About ten years ago I attended a great intensive seminar on Self Transformation at the Krotona School of Theosophy in Ojai, with Vic Hao Chin, the National President of Theosophy in Philippines at that time. This seminar had literally changed my life, and my daughters’ Liz, because it gave us the tools we both needed to relinquish fears, worries, stress, emotional upset, push buttons, etc. We both had such a great experience with it, that not only did we use the techniques we learned at that time right away on ourselves, but we also started to help others by sharing the techniques with them. These techniques helped many adults and children during my yoga classes and retreats with great success. I myself used them to get rid of fear of public speaking, (which I found out later it was actually an insecurity issue!), fear that kept me paralyzed my whole life until then. ST also helped me recognize the push buttons before they would escalate into an emotional upset, so it helped me develop self-awareness. Liz had an almost instantaneous miraculous healing of her anxiety and panic attacks. When she came over one day to process her chronic anxiety, she actually fell asleep on the chair at the end of the processing, for about 30 minutes, after which she felt perfectly calm and peaceful. She couldn’t believe she now had the tools and was able to take care of these matters herself.
Two months ago, at the end of January 2013, Vic came back to Krotona to offer the same seminar but revised, plus a seminar for facilitators, which of course I had the great privilege again to attend both of them. Since I was already using the ST techniques for quite a while, and wanted to advance my studies and practice, and also to become a facilitator, this seminar, synchronistically, came at the perfect time. You are now probably wondering what is so great about this seminar, what kind of tools we are using and for what?. Here is a synapsis of the ST, plus three tools that you can start using right away.
Self-Transformation (ST) is a comprehensive process of personal and spiritual growth that aims to help individuals to:
- Clarify one’s core and personal values
- Learn self-awareness
- Eliminate recurring emotional distress in one’s life, such as fear, depression, anger, phobias, stress, trauma, hurt, attachment etc.
- Be effective in one’s interpersonal relationship through genuine listening and effective communication
- Be free of unwanted conditionings
- Take control over one’s own destiny
- See beyond the surface appearance of things and events
- Strengthen the higher self and control the lower self
- Learn the art of meditation
- Systematically pursue the path of the spiritual life
- Review one’s understanding of reality
This seminar has been used in the development of integrative self-mastery that have improved self-discipline, effectiveness in relationships, dealing with conflicts, integration of values into one’s life, minimization of stress and emotional distress, increase in optimism, positiveness and benevolence, and the capacity for inner equanimity and silence.
The key to the ST process is Self-awareness. There is a difference between Awareness versus Knowledge. Knowing that I am angry is different from awareness of anger. But to be in touch with the aspects of anger is the beginning of awareness, which of course has many degrees. For example, in anger I may be aware of the loudness of my voice but not of my clenched fists. Or I may be aware of my clenched fists but not of the mental-emotional prejudice or prejudgment that has arisen in my mind and which has triggered the anger. Awareness is an experience of a phenomenon that is direct and is not interpreted by the mind.
- Experiencing with or without conceptual recognition
- Non-judgmental and non-analytical
- Stays with the experience
- Recognizing conceptually
- Tends to analyze, judge or evaluate
- Can suppress or attempt to manipulate
Let’s look now at the three tools for processing fear, or whatever emotions you need to relinquish at this time:
- Abdominal Breathing
1. Touch your abdomen two inches below the navel with your palm.
2. Try to move your palm forward by expanding and contracting your abdomen.
3. Now, breathe in through your nose, by expanding the abdomen, followed by expansion of diaphragm and chest.
4. When you exhale, exhale through your mouth, blowing the air out and contracting your abdominal muscles.
- Sit in comfortable position. Feet flat on floor. Hands on lap.
- Do abdominal breathing at least five times
- As you breathe in, be aware of the crown and back of your head. See whether you feel any heaviness, tension, pressure or pain. If none, be aware of the next area.
- If you feel heaviness or tension or pain, then be aware of the heaviness. Do not remove or fight it. Sense where the pressure is. Is it small? Is it big? Is it a line?
- As you breathe out, be aware of the surrounding areas, up to your arms and legs.
- Continue with this awareness while there is heaviness or pain. When it relaxes, then be aware of the next area.
- Do this step by step for the face, side of head, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach and abdominal area, back, hips, legs and feet.
- Do this process until you feel completely relaxed.
Process or Processing means
- Deep abdominal breathing
- Awareness of, and non-resistance to, discomfort while breathing in
- Awareness of the rest of the body when breathing ou
- Doing this until the discomfort dissipates (but without trying to dissipate it intentionally)
Emotional Processing Procedure
- Do abdominal breathing at least 5 times
- If there is any tension or discomfort, process the tension or discomfort until you become fully relaxed.
- Recall a person or incident that has upset or angered or hurt you.
- Be aware of what you feel. Drop the thought about the person or incident and process any discomfort until it normalizes. If you feel like crying, burping or vomiting, allow these to happen.
- When it has normalized, think of the person again, and if you feel discomfort again, then process again.
- Repeat the process so long as you still feel the discomfort when recalling the person or incident.
- The last processing should be with eyes open.
Based on the above, we undertake a program of self-mastery so that we can carry out what we want to do in life . We also need to develop basic capabilities such as communication skills, wholesome self-esteem, and rationality. Of course that working on ourselves diligently this way, we might actually reach the Transcended Self, which is the pursuit of the fuller awakening of one’s higher consciousness and potential.