9 Principles for Happiness & Healing
At the Centerpointe Retreats I teach a series of principles I believe can really change a person's life, if adopted and mastered. Every personal difficulty we deal with, I believe, can be traced back to a "violation" (if you want to call it that) of one or more of these principles. If someone is following all of these principles, life goes along pretty nicely with a lot of happiness, a lot of inner peace, and a lot of personal power.
Some of them overlap each other, but that's okay. They are different facets of the same diamond. I hope they are helpful to you. Some take time to "get" but I hope you'll try them on and see how they fit.
1. The Principle of "Letting Whatever Happens Be Okay"
The amount a person suffers in their life is directly related to how much they are resisting the fact that "things are the way they are." If there is suffering or discomfort, there is resistance. Addictions or attachments to things being different than they are need to be upgraded to preferences, so when "what is" is not what you want it to be, you do not suffer over it and your happiness and peace are therefore not controlled by forces outside of your control.
To the degree a person is willing and able to let whatever happens be okay, they do not suffer. People with many rules about how things are suppose to be suffer more because no matter how much care they take to protect their rules and see that they and the world follow their rules, these rules are often going to be violated. This does not mean a person cannot be goal oriented and work toward making things they way they want; however, the emotionally healthy person prefers the outcomes they seek rather than being addicted to them.
The key, then, to handling challenging situations, thoughts and feelings is not in resisting them, but rather becoming as fully accepting of them as possible. Accept what happens to you and what you think and feel, even if it is uncomfortable. Though it looks as if the discomfort is created by the thing we are resisting, in actual fact the discomfort we feel is 98-99% from our resistance to it and only 1-2% from the thing itself.
When we stop resisting, the discomfort stops also. Through acceptance, you empower yourself to heal, transform, or release any unresolved mental or emotional material. When you sense resistance, meet it with acceptance. Ironically, once you stop resisting, you are much more effective in creating any external change you may have a preference for (not an attachment to).
2. The Principle of Threshold
Every person has a personal threshold for what they can handle coming at them from their environment, based on their personal map of reality. When a person's map (their concept of who they are and how they relate to the rest of the universe) cannot handle its environment, stress is created and the person begins to deal with that stress by exhibiting various coping mechanisms learned during childhood. These include anger, depression, anxiety, fear (and greater and lesser degrees of these), substance abuse, overeating, plus a number of other coping mechanisms considered more "healthy", such as exercising, talking with friends or counsellors, isolation, and thousands of others.
All dysfunctional feelings and behaviors are really coping mechanisms designed to deal with the stress of being pushed past this threshold, and therefore the "cure" for dysfunctional feelings and behaviors is to raise that threshold, which is what Holosync does. Dysfunctional feelings and behaviors are not caused by the environment or other people regardless of how it seems. People with a high threshold for what they can handle coming at them from the world remain happy, peaceful, and centered even when they are around difficult people or in difficult situations.
When people suffer trauma in their childhood, this threshold does not mature in the same way it would have had the trauma not happened. These people have a lower threshold than "normal" people who did not experience any trauma, or who did not have as much. This means interaction with their environment pushes them past their threshold (which is lower) much more easily, and they are caught in dysfunctional feelings and behaviors more often.
It is the raising of this threshold as a result of using the Centerpointe program that causes dysfunctional feelings and behaviors to gradually disappear, because the threshold eventually becomes so high very little can cause a person to be pushed beyond the point where these feelings and behaviors are triggered.
3. The Principle of Chaos & Reorganization
Chaos always precedes growth. Therefore it is a GOOD thing. The coping mechanisms mentioned above (dysfunctional feelings and behaviors) are really an attempt to keep one's internal map of reality (which is really what is being stressed when one's personal threshold is exceeded) from falling apart, i.e., from going through the natural process that happens when our map of reality cannot handle its environment.
This natural process involves the map going into temporary chaos in response to too much input, finally falling apart when the chaos becomes so much the old map cannot hold itself together, and then almost simultaneously reforming itself at a higher level that CAN handle the environment that was previously too much for it. This reorganization is a natural process, and always results in a new system/map that can handle what the old system/map could not handle. It is helpful in this process to recognize when you are in the initial chaos state, and to remind yourself that this is the prelude to positive change -- if you know how to get out of the way and let it happen.
4. The "Map is NOT the Territory" Principle
There is a tendency to try to protect the old map (which is really a person's concept of who they are and how they relate to the rest of the universe) when you go into this initial chaos stage of growth. This attempt to hold the old map together comes from the mistaken idea that this map is who we are - that "the map is the territory" - rather than a convenient tool used to navigate through life.
This map is often called the ego by western psychology and is your concept of who you are and what your relationship is to the rest of the universe. It is the limitations of this map (its inability to adequately "map the territory" or otherwise deal with the situation one is in - whether psychological, emotional, relational, mental or spiritual) that creates the "over-threshold" experience and the resulting dysfunctional feelings and behaviors (i.e., suffering).
Therefore, letting the map go through the evolutionary process of going into chaos temporarily and reorganizing at a higher level results in relieving the problems and limitations of the old map and a new ability to deal with what was previously stressful or overwhelming. It is very helpful to learn and recognize your favorite methods of trying to save the old map, which again is based on the mistaken idea that when the old map falls apart, you are falling apart, rather than just discovering a new and better map.
5. The Principle of Responsibility as Empowerment
You are responsible for every feeling or behavior you have, in the sense that it is either your chosen response to something that happens, or an automatic unconscious response based on the way your internal map of reality has been structured.
This is very different from saying you are to blame for every feeling or behavior you have. Taking personal responsibility is not about blame but rather about personal power. If someone or something outside of you is the cause of how you feel or behave, you are relatively powerless - a victim. If you, or at least your unconscious processes are at cause, you have power and can do something to change the situation to one that is happier and more peaceful. Things outside of you may be a stimulus for you, but how you respond comes from you, either consciously or unconsciously.
6. The Principle of Conscious Change
It is impossible to consciously do something that isn't good for you or is in some way non-resourceful (destructive) to you. You can do something destructive to yourself (feelings, beliefs, values, behaviors, etc.) over and over as long as you do it unconsciously (without continuous conscious awareness), but once you begin to do the non-resourceful feeling, behavior, belief, value, etc. consciously, it will begin to fall away.
The trick is remaining conscious, and we have many ways of going unconscious so as not to deal with what we are feeling or how we are behaving: eating, drugs and alcohol, projection and blaming, spacing out, and countless other distractions. To become conscious, it is necessary to identify our favorite ways of going unconscious, be vigilant in noticing them, and be committed to gradually facing ourselves by stepping outside ourselves and watching what we are doing, feeling, etc. instead of allowing ourselves to be unconscious, automatic response mechanisms. Use of Holosync over time creates and increases the ability to remain conscious and deal with things consciously. When this happens, many non-resourceful feelings, behaviors, and approaches to life fall away and are replaced by healthier approaches that bring happiness and peace to one's life.
7. The Principle of Witnessing
When faced with a feeling that is uncomfortable (and is therefore the result, either consciously or unconsciously of not letting "what is" be okay), the best course of action is to mentally step aside and, with great curiosity, watch yourself have the feeling or behavior, perhaps saying to yourself: "There I am, doing ___" or "There I am feeling ____". This stepping aside to watch, helps make you conscious of what is happening and, because it takes part of you out of the feeling or behavior, makes it difficult to continue the suffering. This needs to be done, however, without attachment to the outcome. In other words, you are doing it to objectively and curiously watch what is happening, not to change anything. The ability to step aside and watch yourself as you feel and act is an acquired skill and takes time and practice to develop, but it will totally change your life. Using Holosync naturally develops your ability to do this.
8. The Principle of "Good & Bad" Generalizations
Based on our early life interactions with our primary caregivers, we all develop generalizations about who we are and what our relationship is to the rest of the world. These generalizations (part of our "map" of reality) divide different aspects of us and the qualities we may have into two categories, those that we think are "good", or acceptable, and those we think are "bad" or unacceptable. To keep from experiencing the shame or other uncomfortable feelings regarding the "bad" things, we either 1) repress them into our unconscious mind to keep them out of conscious awareness, or 2) project them onto others (this results in extreme emotional reactions to others who exhibit the characteristics we believe are "bad" or unacceptable about us). In many ways, emotional healing involves "unlearning" these old generalizations and making new, healthier ones. In reality, there is nothing about any of us that is innately bad. Holosync facilitates this healing.
These generalizations, especially while we are still relatively unconscious, seem so real and true the idea that they are not true may seem ridiculous. Any generalization about yourself that is painful to you, however, is probably not true.
9. The Principle of the Neutral Universe
Everything in the universe is neutral. The old saying "Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so" is true. We interpret everything we come in contact with as being either good or bad (or somewhere on the spectrum in between these two), or in some other way give it meaning. This good/bad interpretation, or assigning of meaning, becomes part of our map of reality. Then, we tend to "forget" that nothing has any intrinsic meaning and that we assigned these qualities and meanings to the people and things in our lives. Or they were assigned for us when we were too little to know any better.
This is why different people find different things to be good or bad, and can assign completely different meanings to the same thing. It is the ultimate reason why you have the ability, once you learn to exercise it, to create whatever kind of world you want just by assigning meaning to things in your life in whatever way you like. Make everything good, and the world is good; make everything bad, and the world is bad. In most cases, the way we assign good and bad and other meanings to the things in our life is not something we chose, but rather something chosen for us by our primary caregivers and other cultural influences. We can, however, realize that these assignments of meaning are arbitrary, and that we can reassign them in any way we want.
A wise man once said "It's okay to play Hamlet, but don't fall into the trap of thinking you are Hamlet." If you think you are Hamlet, your life is a tragedy, because everyone dies by the end of the play. If you know you are just playing, you can have fun with it. Similarly, if you know everything is innately neutral and that you have assigned all the meaning (including good/bad) to everything in life, you are playing, and you can therefore be the creator of your own experience. If, however, you forget and think things are innately good and bad - or have certain innate meanings taught to you when you were too small to question them - you become a victim, you are not the creator of your life, and you will create suffering. Again, Holosync gradually creates the awareness that allows a person to step back from thinking that meaning is innate rather than created by you.
This is NOT a way to say that a person has no obligation to act responsibly or honestly or that anything you do is okay because "there's no right or wrong." Behaving toward others as you would want them to behave toward you is always the best policy. What you put out toward others does come back to you.
I hope these principles will be helpful to you. When you are in distress, check to see if you are violating any of these principles, or if viewing the situation through the filter of these principles creates a shift for you.
Bill Harris, Director
Centerpointe Research Institute