The Peace Process
Learn to embrace your emotions and heal your past with this powerful technique from The Freemind Experience by Tom Fortes Mayer.
This process is one of the main practices for bringing more peace to your life, and has the potential to create more change than any other technique I have ever come across. This is the ultimate tool for going from NO to YES. Whenever you are feeling challenging emotions (NO) about your present, it is always a deeper calling to do more healing on your past (NOs). You can focus on a present-day upset and use it to explore your consciousness for old resistance. No doubt you will then find similar feelings from your past that you may have shelved (repressed) in your system because you were unable to deal with them at the time.
For example, you may feel angry with your boss or partner, and this might be a sign that there are deeper wounds triggering your emotional reaction. Taking the time to feel the feelings and track down the sources of any unfinished emotional business is a vital part of living a healthy, happy, and harmonious life. Discovering the source of your emotions may be difficult, but it is also a beautiful opportunity to bring peace into what was previously painful.
- If you’re feeling upset or emotional, find a place where you can lie down, and won’t be disturbed.
- Become aware of your breathing and notice where your body is tense. Taking each area of tension in turn, focus on breathing into and relaxing that part of your body. Do whatever you can to be as still as possible while slowing down your breathing. To do this, consciously choose to breathe out for longer than you do usually. Pause before breathing in and then breathe in deeply and slowly. Try and savor each breath, making it last as long as possible. Don’t worry if you find this difficult, it is not vital to feel totally relaxed. You might want to use some music to help you relax.
- Tell yourself that you are ready to feel and understand. You don’t want to avoid any feelings. This is really about opening up to yourself. Like a parent (peacefully, lovingly, and without any fear at all) saying to a child that has just had a nightmare, ‘Tell me all about it, darling.’ This is about re-parenting yourself. Being able to meet old feelings that were once too difficult to feel. By showing yourself willing, you are reassuring those frightened younger parts of yourself that everything is OK now.
- Start to sense where the emotion is coming from in your body and allow yourself to focus on feeling it. For example, do your stomach or shoulder muscles feel tense? Are your hands clenched? Does your head feel tight or your throat dry? Just allow yourself to be upset or tense, and feel the emotion as fully as possible. Notice if a part of you wants to judge you or the feelings or the exercise. Do your best to welcome all of these feelings and judgments too.
- Even though you may have a situation in your present-day life, which you feel is the source of this upset, let yourself know that you want to use this upset to find any other times in your past when you have felt a similar way. For example, you may be upset because a relationship has ended, you may be angry with your boss, or even stuck in traffic. Whatever is causing the upset is not important. You are going to use that upset to help you let go of old stuff that you are unnecessarily holding on to. Do this by simply concentrating on the feeling of the emotion in your body and then dropping the present-day story. Feel the emotion and stop focusing on the current situation. Notice and name the emotion you are feeling in your body. Is it fear, anger, guilt, a sense of loneliness, abandonment? Really feel into it and sense that you have felt this very same feeling before.
- Feel the emotion as much as possible, making the feeling as big and welcome as possible. Let it expand in your awareness. Give it permission to be there. Do this by relaxing your body even more. When we feel these emotions it is common to tense up. That is your body’s way of saying ‘NO .’ You are doing this exercise to let go of the fear and resistance – to bring it back to a YES. Do this by breathing into it, relaxing further, and being willing to open up any old thoughts and feelings that may relate to it. Then tell yourself that you are going to count down from ten to one, and that when you do, your inner mind (or heart, unconscious, or soul) will help you remember, re-experience or re-feel any memories that are associated with this kind of feeling. This process lets your inner mind know that you are ready to become conscious of anything that may serve you to be aware of.
- A part of you may feel very scared but this is completely normal. This fear is associated with your past response to the situation. Not the situation itself. Thoughts and feelings can be upsetting, but it is not feeling them that is the problem. It is all about having the courage to feel the feelings and think the thoughts that were once too scary to bring into your conscious. Pushing away your feelings only locks them in. Feeling them releases them, enabling us to come back into peace. This is you finally meeting your younger self. This is you loving yourself. This is you coming to terms with everything that has ever happened to you. This is you being like a loving parent to yourself. This is you coming back to peace.
- Breathe deeply, feel the feelings and then start to count down from ten to one. At the count of one, just notice what you notice, give yourself space. Memories may come your way, difficult thoughts and challenging feelings may surface, but just stay with the process; keep breathing and do your best to be lovingly curious. Like listening to a child telling you about a bad dream. Most of the feelings will have been locked inside for a long time, preventing you from loving yourself and life. By feeling these feelings you are being there for yourself in a way that means all sorts of beautiful changes can begin to occur naturally. Remember you are not feeling these emotions or thinking these thoughts to get rid of them. You are feeling them as an act of true expression. You are honoring them by allowing them to be present and fully felt.
- Once you have explored and released feelings from one memory, you may want to spend some time imagining different versions of yourself at different ages (or specific memories you know were difficult) as you were growing up. If you do that, notice that there may be some feelings of rejection or blame between you and your younger self. This process is about bringing enough compassion and understanding to every part of yourself, so that peace and love can melt away the negative behavioural patterns in your life, allowing you to live and love your life to the full. It can sometimes take several sessions to form a deeply loving and positive relationship with your younger self. Take your time and work on that relationship as often as you can. Certainly don’t feel bad or guilty about needing to work on that relationship. Just take it one day at a time.
- To end this process, imagine bringing every part of you back into full integration. You might want to visualize cuddling the younger version of yourself. You might want to imagine that part becoming a ball of light that you can embrace and integrate into your chest/belly/genitals/head. You might want to imagine that younger part of you is growing up inside you with all sorts of new resources and energy. When we cut off parts of ourselves we can also lose some of our natural gifts like playfulness, spontaneity, and creativity. By giving space for all of us to be heard and felt, we can become more adult, more whole, and that can really bring us back to life with some wonderful skills. So for this part of the process, it can be lovely to listen to beautiful music that you love. Imagining that is the sound of you loving yourself and you connecting to your peaceful, loving potential more than ever before. Our biggest challenges are the source of our greatest powers. As you listen to this music, think about how some of the hardest experiences in your life have actually furnished you with some amazing gifts like compassion, understanding, and empathy.
- When your healing is complete you will feel grateful for everything that has ever happened to you. Even the darkest of times will be seen as a vital part of what enables you to be your fully amazing self today. So, as a final part of this process, relax your body further, bring your attention to your physical body. Start with your toes and consciously move all the way up your body, finally bringing your attention to the front of your head. Take a moment to think about the gifts that you have received and the characteristics that you have developed along the journey of your unique life. The FreeMind perspective sees everything as interconnected and interdependent. Our greatest challenges are the source of our greatest gifts. Spend some time feeling into these connections and then do your very best to let everything be as it is. Be (or move toward being) sincerely grateful for everything. Essentially give your past your blessing. This is the best way to end this process and it is also the best way to bring enormous amounts of love and peace to your life.
This process can be very emotional and it is good to let everything move through you as much as possible. Just let it all out. With that said, this process doesn’t need to be loud and dramatic. Very often tears will simply gently stream down your face. At other times you will try and track your feelings but nothing will come up, and the whole experience can feel disconnected and contrived. Be gentle with yourself no matter what happens, and let go of needing the experience to look or feel in any specific way. It is worth persevering. It can be also useful to record your experiences in a journal afterward. Once the process is over, even though it is positive and healing, you may still feel tired, drained, and quite raw. You may be more likely to be more emotional for a while afterward. Once this passes you will most likely feel really grounded, alive, and much more whole.