Processing The Present Moment Part (III), Using The Challenge For Your Growth.
We have been exploring the present moment and said that the present moment has three phases— creating, experiencing, and processing. We said that what we experience is the “now” moment, which is composed of the perceptions of our five senses and our feelings. In this Letter we continue discussing processing a now moment of experience that we have created.
The April and May Letters contain a detailed exploration of processing. Since this letter uses that material it is useful to be familiar with it. Here we will simplify and give a context to our processing by using what we call the Challenge for Your Growth, which was first introduced in The Operating Manual for the Self. Challenges present us with an opportunity to grow. The Challenge for Your Growth is simple to state but challenging to practice. It has benefits as a practice in itself but here we are connecting it to processing the experience of the now moment.
Each now moment and experience of the now moment is surrounded by and contained within a particular context, a set of circumstances. These circumstances are shaped by the larger picture of our life, the context of each moment in time. So let’s say that we are processing the present moment within the context of the larger picture of our life. We are using the Challenge for Your Growth as an aspect of the context. This provides us with a set of analytical tools and a set of long-term desires and goals that will help us create the life we want.
This is the final Letter in a series that began with the October/November 2018 Letter. We have covered a lot of ground and explored many extremely important and complex topics. This series of Letters has presented the theory and practice that describes a detailed approach for taking full control of one’s life.
Point Of Empowerment: As we have often said, we already do what we are describing. By understanding what we are doing we can do it with more awareness and therefore with greater effectiveness and power.
Practice: You don’t have to do it all. Just do some of it.
THE CHALLENGE FOR YOUR GROWTH
We are going to use the Challenge for Your Growth as a tool that provides a context, a guide, and a structure for the work of processing our experiences. The Challenge for Your Growth is to:
- Think about every thought you have. This is a suggestion to become aware of your thoughts and to think about them. We don’t actually mean every thought but want to emphasize the importance of thinking about significant thoughts and beliefs.
- Seek to feel good all the time. We cannot actually feel good all the time. However, seeking to feel good all the time sets us on a path of improving the feeling quality of our life.
- Give and receive only love. This is an ideal that we can strive for. As an ideal we use it for inspiration and guidance, not as a demand or expectation.
PROCESSING WITH THE CHALLENGE
Let’s explore exactly how to use the Challenge for Your Growth in our processing. The chart below lists each component of the Challenge For Your Growth and each aspect of processing our experiences. Each box contains a recommendation and a suggests a question. We can follow the recommendations and pose the questions. Answering the questions helps us perform the processing of our experiences. Sample questions are provided but by formulating your own questions you can become you more proficient at using this approach.
|Challenge For Growth|
|Components Of Processing||Think About Thoughts||Seek to Feel Good||Give and Receive Only Love|
The recommendations are to:
- Think about each aspect of processing.
- Use seeking to feel good as a goal to meet as you do the processing.
- Use the suggestion to give and receive only love as a context and as a goal for working with feelings, interpreting, memories, and desires.
I had an argument with my spouse today that I did not feel good about. Since I seek to feel good all the time I will take time to think about and process my experience of that argument. In wanting to give and receive only love I ask, “What was loving in the argument and what was unloving?” Answer: my belligerence was unloving. My desire to hear his/her side of the story and to understand what he/she was going through was loving. As I desire to accomplish the challenges for my growth, I will work with my belligerence and give myself credit for trying to understand. I consciously create a memory that includes the unpleasantness of the argument and my determination to be understanding. My desire for the future is to increase my loving behavior by releasing my belligerence. I will continue to be understanding. At the end of this processing, I feel good about myself.
Each box of the chart generates a question. Questions are an extremely useful way to gain understanding. They open us to search for new information. In addition, by asking questions in the right spirit you are demonstrating: an attitude of openness, a desire to take responsibility, an intention to change to make the future better, and a hope that the future will be better.
Here are some questions that can be generated by the boxes of the chart. They are not the only questions that can be constructed. You don’t have to use all of them at one time.
- What are my thoughts about the feelings I had during this experience? (box 1)
- As I consider my experience, did I feel good and therefore am I fulfilling my goal of seeking to feel good all the time? (box 2)
- What are my feelings telling me about the love that I gave or received during this experience? (box 3)
- As I make interpretations, am I thinking clearly or is there some distortions in my thinking? (box 4) What beliefs might be causing a distortion in my thinking?
- As I process my experiences, am I using my interpretations as guidelines to help me feel better? (box 5)
- Do my interpretations help me to understand what I need to do to give and receive love? (box 6)
- What do I think about the memories I am creating from this experience? (box 7)
- What pain from this experience do I need to process out before I commit it to memory? (box 8)
- What are the loving aspects of this experience that I can commit to memory? (box 9)
- What thoughts about this experience are creating the desires that will shape my future? (box 10)
- As I consider this experience, what desires created it and what desires should I hold to create a future that feels good?
- During this experience, did I desire to give and receiving only love?
Here is an example of processing an experience suggested by these questions.
I shopped for food with my 2-year-old son. He was both cooperative and difficult during our outing. I enjoyed his company, feeling happy, and also felt frustrated, angry, and embarrassed by his difficult behavior.
Processing this experience: My feelings were generally appropriate to the situation, though my embarrassment was overly, unnecessarily, intense. I was too sensitive to what other people were thinking about me as a parent. This is due to a distorted belief that my value as a parent is dependent on what other’s think of my behavior. Though I also blamed myself for my son’s poor behavior, I understand that his occasional his lack of impulse control and insistence on getting his way is normal for his stage of development. My enjoyment of his company was loving. When I was patient with him, I was expressing my love. In thinking about losing patience, I realize that “I am only human.” I am being careful to remember the loving aspects of this experience not just the frustration, anger, and embarrassment. I am reminding myself that I will laugh about this experience at some point in the future. I desire to repeat this experience but maybe I will shop with him earlier in the day when we are both more energetic and make our outing shorter. I now feel good about processing this experience using the challenge for my growth as I see that I can make progress in my goals of seeking to feel good all the time and to give and receive only love. I see how processing can make my life richer.
Practice: Identify an experience, ask the questions that you think will be useful, and let the answers to the questions “flow” out of you, or just “sort of pop up.” (This is using your intuition.) Also do the research necessary to answer the questions. Take action to initiate any necessary changes.
Practice: Process one experience a day. The processing becomes easier.
Point of Empowerment: As you process your now experiences you learn about your life. You create more pleasurable, rich, and fulfilling futures and experiences.
In the Letters of October 2018 through June 2019, we have considered complex and challenging topics. The theory and practices that we have explored provide a complete blueprint for taking total charge of the life you create for yourself. We can say that we live in the Age of Empowerment because the knowledge (theory and practice) exists that empowers us to be whoever we want, do whatever we want, and have whatever we can create for ourselves.
The Operating Manual for the Self contains a full description and explanation of the Challenge for Your Growth. Don’t miss it.