- Transformational Therapy???

Transformational Therapy???




Expect the unexpected... or discovered the unsuspected?

Transformational Therapy???

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:03 am

Special Notice!
1. This is not really an AA-related topic, it's just something that might have been unusual -- that an A.A. member did. (My experience).

2. It has nothing to do with A.A. recovery. It's more like... "maybe way out there"?

3. It has been several years since I've discussed anything like this -- with another A.A. member -- and I have been curious -- for several years -- if any other A.A. member may be out there who has tried some of the "Altered States Experiments -- while sober."

4. I posted it here -- because I didn't know where else to put it.

5. By all means Moderators -- if this is inappropriate here -- please let me know, and I'll either remove it your you can. (As if you didn't know that!) :lol:

6. If anyone else feels that it is inappropriate for this to be posted here -- please let me know.

Thank you!


-----------------------------------------------------

Transformational Therapy!!!

Gees, how time flies!!!

I remember back in 1989, I was three years sober -- and as I was studying my Big Book -- I came across a sentence on page 143 wrote:

"To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude."

Two of my sons were real small then and on the weekends I was able to pick them up and have them with me for the weekends. I guess we did the normal routine of a "Weekend Dad with his sons" -- where we would wake up early in the morning, watch a couple of cartoons on TV, go out to get breakfast, and then head to the local Toys R' Us store -- to find what would make us happy for the day!

I became fascinated with one of the cartoon shows, that was called "The Transformers! More than meets the eye!" (Yes. We also bought a lot of Transformers toys and Sea Monkeys!) And, at the end of the weekend, I would take my boys back home to their mother -- including a few bags of new toys! It felt so awesome sober -- and to spend time with my kids.

This was during one of those "Phases of Development" in my recovery -- where I was intensely working towards the practice of Step Eleven in my life.

I had been trying all sorts of methods and techniques -- to discipline myself and practice meditation. I had been attending several None-A.A. related workshops, retreats and seminars -- and, most every workshop, seminar and retreat that I attended -- included periods of various types of meditations.

One of the types of meditations that interested me was -- guided and unguided visualization techniques -- to use in conjunction with meditation. As some soothing and tranquilizing music was being played -- we would either be guided through the meditation -- or -- it was "freeform" -- where we would learn and practice different techniques -- and then turned loose to experiment with guiding ourselves through the visualizations.

One of my favorites -- was to visualize myself as being one of the Transformers from the cartoons that I had been watching with my kids. I would do all kinds of space travel -- flying, circling planets, and just having fun flying through space with my body as my vehicle -- and in mid air -- transform my body into different vehicles -- depending on the acrobatics that I was performing with my mind.

Somehow -- my consciousness -- made a connection with page 143's, "transformation of thought and attitude" -- and the Transformer toys -- the cartoons -- and my own guided imagery. And, it produced one of those "foo foo moments" -- that felt like I was experiencing some sort of spiritual alertness -- or that I had raised my consciousness to a level of Higher Awareness. It was fun! It felt like drugs in the natural state of being totally physically abstinent any mind-altering substance.

During one of those moments -- where I was experiencing a state of Higher Awareness, I began to contemplate the therapeutic change process brought about by the application of the 12 Steps. My thoughts suddenly came up with a phrase, that I later used to describe my ideas and concepts -- and I called it "Transformational Therapy!"

I'm an experimenter and visionary at heart -- so I tried mixing the application of the applied principles of taking the 12 Steps -- while in a state of Higher Consciousness, -- and then -- arranged some music, and guided imagery, to be used during the Step Eleven phase of my experiments.

WOW!!!! Talk about an awesome experience!!!!! The only thing I could imagine relating it to -- to describe it -- was, when I had been experimenting with LSD, years before my sobriety.

I began making a list of particular problems in my life -- or challenges, and goals and quests -- that I had established for myself -- and then applied my special concoction of my experimental "Transformational Therapy Techniques."

My results were: that I was able to accomplish rapid personal change and development within myself, and was able to rapidly achieve many of my goals, objectives and quests -- that would have normally taken me several months, or possibly several years of self-discipline and effort.

So -- now I've described what I was doing, and I've always been curious -- if anyone else out there in A.A., has experimented in the ways that I have experimented -- and if you have, I'm curious to hear of your results -- and some of the processes that you have tried.

Thanks for your replies.

Dallas
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Postby garden variety » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:47 am

Hey Dallas,

I understand what you're saying.

For me I'll keep it simple. When I learned how to "meditate" which for me means only to be in the Presence of my Higher Power and to consent to His Will, it was a life-changing experience. No more was my life or the way I lived it the same.

So I follow what you mean by the "Transformers". I'll say it again. Meditation was a life-changing experience. It made step 11 come to life bigger than it ever was.

The "trip" for me was learning (and I'm still learning) through a method I learned from the Catholic Monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. It's called "Centering Prayer" or "Contemplative Prayer". It also has other names I'm sure. It's a very spiritual, not Catholic, expereince and it is a process that does exactly what your "Transformational Therapy" does. It is pure dynamite!

I'll say it again. There are certain "Universal" spiritual truths that apply across a wide bunch of belief systems, and the books says this. The Monks at Gethsemani have tapped into this and teach Centering Prayer.

This is not something that is usually talked about in Masses and Catechism, or even used by the Priests. It's almost like a "secret weapon", but it's not secret. It's written about all over the place. It's just that very few people have come to learn about it. My theory? There is so much "prejudice" against the Catholic "religion" that folks have their minds made up before they even seek down that avenue. Some folks seem to hold on dearly to old ideas about organized religions, where the result has no choice but to be nil. The best thing that ever happened to me was to get over prejudice against religions, just like the book says, and learn the truth about being "open minded".

The Monks decided to go public with Centering Prayer several years ago because so many Americans (many Catholics too) had been travelling overseas to learn the Zen and Tibeten ways of meditation. They wanted all of us ("seekers" from anywhere or any denomination or no denominations) to know that we have a very similar spiritual tool right here in our own back yard, so to speak and we don't have to go "East" for its teaching. Not that Zen or Tibeten practices are bad - it's just a costly thing to fly all over the world.

One of the Monks I met in Gethsemani has met the Dali Lamma, and the Dali visits Gethsemani regularly. I will say it again, this is not about trying to win "converts" or learn how to become a member of the Catholic Church. It's just like what Dallas said. For me, learning and walking the "Contemplative" path of spirituality has given me so much more than words can ever describe. It has been "Transformatiional Therapy" in every sense of the term, including the "Therapist", Himself. If you'd like more information about this, feel free to private message me.

Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness are "indispensable" to our recovery - that's in the appendix in the book. So is that expression that "Contempt prior to investigation" leads to nothing but pure ignorance - keeping a man or woman in the dark. I learned that one the hard way.
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Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:43 pm

Hey Paul,

You've got me interested to know more about what you're doing.

Would you mind kicking around the idea -- of maybe letting me set up a new forum on "Meditation" -- and have you post messages there that might be able to help us learn from what you are doing?

You could explain more about it -- and explain how to do it -- and then, those of us who are interested -- could give it a try -- and we could post messages about our experience, or to be able to ask you questions to clarify what we're doing?

Thanks.

Dallas
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Postby garden variety » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:54 am

I would be willing to offer the little bit that has been my learning and experience. I think you have a really great idea because -what I've noticed is that "magic" ingredient, meditation, to be "under-discussed" in Big Book studies, discussion groups, and in speaker meetings too.

But from your post and your experience, and from my own experience, meditation has to be one of the most "life-changing" spiritual principles there is - but it's just not talked about enough. Just like you related it to that cartoon the Transformers. That really is how "transforming" meditation is to me. Well except there was always some kind of fight going on between the good robots and the evil robots. The trasformation expereince (from meditating) for me was going from "life is good" to "being rocketed into a 4th dimension of existence of which we had never dreamed" as the book says.

Count me in and thanks for your confidence.

Here's a PS to my last post. I noticed that I said Centering Prayer is not talked about or viewed because of "prejudice" against the Catholic Church - I was wrong to say that so firmly and I apologize. There is also "freindly fire" prejudice within the mainstream church and liturgy, and other denominations, and even other faiths, and non-traditional spirtualists. It's a prejudice that sees "Contemplatives" such as Monks and Nuns as pious relgious nerds "doing there own thing" cloistered far away from "regular living" and not "doing sex" for religious reasons related to "sin".

What a totally misleading train of thought. The Monks and Nuns that I've read their writings, and met some, and talked to others that have had friendships with Nuns has taught me something totally opposite. These people are some of the most wise and "earthy" folks you'll ever come to know. And the ones I met were "liberal" or "open-minded" - lets just say very "tolerant" - moreso than the "average lay person". They were witty, and so compassionate about ALL others - the human race as a whole and the basic needs of all men and women and children. Like I said, the "Contemplative" world seems like one of God's best-kept secrets.
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Postby anniemac » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:21 am

Well, first of all, I think this is very much an AA topic, because Step 11 speaks of prayer and meditation. Perhaps discussing the details of how each of us meditates could cause controvery, just as discussing who/what our higher power is. Yet, to me, it's wonderful to read specific experiences of others. That's how I learn and grow, by hearing how others do it.

I have many guided meditation CD's that I listen to. When my head was a constant jumble of racing thoughts, they provided a lot of relief for me. To have the ability to focus on what was being said on the CD was such a relief to me, as it allowed my incessant thoughts to fall away, even if only for the duration of the CD -- some relief was better than no relief.

I also have breathing exercises that I do, that I consider meditative and calming. Plus, I am a big supporter of yoga as a moving meditation practice.

Although my head can still be quite active in its chatter, I'm so much calmer and quieter than I used to be. I really credit these tools with major transformations in my life/sobriety.

I attended a Centering Prayer group and I found it to be a peaceful and loving environment. It was one of the few times I meditated without a tool such as a guided CD, or focusing on my breath. The practice of it, as Paul said, is very much like Buddhist meditation. The concept, from what I understand, differs a bit, but I chose to not focus on the concept and just go with the practice. That way I didn't get hung up on the religious aspects that the group brought in to the Centering Prayer.

Oh, I've also walked labrynths as a meditative practice.

My belief, and what I've read, is that meditation is not about emptying my mind, but about being fully present within my mind to all that is. So, even washing the dishes, when done with a focus on the temperature of the water on my skin, the feel of the soap bubbles, the sound of the sponge squeaking on the dishes, etc., can be meditative.

I can't say that I've had any big shifts during meditation -- again, no "white light" experiences like I posted on another thread -- but I've reaped the benefits over time in subtle ways. It seems that my recovery is not big and flashy and grandiose -- I'm sure God planned it that way to smash that huge ego of mine -- but instead is a series of subtle shifts. Small bites, so I don't choke. :lol:
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Postby garden variety » Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:26 am

anniemac wrote:My belief, and what I've read, is that meditation is not about emptying my mind, but about being fully present within my mind to all that is.


This is...well it's perfection! I'd like to "lift" this thought and use it in a future post to the "Meditation" section with your permission. Great wisdom - nice share!

anniemac wrote:I can't say that I've had any big shifts during meditation -- again, no "white light" experiences like I posted on another thread -- but I've reaped the benefits over time in subtle ways. It seems that my recovery is not big and flashy and grandiose -- I'm sure God planned it that way to smash that huge ego of mine -- but instead is a series of subtle shifts. Small bites, so I don't choke.


Ah yes. Those small subtle "shifts" are more than just "benefits". If you add them all up, you get that "transformation" which is a very BIG thing. Say you look at a dwarf cherry tree when you first plant it. It might only be 4 feet tall - just a little wisp that you have to stake at first and fuss and protect it in the cold and so on. Well lets say 6-7 years goes by. Then the "little wisp" has grown and matured into a full-grown dwarf cherry tree maybe 12-16 feet tall. And if you play your cards right, you can pull off an awful lot of those sour little fruits to make several tasty pies (I love pie - can you tell?).

The thing is, each year that little tree has only grown less a foot or so. And if you look at it from one year to the next, there doesn't seem to be anything very "profound" at all. But the thing was "achieving" maturity each year. (just like achieving sobriety).

Where it would become "profound" is if you took a picture of the "little wisp" with no fruit at 4 feet tall then took a picture after it matured in 6-7 years at say 15 feet loaded with cherry blossoms. What you would have is the same tree, but after the "transformation" of a relatively short time, you wouldn't even recognize it as being the same tree. Kinda like the guy Dr. Silkworth talks about at the end of the Doctor's Opinion.

So over time, the small "subtle" really do add up to a noticeable and "profound" change over time.

Annie - thanks for reminding me that "small" and "subtle" can be every bit as profound as "big" and "loud"!
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Postby anniemac » Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:12 pm

No permission needed, Paul - just repeating what I've been taught. :D
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