Disconnecting from Negative Motivation

Many people these days are thinking themselves into a frenzy, not even realizing that they are thinking at all, because it passes by their own awareness like so many subliminal Coca-Cola ads on the movie theater screen in their minds.  Our conscious thinking, the thoughts we know we’re having, is responsive and usually fairly relative.  We may see ourselves or situations as this way or that way at any given moment, depending on the circumstances.  There are choices to be made, possibilities to be sorted though, actions to be turned off or on.

This other repetitive, under-the-radar, subconscious thinking is often harshly negative and going on unabated in the background at a level we have learned to largely ignore, because it would otherwise drive us to distraction.  Some of the time we are able to drown it out by mentally putting our fingers in our ears and saying, “la-la-la-la-la-la-la…,” but in more quiet moments and times of crisis, it still gets through to gnaw on our hearts.  It’s happening way down on what we have dubbed the Binary Level.

On the Binary, things are reactive and absolute.  It’s all knee-jerk, black or white, with no gray areas.  It’s the place in our psyche where there is no questioning, no maybe, no choices zero through nine, but just ones or zeros, yes or no, off or on, go or no-go.  It’s where the little switches in our deepest emotional being are flipped in one position and not free to move back and forth with our conscious will.  They are padlocked there by old emotional pain, trauma, and negative programming, preventing us from changing their position even if and when we become aware of their presence and which way they are flipped.  It is our root level operating system.

Kate and I have been seeing that our own Binary Level issues are the ones that most strongly keep us from needed action even when we consciously “know better” and draw us towards self-loathing, stalling, self-destructive, or self-sabotaging behavior seemingly without a clue why we’re doing it.  It’s the place where “I want to–” turns into “I just can’t”, “I don’t want to–” becomes “I can’t help myself”, and “I could–” slips into “I can’t change”.  Luckily, with some careful Kinesiology (muscle testing) we’ve been getting glimpses of what’s in place on our Binaries, and with our Guided Head Movement healings we have become adept at removing the padlocks and freeing the switches.

What we’re beginning to recognize is that much of what is locked for us on the Binary Level got that way because of our exposure to negative motivation as a teaching tool.  In our formative years, we were often taught through avoidance—avoidance of pain, suffering, lack, rejection, displeasing others, humiliation, etc.  Short of physical punishment, we were molded through the use of heavyweight motivators.  Fear was used to teach us to be safe, to keep from being rejected (fit in), and to avoid angering others.  Guilt and shame were used to get us to steer clear of misbehaving, to tell the acceptable truth, and generally conform.  Lack was used to teach us to be responsible for belongings, to conserve precious resources, and to share.

While these motivators worked conveniently well for our parents and even for us when we were little, they locked down emotional switches establishing limited patterns of behavior on the Binary.  As we get older, the pressure down there builds and builds until the system begins to totally backfire, emotionally preventing us from doing what our now more mature reason, creativity, capability, and freedom of choice would have us do.  We get stuck.

Luckily, and because of our pressing desire to heal ourselves, we have discovered an expression to use for unearthing those Binary Level padlocks that stemmed from negative motivators with our Guided Head Movement healings: “You just think ______.”  This comes from the understanding that we create much of our (internal) reality through our thoughts alone.  The way we have seen it, anything phrased that way that we’d reply “NO” to through Kinesiology (muscle testing) indicates something on the Binary that is regarded as absolute and immutable.  (“No, I don’t just think I’m a failure.  I am.”)  Giving a “YES” response indicates that we are aware that we sometimes, humanly, just entertain such possibilities.

What if we’re just thinking we’re afraid, stupid, a failure, not loveable, etc?  What if we could do so without all the fearful certainty?  It was with great curiosity that we began to search out what we were denying we were thinking ourselves out of or into.  We quickly compiled a list and started unlocking.  The sensation of freedom was enormous as we unlocked self imposed limitations like, “You just think something’s the matter with you,” and “You just think you’re lost.”  We’ve experienced the release of much anger and grief.

Today was case in point.  I found Kate sitting once again in front of a large blank piece of drawing paper, wanting to start a drawing but finding herself unable to make a mark.  She felt blocked.  I had seen her do this several times over the last couple of days and offered to help her figure out what was stopping her.  It wasn’t lack of confidence in her artistic ability, because we both knew it would easily flow out of her on demand.  It wasn’t that she lacked ideas about what to draw; she had too many in fact.  As we sat down and started in with some muscle testing questions to find out what were the roots of the impediment, three things showed up pretty quickly.

One was simply not knowing how to start.  Another was guilt over all the other “important” things she “should” have been doing instead of making art; like cleaning the house for instance.  The third had to do with the possibility that she might not like the drawing and have “wasted” the paper.  I told her that my own choice was for her to make her art, not clean the house, and that we had lots of paper.  I reminded her that it was one of the cheapest art materials she could use, but I could tell that the prospect of “ruining” an otherwise “perfectly good” piece of paper with a mediocre drawing still troubled her.

We crafted three statements to test for Binary Level denial of her thinking: “You just think you don’t know how to start,” “You just think you’re guilty,” and “You just think you’re wasteful.”  Kate tested weak or “NO” for all three, indicating that she saw those conditions as beyond the control of her thoughts.  I tested the same way myself.

We set about unlocking Kate’s Binary thoughts first, and all kinds of images came into her head.  She could feel the patterns break up and we confirmed that with muscle testing.  We talked about how the negative nature of her childhood motivators had been keeping her from her heart’s desires.  We then set about helping me unlock.  My guides suggested that we start with the wastefulness issue.

As soon as Kate started to guide my head in a side-to-side, “NO!” movement, I exploded into tears of deep grief.  I recognized how powerfully I had been influenced by being “guilted” into conserving my parents’ precious resources.  Unfortunately, I learned much too well.  I recognized that on the Binary Level I saw my very existence as wasteful, my very presence on the planet consuming resources that would be better left unused.  I felt the urge to save every bag tie, recycle every scrap of paper, and eat questionably old leftovers, even though I knew full well it wasn’t necessarily the best thing to do.

Suddenly, I recalled an incident from elementary school, maybe third or fourth grade.  My mother had been packing me sandwiches for my sack lunch that I simply didn’t like.  I would take a few bites from them, wrap them back up, toss them in the big trash barrel in the cafeteria, and eat the other goodies.  One day one of the teachers on duty (not my own) saw me do this.  She made me pull my sandwich back out of the trash and eat it, telling me how wasteful I was and that she would call my mother if I didn’t.  I was totally scared and humiliated.  That was just the kind of experience that locks our internal switches and it reinforced my extreme aversion to what I saw as wastefulness.  I had forgotten about it.

It took several repeats of NO and YES head movements for my pattern to unlock.  All at once I started to feel a decidedly physical something happening in my body, starting at my right foot and oddly spinning through my whole aura up my right side and down my left.  I felt hugely relieved and started yawning deeply.  When we muscle tested again, not only had the wastefulness issue shifted, but so to had my self-perceived guilt.

Here are more examples of the kind of “You just think _________ ,” themes we’ve examined in the last couple of days.  Only some of them were locked within us:

“You just think you’re hurt.”
“…you’re sick.”
“…you’re stupid.”
“…you’re a failure.”
“…you’re not a real artist.”
“…no one loves you.”
“…the worst is going to happen.”
“…you’re a liar.”
“…you’re in trouble.”
“…you’re ashamed.”
“…you’re a mama’s boy.”

This last theme was also highly emotional for me.  I had so fully taken on this negative motivation to get my mother’s love, protection, attention, and a unique place in the family unit that I actually believed it.  I treated myself as a weakling and a coward.  I was also hugely angry about it and spent much time and energy struggling to keep it at bay.  As we did the unlocking Guided Head Movement healing, I saw that it was merely a role I played within my family that worked well when I was a child, but became a self-image “mask” that I grudgingly, but compliantly wore into my adulthood, something many men do, despite reason and my Soul knowing.  I have now taken it off.

I came back into the living room later on to find Kate once again stalled in front of the blank paper.  She told me that she was having thoughts about how her drawing would turn out and that she wanted to do it in her own style instead of copying that of some past or present master.  As we talked about it again, something I said sparked tears for my dear wife; my conviction that making art is never a trivial issue because it is an act of spirituality.  Her tears were, in part, because she did not feel her efforts would be worthy.  She felt that what she had to give the viewer on that piece of paper would not be enough.  She muscle tested “NO” for, “You just think that you don’t give enough.”  Some part of her was convinced she didn’t, reflecting a deep inner conflict for this most generous woman.

After we unlocked it for her with a healing, I took Kate by the hand and led her into our office.  We stood together in front of the framed drawing of her mother Kate had made when she was just 4 yrs old.  She knew where I was going—that even the gift of that simple child’s drawing had been enough giving for God and for her mother.  It was only later in life that something changed for Kate and she perceived herself as not giving enough.  This was not surprising in a world that teaches us that our parents gave us life, and that Jesus died for our sins.  How can we ever give enough to pay that all back?  When I peeked into the living room a half hour later, Kate was busily working away, drawing a Spirit Bear.

In order for our world to change, we must each change.  To do this we must move from negative to positive motivation for what we think and do and teach our children that way.  The process starts with observing ourselves and becoming aware of what makes us tick.  Unlocking our emotional and mental locks is relatively easier than identifying them in the first place, but it is not impossible.  It does take some time and a bit of patience.  You, and our world, are worth it.

About Brad Silberberg

Brad Silberberg, director of The Mesa Creative Arts Center in Burgettstown, PA (Pittsburgh area) is an artist, holistic healer, spiritual leader, and change agent.
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