by Russell Fox, Certified SHEN Therapist & Instructor
Originally written for The SHEN Touch Newsletter Download
How is one’s experience of life enriched through SHEN? How do you know it’s working? Sometimes referred to as ‘the karmic wheel,’ the patterns of most people’s lives do seem to repeat, over and over again. The past appears to hold us captive, in some mysterious way forcing us to repeat family dysfunctions, repeatedly make damaging personal decisions, to re-invite limiting and controlling people into our lives, and give ourselves over to processes, philosophies and substances that promise relief from the secret hurts, pains and sometimes not so quiet desperation we accept as ‘normalcy’ for most humans. The influence of our personal ‘living past’ surely seems very much alive, unstoppable, often insurmountable. Real options for ‘getting on with’ our lives often seem so hard to come by, if not lacking completely.
Does this sound familiar? To one degree or another, that is how most of our clients present. To the extent that we as SHEN Therapists personally share the above hurts, pains and that frustrating ‘pull of the past,’ we owe it to our selves to do something about it. Just as we suggest to our clients, it’s time to take it to the table.
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When in ‘The Red Capsule’ article [SHEN TOUCH, Issue No. 8] I stated that “…the “past” is not only not living, it never really existed at all”, I didn’t expect that that one line would jump out at so many folks, Certified SHEN Therapists included. Rather than being dismissive of ‘the past,’ I meant to suggest that there is most often a huge disconnect between what we felt was happening at the time, and what most likely was actually going on.
Yes, I agree that for better or worse, we are the product of our past, and that learning from the past is not only critically important, it is also, sadly, one of those roads less traveled. When I say “Actually, the “past” is not only not living, it never really existed at all” I’m referring to the simple, yet problematic truth that if two or three people experiencing the same events will always remember those events in different ways, then what really happened? What was the actuality?
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I believe it is much more accurate to say we are the product of our responses ‘in’ and ‘to’ the past. I recall the SHEN-related aphorism, The ‘problem’ is not the problem: The problem is our ‘response’ to the problem. That response to the present moment is unique to the individual, and is itself the product of all the ‘present moment’ responses that preceded it.
All those previously internalized present-moment responses – still very much alive & well in the biofield, become the filters through which our ‘now’ present moments are experienced and evaluated, thus dictating our thoughts, choices, actions and relationships. So, for the majority of the human family, over and over it is our responses during and to our presumed past which shape, define and limit our present situations and choices, as well as our options for the future.
Much like the telephone game, once an experience is passed through multiple layers of previously internalized responses, even a shared event is always remembered differently depending on the various emotional filters each person brings to that not-so-‘shared’ event.
Just to be clear, I prefer defining ‘previously internalized responses’ as I believe Richard Pavek, SHEN’s developer does: incomplete emotional episodes. Because of the painful quality of so many earlier events, what we now remember as the event’s ‘emotional charge’ is most often not the actual emotion. but rather our innate physical reflex to contract (ACPR) around that pain in order to not experience it. As Karol Truman’s book title states, “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die.” It is, then, these layers of incomplete emotional episodes – unique to each individual, that determine our ‘past,’ not the events themselves.
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Central to SHEN Therapy is that rich life lessons and new personal options are the natural consequence of the SHEN work. These personal lessons and new options are made available through the full experience and completion of difficult emotions which were earlier the victims of our protective contractive responses, ACPR. This repeated protective response is what has built our treasure trove of uncompleted emotional episodes. Call them what you will, the available lessons of our personal past – I might even say the answers to the mysteries of life – reside in our biofield. The empowering enrichment of each present moment and all future present moments is only made possible through fully experiencing that which we have so successfully, albeit somewhat less than consciously, previously avoided.
To what extent, then, do we seriously want to take responsibility for who we are now at this moment by finally completing our still unfinished past? Isn’t this the bottom line of personal integrity? “To be, or not to be. That is the question.” As I said in the earlier article, I believe that is the only question. One way or the other, it is the question we all re-answer every day with every choice of word and deed.
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This is the context in which I shared the No. 6 segment of the Red Capsule/Matrix Allegory article. This, in fact, is the defining point of that entire article. Here it is again. The brackets ( [ ] ) are recent added clarifications. See if it now makes a bit more ‘SHEN sense.’
6. Actually, the “past” is not only not living, it never really existed at all. Our past only exists as we created it through our painful, yet ill-informed responses to what we thought [i.e., ‘felt’] was happening around us [particularly] during our first decade or two of life. These responses kept us justified, seemingly self-defined and, therefore, apparently safe.
Thanks entirely to Richard Pavek’s insights, research, self-exploration and his commitment to having SHEN make a real difference in real lives, thanks to him we can now actually talk of these things intelligently, and offer the world a way ‘off the karmic wheel,’ one SHEN session at a time.
So, then, how is one’s experience of life enriched through SHEN? As SHEN Therapists, without trying to dictate the outcome for our clients, what is our goal for those entrusting themselves to us and the SHEN process? The satisfaction of living each moment free from past hurts and future fears, feeling and responding fully to what is actually happening now, and living in personal integrity without the crippling distortions of old emotional filters… That’s the goal: Each of us, becoming fully available, to ourselves, and to those we love.
Thank you, Richard.