The Spiritual Feeling Practice of Optimistic Integration:
Feeling is itself spiritual as honest feeling connects to perspectives used to meet needs and these are at the root of all virtue. This is a feeling process, integrating and connecting love and trust. Feeling experiences of helplessness around needs unlearns helplessness. Optimistic integration is first and foremost an integration that is all about feeling. The three approaches I use to bring up feeling are the use of creative play, objective awareness, and empathetic triggering. This involves a communication of oneself as more emotional (the Kid), with one’s own internal power of imagination (the Artist). It also needs the Kid in you to communicate with one’s own internal objective adult (the Director). Last but not least, one’s Kid should dialog with one’s internal empathetic perspective (the Caregiver).
How You Practice:
Tell the Director what you are feeling and then answer as the Director (yourself as the most mature grownup you can be). Ask the Artist to show you what you need to see, hear, etc. and imagine it, or as the Artist, you create a comforting scene to experience. Talk to anyone in your mind that you feel does or should care about you (images of the Caregiver), or you talk to anyone you do or should care about (images of the Kid).
It is good to keep changing up the dialogs and continue in the practice until a feeling emerges and then, “go with it”, saying whatever you need to say, or simply cry if no words seem appropriate.
What brings up tears is a guide. It tells you where you need to go and what you need to do. You might want to use a television show or video/movie that might trigger feelings in you as a backdrop to cover your “conversations or crying” and to help trigger feeling from a source you do not “control”.
Non Language Augmentation Techniques and How I Use Them (to be used rarely at first as they may overload someone not skilled in the process):
If a feeling seems large and moving I may breathe in and out with the feeling using the sounds of Ahh Ooo and Mmm to deepen crying into sobs, or I may use various sounds at random that I make up in order to shake up any domineering “thoughts”, or I may simply concentrate on any sensations connected to the feeling and let my body respond.
The Real Point of the Practice:
None of these things alone are the “point” of the process, the process is just to trigger feeling and to use random approaches to avoid defenses like focusing on something too much or avoiding something that might be a bit unpleasant but needed. Feeling always trumps practice as it is the purpose of the practice. The practice though is useful at the beginning to touch feeling, and at the end to integrate the feeling experience with everyday life.
It works well, it isn’t for everybody in this exact form but it can be adapted to suit any individual.
The process can also be used to help you distance yourself from feeling and in isolation any of the six approaches (Director/Kid, Artist/Kid, Caregiver/Kid, and the breathing, concentration and play with sounds) can be used for a variety of purposes including to deal with physical pain.
I have developed this dialog process over 30 years, with many others. I developed the non-verbal or non-language approaches by testing them on myself. Also from years of working with students to help them do verbal dialogs.
How This Works to Bring Up Feeling:
I found that these approaches disassemble defenses when used together in a short time span of an hour. Increase the intensity of the process by using more of the techniques in an hour and by extending the session.
How to Instruct:
Instructing others in the process should be done slowly. Have them practice the least triggering of the dialogs. which is Kid/Director. Then guide them in the Kid/Artist dialog. Finally help them to communicate using the Kid/Caregiver dialog.
Watch for any signs of upset and ask about the nature or absence of any memory of dreams. Dreams without people or which have elements relating to death, or are nightmarish, are to be noted. These are indications that the student might best stay with the Kid/Director dialog. It is best to help them imagine comforting scenes. If ther are upsetting memories have them imagine a comforting presence sharing the memory with them. If they are unable to do this, give them a guided meditation. Then put a comforting figure in the scene symbolically high as on a mountain above all their anxieties. Then suggest that the student is sitting beside this figure in the scene.
Disclosure and Sensitivity to Students and Their Needs:
Be transparent in teaching students the dialogs as this will help them learn. Then they can become comfortable with them and better practice them on their own. Don’t be mysterious and don’t let them start to “worship” you. Make sure, if possible, that they see another person or persons who can try to help them. It is best to do all instructing with more people present than just yourself. Use more teachers than one at every opportunity, This helps any student to find the instruction which best suits them.
Practice buddying, teachers, for this keeps you sharp and gives you increasing insights into the process. Buddying up might mean you take turns playing one of the more reflective roles. Reflective perspectives serve the Kid in this process, always.
Anything New Under the Sun:
Taught for thousands of years in various forms, this process is not at all new. There is also another similar practice that is highly efficient and you can read about it here.
Comfort is the best approach. The discomfort will come as the discordance between the unreal self, and the feeling self, become revealed. Feeling such discomfort means there is no suffering, Feeling the helplessness ends its force and sting.
The Path of Optimistic Integration:
This begins with the practices mentioned, but it moves towards grieving, forgiving, repenting and change.