THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS, AND ATTITUDES
Your thoughts, emotions, and attitudes are yours to command.
We often give control of these over to other people. It can be quite interesting and is a part of living life. But it is always within your power to take back control of these and think and feel what you wish regardless of the dictates of life, society, or physics.
Mastery over your own mind is a necessary step in your spiritual advancement. In this chapter we will take some beginning steps in this direction.
This is also a good time to begin keeping a notebook recording the processes that you are running. You will want to note down each process and anything interesting that happened and anything that you wish to note for future reference.
Keeping a record has many uses. If, for example, you get tangled up and aren’t doing so well, you can look back and review what happened. Sometimes when you get in trouble, it was actually the last step that you thought was OK where the mistake occurred.
Or you might eventually decide to get some help or advise from a professional processor, and in that case a record is of tremendous value in letting the professional know what you have been running and how it went.
In some cases it also helps to get things outside of your mind and down on paper. This can help you extrovert from things. That will be more important as we get into subjective processes.
And as you become more advanced, you will sometimes want to look back at something that you ran earlier.
So get into the habit now of recording your progress in a notebook. You will fill up quite a few of them as you proceed with this.
And let me again remind you that running a process can turn on a reaction and the solution to that is to continue running the process until the reaction that it stirred up has disappeared. When running a drill on fear for example, you might actually become afraid for a few minutes. If this happens, you keep doing the process with dogged determination until the fear goes away. The process is bringing something to the surface and you must let it come all the way out rather than stopping when it is half way.
Pick an innocuous object in the room, one that you neither love nor hate.
Look at it and feel various positive things about it. Decide that you love it, it is beautiful, wonderful, helpful, etc. Feel joy at having it there. Do this for some minutes, making the feelings and attitudes as positive as you can.
Then reverse this and feel various negative things about it. Decide that you hate it and that it is evil and ugly and harmful etc. Again do this for some minutes.
Then flip back the other way and feel various positive things about it.
You may have various reactions while doing this. You may initially have some difficulty changing your mind back and forth. Continue the process until any reactions have ended and you can change your mind easily about the object.
Then pick another innocuous object and repeat the process. Continue until you feel that you can really control your attitude towards things. You should end positive feelings rather than negative ones.
Pick a large object in the room, such as a piece of furniture. Think of an object which is not present and which it would be silly to associate with the piece of furniture. You might for example pick a bookcase in the room and choose a manhole cover for the silly association.
Look at the object and immediately think of the silly thing that you have associated with it, as if it was an automatic association. In other words, you look at the bookcase and immediately think “manhole covers”. If possible, actually visualize a mental picture of a manhole cover which pops into view when you look at the bookcase.
Do this a few times, looking at the object and having the association occur and then looking away and having the thought or picture go away.
Once you have control over this, move on to the next stage which is to only have the association occur every other time that you look at the object. On the times in between, simply look at the object and think about it and notice things about it without making the silly association.
When you get good at this, pick another object and another silly association and repeat the above.
As you run this, you will get some control over unconscious automatic associations.
Carry on until you have good control over this.
If you master this one well, you should actually be able to not think of an elephant if somebody tells you to try not to think of an elephant.
Pick an object. Get the idea that you feel sorry for the object. Then get the idea that the object feels sorry for you. Alternate back and forth a few times. Then pick another object and do the same.
Continue this until you feel some control over grief and sympathy.
Then do the same with fear. Pick an object and get the idea that you are afraid of it. Then get the idea that it is afraid of you and so on.
Next run this on anger. You are angry with the object, the object is angry with you.
Then Boredom and finally cheerfulness (you are cheerful about the object and happy to have it there).
This should give you some control over your emotions.
Note that we are not trying for full mastery at this time but simply to restore a bit of control.
The mind does many things on automatic.
The general rule for gaining control over something automatic is to exaggerate it, doing more of it consciously until it comes under your control, or to alternate doing it more and less. If you stutter, for example, you could make yourself stutter more than normal and then less than normal in alternate sentences until you get some control over it.
In this step, we are interested in gaining some control over various things that the mind is doing automatically.
Close your eyes. Notice what you are looking at. Sometimes people have mental pictures or after images. Sometimes there are splotches of “energy”. Sometimes there is just blackness but there is an “intensity” to the blackness.
Whatever you “see” with your eyes closed, make a mental image copy of it, just like it but off to the side. This could be a screen with a copy of the image on it, or it could even be a three dimensional copy of the space that you are viewing. Just get whatever you can whether real or flimsy or even just the idea that you are projecting a copy.
Now make more copies. Make them to the right and to the left. Make them over your head and below it. Put some in back of you. Keep making copies until something dissolves or relaxes.
Now open your eyes. Notice things that you like about the room until you feel comfortable.
Close your eyes again. Notice what you are looking at and again make a mental image copy of it. This time, take the copy and start changing the colors around. If something is white, make it blue. If something is gray, make it orange, etc. Keep shifting the colors around until something dissolves or relaxes.
Open your eyes and look around, noticing things about the room.
Then do this a third time, making a few copies and putting various colors into the copies.
Experiment a bit with all three of these techniques, namely, making multiple copies, or changing colors, or a mixture of the two. Find out which one you are most comfortable with and do it a few more times.
All three of these methods can be used to handle a stuck mental picture or automatic and compulsive creation of mental imagery. This can be very useful if you run into trouble while fooling around with the mind. It gives you another safety net.
Learn this one well because it is the thing to do if you can’t get some picture or worry out of your mind.
If, for example, you are worried that something is going to happen and you can’t stop thinking about it, then visualize it and make many copies of the picture, changing its colors and altering it until you have control over it.
Note that worrying unnecessarily about something is a good way to attract it. And if you are worried about something real, this will increase your ability to face and handle it.
3.5 More Automaticities
Pick a nice object in the room. Sit and look at it in a comfortable manner.
If there are any thoughts running around in your head, pick one and “copy” it, thinking it over and over and making it “louder” and “softer” alternately until you have control over it and no need to think it. Then pick another and do the same until your thoughts “quiet down”.
If anything else is distracting your attention from the object, copy it many times and change its characteristics (color, loudness, or any variation in intensity or quality) until the distraction fades.
Work to cool everything down so that you can just sit comfortably and look.
Now we are going to drill confronting.
This consists of simply sitting there and looking at something, with you attention on the thing that you are looking at and no attention on or activity going on with your body or mind. This drills your ability to hold a position in space and simply be there without distraction.
In orthodox Scientology this is called training routine zero or TR0 and they always do it with another person (the two people practice sitting there and looking at each other). In the Tibetan scriptures this is known as the “sitting-face-to-face” and it may be done either with another person or with an object, the important thing being to focus your attention outside and away from yourself.
Here the intention is not to address each distracting thing (as was done in the previous step) but instead to simply put your attention completely on something or somebody else and ignore all distractions until they quiet down.
It doesn’t matter what is going on, you have the capacity to keep your attention where you want it.
Sometimes you need to keep going, or to handle something, and you have to be able to focus and persist even though other things are also happening and distracting you. This is a very useful skill.
If you have someone else available to work with, then the two of you can do this together, sitting facing each other. Otherwise, simply pick a large and comfortable object in the room and put your attention on that.
Focus your attention completely on the person or object. Let your own body and mind be still and relaxed. Do not hold your body still with effort or focus your attention on it. If your body is reacting, just keep putting your attention outward and letting the body be still until it quiets down. The same for mental pictures or thoughts. Don’t go fighting to quiet your thoughts or running processes to handle them, simply keep focusing your attention outwards until they die down.
The desired result is to sit there still and effortless with your attention comfortably on what you are looking at. This may take hours in some cases. Once all is quiet, remain that way for at least five or ten minutes in case anything else is going to turn on. In practice you should be able to sit this way for hours once you master this, but we are not trying for an endurance contest here.
This and other related drills are generally included in the various Scientology communication courses. Although they sometimes err in putting the student’s attention on his body, these courses can be useful and helpful if you have the opportunity to do one.
But this confronting drill is the most basic and the most important. If you master it well, you will have a much easier time of it with the rest of this book.
Note that the goal here is not to stop thinking in general, but to be able to stop thinking when you want to and simply look at something instead.
This is an excellent skill to have in life. If your thoughts are all confused and you are frantic and going around in circles, you quite your thoughts down with this confronting drill and simply look at what is there. Then you can go ahead and think about the situation in a sensible manner and come to a conclusion instead of just figure figuring endlessly.
3.7 Holding Corners
Do this while sitting in a chair.
Close your eyes.
Put your attention on the two upper back corners of the room.
Keep your attention there ignoring all distractions as in the confronting drill given above.
Once you can sit there comfortably for a few minutes, then open your eyes and look around and notice things that seem real to you.
Then close your eyes again and repeat this drill putting your attention on all four back corners of the room simultaneously.
Again look around and notice things that seem real to you.
Then do this with all eight corners of the room. If it seems like too much, do six first and then eight. You want to reach the point where you can sit there comfortably holding eight points.
End off by looking around and noticing things that seem real to you.
3.8 Other People
Now go outside to a crowded place. Do this in daylight on a nice day if possible. If you are away from civilization, then do the best you can, making do if necessary with a place that has many lifeforms.
Each step is done many times until you feel good about it before going on to the next one.
Notice individual people. For each one, simply look at them and decide that you are willing for them to be as they are. Put aside all ideas and considerations and simply accept what people are being.
Next, spot individuals and decide that deep down they like you no matter what they are projecting on the surface. And decide that deep down, you like them no matter what the surface manifestations are. Do this irrationally and with total disregard for logic. Do it simply by decision and intention ignoring any surface reasons why it could not be true.
Next, spot individuals and see them as godlike infinite spirits and view their bodies, attitudes, and manifestations as transient projections which they are putting there temporarily.
Now spot individuals and mentally acknowledge them for being there.
Continue this until you feel really good about people and can accept them as they are.