We don’t experience and interact with the world as it is, we experience and interact with the world as we perceive it to be.
None of us see or experience the world in quite the same way; this is one of the reasons others often can’t see why a particular person or situation is causing us so much upset or distress. We each ‘filter’ our world and the way we experience it according to our perceptions and beliefs. Many of these beliefs operate outside of our conscious awareness, and were often learned when we were very young, from our care-givers, family and the environment into which we were born.
You may be familiar with the term ‘self-limiting belief’ – which pretty much all of us have to a greater or lesser degree. Often-times people seeking counselling, therapy or coaching will at least in part want to address these self-limiting beliefs, or issues arising from these.
In Faster EFT we believe that in order to have a belief, you must have ‘proofs’ (memories) and emotions to support it.
Taking the self-limiting belief ‘I’m stupid’, for example, Faster EFT asks us to ‘notice how you know’. So you might, for example, have:
* a memory of your father telling you you were ‘too stupid to get it’ when he tried to help you with your homework but failed to explain it in a way that enabled you to understand;
* a memory of your teacher humiliating you in year four, telling you you were stupid in front of the class;
* you might remember not doing as well as predicted in your GCSE’s, and not being able to go on to do A levels;
* you might feel a sinking sensation in your stomach and a heaviness across your chest when faced with a situation you fear you may not be up to.
Using ‘tapping’ and sometimes other techniques, with Faster EFT we can go back to the memory of your father, clear all of the negative emotions you feel when you think of this, so that there is no sadness, anger, resentment etc. when you think of this memory, and then we ‘flip’ it so it becomes positive. We can do this in a number of ways – often your unconscious mind does this for you without you needing to actively do anything. This means that when you try to return to this memory in future you do not experience it in the same way, and it no longer has the same power that it once did to influence you.
We can do this with each memory you have that supports the ‘I am stupid’ belief, and then move on to clear any emotions and sensations you experience in your body when you feel or think about being stupid, even if you don’t have a memory these seem to relate to.
If you begin from a place of having a belief, but can’t think where this came from, we just ‘notice how you know’. Something will be telling you you have this belief; with nothing to support it the belief would not exist. We begin with what you have – even just a vague sense – and tap on that. Your unconscious mind then tends to come up with other references and memories, and we can clear these also.
If you have a lot of negative memories supporting a belief, it will probably not be necessary to address each and every one of them as there will be a ‘generalising’ effect (where the memories that have been changed affect the emotions attached to the remaining memories).
To continue with the example from above, we then ‘future pace’ – which means we think about and imagine how and who you will be in different situations and areas of your life without the old ‘I’m stupid’ belief. This both enables us to ‘trial’ in our imagination how we will feel and act without the limiting belief, and to identify any resistance we might have to making these changes, so that this can also be addressed. Your unconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between a memory that actually happened, and a memory or ‘vision’ that you have created, especially when you experience the created memory with all of your senses, in a ‘fully technicolour’ way.
You may find yourself disbelieving the fact that memories are not real, and can be changed, but just think about this for a moment. Many of us share very different ‘memories’ of the same event or events with friends or family members. An example from my own family is my brother remembering our father being the person who always took him to play football for a local team as a child; my mother remembers that she was the one who always took him, with our father only occasionally stepping in, and my father and I have no memory of anyone taking him at all!
Numerous scientific experiments have shown that our memories are not reliable (see Elizabeth Loftus for example), and Courts are increasingly aware that eye witness testimony of a crime is not necessarily reliable evidence.
Once we have established a belief, we will often predict or imagine a coming event or outcome based upon the belief we hold. Sticking with our ‘I am stupid’ example, prior to a job interview we might begin to worry that we will be asked questions we can’t answer, we will picture ourselves sitting in front of the interviewer and ‘going blank’; not knowing how to respond. We will imagine them exchanging glances, think of them realising that we are stupid, hear how the tone of their voice changes as they do, picture them talking about us once we have left the interview – saying what a waste of time it was for them to have seen us and that someone else must have written the application form for us. As we imagine these things we will experience emotions and sensations in our bodies, and then picture ourselves feeling the same way in the interview. As we are worried that this is what will happen, we are likely to keep re-playing and ‘rehearsing’ the interview in this way. These visualisations act like memories, and become a resource for our unconscious minds; so when we are faced with an interview and need a reference for ‘how to’ be, we automatically and unconsciously access these ‘memories’ and behave in the ways we have repeatedly imagined and dreaded.
In Faster EFT we make use of this process in a positive way. After clearing out all of the negative emotions, and flipping the memories so that they become positive, we ‘future pace’ by visualising how we will be in an interview (for example) when we are calm and confident, picturing ourselves giving good comprehensive answers to the questions we are asked, and seeing the smiles and nods on the faces of the interviewers. We have a number of techniques to help us to achieve this, including ‘borrowing’ the resources we will need from ourselves in a different memory, when we did experience the feelings we now need, or from another person who we believe has these resources. We create a clear vision of ourselves as we would like to be, and if we experience any resistance to this, we can again use tapping to address and clear it. If we then rehearse and reinforce this positive vision, we create a new resource, a new ‘how to’ for our unconscious mind to draw upon in our next interview. And obviously this applies to any and all sorts of future experiences.
Another Faster EFT belief is that whatever ‘problem’ we are experiencing, we are responsible for creating and manifesting the way in which we experience this ourselves. Although we may experience an issue, disease or illness as a ‘problem’, there will need to be a number of inter-connected things happening in the ‘correct’ manner (unconsciously) inside of ourselves, in order to produce and maintain the problem. For example, somebody who does not ruminate or dwell on the negative aspects of a situation, who looks for the positive in any experience, who is able to experience and express comfortably the full range of emotional affects ….will not have the ‘correct’ unconscious, internal resources to manifest depression.
This is another belief you may find it difficult to accept; you may even find yourself feeling angry or frustrated that anyone could suggest this – after all, who would want to make themselves ill, or depressed, or anxious to the point of having panic attacks, or…. However, do note that Faster EFT is not suggesting that you are making a conscious choice or decision to experience any issues you have, simply that any issues need certain beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and behaviours in place in order to exist.
In Faster EFT we don’t see the mind and body as two separate independent systems; they are one system, and each influences and impacts upon the other. There is increasing acceptance of this fact amongst the medical profession, with a number of illnesses or disorder now being classed as ‘psychosomatic’; this means that, whilst there are very real physical symptoms these originate from mental or emotional causes. Examples of psychosomatic illnesses currently being seen are panic attacks, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, depression, multiple chemical sensitivity, environmental illness and so on.
If you have been diagnosed with one of the above mentioned conditions I am not suggesting that you have ‘brought this on yourself’, and I am not doubting you probably wish you did not have it, and have done all you can to try to rid yourself of it.
However, if you were to assume for a moment or two that the Faster EFT belief system were correct, think about how this could effect the language you use. Instead of thinking (for example) ‘I suffer from anxiety’ try thinking ‘I practice anxiety’ or even ‘I practice anxiety, and I’ve got really good at it’. If you think back to the previous example of the ‘I am stupid’ belief and the job interview, remember how I suggested we tend to practice our fears and worries over and over again in our minds, elaborating and expanding upon them? If you ‘suffer from’ anxiety, the chances are that you have spent a lot of time worrying about and anticipating the symptoms – the racing heart, shallow breathing, sweating palms, and so on; you have probably run through various scenarios in your mind, anticipating all of the things that could go wrong and imagining how you and your anxiety will react when something does. You may even have spent time dreading having a panic attack, and imagining how it will be when you do; picturing your heart racing until you collapse with a heart attack, and you may even have pictured and imagined how it will be for your daughter waiting for you at the school gates when you don’t arrive to collect her, or finding you collapsed and having to call an ambulance…and so on. You may even have imagined yourself dying, and put yourself in the shoes of your nearest and dearest, imagining when and how they will hear the news, what they will feel, how they will act; what your funeral will be like….and so on, and so on. All of these fears and imaginings are providing your mind with more and more information and resources – more details on ‘how to’ – so you can get even better at producing anxiety. Once someone has diagnosed you as suffering from anxiety, you may have been given an information leaflet, or googled ‘anxiety’, taken books out of the library, or joined a support group. All of these things provide your unconscious mind with an ever-increasing number of reasons and resources for producing anxiety in a bigger and better way. Add to this the fact that we tend to ask ourselves ‘why’ in relation to all sorts of issues, and that we generally come up with something in answer to this; so when we ask ourselves ‘why do I feel anxious?’ we can come up with a hundred and one answers. But if you were to consider accepting – or even just acting ‘as though’ – anxiety (or your own diagnosis) was something you practiced, would the change in terminology make you feel a little more empowered? It could do. Would that get rid of your anxiety? Unlikely, I would say; highly unlikely. But it could leave you feeling as though it might be possible to change, to learn how to begin practicing something different, in a way that might not be possible if you ‘suffered from’ anxiety.
So, what else could you do? You could adopt a Faster EFT approach, and ask yourself ‘how do I know I have this problem?’ Notice you are not asking yourself ‘why do I have this problem?’, but ‘how do I know I have this problem’? And your unconscious (and conscious) mind will give you answers; you will probably end up with a long list of memories of different times you felt anxious or experienced anxiety attacks, of others confirming for you that you do indeed ‘suffer’ from anxiety, of GP visits, maybe ambulance call outs…and so on. And you will also end up with a list of physical sensations and experiences. Then by using Faster EFT tapping you can begin to address and change all of these memories and sensations; for some people this can happen very quickly, but for others it can take months of regular tapping (see below for more about this), and this isn’t necessarily an easy journey. But neither is the alternative, of not trying in the first place, or not sustaining your effort, and continuing to practice anxiety….or whatever it is you have chosen to practice instead.
In addition to beginning to clear negative emotions and memories, Faster EFT teaches us to begin to practice positive emotional states more. Recent research in to brain functioning demonstrates that we build up ‘neural networks’ (pathways) in our brains through repetition, and these pathways can then exert an influence over our train of thought; it simply becomes easier and easier for our thoughts to follow a well-defined pathway.
If you think of a huge field of fully-grown corn or wheat, with a well-worn, flattened footpath through the middle of it, any walkers are likely to follow this footpath almost without thinking, as this is the easiest route, and requires the least effort. This footpath functions a bit like a well-worn neural pathway, with your train of thoughts acting as the walkers. If at any set back you think ‘this type of thing always happens to me, I should have expected it really, I don’t know what made me think I could change things, I’m really not smart enough or motivated enough, it’s like the time when…’ this ‘footpath’ becomes an increasingly established route in your brain, and your ‘walkers’ (thoughts) tend to follow the same pathway again and again without you even thinking about it. What we can begin to do, with conscious thought and effort, however, is to start to map out and strengthen alternative and more positive neural pathways in our brains. To begin with, in the same way as it not being easy to make your way through a field of tall wheat in a new direction, where there is not a well-worn path, this can take conscious thought and effort (and at times we can lose sight of where we are going, become lost, and wonder why we are bothering). But with persistence we can build new and clearer (positive) pathways that become alternative routes for us, meaning we find it easier and easier to change direction and follow a more positive train of thoughts.
A great tool to help us to do this is the ‘peace journal’ – and yet so many of us are so resistant to starting one! What we need to do is find as many ways as possible to ‘access’ and practice positive emotional states, as frequently as we can – to begin to build new and stronger neural pathways. Some people find it encourages them to buy a really nice hard backed journal or book with blank pages, or an album with plastic sleeves like the older style photo albums, that they can slip photos and cards in to. You can include anything in your ‘journal’ that helps you to access positive thoughts and memories; I have one client who has included a folded hankie with ‘white musk’ body spray on it, as this smell takes her back to feeling very free and positive as a school-leaver. If you find yourself resistant to starting your own journal take the pressure off yourself a bit – some of us feel as if we need to do things ‘perfectly’ for example, so delay starting things in case we ‘mess them up’ – for example start to collect photos that trigger positive emotions or memories in a shoe box, or write down positive affirmations on scraps of paper. You can make a ‘happy playlist’ for your mp3 or phone; you may well find that some of the songs it is good to include are not ones you would want to admit to listening to, but if the ‘Birdy song’ reminds you of Auntie Gladys collapsing after too much sherry and this makes you smile, then include this too! A lot of people find that smells and music can act as really powerful triggers to positive memories, so don’t over look these.
Many people do experience rapid shifts and changes using Faster EFT, but for others the process can be much slower. We are all different, and there are a number of different reasons for why this is the case. One relates to the way in which we process and hold our memories within us – and this relates in part to which of our ‘sensory modalites’ we tend to favour.
We have five different senses, through which we experience the world – sight, sound, kinaesthetic (feelings and sensations) olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste). The last three tend to be grouped together as kinaesthetic.
Around 60% of the population rely most strongly on their sense of vision, and they will have strong and clear visual memories; these may be still pictures like a photograph, or may be moving like a movie or film (they will also vary in terms of colour, brightness, location in space, and so on).
Approximately 20% of the population tend to favour their auditory processes, and when they access a memory they will first and foremost be aware of sounds and voices – either their own or others. The remainder of the population will be kinaesthetic, and will primarily be aware of the emotions and sensations in their body when they access memories.
If you think of a positive memory now, you should be able to tell which of the senses is the primary one for you. As a rough guide, individuals who are ‘visual’ are likely to clear memories and make changes more quickly than those who are ‘auditory’ or ‘kinaesthetic’ – but this will not always be the case.