built protection against focusing. When the staunch promise not to do the task is in effect (and can be relied on), the composite opposition of the cover and trash-programs are not aroused.

Though this "trick" is entirely secular, there are a few nearly sacred rules to be obeyed for the sake of long term implications:
a)
Never try to cheat yourself! It might be that you will fail the first time.

b)
Never break your word to yourself by trying to do the evaded task when finding yourself seated at it, after you opened your way to the working site with the promise only to focus!!! Losing trust in yourself is even worse than losing the trust of others.

c)
Even after you have done a substantial amount of focusing near the materials, get away from them before trying to surmount the evaded task! According to the "rules", trying to cope with the evaded mission is legitimate only when one decides on it away from the site of focusing.
Remember, you can cheat others successfully, you can even kid
yourself to believe in one thing or the other if you
repeat it long enough. But, it is not probable
that you can kid your own trash-programs.

In addition to these reservations about cheating yourself, we want to stress and emphasize the seriousness of this kind of emotional recycling. You have to take into account that this way of sneaking into the garbage pile of the trash-programs is more like using explosives to force an entry into the safe of a bank than picking pockets. You can never know in advance what the intensity of the pent up emotions will be if they are tampered with through harsh measures.

Therefore, when using this technique to tackle behavioral patterns, especially if they are related to central themes of your life, be cautious. At the beginning, content yourself with small "doses" of focusing on the relevant felt sensation. Later, when you feel that a breakthrough is near, you can quicken the pace.

Recycled emotions E - Popular scientific literature, art works, nostalgia

Many authors strive to enrich the public with the knowledge accumulated by scientists from various branches of the social sciences. Many of these books contain suggestions and even direct advice about life, that are of the "do it yourself" kind.A lot of them spotlight some parts of our life. While reading them and applying the new knowledge, one encounters emotions, feelings, sensations, both above and below the threshold of awareness.

Whatever the scientific or the practical value of these books, focusing while reading them may be a wonderful way to meet felt sensations of trash-programs related to specific areas of one's life. The contents of these books may acquaint the focuser with problem areas he had not previously been aware of or did not even suspect were there. While reading these books, the focusing on the felt sensations encountered may stress for him the importance of problem areas he was only marginally aware of.

Many people, if not all of us, derive from art works in general, and especially literary works, a wide spectrum of positive and mixed emotional feelings. Focusing on these will usually bring about both an improvement of trash-programs and greater pleasure.

Recycled emotions F - A most violent patrol

There are well-established findings of the dynamic psycho-therapies (Freudian, Adlerian and others), and the behavioral ones, as well as those of the research of upbringing, education and socialization of the first years of life. Both these (and other scientific findings) point out the intimate relationships between the trash-programs of the adult, and the prolonged intensive encounters with the key personalities of that early period, especially the parents and siblings.

One can always "fish out" these trash-programs which are intimately connected with those figures by using various tactics. But, as it goes straight to the heart of things, it is not recommended for beginners or those who do not feel themselves proficient enough with the various tactics of focusing. Even later, after having mastered the new technique, do not force upon yourself intense feelings related to that age. Impetuous encounters with those memories might result in the strengthening of cover-programs.

The routine activities of primitive cover-programs which originated at an early age and were not updated and mended in time, are the main reason and the most important contributor to the chronic delay in the mending and updating of the supra-programs of the mind. The most elegant way to make these and other trash-program more flexible is to recycle the early memories of childhood. This can easily be done by using photographs of those significant figures from the present or the past.

It seems that for the people one is still in touch with, the best photographs are the most recent ones. In contrast to the other components of the trash-programs related to them, this part (i.e. - the facial expressions of these agents) is easily and spontaneously updated all through the years.

According to many satisfied focusers, the best way is to focus the eyes on the picture, and parallel to this, to focus on the feelings and sensations they arouse - using the various tactics of focusing previously mentioned: opening the nape of the neck, focusing on subliminal sensations, etc. It seems that this recycling of emotional content brings up felt sensations that are free of too problematic contents. Thus, cover-programs rarely interfere or hinder, if not done too recklessly.

At first, it is best to focus for only short periods of time so as not to arouse too intense feelings. Later, one can gradually lengthen the sessions. After there are no more significant feelings to experience, and no more discernible expressions of the relevant trash-programs encountered, one can use the photographs to recycle specific episodes from the past.

In the first sessions of using the photographs, the emotions may surge, even if the pictures have been periodically looked at outside of the focusing context. The intensity may be unbearable or almost so even after only a few seconds. Therefore, be ready to abandon this activity swiftly or to use other emergency means to trim the emerging felt sensation to the right measure. Don't strive to be a hero of sensate focusing. This wish is itself a trash-program!!!

The above technique can be applied also to photographs of situations, places and less significant people, as well as through other media - such as drawings, music, reunions, etc. It seems that this technique, when applied in cases of death or separation, shortens the mourning period and restricts the damage borne by the focuser. It is especially so when the mourning is the result of the severance of intimate ties with a mate.

Recycled emotions G - The provocations

Professor Eugene T. Gendlin and a group of associates at the University of Chicago discovered focusing many years ago. After developing the General Sensate Focusing Technique, I learned that "I had invented the wheel for the second time". The idea of verbal provocations as a means of arousing felt sensations to focus on was adopted from him and from publications of the Focusing Institute. The following section explains in brief the version of the "Provocative Assault" method used by me and my trainees.

Though it is stressed very often in this book that the felt sensations and the focusing on them are non verbal processes, I do not have any prejudice against verbal processes. In daily life, "some of my best friends" communicate with me verbally. I think verbally in private from time to time, and even use words in focusing training sessions for various purposes. As long as one does not forget that focusing and the felt sensations are mainly a non verbal process of the right half (hemisphere) of the brain, the use of verbal processes can be of no harm and even of great help.

Verbal provocations built to suit the content of a problematic aspect of one's life, recited to oneself sub vocally, can always bring up a related felt sensation on which one can focus. The self-provoking verbal approach is a most potent tactic to arouse "sleeping" maladaptive trash-programs, related to the specific problem or domain one is interested in at the time, and force them to create felt sensations to focus on.

Therefore it is most helpful when one is working on a project. It is very helpful when one is too impatient to wait for a suitable felt sensation to appear spontaneously. It is still helpful when one wants to change for a while the sensations and topic one is working on at the time.

The common provocation consists a few words or a short sentence with a false content that one can recite silently to oneself. The following are samples of various kinds of provocations: "I am never afraid", for exaggerations; "I am never late" for absurdities; "I am omnipotent" for the status emotions; "I am going to win the big prize in the lottery" for the distortion of probabilities; "she/he is coming" for wishful thinking or dread of facts; etc.

The most prominent on the list are the verbal exclamations that describe the target topic, such as: "I am afraid of ...." or the paradoxical negation sayings like "I am not afraid of..." and vice versa. When one is "hunting" for a felt sensation related to a specific content, the negative sayings "I am not...", "I do not...", "I never...", etc.

A single recitation of one of these, followed by concentrated focusing, is usually the fastest and most "elegant" way of "fishing" for the right felt sensation. When one recites these exclamations to oneself silently, it is less embarrassing and works even better than when reciting them aloud.

It seems that the decentralization of the subsystems of the brain enable one subsystem to con, cheat, taunt, ridicule, etc. another subsystem. It works just as it works among kids who annoy each other this way. The provocations use the same old processes discovered by Abraham and later by Ellis (R.E.T.), which causes much trouble for those who repeat negative sayings to themselves. However, the provocation tactic is not restricted to negatives, and is based on a single recitation followed by focusing on the felt sensations.

The ability of the provocations to arouse trash-programs which works at
the time subliminally is dependant on the program more than on the
provocation. Thus, one cannot guess in advance what will be the
intensity of the emerging felt sensation. Therefore, when
using it for the first time on a topic or a problem,
be ready with all the emergency tactics to trim
too intense felt sensations. Do not use this
tactic when very exited or too troubled.

V. Synthetic emotions or "remedy before disaster"

Frequently, we are uneasy before an encounter with the unknown or the partly known, especially if the results have significance for our future. Sometimes, as a result of the activities of trash-programs even insignificant situations have the ability to affect us. Many times the results of the rehearsals are damaging; we feel worse before, we perform badly when the future becomes the present and we often feel very badly afterwards.

Many times, rehearsing before a meeting costs people their sleep. Often, the conscientious plans one makes soon deteriorate into worries, self-torture, obsessions and other unpleasant things. These activities are the results of trash-programs which work inside and outside of the focused awareness. These activities are the root of many bad and irrelevant programs. They are the main contributing factor to all "negative hypotheses which tend to fulfill themselves".

Sometimes though, the preceding uneasiness and the functioning in the real situation are improved when we rehearse things in advance. Many people - or perhaps everyone - profit from time to time from these rehearsals. When people rehearse, they usually conduct imaginary dialogues or even plot a whole series of scenarios in advance. The rehearsals of many are so much like the real thing that they are like filmstrips.

Nearly all of us can and do accompany our verbal worries about the future with imaginary films or video clips, or at least with slides and emotional "background music". The memory of the "artificial experiences" lessens the feelings of uncertainty and indecision before and during the actual situation.

As a result of these rehearsals, the artificial memories allow us to become better organized emotionally, but they also result in a new group of prejudices. Whenever the sensate focusing is integrated into these rehearsals, the damage and dangers that would otherwise occur can be restricted and the gains greatly increased. This is especially so for emotionally loaded interpersonal meetings.

When focusing on different alternative steps in the development of the future encounter, one can trigger off in advance a lot of trash-programs that are potentially damaging to the outcome of the expected encounter. This focusing will then update in advance the trash-programs involved and remove their intrusive effect.

In focusing this way, one can adhere to naturalistic scenarios; one can include highly improbable scenes to ensure against their unprepared occurrence, as they could cause a lot of damage; one can even include impossible exaggerations of possible scenes in order to immunize oneself against the real occurrences.

For instance, before walking at night through a dubious area, we can imagine a fire-spitting dragon attacking us. After a few short focusings, the scene ceases to arouse strong feelings as the trash-programs involved have been updated and improved. If one persists for too long, the scene could even become boring. After these deliberations, it is improbable that the encounter with an unexpected wailing cat during a night trip will cause little more than a small and/or brief increase in the blood pressure and pulse.

This synthetic "remedy before trouble" is most helpful when activated before meetings, interviews, or other encounters the main details of which are known in advance.

Specific (and general) suggestions, questions, and other positive (or negative) feedback of readers and of new trainers are welcome. Just use the E-Mail link.

Back to the CONTENTS To do it yourself - now To the Daily Focusing To the recycled emotions To the Special projects To the Guide for the guide To the Emotions

What are the emotions The activation programs Ad hoc activation programs Supra-Programs The emotional Supra-Programs The cover-programs The trash-programs How it really works
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