2.2 “Pincushion” Theory: Let’s Play the Problems.
The forgiveness meditation allows us to get rid of our former stress and eliminate the consequences of new ones coming into your life. Yet, if we do not change anything about our thoughts, we will always have to forgive others.
We will always become involved in scandals and conflicts first, and then we’ll have to do the process of forgiving.
If we want to live more consciously, we should learn not to store new stress, i.e., block the valves (idealizations).
This will only happen when we stop attaching excessive importance to our expectations, i.e., we get rid of our idealizations.
At the same time, we need to start working with our mental level because it stores all of our ideas, knowledge, and information about our experiences and the idealizations created by our mind. As you may remember, idealizations are the source of our discontent with life, filling the SA and causing us to receive ―lessons.‖ As a result, we urgently need to get rid of our erroneous beliefs and idealizations stored at the mental level.
You Live in Paradise!
There exists an idea that can help us in life every time we suffer stress. It seems very simple, although not all people understand and accept it easily. Here it is: You should accept that you live every single moment of your life in Paradise! It is true for every single moment, no matter how terrible it may seem to you!
It is difficult to assume such an attitude toward life.
Life teaches us ―lessons‖ all the time, and that is why we do not feel like we are in Paradise.
Could your life become even worse? You probably have never thought about it because all methods (including our Method of Forming Events) encourage you to think positively. You try hard to think positively, but life only gets worse.
It is clear why life continues to worsen. We are unhappy with it, our SA fills, and Life takes increasingly strict ―educational‖ measures. Yet, these measures are not a punishment or revenge; they just help changing our erroneous beliefs!
If we dream about a better life and keep being discontent about our present state, the situation is likely to grow worse. That is why we suggest you do not dig your head in the sand like an ostrich in case of danger, but try to look at your possible unhappy future from the point of view that it could be even worse.
It is easy to just imagine how much worse Life may turn. It only depends on what area of life you are unhappy with. If you are upset with your family life, the situation in this area could always be worse. Yet, if your work situation is not very important for you, things in this field will still be okay, and you will be able to earn your living.
And vice versa.
What can we do to avoid worsening the situation after we have determined our idealizations? How do we get rid of them when we like them so much?
It is simple. We just need to understand that right now we live in Paradise. If we do not admit it now, one day we will find ourselves in Hell. Then life will grow much worse. Of course, Paradise and Hell are very conditional notions. It is difficult to accept that we live in Paradise when the money we earn is hardly enough to pay our bills and all attempts to change the situation lead to nothing.
It is not Hell either, but a lack of money stains our life as much as being homeless stains the life of a poor person who does not have a place to live.
If you are unhappy with your life for a long time, it means that you have explicit idealizations. As a result, Life just has to prove that you live in Paradise, not in Hell, as you think.
How can Life do it? We already mentioned that ―educational‖ measures are applied to the area of life you are unhappy with. Let’s say, now you are upset about your financial situation, so Life will take money from you. It is hard to tell how it will happen because Life has many opportunities for achieving its goals. For example, you will get a new boss who will dislike you for some reason and will try to demote you or even fire you, which will result in job loss and, possibly, poverty. Or there will be less demand for the products of your company, so the administration will lay off some personnel, including you. Or something else resulting in the loss of income will occur.
It will not make you more optimistic, and the new situation will seem like Hell to you.
Finding yourself in this new situation, you will interpret your life a year ago as being happy. Your income was not great, but at least stable. In this way, Life proves to you how wrong your views are. Your present life sounds like Paradise compared to a life of a jobless person, and you have to admit it.
Of course, compared to the life of a rich man, your life does not seem that happy. Yet, you have an opportunity to increase your income if at any moment you are ready to admit that you live in Paradise. Do not condemn Life, but ask it to give you a well-paying job or your own business.
There are plenty of possibilities in this world, so if you ask in a right way, you will surely receive what you want. Yet, if you do not get it, think which of your beliefs hinders you from achieving the goal that millions of other people have already achieved.
This approach (admitting that any moment of your life you live in Paradise) may help you close all SA valves and cleanse your mental body.
We probably need a more practical approach, such as particular breathing or some physical exercise. These practical tools are easy to grasp, but sadly, they will not help us much get rid of our mistaken beliefs. The reason is that our mental body generated these beliefs, and we cannot change our mental body through physical efforts because it is not directly connected with our physical body.
Tools for Changing Our Erroneous Beliefs
Consequently, we need to find some tools to change our attitude toward life and our beliefs. Do these tools exist at all? Yes they do. One of them is self-programming (i.e., using positive statements or affirmations).
These techniques are meant to replace our erroneous beliefs by positive thoughts. It is a good technique, but it requires a major effort to “reprogram” our mistaken convictions.
For years, our troubled mind has been filling our mental level with idealizations and erroneous beliefs.
Therefore, to get rid of them as soon as possible, we need to intensely fill ourselves with positive assertions. The total amount of positive thoughts should be at least equal to the number of negative ones. We do not have many years to replace our beliefs, so reprogramming should be really intense.
This goal is easy to achieve at group classes with a good mentor who creates a high-energy environment and who allows people to feel euphoria and excitement. After two or three seminars, instead of condemnation, we will feel love toward others and ourselves.
Yet, if you try to use this method at home by using a book, achieving results will take longer. It is quite difficult to reach a state of euphoria when your mind is filled with problems and doubts. Some people manage to do it well, so affirmations work quickly and efficiently. People who want to think positively but cannot get rid of constant doubts, however, face a problem and can do very little about it. Those people may use another, purely mental tool to fight their wrong convictions.
Don’t Create Your Unhappy Future!
This method is very simple and originates from a simple idea: Let us not wait for Life to use all ―educational‖ measures against us. We should get ahead and only imagine what measures may be applied to us. It is easy to do while using a simple exercise called the Pincushion of Events.
Let us see how it works in case you are sure that things should be the way you want and you cannot imagine that life may take a different direction. For example, your father used to be a kind, tactful, and well-mannered person, and you cannot imagine him being different (i.e., you idealize relationship between people). Now, when he is older, he might demonstrate negative traits of his character (rudeness, irritability, etc). The more you judge him for this behavior, the worse it will become (only toward you). His relationship with other people may be bad or good. Yet, his attitude toward you will grow increasingly worse until you change your attitude toward him.
Do you think your father is the worst father in the world? If you think about it, you will probably admit that it is not true. It is always possible to find a worse person.
So if you do not want your father to get worse, imagine him becoming much worse already. Then, troubles you have with him right now will seem to you just a small part of what could have happened. He could be even worse, but he is not. Look how good he is! Why did you judge him at all? Yet, he might change for the worse if you do not change your attitude toward him, i.e., now he makes you think you live in Paradise, but Life might show you Hell soon.
This principle will make it easier for you to live through every situation, no matter how bad it might seem at first sight.
The exercise that we offer you is based on this principle.
Pincushion of Events Exercise
Ask people not to bother you for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Take a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax your body,and try to stop the train of your thoughts.
Imagine that your life might take a number of different turns so that all events in your life are represented by a set of pins (each pin represents an event) in a pincushion (Figure 2).
Of all possible events, you would like only one to happen, the one that suits you the most (one pin). In reality, while destroying your idealizations, Life causes increasingly worse events happen to you (a second pin, etc.).
Imagine what may happen to you if Life continues applying “educational” measures to you, i.e., conditions of your life keep worsening (more pins).
Imagine (e.g., for five to ten minutes) that you live through each possible negative event. Imagine what you will do, how you will interact with others and the world, and what your thoughts will be.
After living through each event, say to yourself: “Life! If you find it necessary to change my life to this extent, I will accept it without doubts and offense. There must be some reason why you are giving me this lesson. If I really need this lesson, then I accept it with gratitude.‖
In the same manner, you should “live” through events that gradually become worse. The rest of the pins represent them.
After each exercise, confirm that you will accept any lesson without anger and condemnation, but ask Life not to apply these measures to you.
At the end, confirm again that you do not condemn the present situation, that you consider it as a lesson that you deserved for your thoughts and actions, and that this situation is the best of all. You are grateful for the lesson you have received, accept you present situation as a very good one, and ask Life to possibly make it better, i.e., the way you want.
By performing this exercise, you avoid ―programming‖ of a negative future by asking Life not to apply measures to you. At the same time, you let Life know that you accept everything that happens not as a punishment or revenge, but as a lesson taught to you for your erroneous thoughts or behavior.
Let us take as an example that involves the same father we mentioned before. First (the most desired) pin represents normal, quiet relationship between you two. The second pin represents the existing situation when he is rude to you and provokes conflicts.
The third pin may represent the situation when your Dad gets sick and you have to take care of him. His character will not change for the better. The fourth pin, he starts drinking and brings his drinking friends over. The fifth pin, he brings loose, drunk women home. The sixth pin, he treats his grandchildren badly. The seventh pin, he accidentally sets the house on fire being drunk. The eighth pin, he starts selling valuable things from the house.
There exist a vast variety of events (pins). You should pretend living through all of them without taking offense with Life (fortunately, not in reality, but only in your imagination).
Imagine what happens when the third, fourth, and following events will take place—all possible relationships, patterns, money situations, etc. Then say to yourself: ―Life, if I deserve it, I will accept this situation and will not complain because I understand that this situation is
the result of my negative emotions toward my father. Yet if it is possible, let my dad stop spoiling our lives.‖
This mental exercise will help you get ahead of “educational” measures and prove to Life that you are aware of possible future lessons and are ready to accept them, and that you consider the existing situation as a very good one and realize that, due to your discontent, it may get even worse. Yet, you are not discontent with the present state anymore, so Life does not have to apply stricter measures to you. If your life is good now, it will only get better in the future.
We recommend that you use this principle to destroy any idealizations that you may have, as well as to get rid of your discontent about life. It is easier to be glad about the present than anticipate the problems that the future may/may not bring.
Could Things Get Worse?
To anticipate possible questions, let us tell you right away that this exercise does not program a negative future because, in the end of each event analysis, we add the following phrase: ―Life, if it happens, I will accept it without any complaints and anger. Yet, if it is possible, let events happen the way that I want them to (express here an event you want to happen).‖
In this way, you let Life know that you do not need negative events. You are prepared for them, but you do not need them. You need other things that have not happened yet, but you are not stressed out about them anymore because you understand that your Life is happy anyway.
Consequently, you do not demand anything from Life but express politely your request, which lowers your pride and arrogance. Life appreciates people who are not too proud and arrogant, and helps them if they ask for help.
Do Not Turn Your Life into a Pincushion of Events.
Let us give you one more recommendation. The ―pincushion‖ exercise is a one-time tool to help you feel that your problem is not that serious after all, and to change your attitude toward events that you consider terrible. You should play with your ―terrible situation‖ for ten to twenty minutes, and then realize that in reality everything goes well. Then go and enjoy your life.
Imagining negative events all day long will not do you any good. Your mind might start programming problems that you think about a lot. It may even lead to depression.
So stop the train of negative thoughts with the help of this method and start enjoying life! Do not use the Pincushion of Events exercise more often than once a week for ten minutes. Good luck to you!
When Can We Use This Method?
You may always use this exercise when it seems to you that your current situation cannot get any worse. The method will help you to quickly change your attitude toward the situation and bring down your stress.
For example, imagine that your child spends too much time at the computer. Do you constantly stress out about it? Perform the Pincushion of Events exercise and realize how good it is that he stays home and does not hang out with bad boys down the street.
Perhaps your husband drinks a pack of beer every day.
Do you worry that he is turning into a heavy drinker? Do the exercise and realize how good it is that he only drinks one pack and that it is just beer.
Maybe your wife talks on the phone a lot, and it annoys you a great deal. After the exercise, you will realize how good it is that you know all her friends, what they do, and what interests your wife, so you can feel that you can control your family life better.
To get rid of your discontent with life, you should accept that you live in Paradise every moment of your Life.
To avoid worsening the situation, you may get ahead of a problem. Try to live through possible worsening events. At the end of this exercise, tell Life that you are ready to accept any situation without discontent and condemnation. Yet, ask Life to improve your existing situation, if possible.
The Pincushion of Events exercise is meant to make you imagine aggravating life events to prove to you that your life at present is much better than you think.