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Last week, I introduced the concept of Blindsight, one I first learned of in Oliver Sacks’ memoir, A Leg to Stand On. Sacks describes “losing” all sense of and connection to his leg after he injured it while hiking. Even after successful surgery, Sacks couldn’t relate to his leg, for a time unable to see it as part of his own body. Because he is a neurologist Oliver Sacks frames experience in terms of brain function, he relates his personal experience of alienation from his injured leg to people who suffer neurological damage who, quite literally, have a scotoma – a hole – in their field of vision. This hole may be likened to how we feel when we search for the words to say as we tap on an experience we can’t remember clearly.
Blindsight is a faculty we can cultivate when we are faced with recurring thoughts, feelings, and behaviours whose origins mystify us. For example, if, after every emotionally draining quarrel with a partner, child, or close friend, we find ourselves heading to the fridge for ice cream and want insight into our behaviour, we can tap while telling ourselves what we might call a Blindsight or Guesswork story. In the above example, the Blindsight story might go like this:
“Even though I don’t know why I feel like I have to have ice cream after this upsetting argument with _________ , I trust that my body knows why and will help me to understand as I tap.” Going through the points, reminder phrases we might use include: “This need for ice cream is such a mystery; Why should I want ice cream when we weren’t even arguing about eating or food or anything remotely related to it; I know food helps me to stuff my feelings, but I want to understand why, and eating ice cream after a quarrel isn’t helping me to understand; I wonder when I began substituting ice cream for understanding, or the comfort of a hug, or a feeling of conflict resolution; maybe it started that time when ____________ told me I was getting fat; maybe it was that time when ____________ said I hogged all the ice cream; maybe it doesn’t matter that I remember exactly when I connected ice cream to feeling uncomfortable; maybe I just need to tap after an argument to see if the urge for ice cream disappears; maybe I just want to be heard and didn’t feel heard in the argument with ___________ ; maybe that’s what the ice cream is about, not feeling heard and wanting to comfort myself because _______________ couldn’t comfort me; maybe hearing myself, now, in this moment, is what I really need, and not ice cream.”
This is standard EFT best practice. Listening to the self and attending to strong beliefs and feelings (even when they might appear to be detrimental to our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health), is the essence of effective tapping. In some cases, we cannot know the exact moment in which our marvelous, inventive brains and hearts make the connection that will lead to understanding our knee-jerk behaviours. What we can know and believe in is our ability to imagine events that might lead to making such connections. Developing our Blindsight abilities through artful speculation concerning what might be behind a feeling of discomfort, an addiction, or a damaging belief as we tap gently creates the space we need to receive insights such as the one contained in the last two reminder statements in the paragraph above.
Tapping, like so many other self care tools, is about self love and self respect as well as authentic connection with others. We embrace an exercise routine to honour our physical reality – the complex set of interconnections we call the human bodymind – because we have learned this reality is nourished by regular, rigorous movement. We eat whole, unprocessed foods because we know these nourish our flesh and spirit as they create right livelihood for our local and regional farmers. We take breaks from our cyber-worlds because we know that silence, being in nature, and physically visiting with friends are ways to express and receive the vital love we need to help us value our lives and make life affirming decisions.
Each time we use tapping, whether to smooth out an emotional wrinkle or address a serious trauma (see the three previous weeks’ blog posts for a more thorough discussion of PTSD and tapping), we are loving and respecting ourselves and creating a higher vibration that will attract love and respect in return.
Blindsight ensures we need never be at a loss for words. Following hunches, making intuitive leaps, catching hold of fragments of dreams and wisps of memory, and telling ourselves the speculative stories that come to us while we are tapping are sure to bring great rewards. Taking an educated guess – a common practice and common name for Blindsight – is a vital part of every artfully lived life. We strengthen our faculty of Blindsight when we choose what to wear to create comfort and ease physically, socially, and professionally. When we are eating consciously, we use Blindsight to choose foods that will ensure both our own and our planet’s health. Using Blindsight to understand why we may be feeling sad, off balance, or anxious cannot help but improve our tapping practice. When we do, we discover that a part of us always knows what to say.
Until next week
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, email@example.com, 802-533-9277