We spend 99% of our time in trances so we can successfully operate in the world.
The more strongly we believe a painful trance, the more it hurts.
A trance is a “crossing over”. Are you:
- crossing over everywhere, except where you need to go?
- constantly crossed over to bad trances?
- not crossing back soon enough?
- not crossing over at all?
- crossing back, but not crossing over?
- crossing over and back once, and you think you’re finished?
Part of the price of change is giving up some certainty about some of what you believe to be true.
I want to start this video with a big WARNING that is super-important:
It’s about who this video is for and who it is not for. If you have just started with FasterEFT, this video is not for you - just keep doing what you’re doing. If you’ve been doing FasterEFT for a while, either by yourself or with other folks, and you’ve been making progress and you’re feeling better and you’re making positive changes in your life and people around you are noticing positive changes in your life, this video is also not for you - just keep doing what you’re doing.
This video is for you IF you’ve been doing FasterEFT, either by yourself or with other folks, for a year or two or three and it seems as if nothing has changed, or you’re feeling worse, or you’ve made some tiny changes but not much else, or you’ve been trying to clear some big stuff and you’ve put a lot of time and effort into it and nothing’s shifted. For you, I suggest that you may be making one of these mistakes that I’m going to talk about in a moment.
Why should you listen to me?
Because I’ve done it and I’m living proof that it works.
The very short story is: I could have been described as having been severely mentally ill for a few years.
And while I no longer believe in mental illness, I do believe in mental struggle.
So I know exactly what it means to feel really confused and really hopeless and really frustrated and really sad and really terrified.
I was very, very unkind to myself for a long time, because it seemed like a good idea at the time!
And I know what it takes to change all that because for me it came down to “Change or Die” and it was a close thing.
Now I’m kind of fearless because there’s nothing that can happen to me, there’s nothing anyone can do to me that I haven’t already done to myself.
So I started with FasterEFT almost three years ago and I used it to make some big changes for the better in my life.
I had a lot of pressure built up both internally and externally and it was just like a dam burst and the floodgates opened and looking back I changed a lot of stuff really fast, and I found my East and my West which is something I thought would never happen. If you’d have told me three years ago that I’d be making this video now, I would have laughed in your face.
Anyway, FasterEFT is sometimes abbreviated “FEFT” and I like to think that’s short for “Finally, the End of Feeling Terrible”.
I now use other tools as well because I used to be a geek so I love collecting technologies that work.
I still suffer but now I suffer ordinarily instead of extraordinarily, and it’s very lovely. I get triggered all the time, which is great, because then I make a video on whatever triggered me and I get to pretend that I knew all the answers all along.
So I’m going to try and condense as much as I can from the last few years into this video.
I don’t claim that what I say here is actually true. It’s just that I currently believe it to be true.
My name is Owen Pearn and now I could be described as an online counsellor. I live here in Brisbane, Australia where it is mid-December, 2012 and I am very close to the Chair Of Awesomeness.
So I’ll talk about trances, I’ll talk about the mistakes and I’ll talk about change, certainty and confusion but I’ll start with:
The Job Description Of How To Be A Human Being
The operating manual for “How To Be A Human Being” has two pages:
Page 1 is:
Am I being attacked by a bear?
If we’re being attacked by a bear, deal with the bear.
Page 2 is:
If we’re not being attacked by a bear, do some time travel.
Our default state is time travel.
If there are no bears in our immediate surroundings, and there’s nothing else immediately pressing in our world, it is natural, ordinary human behaviour to get in our time machine and wander off into the past and wander off into the future.
The day we stop remembering and wondering and planning is the day we die.
It’s what has made us the most successful species on the planet, and the weapon or technology or skill that only we have is our imagination. We use it to replay memories and simulate future events in our head before we actually attempt real behaviour in the world.
We use imagination to make something real that is not real.
Frogs cannot do this.
For example, I can imagine a pink penguin in front of me right now and guess what there’s no pink penguin. I can remember when I did my grocery shopping yesterday and just for kicks, I can imagine that a pink penguin came with me. I can plan next week’s grocery shopping in my head and imagine that a pink penguin and a blue unicorn are going to help me do my grocery shopping next week.
The stronger we imagine, the more we decrease the amount of attention we’re paying to what is happening now, in our present environment.
The stronger we imagine, the more we increase the amount of attention we’re paying to something that is NOT really happening.
We’ve all had the experience of being spellbound by a fantasy. We’ve all been lost in thought or a daydream and we suddenly realise someone’s in front of us who’s been trying to get our attention for the last 30 seconds.
Or, at the movies, over a couple of hours we can go through every emotional state there is and each one feels real at the time and we come out and we go “Wow! What a great movie!”.
It was great because, for a while, the actors entranced us and made us suspend judgement in the present moment and made us forget that we were sitting in a room watching coloured lights on a flat screen.
It was great, because we believed it.
We were transfixed by something that was not real:
We Were Fixed In Place By A Trance
So, the more we shift our attention away from all the things that are actually happening in our environment in the present moment, the deeper the trance.
Now, we naturally spend 99% of our time in trances. They have labels like:
- “Who played that guy in that film I saw last week?”
- “What am I going to get at the supermarket later?”
- “How long before I have to pick up the kids from school?”
- “I wonder who’s going to win the election”
- “This morning I bumped into someone that I went to school with and now I can remember all the good times we had together back then”
- “What do I have to get done today to prepare for the big meeting tomorrow?”
So, none of those things are really happening now but they’re all completely normal things to make trances about.
We HAVE TO spend 99% of our time doing this sort of thing to successfully operate in the world.
There’s a great TED talk by Kathryn Schulz “On Being Wrong” where she says something like:
The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is. It’s that you can see the world as it isn’t. We can remember the past and we can think about the future and we can imagine what it’s like to be some other person in some other place in some other time and we all do this a little differently.
No one has access to what you do privately inside your head. Our words and conversations are poor proxies for our total experience.
When stuff happens in our world, what we do is we time travel to the past to look for something similar that we’ve dealt with before so we can work out the best thing to do now and then we imagine the consequences, and we make an emotional response to all that which we then cognitively label. And we do all of this in the blink of an eye and we do it thousands and thousands and thousands of times every day.
The interesting thing is, from the point of view of most of our brain and body, there’s not much difference between something that’s really happening right now and something that isn’t really happening that we’re imagining.
When we use our imagination to make things real, we react in our body, because that’s what we do with the real stuff as well. The stronger our emotional response to what we think about, the more we believe it, the more we make it true.
When we watch scary scenes we really feel scared. When we watch sad scenes we really feel sad. When we watch joyful scenes we really feel joy.
So what’s the problem?
The Problem Is, When We Believe Some Trances, They Hurt
And the more strongly we believe a painful trance, the more it hurts.
If you’ve had the experience of suddenly waking up from a really scary dream, when you woke up your heart rate really was going through the roof and the sheets really were drenched in sweat and your breathing really was fast and shallow, because most of your brain and body believed the dream was real.
Most of your brain and body really did believe you were being attacked by a bear.
When we get upset, we get younger, and not in a good way. We flash back to earlier experience, we flash back to earlier physiology, earlier psychology, earlier neurology. We lose the benefit of all those years of living and adult experience. We lose all higher brain function so we react to things as if we were 15 years old or 10 years old or 5 years old or 5 months old or 5 days old.
And the more upset we are, the less cognitive access we have to our problem because we’re acting, or reacting, as if we have to deal with the bear.
We have the same behavioural range as a frog.
Now, some people don’t have many trances that hurt, or if they do, they don’t pay any attention to them and they don’t believe them. FasterEFT, or any other modality, has no value to those people because they happily sail through life and nothing bothers them much. They can’t understand why you and I complain so much because they’re too busy having a good time. They can’t understand how you and I are spending even ten seconds doing this stuff because they’re too busy enjoying life!
They apparently know something that you and I don’t know!
For the rest of us, especially when we sit by ourselves in a room for hours, days, weeks, months, years on end, we can convince ourselves that ANYTHING is true.
We spellbind ourselves in painful ways with ghosts from our past and ghosts from our future. These have labels like:
- “I can’t stop thinking about that guy who cut me off in traffic this morning”
- “I’m not in a meeting right now with the new guy at work but God he’s a prick”
- “I can’t stop worrying about my big day in a couple of weeks”
Now, the English word “trance” comes originally from the Latin word “transire”, and “transire” comes from the Latin roots “trans” meaning “across” or “beyond”, and “ire” meaning “to go, walk or march”.
So, one way to think about the act of going into a trance is to think of it as “crossing over from one place to another” and one way to think about being in a trance is to think of it as “the result of a crossing over”.
An analogy would be pretending we’re wandering around downtown and going in and out of the various buildings there.
We enter a building through the entrance. And remember, the job description of being a human being is to be “entranced” or “enTRANCED” almost all the time.
The thing we actually crossover is the threshold. In the olden days of winter, the people lived upstairs and the animals lived downstairs on the ground floor and the ground floor was covered in straw or “thresh”, and the thresh was held inside by a raised bit called the threshold.
So, if you can think a thought and you feel differently compared to a few seconds ago, you just crossed over SOMEWHERE.
If you feel good, you crossed over to a good trance. If you feel bad, you crossed over to a bad trance.
Now, if you’ve been stuck with FasterEFT for a year or two or three and you’re relating to this video it means you’re still crossing over to trances that hurt.
And they probably hurt a lot.
What FasterEFT is about is crossing over to bad trances AND BACK in a way which makes something safer.
Either you cross over to bad trances less frequently or you turn bad trances into good ones. Either is fine. Those are the only two ways things can get safer.
If you don’t experience an increase in safety, you haven’t learned how to do it yet.
Quick example: say you cross over to a bad trance 5 times a day for 10 years.
That’s 18,000 repetitions.
Say you cross over to a bad trance 10 times a day for 20 years.
That’s 73,000 reps.
And those numbers are the bare minimum for the sorts of people who are attracted to modalities like FasterEFT.
Because we don’t have just one bad trance, do we? We got lots!
We got 10, 20, 50, 100 bad trances and we do our 73,000 reps for each one and we wonder why we have problems.
So, you’ve practised these emotional sequences millions of times, which is a lot of practice. If you practise anything millions of times you’re going to become an expert.
The bummer is, you still have all your tomorrows, so there’s always a next time.
And how likely is it that next time, you’re going to do the sequence in exactly the same way?
It’s very likely. In fact, it’s a certainty.
If you DON’T want to change anything, just keep doing what you’re doing. If you want the next 20 years to be the same as the previous 20, just keep doing more reps.
If You Want Something Different, You Gotta Do Something Different
The second time you get kicked by a donkey you don’t learn anything.
You’ve already done your problem a BAZILLION TIMES!
You don’t need to do it again the same way, EVEN ONE MORE TIME!
When you get the message, hang up the phone.
Sometimes when I work with folks they often say something like:
I’ve tried everything
and I say:
Have you tried dressing up as a banana?
and they say:
and I say:
So, it’s not actually true that you’ve tried everything?
and they say:
See, what we’ve tried is everything we KNOW, which is the smallest drop in the biggest ocean of everything we don’t know.
Winston Churchill said:
It’s not enough to do your best, you have to do what is required.
and Al Turtle says:
When in pain, increase your learning speed to maximum because it shortens the pain.
So, the mistakes I see people make with FasterEFT are all mistakes related to “crossing over”.
Again, giant WARNING: If you’ve just started with FasterEFT, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’ve been making good progress, keep doing what you’re doing.
Mistake Number 1: Crossing Over Everywhere, Except Where You Need To Go
This is where you’ve been working on everything except your problem.
So you’ve been crossing over to all the places that don’t matter.
You’ve been going in and out of all the buildings except one.
It’s like you’ve lost your wallet in a dark alley and you’re looking for it in the supermarket because the light’s better there.
Sometimes this happens because you’re so scared of it that you can’t see it.
Sometimes you think “Oh, I’ll do that one later, it’s not important” and actually it’s very important.
Sometimes it’s not a single problem, rather it’s a way of behaving or relating to all your problems.
Sometimes it’s like a logjam where there’s one critical log being held in place by lots of pressure from all sides, like the keystone in an arch.
Sometimes you have to go outside the forest to see the forest.
We’re controlled by what we don’t want and because there were a LOT of things that I didn’t want, I’m really good at recognising the thing you don’t want and bringing you very close to it very quickly.
This is sometimes really simple. Sometimes all you have to do is:
- stop smiling, or
- stop playing with your wedding ring, or
- asking yourself “What happens if I force myself to feel okay for 5 minutes?”, or
- if you spend 5 minutes writing down all your thoughts, or
- start to write an important letter you’ve been putting off, or
- start to make an important phone call, or
- what happens if you spend 5 minutes looking at yourself naked in the mirror, or
- I’ll ask “What are you really, really attracted to that you’re really, really scared of?”, or
- “What happens if you pretend you’re a relaxed statue, and you do absolutely nothing for 5 seconds?”. Some people would rather go 20 rounds with Satan than just stop for 5 seconds. Which is a giant clue.
Sometimes when you find the logjam and you give the log in the middle of the logjam one good whack, the whole structure starts shifting.
Mistake Number 2: Being Constantly Crossed Over To Bad Trances
This is when we have too much contact with our problem. Like, 16 hours a day. I did that and it sucked.
If you’re doing this, you’re spending all your time crossed over to places that hurt.
If you’re in the grip of overwhelming emotional reaction most of the time, like if your internal level of distress is 8 out of 10 or higher most of the time, you can’t change anything until you calm down.
This is common with “Big Kinos” - people who are very kinaesthetic - strong, fast feelers - also called “Highly Sensitive People” (I’m one). We’re experts at the “crash into affect” and the trouble is, when the only trances we visit are problem trances, we don’t have much to compare them to.
So, your job is to practise visiting good trances or just practise being entranced by the present moment.
You want to do anything to calm down.
I bet at least once in your life, you were with a friend wandering around downtown and you wanted to go in somewhere, and your friend said “You don’t want to go in there” and you said “Okay!” and you didn’t go in there. Practise doing that. Practise being that friend to yourself. When you notice yourself about to cross the threshold, say “You know what, I’m not going to go in here just now”.
I will keep yanking you back to the present moment, often by doing something unexpected. So when you cross over, I’ll pull you back. And if you try to go again, I’ll pull you back. If you run down the street, and cross another threshold and jump in the hole, I’ll pull you out and I’ll say “No, just stay here with me for a moment” and for some people, that is the FREAKIEST thing because it’s so unfamiliar.
Keep asking yourself “What’s real now?”
I know that comfort will come against your will.
Mistake Number 3: Not Crossing Back Soon Enough
In other words, you’re staying in the hole too long. I think this is the biggest mistake.
This is where you cross over correctly but you’re staying crossed over way too long.
Think of it like this: Just the other side of the threshold is a trapdoor leading to a deep, dark hole. And the hole is filled with acid and hungry, poisonous snakes. Also bears!
For our very favourite, very bad trances, when we cross over, we jump in the hole.
What’s the best amount of time to stay in the hole?
One eyeblink, one heartbeat, not even one breath.
The hole is poison.
You have already poisoned yourself bazillions of times before. Do not become entranced with the hole. The hole is not your friend. You need to make a new friend.
If you can, you need to cross over again quickly to a separate peace trance. Now, some people cannot access a peace trance easily (I’m one). If this is the case, you need to cross back to the present, because “any port in a storm”.
Usually 100% of you jumps in the hole. What you have to do is, make it so that 99% of you jumps in the hole and 1% of you stays behind to pull you out, like a giant rubber band - BADOINNNG!
So, you’re going to enter the building, you’re going to cross the threshold, and the moment you feel yourself falling through the trapdoor, that’s when you start to get out.
You want to always work on the edge of your modulation model. This is a fancy way of saying work just beyond where your comfort zone ends.
So you want to operate just the other side of the threshold.
You have to start changing it in a fifth of a second.
Because our fight-or-flight “Bear Defence Sequence”, starts changing our physiology in a fifth of a second.
It’s called “FASTerEFT”, not “SLOWerEFT”. Not “I love staying in the hole torturing myself with another rep”EFT.
Pretend you’re a tsunami. What is a tsunami? First, the ocean recedes and we say “Gee, where’s all the water gone?”, and then we see this massive wall of water building offshore and we go “Uh-oh” and then the ocean is in our living room, and it’s too late. You want to catch it just before it gets to your living room, so build the wall of water, and when it’s at its maximum height, jump in a boat or climb a tree or run up the nearest hill.
You can pretend you’re a runaway freight train coming down a steep mountain headed towards a sleepy village where there’s another train on the track. When you’re at maximum speed just about to crash, flip the points.
Pretend you jump out of an aeroplane and freefall and you reach terminal velocity just before you reach the ground - that’s when you pull the ripcord.
As soon as I see you cross over, I’ll bring you back. I’ll dump you in the hole and I’ll pull you out, I’ll dump you in the hole and I’ll pull you out, and it’s a very unusual experience.
You need an unusual experience because your usual experience is maintaining your problem! Your usual experience is keeping you stuck! If you want everything to stay the same, keep doing what you’re doing.
If you really want to stay in the hole then make it safer down there. Put some cushions down there.
And a snack.
And a puppy.
Mistake Number 4: Not Crossing Over At All
This is where we go right up to the threshold but we don’t cross over and we try to operate this side of the threshold.
If you do this, it means you don’t have enough contact with your problem before you start tapping. It’s not going to change anything. If you tap like this, all you’ll get is a sore head.
What you need to do is cross the threshold and jump in the hole.
Neurologically, what you want to do is fully activate a limbic reference, you want to fully pattern-match an amygdalan threat template.
As Bruce Springsteen says:
You can’t start a fire without a spark
Mistake Number 5: Crossing Back But Not Crossing Over
This is when we do a one-way operation instead of a two-way operation. You could call this “one-shot relaxation”.
This is when we get upset and we tap in the moment to calm down, which I guess is better than having a drink or smoking a cigarette or eating a box of cookies or doing any of the other things that we sometimes do to calm down, but it’s not going to change your response permanently.
You have to start operating before you cross over, not after. We don’t want to just react in the moment, we want to intentionally practise a sequence starting from the trigger, not starting from halfway through.
Mistake Number 6: Crossing Over And Back Once, And You Think You’re Finished
In other words, you’re not deliberately self-triggering to check if your reaction has changed.
Now, one rep might be enough, or it might not. What you need to do though is test yourself. You need to trigger yourself.
When we’re starting out, we think emotion just happens. It doesn’t just happen. We make it happen.
What you want to do is “Pavlov’s Dog” in reverse. You want to undo your conditioning so you can make new choices. They say “elephants never forget”, well, humans also never forget. Once we learn something, we remember it forever, albeit unconsciously sometimes.
And when we change our reactions to things, neurologically we don’t actually erase an old response, we learn a new way of responding. This means that change is not the removal of past learning, change is the addition of new learning.
When we learn a new way of responding, what we do in our brain is we make a new trace for the same trigger, and then what happens is when we’re triggered, the old trace and the new trace compete for expression. If the old trace wins, we do our problem again. If the new trace wins, we do something different, and if you experience any change at all in how you react to the same trigger, you know that you’ve installed a new trace. And you’ve just made a new memory of reacting differently to one of your old triggers.
In humans, the memory reconsolidation window appears to be about four hours or so. So, what I think this means is, it’s really important what you do behaviourally in the four hours or so following activation of whatever you’re working on.
Neurons that fire together wire together. This means that if you want to make it more likely that the new trace will win in the future, you need to practise it under stress. Safety conditioning, conditioned inhibition, avoidance learning and extinction training are about continually re-extinguishing unwanted traces.
The best time to do this self-triggering is when you’re perfectly calm!
And I know that when you’re feeling good, the last thing you want to do is deliberately feel bad, but think about this: you are 100% guaranteed to be triggered in exactly the same way sometime in the future.
Do you want to react when you’re not prepared for it or when you are prepared for it?
If you want to change something in the future, you gotta do the work now.
By deliberately, consciously, intentionally triggering yourself and practising new behaviour, you put yourself in a position of control.
What you want to aim for is to break your own heart three times before sunset because tomorrow when you wake up and try it again you’ll realise that you’re unbreakable.
Having experiential proof that you have changed your reaction to something is very powerful. When you’ve changed something dangerous into something safe you get to say to yourself “I never thought I could react this way”.
So, to finish, I want to say a bit about:
Change, Certainty And Confusion
Change is new learning. We change when we learn something new about ourselves or the world.
Certainty is when only one thing is true and it’s always going to be true. Being certain keeps you stuck.
Part of the price of change is giving up some certainty about some of what you believe to be true.
You DON’T have to stop believing that the sun is going to come up tomorrow. You DO have to stop believing that your emotional reactions are unchangeable. You DO have to stop believing that you will never be able to learn less painful ways of responding to recurring triggers. You DO have to stop believing that if only you found the magic bullet you’d be fine. You DO have to stop believing your bad trances.
Confusion is when more than one thing might be true. Confusion is the beginning of new learning. In some respects, you have to get a bit confused before you can change.
If you’ve ever moved cities or countries, you’ll know what it’s like to have to operate in a totally unfamiliar environment. I’ve moved countries like five times so I know what it’s like. You have to relearn even the smallest routines.
And one thing that happens when we start doing something differently from the way we’ve always done it is that we feel VERY STRANGE! And guess what? That means the Clue Train is in town - WOO WOO! If you feel very strange, you are on the right track.
Sometimes, after I do some work with someone and I have not let them do their problem their way, they then do their problem with me, and they’ll wag their finger at me and say: “Owen, that wasn’t what I was expecting”. And I wag my finger back and I say “I know, that’s part of your problem, you’re welcome”. So they’ll be confused for a while, which is exactly what they need to be.
Change can be a sudden breakthrough or a gradual melt-through, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how you change it as long as you change it.
I never expected to feel okay. I never expected Christmas in the trailer park.
In my wildest fantasies, I never expected to be video conferencing all over the world stealing people’s trances as fast as they can build them.
I was expecting one thing, and something else happened instead.
If this is the future, I like it.
Anyway, FasterEFT has been extremely helpful to me and I hope this has been helpful to you.
On being wrong - Kathryn Schulz (18 mins)
Pavlov’s dogs, Fear and anxiety, Conditioned responses to stress, Deconditioning, Reinforcement, Extinction, Putting on cue, Shaping, Counter-conditioning, Cue exposure
Psychology / Getting Stronger
So, if you are the one in pain, focus on learning your lesson. Learn faster to decrease or shorten that pain. Remember, you’ll either have a nice day or learn something. Which is it today?
I got a telegram from the God Of Simple Things
She said: I don’t care what you do for a living
I don’t care what kind of car you drive
All I wanna know right now is:
What do you believe in?
What it means to you to be alive?
Will you stand here in this fire with me?
Are you ready for another life?
I bit that bullet, I took that vow
And everything is different now
Don Henley (Everything Is Different Now)