17 Jul Intrusive Negative Thoughts
“I felt liberated by the process. And it didn’t just affect that relationship we worked on, but changed my whole state of consciousness. There’s more of a sense of oneness with what’s around me. Things look more beautiful and rich. There’s a sense of peace and things are more intense in a positive way.” ~ Susan
Tale of the Day:
When Friendship ends badly – intrusive negative thoughts
Susan had been obsessing over a close friendship that had ended totally unresolved. For years both during and after the friendship, Susan had been replaying negative scenes in her mind, and had ongoing internal chatter about these negative interactions. She realized this was consuming her energy in an unpleasant way, and at times made it difficult to connect with others. This is why she came to see me.
The Back Story: When Susan became friends with “Clara,” they bonded over similar health challenges. Clara was always very flowery about the friendship, but soon into it Susan began having serious misgivings. Clara would make false accusations about what Susan was feeling, and would sometimes exhibit a bizarre competitiveness. Over the 12 years of their friendship, Susan found herself replaying the negative things Clara said, with a frequency and intensity that disturbed her. Susan tried to put these unpleasant thoughts out of her mind, but she had no control over them. Finally she realized that the friendship wasn’t healthy for her, and she needed to end it. However, even after being away from Clara for a year, Susan’s preoccupation with Clara’s past negative comments and accusations remained. Susan told me, “If a mutual friend would mention Clara’s name, my stomach would go into a knot. And if I was gardening and there was space for my thoughts, I’d still get bombarded by the worst things Clara said to me. It was even worse than my breakup with my ex.”
“And so you’d like to change being bombarded by those thoughts?” I ask.
“Yes. Recently Clara died, and Henry, a close friend of both of us was over. Henry was talking about Clara in glowing terms. It brought a lot more of these thoughts up in me, and a part of me wanted to blurt them out to him—all my reasons for why everything was not so glowing with Clara. I knew that wouldn’t be helpful, so I kept the thoughts to myself, but at the same time I felt disconnected not being able to share my own experience. The thoughts I’m having are like I’m trying to ‘make my case to the universe’ for why I ended the friendship. It was the right decision to end the friendship; I know that. And I think it’s fine that Henry still had a great relationship with Clara right up until the end. And I did see Clara again in the months before she died, and our connection was warm, but there was never space to discuss those things that had bothered me. So now more than ever, I just don’t want to have these thoughts keep going on and on about what wasn’t working in how she related with me. They’re not enjoyable thoughts, and it takes up a lot of energy. I just don’t want these things replaying in my mind with her.”
Let the changework begin!
What Susan was finding so challenging, and difficult to shift, would likely be amenable to the deep changework process called Core Transformation* (CT). I’m including the full session here, so you can get a taste of how such a significant shift came about in just a single session. You can read more about this method in the book, Core Transformation—and there are two live Core Transformation Trainings coming up this fall. Perhaps you have your own feelings, thoughts, or behaviors you’d like to have become a doorway to the kind of shift in consciousness that Susan described:
Finding the unconscious part:
“Ok, so you don’t want these things replaying in your mind. That makes sense,” I say. “So close your eyes, and think about the different times and places where these thoughts have replayed in your mind.”
Susan closes her eyes and nods.
“And now choose a particular time where these thoughts occurred. Mentally step into the memory now, as it was when it happened… seeing through your eyes… hearing through your ears… and feeling what you felt at the time.”
“Since you didn’t consciously decide to have these thoughts, it’s as if some unconscious or automatic part of you generated them… So you can begin to sense this part of you in your body or around you. Where do you sense this part?”
“In my solar plexus.”
Acknowledging and discovering the positive purpose:
“Great, and you can thank this part of you for being here, because you can trust that just like all parts of you, this part also has something positive it wants, even if you don’t yet know what it is…” I had already talked with Susan about how all our parts have a positive purpose—even those that do things we don’t like. So this idea was already familiar to her. “And once you’ve thanked this part, you can ask this part, ‘What do you want?’ Then relax and turn inward, and notice what response comes back from this part of you.”
Susan responded almost immediately, “It wants to have the pain and disappointment that I felt with Clara acknowledged, so I can let go and get my needs met somewhere else.”
Finding the deeper purposes:
“Wonderful. Thank this part for it’s response, and invite this part of you to step into what it’s like to already have the pain and disappointment that you felt with Clara acknowledged, so it can let go and get your needs met somewhere else…. And ask this part, ‘When you have the pain and disappointment you felt acknowledged so you can let go and get your needs met somewhere else, what is it you want, through having that, that’s even deeper or more important?’”
“Then I have a sense of oneness with other beings.”
“Great. Thank this part for this response, and invite it to step into what it’s like to already have a sense of oneness with other beings, fully and completely… And when this part of you already has a sense of oneness with other beings, ask this part, ‘When you have a sense of oneness with other beings, what is it you want, through having this, that is even deeper or more important?”
Finding the Core State:
When we do Core Transformation, using this precise line of questioning, at some point the part gets to its deepest or final outcome—something we call the “Core State.” The first outcomes a part wants usually have to do with getting things from others, or doing things, or attaining things. Then there’s a shift to a state that “just is.” We teach more about how to recognize the Core State in the trainings, but in general it’s:
- A state of being rather than doing or getting something
- It isn’t dependent on anything else
- It can be experienced regardless of what happens or doesn’t happen in the outside world
At this point we are just three outcomes in, yet “No self” meets the criteria for a Core State, so I change the question slightly. After inviting the part to step into what it’s like to already have “no self,” I say: “Ask this part, when you already have ‘no self’ fully and completely, is there anything you want through having ‘no self,’ that is even deeper or more core?” The only difference is that rather than assuming there is something deeper wanted, I just ask if there is anything deeper wanted.
“Universal consciousness,” she answers. This could also be a Core State, so I continue asking in the same way, whether there is anything wanted through this, that is even deeper or more Core. Through “Universal consciousness,” the part wants peace, and through peace, it wants love. When I ask if there is anything even deeper or more core it wants through having love, there is no answer—just more experience of love. That’s how I know this is the part’s Core State.
“Now invite this part to just bask in ‘love’ as a way of being. And my sense of this love is that it isn’t the kind of love where you’re loving someone else or yourself, or someone else is loving you. My sense is it’s a kind of love that just is, a love as a way of being, is that correct?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
This matters. If Susan had said, “the part wants love from my parents,” or “it wants me to love myself,” this wouldn’t be a Core State because it is dependent on someone doing the loving. (Even if that someone doing the loving is the self, there’s still an inner split—the part of us doing the loving, and the part getting loved). The love Susan is experiencing is a kind of love that just is, as opposed to something that is given or received. It’s a way of being—even beyond universal consciousness—that can be experienced regardless of what happens or doesn’t happen.
Realizing we don’t have to wait, to experience Core States:
“Great, so love is this part’s Core State—what it wants at the deepest, most core level. And as this part of you basks in it’s experience of love, now, I’ll say a little bit for the benefit of this part of you. Often our parts think that in order to experience their Core States, they need to first do certain things or get certain things. And that may seem like a great plan. The only problem is we don’t get to experience our Core States very often going about it in that way. The good news is that the best way to experience a Core State of being, is just to step into it and have it, as this part of you is experiencing right now. So ask this part, ‘When you already have love as a way of being in an ongoing way, how does already having love make things different in general?”
“Ah, it makes things so much nicer and easier.”
Finding how the Core State transforms each of the other things that were wanted (reversing the outcome chain):
“Great, and you can invite this part of you to breathe this in, and you can ask this part, ‘When you already have love as a way of being, how does already having love in an ongoing way, radiate through, enrich or transform peace?”
“It makes it easy.”
“And you can breathe this in, and ask this part, ‘When you already have love as a way of being, how does already having love in an ongoing way, radiate through, enrich or transform universal consciousness?”
I continue to ask this question, going in reverse order for each of the things the part said it wanted. This allows this part of Susan to experience how already having the Core State of love, naturally transforms or enriches each of these areas of experience. When we get back through them all, I say, “Ask this part, ‘When you already have love as a way of being, how does already having love in an ongoing way, radiate through, enrich or transform, the situations in which you used to have the thoughts replaying in your mind?”
“It’s just quiet.”
Susan’s experience has already shifted significantly. Instead of the mind chatter and replay of obsessive thoughts, she now experiences “just quiet.” This is a goal of many meditation approaches, and Susan is experiencing it in just minutes through this organic process. This is possible because with Core Transformation we are discovering the deepest want of the very part that was bothering us. When it is deeply satisfied, we no longer have to fight with it. And yet there is even more that we can do to get even further integration, and to deepen the experience.
Growing up the Part:
“OK, wonderful. Now, often these unconscious parts of us were formed at a much younger age than we are now. It’s as if they split off at this younger time to protect us or serve us in the best way they knew how, and yet now, many years later, it’s as if these parts are still responding from that younger developmental age. So ask this part of you, ‘How old are you?’ Or, ‘How old was I when you were formed?’ ”
“Thank this part for it’s response, and ask this part if it would like to make it’s job a whole lot easier by having the benefits that come from evolving forward through time, so it can still have all the choices it already has, plus the additional choices that come from everything you’ve learned and gained since the age of three?”
“Yes, it would like to.”
“Great, so you can begin by inviting this part to fully enjoy experiencing it’s Core State of love at the age of three… And when this part is ready, in it’s own time and in it’s own way, it can begin evolving forward through time, noticing how having love as an ongoing way of being, naturally radiates through, enriches, or transforms each experience, even as it gains new resources, wisdom, and learnings as it evolves up through time zzzzrrrrrrppppppppp! And you can nod when it reaches the present moment.”
“Great, and where do you sense this part of you now, in your body or around you?”
“It’s bigger, through more of my chest.”
“Great, and now that this part has evolved forward through time to current age, its Core State no longer needs to be separate from all of you as a whole human being. So in whatever way is natural, this Core State of love can spread and radiate through every cell of your being, becoming available to all of you as an expression of your wholeness, like an emotional coding through your DNA.”
“And now, you can notice what it’s like having love available to all of you. You can notice how this further deepens and enriches your experience of peace… and universal consciousness… and no self… and sense of oneness with other beings… and what was wanting to have the pain and disappointment you felt acknowledged, so you could let it go.” Here I’m just listing in reverse order each of the things the part initially said it wanted. “And you can notice how having love available to all of you, as an expression of your wholeness, also radiates through, transforms or enriches the situations in which you used to have the old response.”
“It’s totally different; it’s just easy.”
Checking for objections to the Core State:
“OK, so you can just ask on the inside, checking with all parts of you, ‘Is there any part of me that has an objection to having love as an ongoing way of being into the future?’ ”
“A little bit. There was just a little bit of a twinge of the old feeling in the solar plexus.”
“OK, so it may be that there is still some aspect of the three year old part that didn’t evolve forward through time with its Core State of love, so check in and see if that fits with your…”
“Oh yeah. Right when you said that it was like it just dove down into the ocean of love and now it’s good with it.”
Because Susan described this as the same feeling she started with, and in the same location, I suspected that this simple instruction might match her unconscious experience. And it clearly did.
“OK, great. So now just to be sure, ask on the inside of all parts of you, ‘Is there any part now that has any objection to my continuing to experience love as a way of being going into the future?”
“OK. And now you can imagine your whole past flowing into a line or pathway behind you, and you can see your entire future like a line or pathway in front of you.… And as you experience this Core State of love, you can imagine floating up above your timeline, and traveling all the way back and coming down just before the moment of your conception. So in front of you, you see the moment of your conception going all the way up to your present and on out into the future. And when you’re ready you can imagine stepping into the moment of your conception, noticing what it is like to be a single cell coming into being filled with love as a way of being. And of course as the cells multiply, this Core State of love also multiplies and develops as you develop and are born into the world with love as a way of being, taking your first breaths and noticing how love radiates through, transforms and enriches each experience up through time… and you can let me know when you reach the present moment…”
After about a minute she says, “Ok.”
“Great, and now you can look forward to how having love will naturally radiate through, enrich, or transform future situations. And you can notice in particular what new behaviors and responses will be naturally available to you as expressions of love.”
“Wow, this feels great.”
“Great. I think we’re done for today.”
When I met with Susan 2 weeks later, she said, “After the session there were no vignettes of Clara playing in my mind the first few days. Then sometimes they would come up, but with less charge. And when they did I would go back to my ‘three year old’ and say, “Just take a dive.” Not in a negative way, but in a lighthearted, humorous way. And it would dive right into the ocean of love, it was wonderful. Now when I think about Clara, there is no remaining business, no need to make my case about it. Since the session I’ve felt a pervasive sense of contentment for the last two weeks, and I’ve never had that before, where a positive result continues for such a long time. And I’m still experiencing it.”
“The session has held. It is really kind of amazing. I’d been having problems with that issue for years. It would get worse or better, but it was always there. Recently a couple times it started again, and I just remembered that part diving into the ocean of love, and all was well. When I garden now I’m at peace. And when the mutual friend mentions Clara’s name, I feel fine. I feel that it has to be better for him as well. And it’s really important that this happened now. Clara is still relevant to my daily tasks because she left proceeds from her house to me and our mutual friend and some others. I never expected her to leave anything for me, but she did, and so we’re all working together on sorting out what she left us. Now I can feel love towards her, and appreciation for what she left me, rather than all those old uncomfortable thoughts.”
*Core Transformation was developed by Connirae Andreas. This detailed description of the process is published with permission of the developer. Names and identifying information have been changed to protect privacy, and this account is published with permission of my client.
Upcoming Live Trainings:
I will be teaching Core Transformation this fall in Guelph Ontario (Sept. 6-8, 2019).
And you can sign up for Core Transformation in Boulder, Colorado, (Sept. 27-29, 2019), with Tamara Andreas, co-author of the book.
See AndreasNLPTrainings.com Core Transformation Calendar for more locations.
Contact me here to book a one-on-one Core Transformation session either in person or over Skype/Zoom.