Why do techniques and approaches stop working?

 

Whether we explore awakening or healing, we may find that our trusted techniques and approaches eventually stop working.

Why do they stop working?

Here are some possibilities.

We may need to learn using it with more skill and/or a different intention and attitude.

For instance, I reached a plateau with The Work at some point, and was able to use it with more skill after attending The School for The Work with Byron Katie.

Another example is working on my kidneys with Vortex Healing, noticing that it didn’t seem to go anywhere, checking in with a fellow Vortex healer, and realizing there was an emotional issue connected with the kidneys and I had used VH to clear out whatever was there without having the intention of meeting the issue (all initially outside of awareness).

If we explore something with the main intention of changing or getting rid of it, it may work for a while, and then not. Life may instead invite us to meet it, befriend it, understand it’s perspective, be present with it, be patient with it, respect it as it is, and allow it as it is. And when we are more familiar and comfortable with allowing and being present with it, it may allow change.

We may also have fear of approaching whatever we are about to explore, and that fear may stop us in order to protect us. In that case, we’ll need to meet the fear, listen to it, and see where it goes from there.

Life invites us to explore from additional angles and perspectives. That may allow us to go deeper, discover something new, and have a more rounded experience.

For instance, we may be comfortable with basic meditation or body-centered approaches, but have overlooked inquiry. Or the other way around. So life creates stagnation with an invitation for us to explore the mind more directly and in depth, or explore basic noticing and allowing, or bringing the body in more wholeheartedly. Or we may have left out the heart, and our usual approaches stagnate with an invitation to include heart-centered practices.

In general, it’s helpful to use a well-rounded approach, including restful noticing, inquiry, heart-centered practices, energy work, body-centered practices, and attention to our social relationships and relationship to Earth and life as a whole. If we mainly focus on one of these areas, we may eventually experience stagnation which is an invitation to include and bring attention to other sides of our experience and life.

Any approach is useful for a certain phase and we may be ready for another phase. Another way to say it is that techniques and approaches function as medicine for a certain condition, and we may have moved on so it’s not so helpful anymore.

Some approaches are more phase dependent and some are less so. For instance, the most basic form of meditation – notice and allow what’s here, and notice it’s already allowed – can be helpful throughout our process.

It may be an invitation to go deeper. To question our most basic assumptions about ourselves, the world, and existence, and then find new approaches that match our new discoveries. Or find a way of doing our old approaches with our new orientation.

Eventually, it may be an invitation to step out of techniques and traditions. To take off the training wheels. To stand alone. (And that doesn’t mean that we leave them altogether. Old and new approaches may still be useful, now and then.)

It’s good to be open and curious about this. I tend to assume number one or two first, explore those, and then if it doesn’t go anywhere, explore the third. I also sometimes check in with others – peers or who are more experienced – to get a second opinion.

Note: This article is a bit messy and I plan to rewrite it. I usually start with an outline, and only write when the outline feels clear and as comprehensive as I wish the article to be. This time, I pushed it due to upcoming travelling, and the article feels a bit disorganized and messy.

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Aligning with reality vs tricks

 

In the Living Inquiries, most of the time we notice what’s here and align more consciously with reality. That’s where the deepest healing is found. And sometimes, we also use “tricks”.

I may have a client notice images, words, and sensations (contractions) associated with a particular perceived threat, or compulsion, or deficiency story. I have them notice the boundless space it’s all happening within and as. We may explore the earliest memory of feeling that way. All of this is just noticing what’s already there and resting with it. And it can be very healing.

And sometimes, I may use a “trick”. One of my favorites is amplify / release. When something has a strong charge, amplify it. Make it stronger for about 10 seconds. Then release and relax for 10 seconds. Repeat a few times. This helps us see that what we tried to avoid because it seemed scary is actually not quite so scary. Also, by attempting to make it stronger we may get some insights into how these contractions and charged experiences are created and held in place by the mind. And the charge does tend to lessen, which makes it easier to rest with it and inquire into it. It supports resting and inquiring into it.

There are also other tricks which I rarely if ever use. For instance, when looking at words, you can scramble the letters and/or let them fall down in a pile. This helps the mind get that they are words without any inherent meaning. (For me, this is a bit too much of a “trick” although it seems to work for some.)

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