The Toronto Hypnotherapist

Hypnosis and Toronto Hypnotherapy with Allan Clews.

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Sorry, I haven't updated this for sometime having just moved, begun various group meetings and other things it has moved down my list of priorities. But this is because these are only edited and refined versions of my posts on Facebook. So if you want to read my latest general thoughts and reflections just go to my Facebook page.

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Mindfulness and Self-Remembering - Thursday October 4, 2012

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

When I was a young university student I discovered an important secret to improving my grades. And it was to never enroll in a class that started before noon. Now this wasn’t just because I wasn’t a morning person, but rather it was a direct result of the fact that last-call at the pub on campus was at 1 am. Fortunately, this flippancy ended up having a profound effect on my life because when I finally settled on a major, it limited the courses I could take.

To major in psychology I was required to take a course called “Theories of Personality” which was one of those survey courses that covered Freud, Jung, Adler, Fromm and all of the major theorists in the field. Most of the “Theories of Personality” courses for the January term in 1981 started before noon. However, when I looked at the course calendar, one stood out because it ran from 2 to 5 pm on Mondays.

It was taught by a young professor named Christopher Holmes and I trudged across the snowy field from my apartment next to campus on that fateful Monday and just made it to class in time. As usual, I positioned myself in the back right-hand corner of the room and prepared to be bored silly.

Dr. Holmes spent the first two and a half hours teaching the required material as I dutifully scribbled in my notebook. However, half an hour before the end of class he stopped and told us he was going to spend the last half hour each Monday teaching us a psychological system that was not part of the required syllabus. My ears perked up because this made him seem like a bit of a rebel. Little did I know...

Now before he told us anything about this rogue system, he said he wanted to teach us a profound exercise. And while I don’t remember the exact way he phrased it, he told us to notice what we could see and hear in the room; to pay careful attention to sights and sounds, to the colour of the walls and the sound of his voice, to the shape and distance of objects and sounds coming from outside. Then he told us to remain aware of what we could see and hear and also become aware of our body; to sense our head, neck and torso, to sense our arms and legs. And then while remaining aware of what we could see and hear, and while remaining aware of our body, he told us to also become aware of our breath and try to breathe in a feeling of joy or delight.

Unlike most others in that class, I was fortunate because I was able to do all three. And the moment I did so, I had the most profound experience of my life. It was like being in darkness and then turning on a light.

Dr. Holmes then began to tell us about a man named George Gurdjieff and he said he was going to spend the last half hour of each class teaching us about the most important psychological system he had discovered. I don’t remember much of the talk except that Chris said that Freud, Jung and the other people he had to teach really only dealt with how to make broken people normal, whereas George Gurdjieff was interested in teaching normal people how to be extraordinary.

Now this wasn’t one of those experiences I later looked back on and determined that it was where my life changed forever. This was because I knew, at the time, my life had turned a corner and I would never be the same again.

Now Chris told us that we were practicing something called Self-Remembering. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was very fortunate I wasn’t introduced to these teachings through the Gurdjieff Foundation or through a Bennett/Nyland/Stavely group, because they never would have taught me such exercise on the first day - but would have dragged it out over years.

Furthermore, if I had learned it through one of the formal Gurdjieffian groups I would have never have been so naive to have gone home and immediately taught this exercise to my girlfriend who also had no problem mastering it in a couple of minutes.

I was also brash enough, in the way that only young people can be, to tell her that if she wanted to continue to see me, she had to accept that I could never be that normal person I had been the day before or expect me to lead a normal life after this; because something had awakened in me that afternoon I had no intention of putting back to sleep.

I joined Chris’s non-affiliated group, took every other course he gave and asked him to not only be my thesis adviser, but to be a groom in my wedding party. He gave me a wonderful introduction to the Gurdjieff Teachings (even though he called it the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky system).

Twenty-one years later in 2002 after communicating with someone online, I took out a piece of paper and calculated that between 1981 and 1995, I had Self-Remembered (with the infusion of emotion) a minimum of ten times a day. Then when I moved to England this skyrocketed to a minimum of 50 times a day for the next 6 years (because I was forever going ‘me-here-now-wow incredible’ while Self-Remembering).

However, the final year I lived in York, knowing it was my final year (my ex-wife who was that girlfriend I mentioned earlier - in what seemed like the blink of an eye because someone got really ill and needed to be quickly replaced - was offered her dream job as a professor of Linguistics at Canada’s top university and took my kids back with her while I stayed and struggled to pay off some debts) this went up to a minimum of a hundred times a day as I tried to soak up as many impressions as I could in that enchanted medieval city (fortunately, at the time I was earning a living driving a taxi - a task that perfectly suited to Self-Remembering).

So I calculated thus:

10 times a day for the first 14 years = 51,100

50 times a day for the next 6 years = 109,500

100 times a day for the next year = 36,500

This meant that up until 2002 I had Self-Remembered a minimum of 197,100 times. And please keep in mind that this wasn’t just basic Self-Remembering, but Self-Remembering with an infusion of emotion. Shortly after this I discovered the secret to dramatically increasing the number of 5 to 10-second moments of Self-Remembering I engaged in each day. This means that the number of times I have Self-Remembered is now well over the three quarter of a million mark.

Now I am not saying all of this to brag, so much as I am using it to claim that I am an expert and master-practitioner of all forms of Mindfulness. This means that whatever I write about Mindfulness is not the result of me going to this website and that website and the other website and then mashing everything together so that I ‘appear’ to be an expert. Something Mr. Gurdjieff called wiseacring and lampooned in his major book.


Mindfulness, Self-Remembering, the Spacetime Continuum and the Observer

Mindfulness is usually defined as engaging in some practice that requires you to focus your awareness in this present moment. As such you are drawn into the 'now' whenever you become Mindful of your breathing and body, or a sunset, or the sound of the wind, or the smell of the earth, or the taste of salt.

And while there is no disputing that Mindfulness involves a present-centred act of awareness; this is only half the picture because you are a multidimensional being. And while each act of Mindfulness - for instance the act of focusing your attention on your left toe - not only grounds you temporally, it also grounds you spatially in this specific physical location.

You are not just embodied in time, but also in space, or in the spacetime continuum. So if you become aware of your right thumb, not only does this bring you into the now, into this moment, it also grounds you right here, in this location, at these unique spatial coordinates.

So to be Mindful is to be grounded in both the here and the now, in both space and time. Here, at this point in the spacetime continuum.

Simple Mindfulness

Simple Mindfulness involves a one-pointed here-and-now moment of awareness. It covers such activities as the focusing of your attention on your body, or your breathing, or on what you can see, or hear, or smell.

However, according to the Gurdjieff Teachings you are a three-brained being because you have an intellectual brain, a physical brain and an emotional brain.

Your physical brain monitors your sensations, so when you become ‘aware’ of something as small as your left toe or right thumb, you are practicing a simple form of sensory Mindfulness. However, there are more complex forms of sensory Mindfulness. The Gurdjieff Tradition teaches one called Self-Sensing.

And Self-Sensing involves becoming aware, here and now, in this time and place of the ‘sensation’ of your entire body as one organic whole. This is more than just becoming aware of your head, neck and torso, your arms and hands, legs and fingers because it involves sensing your entire body at once as one living organism.

Now your eyes, ears, nose and mouth are all directly connected to your intellectual or head-brain. So another simple form of Mindfulness, this one involving the head-brain, is to become aware of something you can see, or hear, or smell [or possibly taste].

A more complex form of head-brain Mindfulness involves becoming aware of what you can see, hear and smell, all together, here, in this location, and now, in this present moment. We call this Consciously Perceiving -or- Consciously Looking, Listening and Smelling [and sometimes Tasting].


When we put all of this together it becomes one of the basic forms of Self-Remembering. And this type of Self-Remembering can be summed up with the verbal formula of ‘consciously looking, listening AND smelling, WHILE sensing your body as one organic whole’. That is, rather than being a one-pointed form of awareness, it involves becoming aware of what you can perceive while simultaneously sensing your entire body.

There are three other forms of Self-Remembering. One involves becoming Mindful of the thoughts and the words that are flowing through your head-brain (or when you are speaking or reading words), while also sensing your entire body at once (something far more difficult than it sounds). Another involves the feeling and the sensory brains, where you become Mindful of your feelings, while also sensing your entire body as one living whole.

Advanced Three-Brained Self-Remembering

The final form of Self-Remembering involves a three-brained or three-centred awareness where you become Mindful of what you can see, hear and smell, while sensing your body and simultaneously breathing in feeling.

The Observer

The final thing necessary for a proper understanding of this process is that any act of Mindfulness, whether it is one, two, or three-brained, is that it involves an inner detachment, an inner separation. You must be able to inwardly step back from your body in order to sense it as one organic whole.

Different traditions call this inner part different names, but this inward step back involves a stepping back into pure consciousness, or the Real ‘I’ (the name in the Gurdjieff Teachings), the Witness, or the Observer.

The Real ‘I’, our Observer, is normally hidden behind our thoughts, sensations and feeling. And when we become Mindful we awaken this timid part and force it to become the Observer observing our perceptions, sensations and feelings.

So imagine you are a wild horse and you have managed to stay hidden away. But one day you look up and become aware of a cowboy and allow him to throw a lasso around your neck. And even though you have been snagged, you can still flail and jump and move wildly around. Then suppose you look at a second cowboy who manages to simultaneously throw another lasso around your neck. This tames you a little more tame, and makes you a little more controllable. However, if you become aware of a third cowboy at the same time, who also snags you with a lasso, the three cowboys can triangulate their efforts to pull you out into the open.

The Gurdjieff Teachings - Monday September 24, 2012

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I am not a follower of the Gurdjieff Foundation, or even of the Gurdjieff Movement, but of the Gurdjieff Teachings.


There are Gurdjieffians who have access to all sorts of hidden secrets. People in the Foundation, or in groups linked to Bennett or Nyland or Staveley. I have heard hints of what Nyland and Bennett have passed on. I have even been offered membership in these closed secretive groups and have briefly lurked on the edges for a while, but the price was too high because I think humanity is now on borrowed time. And not just in terms of climate change; but in terms of uranium and plutonium and toxic waste and chemicals and human contamination. We are swiftly approaching the point of no return.


But since I am on the outside of these closed organizations, since I don't have access to their hidden resources and information, I have had to synthesize and use all of my wiles in order to develop my own understanding. I live, eat, breath and sleep these teachings. They are my 'idee fixe'. It is why I am a hypnotist today because hypnosis was obviously extremely important to Mr. Gurdjieff; having its own chapter in his most important work.


Mr. Gurdjieff was insightful enough to know what would happen after he died, that's why there are no "legitimate" Gurdjieff organizations in existence. Even the Foundation is just another bastard child.


As Mr. Gurdjieff approached the end of his life, various people begged him to plan for his succession and he stonewalled them. He didn't even appoint Mme. de Saltzmann as his successor. When he died all of his senior students got together and formed the Foundation. Eventually Bennett withdrew, along with Nyland, Staveley and others. So Mme. de Saltzmann really ended up as the head of the Foundation by default.


Then people began to confer a legitimacy on this organization that never came from Mr. Gurdjieff himself. Things may have been different if Orage had lived, but he didn't.


As I understand it Mr. Gurdjieff told at least three different people that he wanted them to be the person to take charge and lead the movement into the future, just to create division and discord.


I also believe that this was why he refused to copyright "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson" because even though he may have buried the dog deeper, it is all there, including, as he said, how to make an omlette.


Now I have said this before and will no doubt say it again, I am not attempting to communicate with those of you who have been taught the secret handshakes and have been given the niffty decoder rings. I also know that if you are one of these people you are going to look down on me and snip at my heels and be condescending. But that is between you and your conscience.


Mr. Gurdjieff was a world teacher. He brought a completely unknown tradition out into the open and came and planted the seeds in the west. All I can do is to water the seeds that have landed near me and see what grows. I have spent 30 years grappling with these teachings. Banging my head against them over and over and over again. Perhaps I have shaken things loose in the teachings and perhaps I have only shaken things loose in my head. But at least I have tried.


I know those bastard organizations will never share what they know with me or the world. It is why I refuse to join private facebook groups devoted to the teachings and will only join public ones. It is why I am willing to make a fool of myself in public. It is also why I will share anything and everything I can in the hopes that others may be motivated to do the same.

Aims, Wishes and an Idee Fixe - Saturday September 22, 2012

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The Secret works, even though it really isn’t ‘a secret’. And the ‘law of attraction’ has been known for eons. However, it was never called the law of attraction because it is so much more than this.


It is perhaps best understood (and misunderstood considering how this terms has been abused in the west) as ‘karma’ or the law of cause and effect. It is even expresses in the Bible: “as you sow, so shall you reap”.


In Buddhist terms the law of attraction would be the law of attachment.


I personally like to give it a bit of a spin by calling it the the ‘law of binding’ because we bind ourselves to our wishes when we think and imagine and feel as if they are already in our life. This means that unknown to the authors of ‘The Secret’, there is also an incredible downside to it. Because you can bind yourself to all sorts of crap.


After all, do you really want to bind yourself on a deep inner level, to a big house or a car or other material possessions. You get on much firmer ground when you want to bind yourself to good health or doing the best job you can or helping as many people as you can.


You are on even firmer ground when you wish to bind yourself to inner and outer freedom.


The good thing is that most people don’t know how to consciously make a wish and so they are led by a flip/flopping of an incoherent stream of desires. Bound to everything and nothing, as is the nature of karma.


Mr. Gurdjieff repeatedly talked about the need to have a wish, an aim. To focus on something worth being bound to. And then to make this your ‘idée fixe’ (or as wikipedia defines it, to develop “a preoccupation of mind held so firmly as to resist any attempt to modify it, a fixation.”


I posted the above to a facebook group. Someone asked me some questions and I would like to share my answer with everyone...


We are filled with contradictions within ourselves. I know a man who is a devout believer. He proclaims his faith to everyone he meets. He even takes his children to his house of worship on New Year's Eve to keep them out of trouble. Yet I saw this man lie, and not just lie, but lie in such a way that someone else who was telling the truth was perceived to be a liar.


Now we all do things like this.


That man is for the most part is a good man. He usually walks his talk. However, the situation that confronted him made an opposing element pop out. I know he felt a tinge of remorse, though not enough to make things right. And rather than being the result of two different 'I's' or 'being-impulses', I saw this as an example of a fragmented 'I'. Just like some of the deeply fragmented 'I's' I have witnesses in myself, much to my own horror.


We are all filled with a mass of contradictions. Fortunately we have what Mr. Gurdjieff calls ‘buffers’ that prevent us from seeing this. Parents of teenagers are particularly aware of this, even though they do not understand this phenomenon. Other parents and adults will tell you that you have the most wonderful, thoughtful, talkative and helpful kid and you try to reconcile this with the sullen moody teenager who slams the door and grunts at you in monosyllables.


I like to visualize this using an infinity symbol ( ∞ ). Except the fragmentation causes one circle to be really big and the other circle to be very small. So we are 90% honourable and 10% scoundrel or 90% loving and 10% mean. And the point that connects these two disparate circles is the buffer that prevents us from seeing this contradiction within ourselves. (I also believe we actually have contradictory 'I's' as well – but I do not want to make this too complex).


Find someone who is buying a lottery ticket and ask them what they are wishing for and you will get a sense of the contradictory and at times antagonistic nature of their wishes because like all of us (or at least those of us who are not fully transformed), they lack any real inner unity. They wish to win the lottery so they can help their family, well... except for that lousy cousin who mocked their dorky pants in front of that beautiful blonde when they were 16 years old because if they win they are going to rub their new-found wealth in that cousin's face.


The fact that for most of us, our wishes are contradictory and that we do not know how to make a proper wish is a good thing or this world would even be more messed up than it already is. We wish that our neighbour has a wonderful vacation and then we curse that same neighbour for neglecting their lawn because they are on vacation.




Now relating this to the law of karma... According to the law of karma, everything we perceive, every thought (both by form and by words), every feeling, every physical action we take and sensation we feel, leaves a seed-like residue, or an ‘impression’ within us. The Hindu’s call these seed-like residues or impressions ‘samskaras’.


Now they believe that there are three types of samskaras (though they are not related to thoughts, sensations and feelings - and here Mr. Gurdjieff has much more nuanced understanding of this process - but I don’t want to go into that because it will just complicate this explanation): white, black and neutral.


White samskaras draw, or ‘attract’ good to us, black samskaras draw bad to us, and the neutral ones (which most people never have) lead to ‘moksha’ or liberation from the wheel of life (the wheel of samsara).


What these means, is that a wish is really a means to harness this law. If your wish, your ‘idee fixe’ is to have a huge house and you do what one of the participants in the film made of ‘The Secret’ did - and to cut out a picture of a huge house and to think about it and visualize it over and over; by planting these seeds, these impressions, these samskaras, within you, you really can draw that to you (the man in the film was shocked to realize that the picture he had cut out years earlier to help him visualize the type of house he wanted - turned out, without him consciously realizing it until his 5-year-old pointed it out to him - to be the very house he had just bought).


That is why this can be very dangerous because as the old proverb goes, “be careful what you wish for.”

The Right/Left Brain Dancer - Thursday September 20, 2012

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

There was once a noble magician from a distant land who was also a great shepherd. And just as some see this dancer dancing counterclockwise, some saw this shepherd as a lord of darkness. And as others see this dancer dancing clockwise, some saw him as a lord of light.


If you saw the darkness, then you believed any hints of light must be in service of the darkness. And if you saw lightness you believed any hints of dark must be in service of the light.


Now the shepherd knew he was neither the lord of darkness or the lord of light, but the lord from the land beyond light and dark.


And light and dark were just tools to him.


Because it was always about results.


And sometimes he got better results with a carrot and sometimes with a stick, because some sheep matured by being repelled from his anger and others matured by being drawn towards his love. Some even did both. They were his favourites because they got the best results. Because the best results come from the friction, the struggle between ‘yes’ and ‘no.’


And it was always about results. About the transformation of energies.


There were times he had to make them move away from bad, from pain and distress, from a dangerous hole or slippery cliff; and times he had to make them move towards good, towards comfort and reward, towards fresh water and green pastures.


Some saw him as the lord of darkness and some saw him as the lord of light. Just as some see this dancer dancing one way and others see her dancing the other. Both are right and both are wrong.




The dancer in this video really moves both ways depending on how your brain filters her movements.


Your left-brain controls your right-side and your right-brain controls your left-side. There are exceptions and one of them is your eyes.


If you were asked to stare at the ‘centre’ of your vision, you might even think you were doing this. However, you wouldn’t really be staring at the centre of your whole vision, but only the centre as seen from one eye. And just as you have two eyes you have two different focal points, two different centres..


Close your left-eye and read these words with your right-eye. Then close your right-eye and read these words with your left-eye and notice how the angle of focus changes. You might even have to adjust your head as you focus with one eye and then the other. Then do this while you keep your head still; and notice how your right-eye focuses slightly to the left, and your left-eye focuses slightly to the right, of each other.


So always remember that no matter where you look, you can see anything from at least two points of view.






Now in terms of how the eyes are connected to the brain. What you see when you focus on these words with your right-eye, stays in your right-brain; and what you see when you focus with your left-eye, stays in the left-brain. They do not cross over.  And what you see on the outer periphery of each eye follows the usual pattern of crossing over into the opposite brain.


When your left-brain is dominant you see the dancer moving clockwise, and when you right-brain is dominant you see her moving counterclockwise. However, just because one cerebral hemisphere is dominant and you see the figure moving one way, that does not mean this brain is ‘on’ and the other ‘off’.


Instead one becomes active and the other passive. They are still both working, it is just that one comes to the forefront and the other recedes into the background.


And this dominance constantly shifts back and forth throughout the day. You can even experience this with your hearing. You can zoom in with your left-brain and focus on single word or sound, or you can zoom out with your right-brain and focus on all sounds everywhere all around you. Your brain hears both.


You can even place one of your toes in the land beyond your right and left brain, by focusing in on a single sound and out on all sounds together: at the same time. Integrating these functions.




I see her as moving counter-clockwise and thought this was a hoax until I asked my daughter how she saw it. It was only once I knew it could be done that I began to see her moving clockwise.


There are many ways to get this dancer to dance the other way. I discovered that at least for me, it is related to my focus and peripheral vision. So try focusing to the left of the dancer and then to her right (so you see her on your periphery). Perhaps even try focusing on her with one eye and then the other. Play with it. Play with your mind. Study yourself and learn how you work.

An Exploration of Some of Our Internal Filters - Wednesday September 12, 2012

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)



Awaken to this moment by sensing the tip of your right index finger. Sense the tip of the bone and skin. Focus all of your Presence at the very edge where your skin meets the air.


Then reach up and touch the centre of your forehead with the tip of your right index finger and become aware of the sensation of your skin touching your skin. Really experience this sensation. Allow it to pull you into this moment. Here and now.


Then begin to lightly tap your forehead with the tip of your finger. Pretend this is the sensory version of a Mindfulness Bell and allow each gentle tap to summon you into this present moment. Here and now.


Finish by allowing your arm to return to a more comfortable position.






Begin by staring at a point close to the centre of this screen.


Fix your gaze on this spot and then notice what you can observe on the periphery while staring at that spot.


Now stare at the centre and observe what you can see up towards the roof of your vision by your eyebrows. And then allow your peripheral awareness to sweep around, down and back up in a clockwise fashion. Become aware of what you can see out and around on the periphery.


Finish by allowing your vision to return to normal.






Now lets set some common coordinates.


Close your eyes and imagine the centre of your mind's eye is the centre of a clock; the point where all of the hands rotate clockwise around. Then imagine you can see and sense all of the numbers circling around the edges.


Then imagine starting at the top where the 12 is, and then imagine sweeping down clockwise, in your mind's eye, around through 1 2 3 4 & 5 until you reach the 6 at bottom and then sweep back up around past 7 8 9 10 & 11 until your reach 12.


Now really see this clock, especially the numbers all around. Even play with some of the submodalities of your inner vision. Make the rim of the clock brighter or darker so the edge is more clearly defined, perhaps add of soft inner ring of colour so that the inside edge glows like a halo.


Then open your eyes and allow a faint visual hint of the circle and numbers to remain. See the faint image of the clock as you look out into the world. Notice how you can project this image outwards and almost super-impose it on the world.


Then finish by quietly or silently repeating: "May results from this exercise be transformed within me for my Being.








If you tap your forehead a message is sent to your brain. If you tap the tip of your right index finger a message is sent to the brain. One message travels a few inches and the other at least ten times farther. Something has to filter and sort these two pieces of information in order for us to perceive them as happening at the same time.




By staring at the spot in the centre and then allowing your awareness to circle around your periphery you did not notice any holes or gaps.


Yet you actually have two blind spots which are like holes torn in the fabric of your vision.


Each of your eyes has millions of receptors attached to nerves that run down through a tiny hole at the back of the eye and into the brain. There are no receptors where these holes are and this creates two gaps in your vision. However, you cannot see them (though you can test for them if you google 'blind spot') because your brain automatically fills these spaces in.




It is almost like we have this invisible screen that exists between our brain and the world. For instance, when you talk to someone on the phone you know fairly well, you will automatically call up an image of them (this is one of the reasons it is so dangerous to use your phone when driving). Even if you have never met the person, you will still conjure an image, albeit one that is more diffuse and generic; perhaps only seeing a shadow of a man if the person is speaking in a manly voice.


Sometimes our brain does this so expertly we don't even notice. For example, your brain is currently projecting these words over top of the lines and squiggles that exist on the screen.


These words really only exist in your mind and not on the screen. Your mind however, does such a good job of protecting them over these shapes that you think these words actually exist on the screen.




We don't just have perceptual filters. Our values, beliefs, attitudes, likes and dislikes, also serve as filters that help us to make sense of the world.


If you believe the bum panhandling on the corner is out to fleece you of your money so they can buy drugs or alcohol, this will shade your assumptions and lead to certain perceptions. However, if you believe they have mental health problems and are really broken inside, this will alter those assumptions and you will perceive a very different person.


Now within the NLP tradition they throw a whole bunch of stuff together without attempting, or even realizing it is possible, to sort them differently.


I am still trying to work this through. However, I cannot help but think that what they refer to as "beliefs" are a product of the head-brain. "Values" on the other hand seem much more emotional and connected to feelings. They also seem to be unaware of the filters in the physical brain such as our likes and dislikes.


But then they didn't have the map Mr. Gurdjieff left behind to illumine their way.

Learning to Say 'No': An Exercise - Tuesday September 11, 2012

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I used to have a real problem saying 'no' to people. So I know exactly what Thomas de Hartmann felt when Mr. Gurdjieff put him in a position where this became so painfully obvious (*see the bottom of this post to read de Hartmann's story). I felt de Hartmann's pain as I read it because I have felt those feelings inside of me.


Now in order to understand this exercise, it is necessary to be acquainted with the various elements involved in it. So let me properly set it up, so-to-speak.


There is a hypnotic language pattern involving the use of Tag Questions that was developed by Milton Erickson and isolated as a distinct pattern by the founders of NLP, John Grinder, who had a Ph. D. in Linguistics and his one-time student and collaborator, Richard Bandler, whose genius was his ability to intuitively model other people and effortlessly act, mimic and step into their abilities – something they called Modelling.




Now to use a Work example: "you could wish for both inner and outer freedom, COULDN'T YOU?" With the part in capitals "COULDN'T YOU?" being the Tag Question.


If you have something that you would like to bury a little deeper in a sentence so it doesn't stand out as much, you use a Tag Question. This is because we always remember the last bit a little bit better than we remember the bit at the first or the first bit [to use a little 'bit' of a hypnotic confusion language].


So we can use Tag Questions if we want to do the linguistic equivalent to what a magician does when he distracts you and deflects your attention.


Phrased more therapeutically: "I know you can forget all about that, CAN'T YOU?" [and notice from a therapeutic perspective – by using the word "that" instead of stating the problem, I pushed the problem even further away].


You can even play with the tense if you wanted to create a little more confusion and throw it slightly off-balance by deliberately mismatching tenses [and modal operators]: "I know you can forget all about that, HAVEN'T YOU?"


Now over time the use of this technique has been expanded as therapists have come to understand it. So if you have two pieces of information and you want one to remain more in your conscious awareness and the other to be slightly buried. You bury the one piece by saying it first, so the other is kept more top of mind.




Getting back to the thrust of this post. People who think they have problems saying 'no', do not have any problems saying 'no'. They could walk to the top of a hill and yell 'no' until they went hoarse. The inability to say 'no' is a social inability, it comes from the impulse of wanting to be liked and accepted. So in de Hartmann's (and my own) case it wasn't really an inability to say 'no', we got tripped up on the social aspect.


The two ideas, binary concepts, polarities, that underlay this in my case were:


"I want you to like me/how can I be of service" (that is, I want social approval);




"what's in it for me".


Or the polarity of: Social-Approval versus Self-Interest.


Now the way to heal yourself from being stuck in the "YES" position is not to reflexively adopt the "No" position.


So if you, like me, [and yes, for those in the know, I did this deliberately – and for those of you who didn't notice anything, look how I just put a little instruction in there: 'you like me']... so if you, like me, know what it is like to have this switch stuck in the affirming position, and you want to bring more balance into the process; the next time someone asks you to do something that pulls up those feelings that de Hartmann so succinctly described, you might quietly say something like the following to yourself (and this is positive/negative) or even to the person who asked you:


"Even though a part within me wants you to like me," then hold one of your hands out in front of you and physically represent this part with your hand, "another part within me," and hold out your other hand to physically represent this part [or using Work terminology – this 'I'] within you, "insists that I ask you: what is in it for me?"


[Please note: this little act of involving the hands was something that Grinder and Bandler discovered made this type of a process even more effective, so always include the hands when doing this.]


Now returning to what we said above, we can change the emphasis, or the way we represent this polarity by flipping it around. That is, we can phrase it positive/negative or negative/positive depending on which part we wanted to bury and which we wanted to bring to the front.


The reverse of the above is:


"There is a part within me," hold out one of your hands, "that insists I ask, what is in it for me? Even though another part within me," holding out the other hand, "wants you to like me."


If you want to say 'no' to someone, this technique will allow you to play with the polarity (something that can only be done from the reconciling position). If you want them to focus on the denying part, then put that at the end. And if you want them to focus on the feel-good affirming stuff, you can soften it by putting that at the end and leaving this top-of-mind.


The harsher lead in to 'no' (or the affirming to the denying): "Even though a part within me wants you to like me, another part within me, insists that I ask you: what is in it for me?"


The softer lead in to 'no' (or the negative to positive): "There is a part within me, that insists I ask you, what is in it for me? Even though another part within me, wants you to like me."


And whatever you do, always remember to use your hands.




(*"One morning when I passed through the center of Essentuki, I noticed a poster advertising a special evening... Later that day when I walked with Mr. Gurdjieff and Dr. S., I spoke of this quite casually.


"Doctor, you hear? He's inviting us to the club this evening. What? Will you invite us for supper?..."


"This was bad. A supper during the inflation cost a tremendous amount of money and I no longer had an income coming in each month. But there was nothing for it but to go ahead with this plan, because I hadn't the courage to say no. That evening I took 500 rubles (in former times a supper in the best restaurant would have come to no more than two and a half rubles) and went to the club. It was almost empty... Now my hell began. Mr. Gurdjieff played with me as if I were a child to whom one wished to teach a lesson. "Well, doctor, since he's treating us come on; it would be nice to start with some vodka and hors d'oeuvres. Then later --" It went on and on. I vividly remember to this day the oranges he ordered, because I did not have the courage to tell Mr. Gurdjieff I didn't have enough money and ask him to lend me some until we got home. How could I get out of the situation? It was agonizing. Finally I decided to tip the waiter and send him to my wife for more money... [F]inally the money was brought and the I paid for everything. The bill came to about one thousand rubles, enough for us to live on for half a month.


"Next morning Mr. Gurdjieff came to see us, and gave me the money I had spent on the supper. This was another extremely painful moment—not from the ordinary point of view, but because I realized I did not know how to behave like a grown-up man. Mr. Gurdjieff had told me so several times, but only now did I believe it. That morning Mr. Gurdjieff was not at all as he had been the evening before; there were not reproaches, no raillery. All he said was that what had happened had been done for my sake."


Thomas de Hartmann p 30-1 Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff).

Distorted Patterns of Thinking and Feeling - Monday September 10, 2012

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

We cannot see the world as it really is. This is partly a result of the way our bodies are designed to perceive the world. We can't see anything in the infrared spectrum and our ears can only detect a very limited range of sounds. And what we do receive needs to be sorted and filtered to prevent it from overloading us.


There are three processes involved in this because we delete, distort and generalize. This is both basic linguistic theory and and one of the basic tenants of NLP. The difference between the two sentences “You stop” and “Stop” is that the “you” has been deleted from the second sentence. However, it hasn’t gone away. It still exists in the deep structure of the sentence. This is analogous to the fact that as you read these words you probably didn't even notice their colour, shape or font - because you filtered out, or deleted, this information because it wasn’t necessary. It didn`t mean it wasn`t there, you just didn’t need to be aware of it.


We generalize whenever we walk into a room and see a chair because the 'chair' doesn't really exist in the room but in our mind. You only think you see a chair because a part of your brain was so fast and it had already generalized from past experiences and imposed the meaning of 'chair' and all this entails on objects of a certain form and shape. Someone who had never seen a chair, sat in one, or seen anyone else sitting in one would see something; it just wouldn't be a ‘chair’.


It's like we have a little flashlight that shines maps out onto the world. And this happens so fast we are not even aware that our brain is really imposing meaning.


Just like these words. You can point to these words, shake your arm and say “look it says so right here” - and even though you think you see the words on this screen, your brain is really superimposing the meaning onto these forms and shapes. These words only exist as ‘words’ in your mind and if you didn’t know how to read them, or if they were represented by a script you couldn’t read such a Greek or Cyrillic, they would appear as a series of lines and squiggles.


We don’t just have perceptual filters, we also have behavioural filters and programs and subconscious subroutines that shape and guide our understanding and interaction with the world.


Emotional maps and filters are also very important. Unfortunately, sometimes these maps and filters, which should help us, hurt us instead. Especially if we have ever suffered from an emotional problem such as anxiety, borderline personality, depression, an eating disorder, panic attacks, PTSD, or a social phobia.


Having experienced depression, I know what it is like to wake-up and only see darkness. To have an internal, emotional/perceptual filter that prevented me from seeing things as they really were. It was like wearing dark emotional glasses that prevented any light from entering. It coloured the way I thought and perceived, something they call emotional reasoning.


As a Gurdjieffian I couldn't think of a better term to describe one type of wrong of centres than: emotional reasoning - when feelings distort thoughts and the heart does a task better suited to the head.


Another distorted filter involves black-and-white thinking and feeling which can follow the lines that if we don't do things perfectly, then we must be a total failure. Or if someone forgets to do something everything will be ruined. This is also another example of wrong work of centres where thinking is again being led by feeling.


There are many occasions when we need to filter our experiences through generalizations. The problem arises when we overgeneralize. When take a throw-away sentence as evidence of a major conspiracy against us and make mountains out of molehills and jump to conclusions before we have all of the evidence.


Another internal filter is to look for the worst. This should really be a binary setting so that we can also look, or sort, for the best. However, it has gotten stuck in the denying position and makes us always look for the negative and the worst in things. It can even make us outright deny, discount or dismiss anything positive. So we always see the glass as half empty.


We can also jump to conclusions rather than taking the time to see what is really going on. Taking a throw-away line tossed out in a conversation as evidence that we are complete and abject failures and nothing ever goes right. Overgeneralizing to the extreme.


This can even take the form of mind-reading: “I could just tell from the way they looked at my shoes that they didn't like me” or fortune-telling “the second I spilled my coffee I just knew it was going to be a bad day” and then pigeonholing our experiences to fit these interpretations. Something that to use the terminology of Gurdjieff Teachings, is a form of Internally Considering.


We can also take things far too personally. Allowing events such as the weather or the bus being late to hijack our mood. If you hate winter and you live in a northern region, you are setting yourself up to feeling miserable twenty-five percent of the time. This is another form of Internally Considering.


The good news is that even though these filters and switches, these subconscious subroutines can get stuck, they are not set in stone. We can change. And we do this by ‘working on ourselves’. By figuring out how things are supposed to work and fixing broken switches.

'What's In It For Me' versus 'How Can I Be of Service' - Saturday September 8, 2012

Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Another internal binary program we use to determine how we behave has been identified by the people who developed NLP. This habitual program involves what they call 'sorting by self' and 'sorting by others' or as I prefer to think of it: 'what's in it for me' versus 'how can I be of service.'


I used to naively think that one was the way of the egotist and the other the way of the altruist. However, over time and after much reflection I realized that this was really more of an attempt to rationalize my own behaviour.


This was because this switch had somehow gotten stuck within me when I was younger and I became a bit of a doormat. I had real trouble saying no and turning people down. I even tried to glorify it by claiming it was more noble to give, rather than take. So I gave and gave, which allowed others to take and take.


Then I met someone who was the opposite. He only looked out for himself. He had to gain from each interaction he had. He saw his life in terms of profit and loss. He carried around a balance sheet in his head and if he spent money on someone he insisted that they reciprocate.


Of course, his wife eventually had enough and walked out of their marriage. His children didn't want to have anything to do with him and they wouldn't even return his phone calls. He didn't have any real friends and was as miserable as I had been and for exactly the opposite reason.


We were not just machines, but machines whose switch had become stuck in one position. I have no idea what happened to him. Fortunately, I eventually learned to say no and to not allow this program to rule me. To step beyond it, so-to-speak. To be a real man instead of such a machine.


Though it is still there. It still affects my behaviour. It is still my default position. When I am confronted with a situation sometimes I have to stop myself and step back in order to say 'no'.


However, I no longer think of this as one of my failings. It is not good or bad, but simply the way one of my internal binary programs has been set.

Do You Internally or Externally Validate Yourself? - Saturday September 8, 2012

Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

When I asked my eldest daughter who was working in a restaurant, how she knew when she had done a good job she listed a series of criteria: when she received good tips, when the customers complimented her and smiled at her service; when her manager told her she was doing a good job; when the chef high-fived her.


I had to smile when she told me this because I operate from the opposite perspective. I know I have done a good job because of how I feel inside. I know when I've cut corners, when I've been lazy or distracted and not given it my all.


If my daughter gives it her all and taps into every single resource within herself and then someone comes and complains about her performance, she inwardly deflates and thinks she did a lousy job. Whereas if I gave it my all and someone came and said that to me, it would go in one ear and out the other. If that same person continually complained about my performance, I wouldn't take it personally and feel defeated, but would eventually think: 'what a jerk' and discount anything they said.


Together these strategies comprise one of the binary behavioural filters we habitually use to determine when we did a good job. Within NLP circles this internal binary switch or habit is referred to as 'External versus Internal Frames of Reference'.


There can also be a cultural aspect to the way this inner program or switch gets set. Some societies are far more ruled by the concepts such as honour and shame, by how individuals and their family are perceived by the world around them; while other societies tend to favour internal frames of reference which allows people to go off and do their own things as long as they do not harm others. Both have their strengths and limitations.


Another way of viewing this is to observe yourself and try to determine if you are inner or outer directed. Do you march to the sound of your own drum, or do you march in time with the band?


And please keep in mind that one is not better or morally superior than the other, because these are mechanical, machine-like switches that are set in one position or the other (though this is also a generalization because every single person has used both of these strategies).


And if you want to be a human being, rather than a machine, it helps to become aware of the machine-like properties that rule you on an inner level.

Moving Towards and Moving Away From - Saturday September 8, 2012

Posted on September 8, 2012 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Take a moment and imagine a brand-new hill has miraculously appeared in the middle of a field. Then imagine that it starts to rain. Notice how at first the water runs evenly down all sides of the hill. However, over time small ruts soon form that channel the water. And every time it rains these ruts grow wider and deeper so that whenever it rains the water naturally gravitates towards these channels further enlarging them.


Now imagine that your brain is this hill and these ruts and channels are the synaptic connections that grow every time you use your brain; every time you think, sense or feel. Over time these streams, these connections become responsible for your habitual thoughts and behaviours.


To use another metaphor, they become your internal programs, the software that filters and sorts your perceptions and behaviours. Now akin to computer programs which are all based on binary codes: on/off, yes/no, 0/1, many of our internal programs follow this binary process. For instance, there are two primary motivational strategies (within NLP circles these are called meta-programs): Towards and Away.


Now please keep in mind that you should not attach any kind of moral judgement to them. One is not superior or better than the other. It is like a switch (to use yet another metaphor) that is set one way or the other.


Some people are more motivated to move towards pleasure, while others are more motivated to move away from pain.


And although I have moved towards pleasure many times, my own personal default position is to move away from pain. I have been able to observe this in myself over and over. I don't file my income tax returns to get my refund cheque, but to prevent the taxman from coming after me.


When I was given a term paper as a student, I didn't move towards it, but procrastinated and procrastinated until the fear of failure became so overwhelming that I finally sat down to work on it.


A few years ago I really wanted to understand a topic and so I tricked myself by volunteering to give some talks on this topic, knowing that I would be motivated to move away from the emotional pain that would arise if I let myself down and did a poor job.


I know someone else who is generally motivated to move towards things. When it comes to planning a vacation, they don't want to 'get away from it all,' but rather, to go on an adventure. They don't come back refreshed, but exhausted.


Now we have all used both of these strategies, but one has become much more habitual. So go back in your mind and think about certain events in your life and determine which one of these is your default setting.


And if you want to step beyond your normal machine-like behaviour you might even try to play with this switch. Experiment and experience both positions.

Looking at a Problem from All Three Sides - Tuesday September 4, 2012

Posted on September 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Mr. Gurdjieff said that ordinary man "has no WILL" and that he "cannot DO anything". That things just happen, ‘free will’ is an illusion and we are more like machines ruled by habits and patterns of thinking.


This was very contentious when Mr Gurdjieff first began teaching in the early part of the last century. Though neuroscience has recently begun to confirming it.


However, he also gave us hope because he said it is possible for us to develop WILL and learn to DO. This is where Inner, and in particular, Decision Exercises, come in.




Stepping Between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.


Abraham Lincoln used a triangulated exercise when he started out as a lawyer. He would draw a line down a piece of paper and summarize his case on one side and his opponent’s on the other; turning it into a ‘yes/no’ exercise.


And to do a ‘yes/no’ exercise correctly, you have to be able to ‘dissociate’ and step back from both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on an inward level, in order to be able to hold both possibilities in front of you. An act which could serve as the definition of the ‘reconciling position’ or the third element in this triangular process.


It also helped that Lincoln wrote it down on paper, representing it with visual language and placing it physically outside of himself on a piece of paper. This allowed him to look down at both sides equally; comparing and contrasting (Matching AND Mismatching in NLP) the two positions.


This created a ‘polarity’ because what he wrote on one side, he would invariably counter on the other. Something that is an essential aspect of this process.




Taking This One Step Further


If Lincoln had then read them out loud, he would have also encoded this material auditorily. Thereby using three of the main sensory pathways we use to process information in our brain: visually (the words written on paper), auditorily/linguistically (the words spoken out loud) and physically (the fact he could pick up this sheet of paper and hold these words in his hands) - or Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic in NLP terms.


Now if he had of linguistically represented each point pictorially as a sketch - even just using stick figures - he would have tapped into both the left (writing and mentation by language) and right (visual and mentation by form) hemispheres and turned it into a whole-brain exercise.




Lincoln then went a step (literally) further because when he was in court he would first present his opponent’s case, followed by his own.


Now I am not sure how he did it, but for maximum effect, I imagine him speaking and acting normally, that is, as Abraham Lincoln, as he stands on one side at a slight angle to the jury.


And then I imagine him “PUTTING IT IN QUOTES” when presenting his opponent’s case (and keep in mind this is one of the hypnotic patterns isolated by Dr. Milton Erickson) by saying: ‘my [opponent] will no doubt say’... followed by his reciting of opponent’s case...


Of course, to really enhance this process, I also then imagine him taking a few steps to the side and standing at the slight mirror angle to where he was - while looking back at where he was standing a moment ago, and physically adopting the speech patterns and mannerisms of his opponent; and pretending or make-believing he was his opponent. (making sure to close the quote at the end).


Literally stepping into his opponent’s position, entering into what NLP calls ‘second position’ by walking a mile in his opponent’s shoes, so-to-speak (or "Only-He-May-Enter-Here-Who-Puts-Himself-In-The-Position-Of-The–Other-Results-of-My-Labors." (Mr. Gurdjieff in “Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson”)


But then the best court-room lawyers aren’t really lawyers. They’re actors who went to law school. The best can step into any role. And judicial proceedings triangulate - the prosecution/plaintiff in the affirming position, defence in the negating and the judge/jury sitting in the reconciling position.


This is a great exercise if you have to make a major decision such as purchasing a car or house or deciding what to study or where to go to school. Something that can be divided into a ‘pro/con’ ‘for/against’ or ‘yes/no’ polarities.

My Name is Legion - Tuesday September 4, 2012

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

"It is the greatest mistake," he [George Gurdjieff] said, "to think that man is always one and the same. A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour. We think that if a man is called Ivan he is always Ivan. Nothing of the kind. Now he is Ivan, in another minute he is Peter, and a minute later he is Nicholas, Sergius, Matthew, Simon. And all of you think he is Ivan. You know that Ivan cannot do a certain thing. He cannot tell a lie for instance. Then you find he has told a lie and you are surprised he could have done so. And, indeed, Ivan cannot lie; it is Nicholas who lied. And when the opportunity presents itself Nicholas cannot help lying. You will be astonished when you realize what a multitude of these Ivans and Nicholases live in one man. If you learn to observe them there is no need to go to a cinema.” George Gurdjieff as quoted by PD Ouspensky in "In Search of the Miraculous"


This lack of unity within us was considered a radical idea one hundred years ago when Mr. Gurdjieff first began teaching in Russia. Neuroscience is catching up to what he taught. Unfortunately, neuroscience is unable to verify the next part of this equation; that it is possible to develop the untiy we 'imagine' we possess. But only after much work and development on ourselves.


Here is a lin to a really cute video designed to appeal to both the right (visual) and left (linguistic) brains that show some of the biological basis for this lack of unity.

The Power of Struggle - Sunday September 2, 2012

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If we truly want to change who we are, if we truly want to transform our Being, then one of the most important activities we need to enage is to 'struggle.' This is because struggle leads to 'friction' and friction is one of the most transformative elements in the universe.


The friction that comes from the struggle between the seedling and the earth above it. The friction that comes when a butterfly breaks through its cocoon. The friction that comes when we struggle between 'yes' and 'no'.


And while we can struggle with the world, our fellow man, and our environment; and while we can struggle with a set of teachings and practices; these are all really secondary struggles.


This is because the real struggle, the one that ultimately has real meaning, is the struggle within between 'you' and 'yourself' and the friction that this creates.


When I have clients who are desperate to stop smoking or stop drinking, I ask them how long they have struggled with tobacco or alcohol. I ask them to describe their battles with these substances me.


They invariably describe the cigarette pack or bottle as if it has some kind of sinister magnetic qualities that are so irresitable they are forced to give into it time and time again.


Then I point out the obvious - or not-so-obvious - that they are really projecting far too much onto these inanimate objects. And that the real struggle has never been between themselves and the cigarette or the bottle. Because this supposes that they, as individuals, possess a unity to themselves that just isn't there when we examine the real evidence; because we are really more like a mass of contradictory, competing (and sometimes even surprisingly harmonious - if only for a moment) parts.


The real war, the real struggle is not between themselves and the tobacco or the booze; but between two competing parts within themselves. One that recognizes the destructive consequences of continuing as they are, and one that doesn't want to stop.


And it in not as if the part that doesn't want to stop, is merely stupid and ignorant. It is not nearly as foolish as some make it out to be - because it has its own reasons for smoking or drinking. It has its own complex needs, beliefs and reasons for doing what it does: Whether it is to mask unpleasant feelings and emotions, or to block-out and overwhelm all of the contradictory and inconsistent parts within.

What is the Most Important Ingredient to Successful Change and Transformation? - Sunday September 2, 2012

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Some say it is having the right teachings. Others say it is being connected to the right groups with the right lineages. Others say it is having the right teachers.


However, teachings, lineages, groups and teachers, while important, are not as important as Inner Exercises. The right Inner Exercises done for the wrong reasons will get you farther than the wrong Inner Exercises done for the right reasons.


You don’t have to read about Self-Remembering, you don’t have to analyse it or understand it to benefit from it. All you have to do is to DO it.


To self-sense and become Mindful of your entire body as one organic whole, while simultaneously being Mindful of what you can see, hear, smell and taste.

Where Is Your Narrator? - Wednesday August 29, 2012

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

"Man has no individuality. He has no single, big I. Man is divided into a multiplicity." George Gurdjieff (as quoted by PD Ouspensky in "In Search of the Miraculous").



Take a moment and really sound these words out silently in your mind. Subvocalize the words in this sentence and do whatever you need to do, in order to hear each of these words in your mind.


Then quieten these inner subvocalizations and begin to practice Mindful Self-Sensing.


Perhaps focus your attention on your fingers and hands, toes and feet. Then sense your whole body from top to bottom, front to back and side-to-side. Really try to quieten your mind and sense your entire body as one organic whole.


Then become Mindful of these words again. Slow down your reading and carefully sound these words out in your inner mind. And become aware of how this subvocalization is created by the same faculty that creates your 'inner dialogue', 'inner speech', and 'self-talk'.


Notice how it even has 'your voice' (though not the one you hear on recordings, but the one you hear 'in' your head when you speak).




Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, the pioneering split-brain researcher was conducting an experiment with a subject whose corpus-callosum (the part that connects the right and left brain) had been surgically severed due to violent and uncontrollable epileptic fits.


Dr. Gazzaniga showed an image of a chicken to the man's left-brain and a shovel to his right-brain and then asked this man to draw what he saw with his left-hand (which is operated by the right-brain). He drew a shovel.


When Gazzaniga asked the man why he had drawn a shovel, the man came up with a fanciful narrative of chickens and chicken-coops and the need to use a shovel to clean-up the bird droppings.


This led Gazzaniga to have an 'ah ha' moment. He knew that the left-brain is the linguistic brain. It contains both the Broca and Wernicke areas (which are responsible for generating language). So he reasoned that that voice inside our head, our internal dialogue, our self-talking comes from our left-brain (especially if we are right-handed - though this is also true for some lefty's). And since this man's left-brain only saw the chicken and not the shovel, it had to somehow come up with an excuse to explain the shovel.


Gazzaniga named this part 'The Interpreter' because it tries to derive meaning, or interpret our experiences. However, I think it doesn't so much as interpret our experiences, as it does to narrate them.


"I wonder why she looked at me like that?" "Hope it doesn't rain." "Oh good, there's the bus." "Perhaps I should have brought the umbrella." "Must remember to pick-up my dry-cleaning." "Why isn't the bus driver opening the door." "Ouch... my knee is a little sore today." "Good... there's a seat..."


If someone asked you to tell them about yourself, Your Narrator would respond and dominate and colour the reply with its choice of words.




Now allow the words, the inner-dialogue, the self-talk to flow in your mind again. Reflect, think, narrate, interpret and do whatever you have to do to start the word's rolling inside your head.


Notice where Your Narrator originates (if I drew a line over the top of my head from the back of my left ear to the back of my right ear – my own Narrator would seem to be centred somewhere along the left side of this line – that is, slightly back and more to the top of the left-side of my head).


And stop thinking of it as you: stop labelling it 'I' 'me' or 'myself'. Give it a new name. One that puts it in perspective and lets it know it is only one part, among many. Call it 'My Narrator' (or if you agree with Gazzaniga 'My Interpreter').


Make Your Narrator inwardly name itself and say: 'My Narrator.'


Then put it in its proper perspective by allowing Your Narrator to engage in some more inner-dialogue and self-talk, while at the same time sensing your entire body. Notice how small and limited it seems when compared to a more total perception of yourself.


Then let it run rampant. Do what you have done so many times and let it take over and become 'you'. Let it swallow all of your awareness until you think it is 'you'. This should be a very familiar state. One where you spend most of your waking life.


Then self-sense, step back and recognize that it is not you. It is just a part of you. One piece of a much greater whole. One part of the multiplicity that is you.

Behavioural Filters & Metaprograms - Monday August 27, 2012

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Imagine going back in time and watching two young hunter-gatherers get handed two identical sacks containing an equal mixture of blackberries and raspberries that they are then told to sort.

They both decide to sort for the blackberries.

One of them reaches into their sack and begins to remove every blackberry; while the other reaches into their sack and takes out everything that is not a blackberry.


They both achieve identical outcomes; even though one filters for the things that match, and the other for things that mismatch.

The various individuals who helped to develop the second-wave, or new-code phase, of NLP have identified nearly sixty such 'metaprograms' or behavioural filters. Ways we sort and filter our experience of the world.

Now I don't really like the NLP term 'metaprogram' because these are not 'beyond' or 'meta' programs. I see them more like what linguists call language parameters, which are more like simple subconscious binary-switches that can be flipped one way or the other. Though not to 'yes' and 'no', ‘on’ or ‘off’, but in this case to 'match' or 'mismatch.' Or to look for similarities or differences.

For instance, Linguists have determined that the difference between any language comes down to the way a limited number of binary switches have been set. So that a single binary parameter called 'head first' or 'head last' accounts for one of the most obvious differences between English and Korean. In one language the ‘head’ comes before the ‘complement’ and in the other it comes after.

So If this single switch is set one way, you will say ‘I ran there’; while if it is set the other, you will say ‘I there ran’.

Now Ouspensky quotes Mr. Gurdjieff encouraging us to study ourselves by engaging in self-observation.


Metaprograms are binary perceptual filters we use to help us make decisions by either focusing on the small details or the big picture. They could even be called our decision-making apparatuses.

So how do you make decisions. How are your metaprograms or binary-filters set?

Do you generally ‘Move Towards’ things you like or ‘Move Away’ from things you dislike. For instance, if you wanted to move, would it be because you wanted to move to a new neighbourhood, or would it be because you wanted to move away from where you are.


Are you a ‘Self-Referencer’ or an ‘Other-Referencer’; for instance if you were asked to clean a room how would you know when you were done? when it met your standards, or when it met what you imagined to be the standards of the person who asked you to clean it.

Are you a ‘best-case’ or a ‘worse-case thinker.’ Is this filter set so you see the glass as half-full or half-empty.

Do you prefer to focus on the ‘big picture’ or on the ‘details.’

If you were asked to describe what the experience of being on a rollercoaster would you describe it as if you were looking out of your eyes (associative) or would you give a more ‘bird’s eye’ explanation (dissociative).

I want to leave you with a parting thought.

I, you a parting thought, to leave want.

Whenever you see two, always think of three.

Whenever you, two, see; you, of three, think always.

So learn to play with these switches. Play with them one way and then play with them the other; and then step between them into the reconciling position. So if you go shopping, don’t just focus on what you want, or on what you don’t want, but focus on both what you want and what you don’t want. Allow some of the food to attract you and some to repel you.

Turn That Feeling Up or Down - Friday August 24, 2012

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

An NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programing) technique that can assist in the transformation of emotions...


Take a moment and conjure an image in your mind's eye of a specific moment in your life when you experienced a profound feeling of joyful delight. Make sure that this memory is something you really enjoy thinking about and that just by recalling it, it makes you feel so good.


Make sure that you see what you saw; the colours, the shapes, the forms. And then observe where the image of this memory appears in your inner vision/mind's eye. Then pay attention to how it makes you feel right now, here in the present moment.


Then pull this image of that delightful memory closer to you and make it become bigger, brighter, clearer, more luminescent and colourful. Then pay attention to how this makes you feel right now. Notice how this makes the feeling grow stronger.


Now take that same inner image and this time push it away and make it grow smaller and dimmer. Push it into the distance and let it become black and white. Push it so far away that it becomes the size of a thumbnail. And again, pay attention to how this makes you feel right now. Notice how this makes the feeling grow weaker and less profound.


Then return this image to it's original place and marvel at the fact that you can learn to control the intensity of your own memories much like you can control a light using a sliding dimmer switch.

Growing from Within and Without - Thursday August 23, 2012

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Some of what we are comes from outside of ourselves; from the world around us; from our family, friends and society. And some of what we are comes from within.


Some seeds blow in on the wind from distant lands. Other seeds are native to the soil. And while the foreign seeds may seem exciting and exotic, it is important to cultivate both the native and non-native varieties. To grow from engaging in the world, while also cultivating our own innate, inborn qualities.

Success and the Psychopath - Thursday August 23, 2012

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Studies have now begun to prove something I have been saying for years: The most successful people in our world are just as broken as everyone else. They are just broken in a way that makes them successful - so it doesn't seem like they are broken at all.


After all, the most successful businessmen are extremely manipulative and intimidating and lacking in remorse. Characteristics more commonly attributed to psychopaths.