One of the main techniques for World Metaphoric Transformation is based on a simple method which can be used by most people without extensive training or even support from a therapist. It’s called Following Back. This technique is based on the way we lay down experience into our beings.
How we interpret experience forms our identity and develops how we function in our lives. Even if two people live through very similar experiences outwardly, they can benefit or be harmed by the same events, depending on how they interpret their experiences.
If you have a sibling- you may notice that although the two of you are very similar in terms of genetics and up-brining, you can be very different in many ways. Your sibling may remember events during your shared childhoods which you have forgotten, or your sibling may remember the same events as you, but with a completely different perspective. Also, as the two of you move through your lives, these memories and interpretations may vary over time. What was once a fairly innocuous memory may become a trigger for unresolved trauma. Or it can work in the opposite way also-suddenly your sibling may remember horrific events with a completely different perspective and sugar coat the events to make them easier to integrate.
What determines the way events are interpreted is the soul. It is not the events, the people or how you attach to others as you live your life. It is how the inner guidance of your soul, takes each experience and shapes and places it into structures which make sense to the whole of who you are. This is obviously a very complex process because there are many variables in the process of laying down experience into the body and mind. Some elements that shape how the soul structures your experience are: past life experiences, debts and unresolved issues from this and pervious lives; ancestral health; events from this life time; family and genetic influences; soul paths and the guidance of spirits and essences which travel with you through this life and others.
Often we experience events which are overwhelming and which we cannot in the moment make sense of. These become traumas. These events can be a seemingly small such as when a parent disallows an unhealthy dessert. Or these events can be horrific such as violence and aggression. The event it not what imprints onto the soul-it is the interpretation of the events. If the event is not integrated in a healthy way, then the soul marks this memory with a kind of flag that it is not in conversation with the rest of your being. Unintegrated experiences are shut off from your awareness because at some point, they were too overwhelming for you. But they do not go away. They are filed for later-usually in your body and certainly in your supra-conscious mind. This is because there is something unfinished in the trauma, something more to learn, something to unfreeze and release.
If you have been practicing the body scan for the last several weeks, then you will find this technique easier than starting it without preparation. Once you have found where you have stored the un-integrated experience in your body, then follow back and then back some more until you come the home place of where it originated. This can be difficult and may take several attempts because you have probably built defenses around your inner wound. Your ego has learned how to guard this vulnerability. But the rewards of finally releasing the negativity which the trauma is holding is definitely worth the work-especially if it is causing you physical pain.
Try This-Following Back
1. Take the most important concern in your life right now-physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Touch into the discomfort it is causing you. Do you have a body sense of this issue in your life? An image, words or a simple sentence. Don’t get lost in the ‘story’ of your problem, just describe it as objectively as possible, as if you were a very wise, holistic physician who is diagnosing a patient. For example, lately I’ve been feeling really down, blue, not quite depressed but certainly I don’t have the same mojo for life that I used to.
2. Now follow back with the question, where else in my life is there these feelings of depression? Take the first answer that comes to mind. E.g. I’m feeling useless and blocked with my work. I feel out of place and unhappy at work and that spills over into all the other parts of my life also.
3. Follow back and back. You might see images in different parts of your body. E.g. When I locate my low feelings, I sense them in my lower abdomen. I feel a heaviness there, an extra weight. When I touch into that heaviness, I see myself as a little girl, sitting at a dinner table and feeling really sad. I don’t know what has happened but I think it’s something to do with my mother and father. They were going through a tough time then. I realise now that I took on the heaviness of those times, they weren’t anything to do with me, but I felt them and couldn’t understand them. My father had been unfairly sacked from his job and I absorbed his sense of frustration and futility around work.
4. Work with these images which are arising from a deep body sense of who you are, by imagining the opposite of the feelings, images or words that are coming from the blocked parts. E.g. If I could lightened up that area, I remember how I used to run like crazy when I was a girl. I felt like I could run like the wind.At those times, I didn’t worry about my parents.
5. Work with these images in a way that reminds you of your therapy towards healing. Embody your insights (sight into your inner being) into a daily action. E.g. I am going to put a picture of myself when I was about eight-the age I used to run and run. I will stand in front of my shrine every morning before I go to work and really feel that little girl with her lightness and energy.
6. Stay with the work until you start to see changes in your life. E.g. Today a manager offered me a training package and at first I thought-what’s the point? But then I remembered the lightness which I have committed to, and after a moment I went back to her and told her I wanted to take it. I don’t know where it will go, but it can only help to lead me away from this work which is no longer useful for me.
7. Record your changes. Give thanks to your own wise self and to all other beings who supported you along the way. E.g. I invited my manager to go with me for coffee this morning. She seemed a little surprised because I’ve been uncommunicative lately. I bought her a Chai Latte which I know is her favorite and thanked her for the offer. For the rest of the day, I noticed that she was different towards me, more smiles and relaxed. My own feeling of being down has lessen. I’ve almost forgotten how I used to feel sad all the time.