One of the participants in the AAIT Curate Your State program asked me how we know when we have FULLY accepted and integrated an experience. Such a good question. There are some indicators that make it pretty clear that we have lined up with acceptance and integration. The biggest one is that we learn to rely on the evidence of our own experience. AND AAIT has built-in mechanisms to direct awareness to that experience.
We know that being integrated is valuable. We know that acceptance is associated with well-being. But before I started studying with Zivorad, integration was random and elusive. It was certainly not something that I could reliably offer a client. Acceptance was a little easier to recognize and access. Thanks to Dick Olney for that one!
We can tell we have accepted and integrated an experience when there is an absence of unsatisfying energy (thoughts, images, emotions or sensations) associated with the originating problem when we consider it.
We can tell we have FULLY accepted and integrated an experience when we are no longer reactive to the previously triggering experience. There is no future concern about the originating problem. AND, when we encounter the same or similar circumstances in the future, we are not bothered by them.
This absence of reaction is one indication of acceptance and integration. This absence of reaction, absence of energy points to one of the principles of Acceptance and Integration Training (AAIT) that sets it apart from other models of care.
The non-dual state of empty consciousness is an indication and mechanism of transformation.
Ernest Rossi, a deeply respected psychologist, spoke at the most recent Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in California. Among the points he made was about non-dualism. He referenced how hypnosis was considered with skepticism 50 years ago. Twenty-five years later, meditation was thought to be too woowoo to bring into the therapy room. Now, we have neuroscientists encouraging meditation. Now, he shared, the new frontier for psychotherapy is in non-dual awareness.
I am not alone out here on this frontier of non-dualism and mental health and well-being. When I presented at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology last spring, I was among three presenters speaking on non-dualism, and the ONLY presenter with a reliable, practical model. They talked about it in their own work, but no one else presented a model with tools that produce the same promising results with others.
If the non-dual state of empty consciousness is an indication and mechanism of transformation, what is it? How do we RECOGNIZE it?
It is an awareness typified by three states: Neutrality is typified by a very neutral feeling that is neither good or bad. Neutrality with a capital "N." It just is. It doesn't feel particularly satisfying or unsatisfying. What's noteworthy is that the original problem no longer has any feeling of associated tension.
- Neutrality – empty of thought, image, emotion or sensation.
- Non-polar positive state
- Vast nothingness
A non-polar state, like peace, love, or joy feels to some like a bliss state, a pleroma state. The peace is full enough that it has room for any opposites like worry or anxiety without disturbing the state.
Another expression of a non-dual state is a deep, expansive, spacious and pervasive nothingness. There is no English word I know of that quite captures the essence of this experience. Sanskrit and Pali use the word "sunya" to describe this territory. It means empty and swollen with potential. When in this state, it feels like it contains everything and nothing simultaneously. The deeper practices reveal a transparent awareness of this territory in walking around life.
With AAIT, we learn to access, recognize and gradually stabilize in these higher states. At first, it feels like the resolution of a problem. Then, we glimpse the possibility of stabilizing in steadier states of being and begin, as Zivorad says, "playing a higher game."
In sum, we KNOW we have FULLY accepted and integrated an experience when we: In this way, we rely on the evidence of our own experience, directing our awareness to our inner state and any changes related to the problem we are addressing through AAIT. These are some ways we come to recognize Acceptance and Integration.
- no longer feel charged thoughts, images, emotions or sensations when we think about the situation
- have no future concern about the problem
- have considered the problem from any relevant points of view and there is no charge
- and we no longer react to the problematic stimuli in the same way as we have in the past.