Our learning, understanding, can only come from taking on a different, wider perspective, now. Suffering is by nature a very narrow perspective. An open, wide perspective comes with feeling better (and vice versa). Feeling better is done now, and learning comes now. “Going into the past” replays suffering now, re-lives the suffering now, it narrows the now and will bring little or no understanding of suffering now.
There isn’t even any such thing as the past. It is just your memory of the past; it’s just a thought now. Don’t let a memory of the past be your identity in the present. You know the past, now, without needing words, without needing to tell the story (which can trigger associations and pain in others, too). Practice feeling good, practice Alchemy, and sustaining it, then reflect on a past situation. People have had major “ah-has” doing this because there is more wisdom available, and also because when we feel better we are far more receptive to the learning that does come.
If you started feeling good, and you acknowledged it as real, would there be a problem now? (Would you still need to go “into the past” now?)
Beyond getting lessons, you are whole and healed when you stop thinking that you are not, and that does not need time or the past. In fact, it requires that you stop dredging up the past to suffer over now. If something you cling to from the past is repeating in your present, use Alchemy in the now, in this present moment, where it is the most powerful. It is also the only time you can use it.
In this practice I have found that I do not need to ask people what they don’t want. There is enough knowing (without them speaking it, and without my asking) for them to know that. What is more challenging is knowing what they do want. You get good at what you practice, and the more time you spend on the habit of what you do not want, the harder it is to get in touch with what you do want. And as a society, what we don’t want is what we have been practicing and teaching people to focus on.
An astounding number of people have difficulty knowing (or expressing) what they do want—not because they don’t know what they don’t want, but because they know it too well (and nothing else). It is becoming apparent to me that this single habit (focusing on the unwanted) may be one of the greatest contributors to suffering, and it is also the most exciting opportunity for simple, dramatic, magnificent, and lasting change, as you make the positive direction of The Alchemy of Love and Joy™ habitual.
Suffering is not “bad,” as in feeling bad “should not” happen. Thinking that it is bad is what binds you to it. It is just another experience. Just notice it, and use it to find your freedom of choice and joy of being. Use suffering for the only thing it is good for, to point you toward joy. —Seek Joy!
Imagination can only rearrange whatever is already believed known; it can only rearrange that which you are already limited by—a snarl of memories and false perceptions and needs. With Alchemy something not previously seen can be known—as what was always already the case, so it needs no imagination.
Images, thoughts, sounds, and even smells may arise in the now, but do not seek them and do not repress them. Ignore anything that does not feel better. Your job is to keep your attention on the good feeling and enjoying and appreciating it.
I don’t use NLP much now because many of the techniques employ “going into the past,” often triggering suffering, and I have found I do not need to do that (people are already far too good at suffering). I do use some very powerful personal NLP skills in facilitating The Alchemy of Love and Joy™ and some of the “in-the-moment” NLP techniques.
After the questions came to me, I realized that the first question was similar to an NLP question, but with one tiny but very massive, critical difference. In NLP they use the word “want,” for example, “How do you want to be?” And want implies: (1) you don’t have it, and (2) that it is something, sometime, somewhere in the future. So even if you get temporarily jazzed up with a few good-sounding words, it is not truly believed, it is not fully embodied, and it is still only how you “want” to be.
This is why I am very particular about the words and their order in the question: “How does it feel?” That means right here, right now, and directs attention into the body, into the feeling, and away from thinking. In order to answer it, you must go inside and feel it; you must shift state.
When working with people, because they are not already feeling it and due to habit, they sometimes change the question and ask, “You mean how do I want to feel?” or “You mean how would it feel?” Those are in the future and attached to some need, and can be quickly mentally answered with mere thought and without a shift in state, so I immediately correct that and repeat, “No, how does it feel?” They quickly get the idea. This question did not come from thinking up a good question to ask. It came from remembering how I actually went into the body and felt for what I wanted, now.
If anything, Alchemy is most similar to “being in the now.” No doubt my understandings and what I share have been influenced by everything I have ever read, heard, and learned in my life; however, The Alchemy of Love and Joy™ has its own truly spontaneous birthing story. It arose from my accidental “discovery” of how to stop my own suffering; it arose from experiential alchemy.