The Toronto Hypnotherapist

Hypnosis and Toronto Hypnotherapy with Allan Clews.

Old Blog

Looking at a Problem from All Three Sides - Tuesday September 4, 2012

Posted on September 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM


Mr. Gurdjieff said that ordinary man "has no WILL" and that he "cannot DO anything". That things just happen, ‘free will’ is an illusion and we are more like machines ruled by habits and patterns of thinking.


This was very contentious when Mr Gurdjieff first began teaching in the early part of the last century. Though neuroscience has recently begun to confirming it.


However, he also gave us hope because he said it is possible for us to develop WILL and learn to DO. This is where Inner, and in particular, Decision Exercises, come in.




Stepping Between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.


Abraham Lincoln used a triangulated exercise when he started out as a lawyer. He would draw a line down a piece of paper and summarize his case on one side and his opponent’s on the other; turning it into a ‘yes/no’ exercise.


And to do a ‘yes/no’ exercise correctly, you have to be able to ‘dissociate’ and step back from both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on an inward level, in order to be able to hold both possibilities in front of you. An act which could serve as the definition of the ‘reconciling position’ or the third element in this triangular process.


It also helped that Lincoln wrote it down on paper, representing it with visual language and placing it physically outside of himself on a piece of paper. This allowed him to look down at both sides equally; comparing and contrasting (Matching AND Mismatching in NLP) the two positions.


This created a ‘polarity’ because what he wrote on one side, he would invariably counter on the other. Something that is an essential aspect of this process.




Taking This One Step Further


If Lincoln had then read them out loud, he would have also encoded this material auditorily. Thereby using three of the main sensory pathways we use to process information in our brain: visually (the words written on paper), auditorily/linguistically (the words spoken out loud) and physically (the fact he could pick up this sheet of paper and hold these words in his hands) - or Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic in NLP terms.


Now if he had of linguistically represented each point pictorially as a sketch - even just using stick figures - he would have tapped into both the left (writing and mentation by language) and right (visual and mentation by form) hemispheres and turned it into a whole-brain exercise.




Lincoln then went a step (literally) further because when he was in court he would first present his opponent’s case, followed by his own.


Now I am not sure how he did it, but for maximum effect, I imagine him speaking and acting normally, that is, as Abraham Lincoln, as he stands on one side at a slight angle to the jury.


And then I imagine him “PUTTING IT IN QUOTES” when presenting his opponent’s case (and keep in mind this is one of the hypnotic patterns isolated by Dr. Milton Erickson) by saying: ‘my [opponent] will no doubt say’... followed by his reciting of opponent’s case...


Of course, to really enhance this process, I also then imagine him taking a few steps to the side and standing at the slight mirror angle to where he was - while looking back at where he was standing a moment ago, and physically adopting the speech patterns and mannerisms of his opponent; and pretending or make-believing he was his opponent. (making sure to close the quote at the end).


Literally stepping into his opponent’s position, entering into what NLP calls ‘second position’ by walking a mile in his opponent’s shoes, so-to-speak (or "Only-He-May-Enter-Here-Who-Puts-Himself-In-The-Position-Of-The–Other-Results-of-My-Labors." (Mr. Gurdjieff in “Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson”)


But then the best court-room lawyers aren’t really lawyers. They’re actors who went to law school. The best can step into any role. And judicial proceedings triangulate - the prosecution/plaintiff in the affirming position, defence in the negating and the judge/jury sitting in the reconciling position.


This is a great exercise if you have to make a major decision such as purchasing a car or house or deciding what to study or where to go to school. Something that can be divided into a ‘pro/con’ ‘for/against’ or ‘yes/no’ polarities.

Categories: Thoughts and Reflections, Mindfulness

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