Are you doing the exercises? I'm trying -- as I wrote yesterday, I finally found my first quarter! Please keep addressing the exercises and share in the comments about how you are doing, or any suggestions you have about them for others.
In my initial posting for the discussion group, I suggested that Prometheus Rising could be considered a self-help book, and that a common feature of self-help books is that they expect the reader to take action, rather than simply reading the book for pleasure or education. And I mentioned that my favorite such book, at least right now, is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. (Again, I like the book, but I'm not endorsing all of Scott's political views, or everything he's ever said in his 77,000 Tweets.)
I got a lot of comments for the post (thanks everyone), but one rather late and quite long comment by phodecidus is one you might have missed. So the next section is phodecidus, not me:
My favorite self-help book is probably Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, closely followed by Self-Therapy by Jay Earley. The first is meditations on cultivating self acceptance. The second is a book on Internal Family Systems.
Internal Family Systems (or IFS) is a form of parts work. Let's say there is a part of you that wants to lose weight and a part of you that eats cheeseburgers after work each day. Parts work handles each of those parts as if they are their own personalities with their own trauma, beliefs, emotions, etc.
One form of parts work might involve "chairing,"where you sit across from an empty chair and talk to a part of yourself as if it is there. Then you switch places and talk to yourself from the part's perspective. I've found this exercise useful when I'm hung up on an argument I'm having with a friend. I assume their position and talk to myself from their POV.
Internal Family Systems takes things to another level by organizing our parts as one would organize members of a family in family systems therapy. It's a trauma-focused modality that considers each of our parts as useful and well meaning, even the self-harming parts.
There are different kinds of parts in IFS like protectors and exiles. Protectors are our defenses; our gossipy parts, our alienating parts, our addictive parts, etc. We get these parts to step aside and show us the exiles they're protecting; the injured inner children that need re-parenting.
This process is accomplished by entering a dialogue with our parts to unblend from them until we are in Self. We know we are in Self when we are calm, curious, confident, compassionate, clear, creative, connected and courageous. This is an 8 Cs other than the 8 Circuits.
Practitioners of IFS believe that merely connecting our parts to Self initiates deep healing. Self-Therapy by Jay Earley is a how-to book for this process, but I recommend doing it along with a therapist.
I've done the exercises from Prometheus Rising several times. Once on my own, once with a class lead by David J Brown on Maybe Logic Academy, and one with a group of friends who met in person. I'm excited to engage with the material again.
The quarter exercise is a great place to begin. A lot of Law of Attraction folks will sell you on one explanation and have you begin by manifesting a romantic partner, new car or job. I think opening the door to magical thinking can be dangerous.
If you can manifest success, why not manifest tragedy? Maybe you manifest something awful by mistake. You don't want to open the door to that kind of thinking, so I think it is best to start small and work with multiple explanations for the phenomena.
One way to assure you won't "manifest" (or tune your perception to find) negative things is to practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Prometheus Rising, in many ways, seems miles ahead of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.
The basic premise of CBT is that emotions, beliefs and behaviors begin with cognitions, and we can fix our lives by fixing our cognitions. One does this by identifying cognitive distortions and correcting them. Ten common cognitive distortions are all-or-nothing thinking, over-generalizing, mental filter (only paying attention to certain types of evidence), disqualifying the positive, jumping to conclusions (which includes mind reading and fortune telling), minimization/magnification, emotional reasoning, "should" or "must" thinking, labeling and personalization.
I think that practicing CBT can lead one closer to the kind if optimistic, happy life that RAW wants his readers to have.
I also think my earlier discussion of IFS is relevant to this chapter. Last time I practiced the quarter exercise, I found it easier to find them if I imagined a little girl looking for them along the street. I guess the part of me that is enthusiastic about finding quarters is young and feminine. Engaging with her opened me to finding many, many quarters in an era where they seem harder to stumble upon.
This is Tom again. If you have a favorite self-help book, share in the comments!