Autosomatic Training and Autosomatic Practice
There are Six Basic Principles of Autosomatic Training:
1) Every problematic thought or behaviour has an associated negative feeling (specific or generic pain or fear)
2) Every negative feeling has at least one associated image (memory; symbolic image; dark, coloured, and/or light)
3) Every image can have a satisfactory resolution
4) Every series of memories and images can have a satisfactory resolution.
5) Every life can be lived in the present, not imposing the unresolved past onto the present, nor projecting the unresolved past into the future.
6) Autosomatic Training is a spiritual practice.
The Basic Steps of Autosomatic Training are:
1) Focus on any one chosen problem: thoughts, feelings or behaviours, e.g. anger, greed, addictions, money, anxiety, worry, etc.
2) Constantly monitor your body sensations (heart) - all the time - for any sense of discomfort.
3) Close your eyes in a quiet, undisturbed place.
4) Find the physical feeling associated with the issue.
5) Actively focus all your attention on the feeling - concentrate on it.
6) Passively await the imaged memory while focused on the feeling.
7) Experience your way through the memory/image resolving issues as they arise, letting your heart, your inner feelings, direct the action - always expressing the whole truth, the good and the bad.
8) Notice when the imaged memory is gone
9) Check back to any uncomfortable body feeling still present when the image is gone
10) Repeat steps 5) through 9) until you have good feeling only - 100%
11) Re-consider the problem you started with
12) If you still have some distress – even minor, repeat steps 3) to 11) as often as needed to get to and remain with good feeling only, even when contemplating the now resolved problem issue, or re-exposing yourself to the problem situation. Note that the previous image or memory is replaced by a healed image or memory or a completely different memory, with 100% good or comfortable feeling.
13) You may also go back and check each individual memory to see if they are all 100% resolved, with healed images, thoughts, and feelings (100%) - the clean heart.
14) Having now integrated your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, you can now re-consider your situation vis-a-vis the presenting problem. You can do reflective integration. You will now feel comfortable and healed - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - about that issue
15). If you thoroughly progress to the clean heart about every issue you start with, and over time all other issues that you can actively discover in your life, to clean your heart about them all, and you continue systematically to keep searching your heart to keep it clean every day, you will then get to having a pure heart. The result: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8, New King James Version [NKJV]).
16) The resolution endpoint may also be expressed as being in a place where one practises the Golden Rule: “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12, NKJV). Another way of identifying the resolution point is when you experience wisdom when reviewing the original situation. As James put it: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17, NKJV).
Sigmund Freud, when working with a methodology similar to Autosomatic Training, expected and received very good results. He essentially found that every specific memory or image could be resolved, never to return in its original form. The original memory can be retrieved, but when the image is retrieved, it is an updated image that has been advanced to resolution. If the verbal-based recall of the memory is retrieved, it is found to be filed in autobiographical memory, i.e. it is just what happened.
Essentially, every image can have a satisfactory resolution, and the whole clinical picture, of which any one image is a part, will also completely vanish, if all its component memories are cleared.
Here is Freud, in his own words. "Moreover, a recollection never returns a second time once it has been dealt with; an image that has been 'talked away' is not seen again. If nevertheless this does happen we can confidently assume that the second time the image will be accompanied by a new set of thoughts, or the idea will have new implications...the whole clinical picture vanishes, just as happens with memories that are reproduced individually." (Bolding mine, Freud, Sigmund, Breuer, Joseph, Studies on Hysteria (1895), Penguin Freud Library, Volume 3, Reprinted 1991, P.382-3, 386)
Levels of Autosomatic Training
AST I: This level of practice uses steps 1-8 only. It is more like ‘venting’, or ‘getting it off your chest’. This level is best used very rarely to manage a short-term problem. The difficulty with using only this level of processing is that it may reinforce the negativity, as opposed to getting to resolution and a state of wisdom.
AST II: This level of practice gets to the ‘clean heart’ about any issue, by using steps 1-14. In other words the starting issue is managed to completion, but there may be many other issues to work through.
AST III: At this level, the practitioner has not only cleaned the heart, but has a systematic approach to practice that cleans the heart thoroughly whenever any issue arises, every day, using all 15 steps. This thorough and systematic approach is the recommended Autosomatic Practice.
There is a basic attitude that comes into play when a person starts to practise Autosomatic Training. At first there is of course the pain and fear that need to be confronted. However, soon the results start to come in of becoming more mentally and emotionally comfortable. In addition, it becomes clear that there is great benefit to be obtained by confronting the pain and fear. You learn that it pays to beard the lion in its den. The more you confront the pain the more it recedes.
One tends to move from the Pleasure Principle - that is avoid pain and seek pleasure, to the Reality Principle - confront the pain for long term gain. The long term pleasure that is achieved with the practice of Autosomatic Training is literally beyond belief. It has to be experienced to truly appreciate it.
Methods of Autosomatic Practice
Autosomatic Practice involves a systematic process of self-observation, and, when appropriate, notes to oneself about what you will want to process later at a more convenient time.
Autosomatic Practice requires continuous daily self-observation to detect any negative, unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings. Along with the continuous screening for uncomfortable feelings, it is important to observe for any inappropriate thoughts and behaviours. Similar practices are encouraged in The Sermon on the Mount, Focusing, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Vipassana Buddhism and meditation in general.
Meditation as discussed here is a form of mental exercise that involves concentration of attention on one or more elements of inner experience, with a view to mental, emotional and spiritual clarity.
It is performed essentially in the following manner:
1) Sit comfortably in an upright position with an erect spine, with or without physical support.
2) Once a comfortable position is attained, do not move your body or even change your position until the meditation is complete. No fidgeting, scratching, etc.
3) Set a time for ending the meditation, and place a quiet timepiece where it can be seen by simply opening your eyes without moving your position.
4) In the beginning start with short periods of meditation, e.g. a few minutes, and gradually build up to 15 – 20 minutes twice daily for the best effect.
5) The focus of your concentration may be monitoring your breathing, saying a mantra, or, as I prefer, saying the word ‘one’ continuously at your preferred rate, aloud or sub-vocally.
6) Do not struggle or resist anything, but if you notice you are not saying ‘one’, just start saying it again until your time is complete. The usual result is a very peaceful state.
Forms of Meditation
The process of Autosomatic Training is very similar to meditation, e.g. sitting upright, no movement, highly focussed concentration. The main difference is that it is the pain/fear that is the focus of concentration, and when an imaged memory comes up it is time to actively engage the memory to complete resolution as outlined above.
Meditation on the word ‘one’, for 20 minutes twice daily
The ‘Yes’/’No’ mediation is useful if a person has difficulty saying ‘No’, for example, or has difficulty accepting some things related to the social environment.
Meditation on the word ‘No’, for 5 to 10 minutes, or as long as desired.
Meditation on the word ‘Yes’, for 5 to 10 minutes, or as long as desired.
Prayer will also provide many benefits.
Physical Practice: Looking after the body is very important for overall wellbeing.
Resistance Exercise (weights)
Stretching / Hath Yoga
Eating a diet that is suitable to your overall health is also essential.
Fasting may sometimes be useful in learning to manage your physical and spiritual being.