Hi! I've been wanting to put together, for a while now, a collection of some various processing techniques from my own work, to put it out there as a resource to anyone who might find benefit from or want to try and apply these techniques to their own way of processing. All comments and discussion are welcome. Enjoy!
Note: these techniques can be applied to a variety of processing approaches, and aren't limited to drawing or writing. Even just quietly sitting with yourself and being aware of your ways of being, you can employ these techniques, largely to gain new views or understandings of what's there.
Zooming in is a technique wherein you start with your whole self or a part of you, and, noticing that there may be something going on with them on an internal level (something of interest to you), you zoom into them, revealing inner dynamics.
For instance, if you feel a part of you wants to go to bed and another part wants to stay up and party, you can “zoom in” to yourself and show those two parts as separate entities in dialogue with each other. Maybe you see one side jumping around excitedly, trying to pillow fight the other, who is standing still, not amused, acting like he's just putting up with this stuff.
Zooming out is where you go from whatever level you're on, to the one “above” it, meaning you take the dynamics you're looking at and then instead look at the system they're a part of.
For instance, let's say that two parts of you that were arguing start to calm down, you may start to have feelings that encapsulate the whole experience, instead, so to that end you can “zoom out” to the level of those overall feelings, where you might see your “whole self” feeling and thinking those things.
Keep in mind that even on the level of your “whole self”, you can zoom out further, to reveal things like mental influences (things that are trying to get your attention) and your emotional environment (examples: rainy day if there's kind of a lingering sadness, sunny day if there's joy).
Illumination is similar to zooming out, in that you start with a single noticed piece of your being or what you're creating, and then you look at the surrounding environment. For instance, you might hear thoughts inside you, without an idea of where the thoughts are coming from or the emotional environment in which they're taking place. To this end, you can “light up” the surroundings around that thought. Who is speaking? What do they look like? Is there anyone else there? What kind of place are they in?
Illumination can be a way to help guide your awareness into putting together details about the surroundings of something important you catch in your awareness. For instance, let's say you have a negative thought, and would like to understand what's going on there, to see what the problem is and if, through awareness and understanding, you can help yourself. You can then look at who's speaking the negative thought (thoughts can usually be interpreted as a part of us speaking), then at what surrounds that speaker.
And illuminations don't have to paint a static picture – you can interact with yourself, or even project yourself into these environments in order to work with a side of yourself, to understand, help, and resolve any conflicts that might be there, as you feel is appropriate or right to do.
I mentioned this in illumination, but I thought I'd talk about it directly, too. Projection is where you project yourself, or a part of you, into an internal scene as you feel is appropriate or right to you. Imagine it like being able to step into a movie and actually speak with the characters and to try and affect the direction of the movie, yourself. In a scary movie you might be able to step in and tell the person, for real, “look, don't go any further – I know you can't see it but there's a guy with a knife beyond that doorway, waiting for you”.
Our ideas of what to say or do might be somewhat flawed, however, so it's important to remain open to the honest responses from ourselves to what we're doing. For instance, if you seem to be making things worse, it may be best to back off and observe a bit more, to try and see if there's another way to make things better. Sometimes, simple awareness is enough to get the ball rolling in terms of resolving a problematic internal situation.
The other thing I mentioned is how we can project parts of ourselves into a scene. We don't always have to go into things with our whole selves – sometimes we may feel it appropriate to call on a part of ourselves to enter into a scene. For instance, when we see a hurting side of ourselves, it may be appropriate to call on kindness or reassurance to come help. And yes, while it's okay to experiment, I would recommend considering whether these sides of you are open to the idea of entering a scene or not. Sometimes, they will, for their own reasons, not want to (for instance, they may feel the scene will get resolved without any need for their help). Sometimes, too, there may be parts of you that want to enter the scene and respond to whatever's going on there. For those, I don't count that so much as deliberate projection, but rather that their jumping-in is already something naturally a part of the scene, since it naturally comes up in your feelings. At that point, it's just a matter of including them.
Here is another one, similar to illumination. Inclusion is more of a principle for me than a technique, as I feel like it can come in handy with whatever self-awareness or expression exercise I'm doing. Basically, the principle is to include anything that comes up in the process of feeling and being aware of yourself.
For instance, if you're writing some excited thoughts, and you feel in the background a feeling of “wow this is boring it just goes on and on...” - it may seem like a distraction or annoying occurrence, but you can include it. Why? Because this is part of your internal system, too. Even things that are not fun, or that seem like unwelcome detours, are still part of your internal system, and can help with the overall tapestry of guidance and internal development. These feelings can see things in ways that you might not be as willing to recognize, yet, their way of seeing things may still be of great value.
Nevertheless, you can also include any responses to your feelings. In the above example, for instance, in response to the “wow this is boring” comment, you might have something come up in you that says “can you just be quiet and let him talk?” - include this, too.
To some extent, this requires flexibility – the ability to recognize and render new feelings that come up in ways that are appropriate to the new circumstances that you may constantly find yourself in on an internal level. Even feeling like stubbornly sticking to one train of thought or feelings can be a feeling you can include, perhaps at a zoomed-out level.
Oftentimes, it will be the things I include that contain conflicts or directions that are of the greatest value during a session of processing, rather than working on whatever I started off with. This is what I'd say is one of the great gifts of processing – it can show you things you never knew were important to see. Whatever you have in mind as a priority – such as some fault in you that you want to “fix” – may not be what was of the most immediate priority to you internally – you may find that what you end up working on, instead, is your self-judgment, or a sense of guilt, or a sense of being “wrong” in some way. You may find, along that track, a sense of forgiveness towards yourself, one that you were never looking for, but in finding, you perhaps feel more free, and released of burdens or anger – this kind of thing can feel like an unexpected blessing. Again, this is why I feel that this is one of the great gifts of processing.
Inclusion is a big part of what makes it all work – inclusion helps you to include even the seemingly random, stupid, unwelcome, or meaningless details – stray feelings, thoughts, emotions – into the whole picture of what you're seeing. This can be of great benefit because you might see unexpected patterns, priorities, or activity inside you – things that, once you're made aware of them, can help you to find benefits such as learning, resolution, grounding, counters to your own nonsense, peace, and greater inner harmony. And while I'm not saying you will find those things (going into things with an excited expectation can lead to dashed hopes and disappointment – also things you could include), the important thing I would encourage you to grasp is just how inclusion, as a principle in processing, can be beneficial to you in terms of your approach to your own internal practice.
Restfulness and Backing off
Sometimes, you may just feel a bunch of chaos or thoughts rampaging all over the place. There may be a lot of activity, and you may not know what to include. Sometimes, you may want to try zooming out for this, or to express the chaos, but sometimes, you may just feel it's better to take a break and back off from something for a while. This is alright, too. This is not to say you have to distract yourself and do something else – though you can always decide that. Restfulness is more about giving yourself and your subconscious processes a chance to catch up with what's going on.
Sometimes, we can just get too engaged, and our mind can go a mile-a-minute, as we try to help ourselves and use every technique we may have come to learn. But, all that trying may be for naught if we overwork or tire ourselves out. Being aboard the train of making decisions and choices can get exhausting, and to let go and let our mind relax and be beneficial just in terms of balance. Remember: you don't have to process, you don't have to work through things, you don't have to find an answer, or find unexpected issues and resolve them. Even if you want to, you don't have to, at least right now. In fact, that reminder to myself of that I don't “have to”, technically, be or do anything, has helped me a number of times in the past to just disengage and give myself a sense of sanctuary and rest. After all, if we think we have to do something, it can fill us with a sense or urgency and panic, which may bring tension and anxiety, and blind us to the bigger picture as we rush to get done whatever we think we have to.
A forum for discussion of techniques of engaging with one's inner world. For things like: sharing your own techniques and ideas, floating ideas, brainstorming with others, and discussing the nuts and bolts of why a particular techniques seems to work as it does. Also, this forum can be for asking for help on what techniques might be useful in certain situations, including situations you might be in right now.
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