Monkey Mind or Mindsight – Which One Do You Choose?

 

 

What qualities do happy people have?

There are important qualities in people which make them harmonious and happy. Abraham Maslow described them perfectly with these characteristics:

·         The ability to perceive reality efficiently

·         Tolerate ambiguity or uncertainty

·         Accept themselves and others for what they are

·         Creativity

·         Autonomous and independent

·         Compassion for humanity

If we lack these qualities, is there anything we can do? Yes, there is! Each and every one of us can develop these qualities by cultivating self-awareness: we can practice mindsight and mindfulness.

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Ego states can be used as mindsight tool.

Mindsight is a concept which has become well known by the psychiatrist Dan Siegel. According to Siegel, mindsight is your capacity to perceive the mind of yourself and others. He is not the first one who uses mindsight concept, though. Philosopher Colin McQuinn writes about two sights: Body’s usual way to see and to see with mind’s eye. With the latter he refers to human ability to use imagination. It is the faculty which creates our conceptual understanding, too.

I use mindsight to describe our ability to use imagination to sense, describe and integrate our inner worlds, including emotional experiences. This sensing is work we do with our inner images.  The better we get in interpreting our inner world’s messages, the better we get in seeing other persons as they are. Imagination is a very important, and undervalued, part of us. It is a part of each and everyone’s true existence.

One simple tool for starting to develop mindsight is to map your ego states. These ego states are parts of your ego; they are emotional and cognitive conscious states and they are somatic as well. They often represent different kind of memories and belief systems inside of you. By listening in altered conscious states (hypnosis, self-hypnosis, creative trances, meditation) to your emotions and feelings, we can get cues about our deepest ego states.

Our body may hold several negative emotional ego states, sometimes filled with hatred and fear, which in the long term can damage to our health and (social) surroundings. To become the authentic YOU, you have to heal these states. Unfinished narratives have to get their resolutions.

You are not just one of your ego states. In a healthy state, you are your body and you are the integration of all of them. Both mindsight and mindfulness practices enhance your ability to get in touch even with your unconscious core beliefs. In this healing process you can exploit your ego states. They can be seen as gestalts of your Inner Theatre, which you can use for experiential learning. They and you! With imagination they help you to categorize and integrate your thoughts, emotions and bodily feelings. Ego states can be used in therapy, coaching and counselling. They can become tools for self-actualization since ego states can enhance the above mentioned Maslow´s qualities.

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First – find your Meta State.

In Ego state journaling process (Inner Theater) you cultivate your drama intelligence. When you get in a dialogical drama process using ego states, you can become a true architect of your own ever-flowing experience.

Your imagination and ego states can create smaller or bigger miracles in your life. Reflection with our Inner Theater can offer you mindsight, a path to true existence. Too many people in the Western world have as executive ego states transformed introjection of their peers. When you are not who you really are, it makes you conflicted and easily suggestible by authorities. Many of us are not walking the paths with our own feet.

With the ego state process, you can find a new center of your consciousness, called observer or meta state (third person’s view =“director state” outside all the other states). That makes a new kind of inner drama possible. In other words, within the meta state you can start to make a mindful self-inquiry for developing your mindsight. Your feet start to carry you to your own path of life and this makes you feel happy and more congruent.

You can turn off the autopilot of your mind and become the producer, the director and actor of your own inner play. And actually with this imaginative work, you integrate and create new connection in your neural networks. This makes new real life actions and experiences possible.

You have to be able in this self-actualization process to forgive your old hurts and disappointments. The negative emotional ego states (for example, anger and fear filled ones) are not negative in short term, they are invitations for new drama dialogues and new insights. The message of your ego states (especially faded states) has to be listened in an atmosphere of nurturing for resolution. It can be best done in therapeutical groups or in therapy. Getting to know and heal your parts is a reflexive, therapeutic creative process, which can utilize many kinds of wisdom traditions and their metaphors. In Inner Theater you can integrate the ones that resonate to your inner feelings.

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Ego states are always somatic reactions.

In new integrative health views (using both science and old wisdom traditions), as in Meta Health views, emotional blocks can be mapped from your body. Certain negative emotional ego states cause stress in your bodymind system and that is why they should be healed. You can get cues from their origin from Meta Health maps.

Gregg Braden writes that with each nonphysical feeling, emotion, and belief that we create within our bodies, there is the physical equivalent of that experience that becomes the makeup of our cells.

Many of our physical illnesses are impacted or connected to our conflicted or faded ego states. It could explain why some people with same genes do get certain illnesses and others not.

Here is a chart from Louise Hay of our emotional pain. It can give you clues to where your somatic problem’s emotional root is located, but most of all, you have to trust on your own experience. You are the best professional regarding your own identity narrative.

Kuva: Louise Hay

How to begin?

Jan Sky from Australia, author of “The Many Parts of You” has developed a very simple and clever tool for mapping your go States. You can map your conscious and sometimes even some pre-conscious ego states with a therapeutic tool, called ESI (Executive State Identification).

After mapping, you become already more conscious of yourself. It opens you to meta state. People get a lot of unnecessary problems in their lives because they use inappropriate ego states in current situation time and place. The ego state may have been appropriate in past situations, but the array of minds have not been updated.

So in ESI® , we map our ego states. We all have at every moment one ego state active. It is called executive etate. In addition we have some non-executive states in which we have easy access. They support the executive state and these states in certain social situations can be easily activated. We can carry these so-called retro states, which can sometimes pose inner conflict. Additionally, we have underlying states which rarely come to the surface. They have often been created in our childhood for your protection. They can be traumatic faded states, which carry difficult feelings and an image of a forgotten person or thing.

Introjections are very important part of being. By modelling you can even create new introjections. Actually in successful therapy, the therapist becomes your new healing introjection. We can start to consciously and emphatically use our mirror-neurons to mimic and imitate other persons as new introjections. That gives us a great possibility for change.

In my experience ESI® is a simple method which we can use in therapy, coaching, counselling and in therapeutic artistic methods, like reflexive journaling (Inner Theater). Ego states can be great tools for “contemplative learning”, cultivating self-awareness. In the journaling process we must first make sure that we have nurturing, mature and realistic adult ego states. If you haven’t got such, you have to find them first. If you have serious mental problems, it is always good idea to consult your therapist, before starting journaling. The mature adult states are best developed in hypnotherapy or in therapeutic group.

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In Inner Theater, you exploit ego states in journaling.

As I mentioned, in Western culture there is, in philosophy and contemplative practices, a long tradition of creative reading and reflexive writing.  In Ego state journaling process we first map our ego states and then cultivate creative writing in self-hypnosis.

Self-hypnosis means just that you encourage yourself to be able to close your mind from disturbing stimuli and start to use your mindsight: self-listening and imagination. With your adult, nurturing, realistic parts you can become little by little a therapist of yourself.

Reflection happens by reading different kind of healing traditions and self-help books (a good book to start with is Gordon Emmerson’s Happy Parts, Happy Selfhttp://www.egostatetherapy.com) and intuitively finds new subjects to write about from the texts you have previously written. You intuitively find new ideas to journal, trusting your new knowledge and body messages.

If you succeed in your self-hypnotic journaling process, you can reach even your underlying states, so you cultivate self-awareness by making unconscious material conscious. This also means that, at the same time, your destructive ego states can be transformed or replaced by life-affirming ones.

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Free yourself from Monkey Thoughts!

Hypnotherapist Alex Parker writes that there are two ways to get in touch with your unconscious material:

1.  Relax or distract the conscious defences and Free Radical Thoughts through focus and the control of arousal.

2.    Bombard the Array of Mind with a consistent and repetitive stream of new information (affirmations, religious study).

Before starting the therapeutic journaling process it is important that you can make your monkey thoughts (Free Radical Thoughts of your introjections) visible by practicing mindfulness. I personally did this by being mindfully in nature.

After finding your observing meta state by practicing mindful exercises and mapping your ego states, you can start to bombard the array of mind with a repetitive stream of new information. This is created by different beliefs of your ego states involving various memories, views and belief-systems (including the ideas of your nurturing adult ego state). You use your ego states to improvise play in your Inner Theater. You exploit spontaneous flow of different ego states, which makes your parts verbally more visible and conscious. Within their dialogue, in a respectful atmosphere, you promote their integration. All of your ego states must be treated with compassion. During this “contemplative learning work”, you can utilize different kinds of visual symbols and verbal metaphors.

Your ego states are your helpers. You have to listen their voices, which sometimes are heard just as subtle inner whispers or felt by tiny little cues of your body. By practicing mindsight, emphatically listening to yourself, your chosen peers and their new introjections, little by little, you find the way to listen yourself and other people more honestly. Your mindsight gets more and more exact with your imagination.

When you bombard your unconscious mind with the existing ego states and their ideas, new views and sometimes even old, underlying states start to emerge. Your ego states represent different parts of your brains and body. In the field of hypnosis, we have for decades known that body and mind are not separate unities – actually, you might even say that your unconscious mind is your body. The deepest parts of you can be subtle somatic feelings, which can be verbalized by using your imagination. To know your self is to integrate your ego states. After integration, your states are not faded, retro or conflicted. They are normal. You know yourself; you have integrated your parts.

As Parker writes, the new information which arises in the process has to become assimilated as part of the individual’s whole. It needs to be accommodated by an adaptable array of mind, otherwise they will be incongruent and will cause serious anxiety as the individual struggles between the values of opposing introjects. So in the person’s mind there has to occur a systemic change. This happens through guided-imagination negotiations, providing your faded states what they need.

My suggestion is that you start the self-awareness process by setting as a goal the above-mentioned Maslow’s characteristics of a self-actualized person. It is a huge goal, but with support of your therapist and/or coach you can work to accomplish it.  Complicated? No, it really is rather simple: Healthy Parts = Happy Self!

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Is cultivating self-awareness by Inner Theatre journaling dangerous?

Difficult emotions can arise in the process. If you are not sure about your personal resources, it is best to start the process in a therapeutic group or in therapy. My opinion is, that life is about taking risks and challenges. Too many people have quite foolish ideas about their inner worlds with rigid, restricting core beliefs. This can be dangerous for your health. You can choose to allow the fear of unknown and introjected, unquestioned core beliefs guide you through your whole life, but that means you never get to know who you really are.

Another possibility is that you become autonomous and authentic. You start to listen to your emotions and body; you accept the responsibility and gift of creating and defining your inner world. This gives you resources to protect yourself and live purposefully and compassionately your own authentic life for the benefit of yourself, and for your local and global community.

The transformation of your mind can sometimes result in drastic alteration in your physical reality. I have witnessed it happen in many persons, including myself.

References: 

Emmersson, Gordon, Healthy Parts, Happy Self

Parker, Alex, Hypnotherapy with Hypthetical Mindfulness in Counselling and Hypnotherapy

Sarvela, Kati, Sisäinen teatteri – luova kirjoittaminen tietoisuustaitona

Sky, Jan, Many Parts of You

 

Mainokset

Inner Theater – a Tool for Developing Drama Intelligence

 

In following text I mirror the ideas of David Keir Wright (The Pedagogy of Experience and Drama Intelligence) to my own experiences about Inner theater. I have developed Inner Theater from Ego state therapy. It is a self help tool for transformational therapeutic learning using primarly creative reading and journaling in a ”drama imaginarium” of mind. It is an improvised play of our ego states . (Italic type of text by David Keir Wright).

 

Drama intelligence is a feeling intelligence developed in processes of self-exploration, self-transformation and meaning making through individual creative imaginative action and cultural-aesthetic practice in a collective context. It is an intelligence all humans beings have the capacity to develop – an intelligence that is empathic, intuitive, spontaneous and imaginative. Its basis is man’s ”theatrical instinct”. The ability to play personal is essential.

 

I have been using ego states as a tool for transformational learning for some years. The process started during my hypnotherapy studies (2004-2007) . I  started to use ego states as a personal tool for self-exploration during my hard period of life (burnout and breast cancer). I have published this personal journaling process as a book (Mielentilojen treenikirja 2007 – The training book of Ego states). It is a kind of self-analysis book using ego states as a reflexion tool for self- knowledge and ”new me” actualization.

I wrote a drama using my emerging sixteen ego states to get new insight of myself. The book is not a pearl of literature. Actually the purpose of journaling is not that, allthough some of my students have written really beautiful poetry.  Instead drama journaling is used in Inner Theater  for increasing self-knowledge and for finding better harmony inside of you and in relation to your community. I created in my personal Inner Theater for example a depressed ego state Mrs. Wrinkle, ecological state Mielikki, an inner Scientist, an inner hypnotherapist Anna, sceptic Thomas, and two inner children etc.

 

Through personal play and the use of his imagination, the man transforms himself and transcends into another reality. A reality where he can be different, do something different, be somewhere different than in everyday life and see things in a different perspective.

 

After that I started experimentally use ego state with journaling groups. About use of ego states in journaling and  experiences about groups I have written another book (in English something like Inner Theater – journaling as cultivating self-awareness). I and many of my students have been able to reach this ”another reality” Wright mentions.  As a hypnotherapist, I would call it creative trance or self-hypnosis. By the way, it is interesting that in hypnosis history automatic writing is well-known. In this trance state of consciousness you can for some moments let your rational ego states to give open imaginal space to deeper ego states emerging from unconcious mind. By this way you can enrich your Inner Theater.

 

The development of drama intelligence can be achieved through the practice of playing, play acting and acting, of being characters real or symbolic created by the individual herself alone and in conjunction with others – through practicing living. In drama, as in life, the individual is both the creator and the medium. The material to be transformed is herself. As an artist and human being she is both the subject creating and the object created.

 

I have used in my writing groups in first sessions as a tool ESI® (Excecutive State indentification). It is simple but genius tool for maping some of your superficial ego states. The method is developed by Australian Jan Sky. The underlying ego states are harder to reach – to get in touch with them you must use your self-hypnosis skills, imagination. Some of your ego states can be archetypal like Inner Child and Inner Wisdom but basically ego states are who they are. They are your personal unique structures of your mind.

In the process you can sometimes notice that you may have introjections, too, internalized peers for example. In my Inner Theater journaling method,  you can in addition make consciously new introjections. For example you can create in the journaling process a new strong adult ego state, which you have made from a trusted, emphatic adult role model from real life or literature.

The director of your theater has to have in social situations a mature and well-formed sense of reality.  Adult mature ego states and reading for example scientifical articles help to develop it.  You have to develop an eye for distinctions of more realistic and imaginal worlds.  The writer knows that she is all the time working in journaling in metaphorical worlds. When you move to China for example, you can study its’ culture and create a Chinese girl as a new introjection. She utilizes different metaphoric forms of reality for increasing self-knowledge and understanding.

 

It is important in journaling not to associate in ego states carrying painful experiences. Instead you write as an observer or director of your play.  The more painful experience, the more fictional story. You can for example write a fairy tale of orphan little girl. The goal is to prison the emotional experience in soft,  symbolic form.  You can enrich the fairy tale by using strong adult ego states for repairing experiences.

 

Playing is life. Playing at living contributes the acquirement of self-knowledge, knowledge of humankind in general and awareness of the creative power of the imagination. An awareness that provides insight, strength and the will to change reality. Through his imagination man has the capacity to transform ”the given circumstances” and be in ” a continual state of becoming”.

 

In successful ego state journaling process you can really feel how you are in ”a continual state of becoming”. Your life becomes a process of continuing moving and changing. You kind of get your energy and information molecules in motion. Daniel Siegel talks about mindsight. Gordon Emerson writes about Happy Parts, Happy Self. Inner Theater is in my opinion a method for developing mindsight by drama intelligence. You can learn to perceive your mind better, and that helps you to see others more precisely, too.

In addition to ego state journaling, some people have used their ego state as personae of comics. The whole idea of the process is to get to know your parts in ever flowing drama atmosphere including resepct, humor and compassion.

 

Life is not life if there is no moving and changing. Drama intelligence is about life and living. It is the individual’s capacity to relate imaginatively, intuitively, emphathetically and consciously to other human beings and oneself as a human being. Drama intelligence is man’s ability to make symbolic universal meaning out of symbolic particular meaning and vice versa.

 

I encourage my students to be spontaneous. I actually encourage them to merge mindfulness and other contemplation activities in their self-awareness practices. Although mindfulness and hypnosis have different historical backgrounds, they have a lot of common ground. For many people, journaling process is a spiritual process, too. Journaling can be one kind of contemplation. As in contemplation, in Inner Theater, the epistemiology of new knowledge is love.

And ofcourse, you can use ego states as in traditional actual drama play. The group members can play your parts, and the writer, the creator of these ego states,  can be a director of this play. Hypnotherapist, is a facilitator of the directing process. The athmosphare must be gentle and all the ego states must be respected.

Of course the journaling group have to be made of people who trust each other. The ego states can be unethically used for bullying. When you make your parts known, it is a very intimate process and everybody are not ready for revealing themselves to foreigners or even to close team members. That can be sometimes a wise decision.

My intention is always to encourage participants, students etc. to be spontaneuos. I want them to trust their intuition and believe in their feelings and emotional states while searhchig for their aesthetic impulse. I want them to be engaged in identity making projects.

 The play in the potential space where they are given the opportunity of attain personal knowledge in the area of cultural experience between ”me” and ”not me”. I. The writer is both the playwriter, and actor improvising her drama. New characters, ego states, tend to be created in this meaning making process.

It is my belief that individuals are more inclined to have an excess of energy and desire to work constructively with others, when they are conscious of choice and their own continual state of becoming. Self-knowledge and self-awareness cultivates the soil in which collective collaboration, democracy and solidarity can grow.

 

That is my idea too.   People can get to know themselves better and they can make more conscious choices and in this way grow more responsible citizens. In Inner Theater it is a question about cultivating self-awareness. The life is full of traumatazing personal and public  news. The global world is multicultural, traumataizing and full of contradictionary information. In this kind of situation, it is for most of the people liberating to know, that they are plural selves. We have in different situations possibility to choose which is the excecutive ego state in our Inner Theater. Our bodymind doesen’t have to be directed by autopilot. Ego states give you possibility to learn to grow and know your ever-flowing and changing consciousness.

 

A process of personal investigation always reveals something old and new. The philosophy and methodology enables individuals to see themselves as both fixed and not fixed. It gives them the opportunity of discovering and trying out other possibilities and the freedom, power and confidence to perceive themselves, other and the world in a new way. A process of discovery and meaing making that is anchored to their creation of a character and a drama and using both as a transitional object. The purpose is to give participants adequate time and space to work reflexively and the possiblility of ”losing themselves” in the characters and the aesthetic experience in order to expand and deepen their self-knowledge, knowledge of human beings and the world through inner dialogues, contemplation in solitude and reflexive conversation.

 

It is imperative that each participants in this drama methodology creates her own representational form that comes out of her level of knowledge and experience, the present everyday themes and together given circumstances in the specific context. The participants are responsible for their own production of knowledge. They produce and transform cultural knowledge, which is their own knowledge, expressed in aesthetic form. This implies a theory of knowledge that links sensuous experience to theoretical reflection.

 

As a hypnotherapist I emphasize that ego states are not just emotional states, they are physiological states, too. The purpose of inner drama is to get your inner energy and information molecules in flow, which for sure have a positive effect in your holistic well being. Hypnotherapy can be a holistic, integrative method for healing. Mindfulness and hypnosis share a lot of common ground.

For me GMM (guided mindfulness meditation) is hypnosis, allthough they have different paradigmatic backgrounds. I think that is why I, as a hypnotherapist, feel myself confortable in the world of mindfulness. In my work I stress western contemplation, spiritual, philosophical and hypnosis traditions. Ego states give us tool to integrate different wisdom traditions. My favorite philosopher is Danish Soren Kierkegaard, whose whole philosophy was written by his colourful and wonderful alter states. I believe Kierkegaard would have had some benefits of knowing the principles of Ego state therapy. For me,  this genius  was quite merciless towards himself and traditional authoritian priests. His parts were not very happy.

 

Playing” is different from, but just as important as, presention of meaning and knowledge ” a play”. A differens stands between theatre as communication and a drama created as an investigative and experiential practice not dependent on an external audience. A ”third” space for sharing and communication is to be found in the more intimate and secure cultural community, the space that theories on ritual call ”communion”. The ”third” space has its own valuable contextual aesthetic, between everyday social life and the artistic public sphere. This ”third” space was an essential arena in the methodology of the Pedagogy of Experience.

 

Thank you for your ideas, David Keir Wright. They matched perfectly with my ideas of Inner Theater of ego states! I think our views complement wonderfully each other.

Inner Theater in facebook.

PS. Sorry about my English mistakes…. I should find a speller.