Learning to Shift

Listen to CM15



            I hope this helped you to get a better handle on the idea of shifting. There was the “you” in charge and that part could choose to guide your attention and could also choose to let your Focker emerge in anyway he wanted with no guidance from you. I suggested you also let go of those nice peaceful thoughts. That is part of the attention training. You practice shifting your attention and later you’ll be more skilled in being able to make those shifts.

            Think about this again. When you have experienced your symptoms in the past, you may have wanted to fight them, destroy them, run from them, battle them, slay them, deny them, push them away and on and on. Now you’re learning the skill of being in command and being able to shift your attention from one thing to another. This is designed to give you the confidence that you can shift your attention from your symptoms to your breathing and to your Center. And as you get to know your Center, you will discover when you make that shift everything changes and is transformed into something different. Another way to describe the process is you make the shift from focusing on Focker and your symptoms to inviting Focker and these same symptoms into your Center.

            So if the “you” at Center decide getting drunk is not working, you invite Focker to Center to work out a different plan. Let’s say your Center is on the beach. You take your Focker to the beach and she says, “What are we doing here?” And you say, “This is my training area where we learn how to stop getting drunk to numb our feelings.” She says, “Good luck with that one. The deep breathing you’re doing is worthless.” You say, “I’m not very good at it yet, but I’ll get there.” She asks, “Whatta you want from me?” You answer, “I want you to know that I’m gonna be able to stop this drinking and I want you to stop fighting me and get on board.” She says, “I’m goin’ crazy with all these feelings and you want me to just relax?” You respond, “I want you to come here with me when you wanna get drunk and believe we can make that choice.” Focker blurts out, “Are we finished? This is bullshit. What’s wrong with you? We used to be in this together and now you’re trying to change us and I hate change. I’m leaving. I’m not comfortable here and I’m having trouble breathing in this place.” He leaves and you start your breathing, look around and notice the beauty here and you feel some calmness and serenity.

            It may seem a little crazy, but as you get more in tune with the process of getting Centered, you will feel less helpless and more in charge. You just need more training. Remember what you felt like in combat. Sometimes the odds seemed overwhelming. This is no different, but in this case you only have one person to overcome or deal with, your Focker. You at Center are in charge and I am teaching you the structure of the plan to get the job done. Let the training continue.

            Some of you may be wondering why we need the model. Why do we need Focker and Centering? It gives a better understanding about how the brain works. It helps to be able to separate yourself from Focker. You can both experience and observe what he’s doing. When there was no separation, you were part of the guilt. Now, even though you’re ultimately responsible for the guilt he creates, you’re separate from that guilt. You are not the guilt. And as time passes, it will help you feel more in charge of your life.

            One soldier in the book responded to the question about the model, “I’m a Christian and this separate part of me at Center is like my soul – that part of me that goes to heaven. My preacher used to remind us that Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is within you and now I know what that means. The Kingdom is right here.” He placed his palm over his heart.

            Another said, “Our priest use to begin our service by reminding us that God said, ‘Be still and know that I am your God.’ And one of our main goals is to quiet the mind or be still. I’m not sure how all of this is going to work for me spiritually since I’ve got some hang ups about religion in general. I have to say this stuff sure seems to fit with some things I’ve been taught.”

           At one point, the group in the book went through a discussion about crying. Most were taught that crying is not okay. There was a consensus that crying is neither good or bad or right or wrong. Crying is crying. It is what it is. There are no labels to go with crying. As you become more aware of the issue of non-judging, you might be surprised to find out how we seem to judge quite often. So now that we have decided that crying is neither good nor bad, we are free to choose either response and let it be what it is.

            I want us to do another Centering Meditation; more on getting to know your Center.

 Listen to CM16



            I hope you are beginning to feel more familiar with your Center and more at home in your Center. As you become more skilled at going to Center and staying at Center, Focker becomes quiet and has much less influence in your life. The central focus and goal of all our training is to help you be more Centered in your life. When you are Centered, Focker has no power. One aspect of the training is to get Focker on board with the Centering. She has in many ways been running the show for a long time and will fight you to the end for control of your life. Remember, everything we do, every exercise, every meditation, every topic we discuss is designed to assist you in being more Centered. At Center, you are free.

            With that in mind, I would like each of you to take a walk around the room or outside (weather permitting) with the goal of experiencing your walk from your Center. This is a cousin of the exercise we did in the first group session on focusing in the moment. Before leaving, open your notebooks and look over the page on the nature of Center. Be particularly aware of any notes you made that further define your Center. As part of being Centered, see if you can through your senses experience the walk as if you were seeing everything for the first time. It might help to imagine that you have no memory of where you choose to go. That gives you an opportunity to see everything as fresh and new. Use the deep breathing to help you stay at Center. I’ll ring the bell when I want you to return. (After the exercise, group discussion)

            All of you are finding it a challenge to stay at Center. It is critically important to be patient and continue the training.