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Speech to University Forum - Hull University, 1997 - Part 1
Take a look at your life. Whatever knowledge you have accumulated, however
successful you are, whatever genetic mental, physical or material benefits
you have inherited, your life primarily reflects your decisions! (Part 2 of
this talk is ... here)
Some of your decisions are complex. For important decisions, such as a long-term
commitment, you may dissociate from this moment and review your past decisions and
their consequences. You may first decide "what is most important" as a basis
for subsequent decisions. You may decide to disregard your present mood. You may
decide to plan beyond short-term results. You may decide to put yourself into
another person's point of view, to incorporate information from that
perspective. You may decide to creatively envision a number of different
Young children cannot make complex decisions (for example
about partnership, childrearing or community development). Such complex decisions
are an adult behavior,
requiring cognitive skills that young children lack. Young children cannot abstract their core values to find integrity.
Young children cannot
consciously generalize their experiences over time to develop useful beliefs.
Young children cannot
dissociate to examine the causes and potential long-term consequences of their actions.
Adults can make simple decisions. Simple decision strategies are useful for
unimportant or hasty decisions. (E.g.: "Which cheese should I buy?") You
may use a decision process that a child might choose an ice cream flavor. Maybe
stay with your last choice? Maybe flip a coin? Maybe eliminate options with
"Eeny meeny miney mo" Maybe decide based on how you feel this moment?
Maybe choose the easiest option? Maybe ask someone to choose for you?
Difficulties arise when simple decision strategies are used for important
decision that have
long-term consequences. For example, what is likely to happen if you select a
life partner or an occupation by a simple method? Some adults cannot
make complex decisions.
Once you have made a decision, whether complex or simple, action requires
motivation. Perhaps you
assess the significance of a task by the meaning it will add to your life.
Perhaps you motivate yourself by imagining some unpleasant consequences of not
acting, or maybe by imagining the future pleasure of completing the task. Maybe
you may wait for someone else to motivate you, or you may motivate yourself with
deadlines. And, although you have many possibilities, you may not be motivated
to act on some lesser quality decisions. There have probably been times when
your lack of motivation for some action was wonderful, and many times
when you were motivated to create beautiful results.
After acting, you can assess the consequences of your decision, to help you make
better decisions in the future. You can assess the quality of your decisions by
the quality of life resulting from the decision. How do you measure the
quality of life? My measuring stick
for my decision to speak at this conference will be whether, I meet people who
are interested in practical ways of accelerating the evolution of human
potential. Together we may assess the possibilities of contributing to a network
of information, techniques and projects. This is my no-longer-hidden agenda.
Making a decision may seem easy - know what we want, create some options, evaluate the
consequences of the options and select an option likely to produce optimum
consequences. And yet we live in a world dominated by short term decisions that
benefit few people (e.g.: politicians looking no further than the next
We live in a world where your image may be more important than your
reality, where your assets may be more important than the quality of your life.
(As my bank manager said "Many people
borrow money they can hardly afford to repay, to buy things they don't need, to
impress people they don't like!").
We live in a world where many people
continue to make the same old decisions and repeatedly suffer the same old
consequences. I believe that we always make the best decisions available to us.
So why do we often decide to suffer? We
may make decisions with a hidden agenda - we may hope for hidden advantages.
Sometimes we hide our hidden agendas from ourselves!
Our decisions reflect our desires. Goals stated with negative grammar (e.g., "I
don't want to suffer"), may motivate us to avoid a problem
by focusing on the problem! Yet our unconscious minds seem to have difficulty
representing negative goals. Don't think of what you don't want! This
may be difficult - a solution is to think of what you want instead.
Our decisions reflect our congruence. If we have a conflict, (E.g., "Part
of me wants this, but part of me doesn't"), we may either avoid making a
decision, or we may act incongruently and later find ways to sabotage ourselves.
Why do we not make decisions and act with 100% congruence? Because finding a
100% congruent goal is difficult. Finding a 100% congruent goal takes time.
may feel bad about having a conflict, and let the unpleasant feeling motivate us
to avoid the self-discovery required to resolve the conflict. Few people are
aware of how their lack of congruence influences their decisions.
Our decisions reflect our specificity. If our goals are abstract (E.g., "I
want to succeed"), without a plan for achievement, we have little hope of
success! If our goals are wishy-washy (E.g.: "I want to learn a second
language"), without specifying exactly how much of what language, we may
lose energy. And if we make goals without deadlines, (E.g. "I want a
wonderful relationship - sometime"), we can endlessly procrastinate taking
action. Few people seem aware of how the format of their desires
influence their decisions.
Our decisions reflect our beliefs. If we believe "There are infinite choices
available for every decision", we are less likely to have tunnel vision about a
single option. If we believe "I do not deserve success", we may decide to
fail! If we believe "All wealthy people are corrupt", then we may decide not to
be wealthy - or we may decide to become corrupt so as to become wealthy! If we
believe we can fulfil our human lives, we may decide to focus on the long-term social
consequences of our actions. Few people seem aware of how their beliefs
influence their decisions.
Our decisions reflect our relationships with ourselves (E.g.: "Do I like
myself? Am I proud of my actions? Can I be happy in the future"?) and our
decisions reflect our relationships with other people, past and present (E.g.: "Is
it OK if I am more successful than my father", "Will success damage my
relationship with my life partner", "Will failure motivate my family to
give me the attention that I want from them"). Few people seem aware of how
their relationships influence their decisions.
Our decisions reflect our sense of life. (E.g.: " Am I angry about how I
allow myself to be treated?” "Am I afraid of expressing my anger?” "Am
I sad that I do not maintain my boundaries?” "Will success allow me to
express my emotions?") Few people seem aware how emotions influence
It seems that our decisions reflect what we really want in our lives,
and what we really want may be incongruent with our stated, conscious
goals. If we look at the results of our decisions, even those actions that are
seemingly poor, we may find that those decisions accurately reflect our desires,
our beliefs, our relationships and our Sense of Life. Are you living the life
you decided to live?
Sense of Life
Janelle Doan (a Canadian project-manager),
Annegret Hallanzy (a German family
therapist) and I created a methodology to help people make decisions congruent
with their sense of life. Our sources included accelerated learning, expert
modeling, neurolinguistic programming, systemic family therapy and traditional
healing. The first step is finding the motivation to change. The next step is
experiencing one's sense of life or integrity. The next is evaluating how one
can express this integrity in relationships, and then resolving the consequences
of stress and trauma.
A final step is choosing appropriate role models for living.
Together, this methodology supports a person in making congruent decisions
towards achieving self-selected important goals, while sequentially resolving a
person's internal conflict, relationship and emotional problems. And, during this
resolution, many mental health issues and physical symptoms may vanish.
Motivation to become involved in a "soft" science (I come from a
background of health physics) originated as a desire to find effective techniques for
teaching physics to the staff of a nuclear power station. I explored relaxation
techniques, musical backgrounds and visual imagery with some success, and while
I gained a strange reputation as a teacher, my methods were effective in
raising average marks to previously unheard-of levels. The most
effective methods for accelerating learning seemed to be helping students change
their limiting beliefs, such as "I cannot learn physics".
Most people look up to visualize. But when a child looks up to
remember a visual eidetic image, a teacher may say "The answer isn't on
the ceiling - stop daydreaming and look at your book". Looking down
is pretty good for talking to oneself, but talking to oneself is a poor way to
remember diagrams and charts. Also, few teachers know HOW some students learn well
while others, equally intelligent, don't.
Most good spellers of English spell by visualizing a word, and then
evaluating a feeling. If the feeling is "rightness" the person
"reads" the letters of the image. If the feeling indicates
"wrongness", the person may make another visualization. Less
effective spellers often write the word on paper, look at it and
check their feeling. A poor speller tries to spell it out auditorally
- which is slow (and ineffective for English spelling). A terrible speller
may switch between critical self-talk and unpleasant feelings.
Changing a person's subjective experience of time can be useful in education.
Typically, we have a mental "speed", often limited by sub-vocalizations (E.g.:
How fast can you mentally count all the integers from one to one hundred? It is
much more efficient to do this visually without sub-vocalizing - for example
"seeing" the numbers from one to one hundred sequentially, without mentally
verbalizing them. And it is even more efficient to imagine the entire number
set from one to one hundred simultaneously in a matrix!).
People can change subjective time flow. We teach people to stop
sub-vocalizing, while simultaneously increasing the subjective time ratio
from 1:1 to around 300:1, allows fast cognition, without conscious "brakes". This is a useful strategy for
organizing knowledge that one has already learned - for example prior to an
Hypnotic techniques for accelerating learning can be applied to
healing. Yet accelerating the healing of a
disease often shortened the disease duration but increased the
severity of the symptoms! And removing symptoms by direct hypnotic
suggestion often caused different symptoms to arise! Something was
missing in this mechanistic approach. People do not let go of their
suffering so easily. Why not?
A concept of sub-identities, ego-states or parts is
used in many therapies. This notion is that certain skills may be
state-dependent - i.e. the skills can only be used in a specific emotional
state. (E.g.: "I can only be creative when I am angry!") There
are techniques for changing the meaning or boundaries of parts,
(including many therapeutic techniques that now seem very unhealthy).
Later I came to see parts as
dissociated "sub-personalities". Each part had it’s own values,
beliefs and behaviors, and a part was often childlike. (E.g.: "When I see a
physics formula, part of me wants to scream").
In 1989, I was invited to teach in Hawaii, and met a native healer, Papa
Auwae (a kahuna la'au lapa'au). Papa Auwae used a healing methodology that
transcended my Western skills. His work included helping clients learn from
their diseases, as if each symptom was a teacher. (Papa Auwae: "It is more
important that a person learn from a disease than that they heal it! ") He
also focused the importance of helping a client heal their relationships! I
returned to Hawaii many times to study with Papa Auwae and other native Hawaiian healers.
Another Hawaiian concept is that we keep ele’ele eke or black bags
in our bodies. In a black bag are the emotions from an experience and a
younger version of us - as if some part of ourselves is still experiencing a
traumatic experience. The location of this black bag in the body may be
associated with disease. Opening a black bag can open the possibility of
accepting and integrating a hitherto rejected younger version of oneself. Hmm,
more parts! However, instead of being "fragmented ego states",
a Hawaiian healer may treat such parts as "lost children".
We simultaneously interviewed people who had spontaneous remissions
from the physical symptoms of serious disease, and, if they were willing,
hypnotically investigating their healing process. Many times, in many ways, we
heard people say "The disease became my friend" or "The
pain became my teacher". It is as if a part could create a disease.
If this part was fully accepted, the disease might vanish! Such people
often commented on how they had redefined their "toxic" relationships.
Exploring the advantages of a
disease in a person’s life seemed to indicate that disease symptoms manage some
deep issue in the person’s life. Although the information was confusing, the
deep issues seemed to be in four groups - inner conflict, relationship issues,
overwhelming emotions from past trauma and copying poorly chosen role models.
Another source of information was neurolinguistic programming (NLP), from
which are derived many techniques that are useful for duplicating expertise. I
found some NLP to be profound, particularly work on identity metaphors - how
to recognize and change the metaphors by which we make life decisions. I became
a NLP trainer and combined this work with accelerated learning and Hawaiian
healing. This opened many doors - one was dreaming together - the ability
to join a person in their metaphoric experience of identity - interactive
In 1992 I met Janelle Doan and I researched
human values and human bonding,
which became a basis for the relationship phase of this changework, and
we explored some of the practical implications of
We learned how to access unusual states, the descriptions of which could
be associated with religious experiences.
In 1993 I met a family therapist and NLP trainer,
Annegret Hallanzy, who was
investigating similar issues. As we worked together in Bavaria and Poland, we
explored the Hawaiian healing rituals. Our results went beyond our
expectations - many of the esoteric techniques used by Hawaiian
healers could be translated into a philosophy that generated a specific,
effective and non-esoteric tool set.
This synthesis represented a very big picture. As so many people
claimed to experience soul - in 1994 I began calling this Soul
Centered Changework, and later Soulwork Systemic Coaching.
This is part 1 of the keynote speech, for
Part 2 - Click here
Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
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© Martyn Carruthers 1997-2017 All rights reserved