AVATAR EXERCISES

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Section I EXERCISES: RESURFACING

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TRANSPARENT BELIEF EXERCISE

 

This is an exercise you will use throughout your life to locate hidden beliefs so you can change them.

 

A belief is transparent when you are operating through the belief without noticing it. Transparent beliefs are seldom helpful and in fact can be debilitating. Most are self-sabotaging, adopted in a moment when you were something less than rational, like in the midst of emotional crisis or turmoil.

 

The first impression you have of a transparent belief is that it is unquestionably true. That's just the way life is. That's the way I am. Here's the proof. But then something funny happens: you discover that the proof for holding the belief is actually produced by the belief itself.

A pattern begins to unfold.

 

Transparent beliefs are discovered by tricking yourself into expressing them and then stepping back and looking at what you said. Transparent beliefs are often hidden under the desire to be right, so finding transparent beliefs requires a degree of vulnerability and self-honesty.

 

Objective:  To discover transparent beliefs.

Expected Results:  Insights, personal transformation.

 

Instructions:  Discovering transparent beliefs is done with a guide or in a group.  Later you will use it by yourself.  The exercise may be repeated as many times as desired.

 

STEP 1

 

The guide asks, "What would you like to change?" until a situation is revealed. This may be done by yourself acting as a guide, asking and answering the questions. It is very effective and once used to it, you will use it all the time to find hidden and forgotten beliefs you are operating out of which created a situation you've just experienced and don't want to repeat.

 

STEP 2

 

Once the situation has been pinpointed, the guide goes after:

¥The beliefs that are creating the situation

¥The experiences that are reinforcing the beliefs i.e., creating certainty in the beliefs, which are called proof by asking:

 

1.    What belief might a person have in order to experience that

       situation?

      (Student to say first thing that comes to mind)

 

2.    How do you prove that belief is true?

      (Student will recite his evidence or proof for belief he just stated.)

 

3.    What other belief might someone have in order to experience that

       situation?

 

4.    How do you prove that belief is true?

 

5.    3) and 4) are alternately given to student until they have a

       realization.

 

Example of a Transparent Belief Session

 

Guide                                                                         Student  

 

What would you like to change?

                                                                                    My fear of talking to people I don't know.

                                                                                   

a)  What belief might someone have in order

     to experience a fear of talking to people he

     doesn't know?                                                       People might say  

                                                                        something bad.

 

b)   How do you prove that belief is true?      

I've seen it happen.  

I've done it.

                                                                                    IÕve got examples

 

c)  What other belief might someone have in

     order to experience a fear of talking to people

     you don't know?                                                    

                                                                                    I might say

                                                                                    something stupid.                  

d)  How do you prove that belief is true?                  

                                                                                    I said something

                                                                                    stupid.

 

Some sessions take longer than others. These questions are asked over and over addressing the same issue until an insight is realized by the student. You may laugh or you may cry but you will have a realization that changes your life.

 

COMPASSION EXERCISE

 

Honesty with one's self leads to compassion for others.

 

Objective:  To Increase the amount of compassion in the world.

Expected Result:  Increase in understanding and compassion for your fellow man and a personal sense of peace.

 

Warning:  Frequent use of this exercise will cause a permanent and blessed shift in your perspective: a suspension of judgment for yourself and other human beings.

 

Instructions:  This exercise can be done anywhere that people congregate (airports, events, beaches, etc.). It should be done on strangers, unobtrusively and from some distance. Try to do all five steps on the same person.

Later it is a good idea to do it on parents and ex-spouses.

 

STEPS:

 

1.    With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me,  

       this person is seeking some happiness for (his or her) life."

 

2.    With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me,  

       this person is trying to avoid suffering in (his or her) life."

 

3.    With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me,   

       this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair."

 

4.    With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me,

       this person is seeking to fill (his or her) needs."

 

5.    With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me,   

       this person is learning about life."

 

Variations of the "Just Like Me" process:

¥Done by couples to increase understanding of each other.

¥Done on old enemies, ex-mates, and antagonists still present in one's memories.

 

OPERATING BELIEFS EXERCISE

 

Objective:  To determine if the beliefs you hold are helpful or harmful.

Expected Results:  Insights, discovering your belief systems, restructuring of personal reality.

 

Instructions:

List three things you believe about yourself.

List three things you believe about relationships.

List three things you believe about your body.

List three things you believe about love.

List three things you believe about marriage.

List three things you believe about money.

List three things you believe about government.

List three things you believe about work.

List three things you believe about your ability.

List three things you believe about your health.

List three things you believe about your family.

List three things you believe about the future.

 

¥After each belief you wrote, note whether you experience the belief as helpful (H) or impeding (I).

 

¥After each belief you wrote, note the degree of certainty with which you hold this belief on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest conviction.

 

¥Finally, after each belief you wrote, note whether the belief was assumed deliberately (DEL) or was indoctrinated into you (IND).

 

What conclusions can you draw after doing a, b, and c? These are the basic beliefs you are creating your life out of.

 

THIS & THAT EXERCISE

 

Objective: To demonstrate the effect of changing viewpoints.

Expected Result: Insights, increase in responsibility.

 

Instructions 1:

Pick out something and think of it as "This ____________."

Pick out some thing else and think of it as "That ____________."

Repeat with large and small objects, close and far objects, until you are confident of your ability to make anything this or that.

 

Instructions 2:

Create each of the following first as "this (item)" and then as "that (item)":

 

On Your Answers        On The Concept

your name                      body

a pain                              mind

an injury                         self

a handicap                      reality

a country                        truth

                                       now

                                       here

                                       time

 

Instructions 3:

Do the list, first thinking of it as "I have (a)____", and then as "I am (the)____"

Notice how different your perception of the object is when you change from "this to that,"of "I have and I am."

 

Now try it for a problem you're working on right now. What happens to your feelings about the situation when you shift consciousness from "this" to "that"?

 

Now try it for a person you may believe you are in conflict with right now. "This Mary,". . ." That Mary . . ."

 

BELIEFS AND INDOCTRINATION EXERCISE

 

Viewpoints are composed of beliefs. It's easier to observe what people believe than it is to have them tell you. People who say they believe one thing yet experience something different are saying what they believe they ought to believe rather than what they do believe.

 

Objective:  To explore the cause and effect relationship between beliefs and experiences.

Expected Results:  Insights, increase in personal responsibility.

 

Instructions:  List what someone else ought to believe.

 

What is the relationship between what you believe and what you think others ought to believe?

 

CONTEMPLATING BELIEFS

 

The Relationship Between Beliefs and Experiences Life is about feeling rather than thinking. If we're afraid of feeling our feelings, we will think our way through every situation. Every day is a new opportunity to decide if you want to feel your way through your day, or think your way through your day.

 

Instructions:

Take a deep breath and relax

Take another deep breath and feel: "Life is hard, and full of suffering."

Feel it in your body, "Life is hard and full of suffering."

How does that feel?

Then take another deep breath and relax

 

Take another deep breath and feel: "Life is pleasant and enjoyable."

Feel it in your body, "Life pleasant and enjoyable."

How does that feel?

Take another deep breath and relax

 

Now, feel: "Life is exciting and stimulating."

Feel it in your body, "Life is exciting and stimulating."

How does that feel?

 

Contemplate beliefs: How they affect your body, how they make you feel.

What comes first, your beliefs or your experiences?

 

MOTIVATION EXERCISE...A VARIATION

 

Three ways in which one comes to define oneself are:

 

1.   By deliberate modeling.

2.   By resistance to an antagonistic person or opinion

3.   By obedience to someone's expectation

 

Objective:  To discover the motivations behind various self-definitions.

Expected Results:   Insights, relief, redefinition.

 

Instructions:

Answer the following with your spontaneous response. For each word (idea) below give a one word adjective. Then for each adjective you used to describe the word given, determine if the item was motivated by:

 

1.      modeling

2.      resistance

3.      obedience

 

Questions:

 

1.      Your Health

2.      Your Nationality

3.      Your Profession

4.      Your Ability

5.      Your Finances

6.      Your Size

7.      Your Attitude

8.      Your Status

9.      Your Education

10.    Your Reputation

11.    Your Relationship

12.    Your Integrity

13.    Your Sensitivity

 

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