The Grace Cultivation Process 2.0

The Grace Cultivation Process 2.0

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Over the years, I have developed my own self-reflective process based on a global exploration of mental health innovation. This is a personal process that I want to share for those who might be interested in it. I want to be clear that I am not a qualified practitioner in this field and that anything you do with this is at your own risk. In many ways, it is a framework that joins the dots between dozens of healing modalities and highlights an overall process, based on why they work. It isn’t a direct prescription. It is a provocation to develop your own process that works for you. My commitment to a personal awareness-raising process and all my experiences in it have really helped me to live with much more ease and grace than I used to feel in my past. I hope you gain some benefit from it.

The Grace Cultivation Process is a self-reflective process using the challenges of the outside world as a data-gathering exercise to find the areas in life that prevent us from living in a graceful way. It is also a simple way of processing the challenges of life, so they can be transcended in the future. It makes every challenge we face a deeply purposeful and meaningful experience.

Watching For The 6 Triggers:

Be mindful of the 6 triggers and think about how and when they occur. 5 of these are from the Buddhist tradition. The 6th is something that was discovered at the neuroscience facility, Biocybernaut – where much of the early learning from this overall process came from.

  1. Sensory desire: the particular type of wanting that seeks happiness through the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and physical feeling.
  2. Ill-will: thoughts of wanting to reject, feelings of anger, hostility, resentment, hatred and bitterness.
  3. Sloth-torpor: heaviness of body and dullness of mind that drag one down into disabling inertia and thick depression.
  4. Restlessness-worry: the inability to calm the mind.
  5. Doubt: lack of conviction or trust.
  6. Forgetfulness: The deliberate or unconscious forgetting or suppressing of memories and events.

The Trigger List:

It is important to capture triggers as and when they happen, or as part of an end-of-day reflection. Try to write down any instances when one of the 6 triggers occurs, and note the circumstances in which the trigger occurs. Maintaining a list on your smartphone or notebook is essential for identifying an ‘inner work’ list of meaningful challenges that impact your day-to-day life.

End of Day Reflections:

It isn’t always easy to capture all the times that we move away from grace. We can lose ourselves to one of the 6 triggers for long periods of time. We often live in these states semi-permanently, and/or are suppressing their existence by distracting ourselves from the present reality in some way. Some of the triggers are easier to capture than others.

To have compassion with yourself, if you are not consciously capturing any loss of graceful presence as soon as it occurs, it is good to use an end-of-day reflective process. Identify the primary challenges that happened during the day, gathering this data for ‘inner work’ in the future.

At the end of every day, ask yourself the following questions and document the results:

Which of my buttons/triggers were pushed today?
When, and how, was I triggered?
What did I externalise that I could have internalised?
(i.e. you blame your response on the situation or others, rather than seeing the way you responded as an issue)
What were the moments when I lost my centre?
When were the moments I struggled to accept ‘what is’?

Trigger Buddies

It is often really difficult to see our own behaviours. Find some willing people who know you well and see you often. Ask them which of the triggers they see in you, and when. We often have no idea they are occurring until someone lets us know. Be mindful that hearing others talk about times when you are triggered can be a very triggering process, in itself! From that point of view, pay attention to the mindset and setting of conversations like this. Feeling safe, secure and in a good or ‘high’ state of mind are all key to having a conversation like this.

Doing The Work

We all have different preferences and ways of doing inner work. There are many weird and wonderful ways that people can meaningfully process their triggers. The challenge is in creating the right environment to get to the root cause and deal with it, so that the trigger no longer occurs in the future. Ultimately, you need to find a way that will work for you.

Raising the state

When you are ready to process your triggers, find a way to be in a good, high state. The higher the state, the easier it is to find the wisdom to let go of whatever needs to be let go. The darker the memory, or the bigger the fear, the higher the state you need to be in, to digest it. Think of those moments or methods when life feels blissful and carefree. It could be in your meditation practice or daily prayer. It might be achieved by going to a beautiful place in nature, or even listening to some beautiful music. It could be using a ‘state-raising’ substance like raw cacao, cannabis, or even something like MDMA (where this is legal). It could be in biofeedback meditation (like Biocybernaut), hypnotherapy, shamanic ceremony or your preferred healing practice. Ultimately, find a way that works for you to get out of your head and into your heart – and the easier it will be to process these triggers, once and for all. The first experiences are often hardest and require the most ‘support’. You may wish to do this on retreat or when away from the world, in some way. As you learn to trust the process, you will be able to go through it with increasing ease – to ultimately deal with the challenges you face, as and when they occur.

Prioritising The Work

With the challenges of daily life, we often build a very long trigger list, very quickly. Whilst many of these triggers may be part of consistent patterns, it can be hard to decide which one will provide the most significant breakthrough in the least time. You may prioritise your work by asking your subconscious some questions:

What am I ready to let go of, today?
What behaviour/trigger is the greatest barrier to me living a graceful life?
What am I not seeing, that I am ready to see?
Which is the most important trigger for me to be working on, right now?

Again, using a high state to gain this wisdom is preferable. Rather than thinking about them, allowing the answers to simply come through you will get you closer to the answers you need. The egoic mind will try to avoid the most challenging triggers. Also, to get used to the process, be mindful that it can be easier to work on less challenging things, first. Ultimately, when increasing awareness, trial and error is a good thing. If you are afraid, or frustrated about failing, or believe you can’t do something – that is just another trigger for you to explore in more depth.

Digesting Undigested Life Experiences

There were many moments in our younger lives when we didn’t have the skills and experience to process the world in the way we would today. In our first 7 years, in particular, our subconscious mind develops many of the automated patterns and responses that we live by today. Unless reprocessed, trauma and/or undigested life experiences can remain with us forever, heavily influencing our current interpretation of the world and the decisions we make. This is a process that helps you to go back and reinterpret those experiences, in order to transform the subconscious algorithms you run your life by. If you reinterpret the deep memories locked in your subconscious, you will, over time, start to see the world, and live in it, in a very different way.

The Long and Detailed Method for Digesting Undigested Life Experiences:

This is a longer process for finding and reinterpreting old memories.

  1. Identifying the root cause
  • Go to the trigger.
  • Try to feel the emotion associated with that trigger, as far as possible.
  • Ask yourself the question – where, exactly, do I feel that trigger in my body?
  • Try to amplify that feeling as much as possible.
  • Ask yourself the question – when was the very first memory of me feeling that trigger? (There can often be resistance to this: these memories are often hidden and shut down. Ultimately, it isn’t something you try to recall by thinking. It is something you allow to come to you through the memory of the feeling. If you find yourself thinking too much and struggling to have a memory come back to you, then the state of consciousness you are in is probably not high enough to surface what needs to surface).
  • To make it easier to recall the memory, you may ask yourself a question like – Is there an age or a number that comes through, that this feeling is associated with? Most triggers have a link to our childhood, where many of our subconscious patterns are formed.
  • Another question might be – Who do I sense was with me when this feeling first occurred? Ultimately, it is a trial and error enquiry that will trigger the recall of a memory associated with a feeling.
  • When the memory comes to you, check in with your subconscious and ask – is this the very first memory? The first memory is the root, so it is important to get right back to that, in order to release as much of the trigger pattern as possible.
  1. Letting go of the trigger.
  • When you have identified the original moment or memory that created the subconscious trigger pattern, then you can start the work of reinterpreting the memory.
  • The objective is to get to the point of deep and unconditional forgiveness of all people (including yourself), beings (such as a God) and circumstances. Fundamentally, we probably already have the wisdom to reprocess it available to us, today, as adults. A young child’s interpretation is radically different from an adult’s.
  • Helpful questions for forgiving someone else might be: What happened to them in their life, for them to be like that?
  • Helpful questions for forgiving yourself might be: If you were giving ‘young you’ (or someone else of that age) advice right now, what would you say to them?
  • Forgiving someone else is not a process you do for them. It is something for you – to release yourself from the continuing pattern. Likewise, you forgive yourself so that you cause less harm to others in the world, in your day-to-day life.
  • Many forgiveness prayers or rituals like the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer can help with this. Ultimately, find a way that works for you, to consistently find forgiveness in others and yourself.
  • Remember: there is nothing that an open heart can’t fully forgive and find compassion for. Deep compassion is at the very source of cultivating a graceful life. This is where the high state comes in – and where the egoic mind really doesn’t help. If you can’t forgive someone or something, it is because you haven’t found a state of consciousness that is high enough. There is an Einstein quote ‘No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it’. If you can’t shift the perception enough to find the wisdom, then shift the level of consciousness you are in. The deeper the trauma, or the more difficult the memory is to digest, the more support you need to find the insight and wisdom to move beyond it.
  • This is not a process about denying what has happened in the past. It is a process for finding peace with the past, in order to live peacefully today.
  • The work is seen as complete when you can no longer feel the ‘trapped energy/emotion’ in your body. Using the question ‘Where can I feel this in my body?’ should give rise to a response like ‘I can no longer feel this’. If you are clear, then you are ready for the next trigger. If there is still something there, continue with the enquiry until you can let it all go. Or, seek support if you need help with doing this.
  • A good book to research how to let go is Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender, by David Hawkins.

The Short Version of The Method for Digesting Undigested Life Experiences

Ultimately, when you have done this a number of times and successfully ‘get’ the process, you should be able to design yourself a short process that allows you to unlock and reinterpret memories in a simple, quicker way. It could be something like this:

1: Where do I feel this trigger in my body?
2: When was the first time I felt this feeling?
3: How can I relive this moment with the wisdom of today?

Expanding through the branches

If you have reprocessed a big root cause and life-defining memory, it is very possible that this influenced many actions and circumstances you encountered in your life up to now. Sometimes, it can feel as if thousands of situations need to be digested properly, as a result of the new awareness you are cultivating. A simpler idea is to ask your body and/or subconscious to go through all (at once) the instances were influenced by that root cause event and reinterpret them. It doesn’t need to take long, because you don’t need to consciously remember or think about them – just trust your subconscious to do it. All you need to do is be aware that those moments existed, understand the scale and magnitude that a single event can have on your life, and be compassionate with yourself .

Integration

One of the reasons why a process like this, when first used, is best done with sufficient time and space, is because it can influence your life in a big way. Once we appreciate the extent to which we have lived our life as a result of our past experiences, we gain a significantly different world view to that which we had before. It can be disconcerting to reflect on our future, from from that point of view. Integrating the new awareness can take anything from minutes to years, depending on how much of our life we have to change, to get on course. The important thing to remember is: there is no rush. If lots of triggers start to surface as a result of the experience, it is often better to start working on those triggers first and clear them, rather than make too many life changes, too quickly.

Often, after some deep reprogramming, you will want to sleep. That is a good sign, because sleep is the way our subconscious likes to reorder itself every day. Other than that, the idea is to ground yourself until life feels settled again. For some, that might come through meditation practice, while for others, it may come from spending a lot of time in nature. Individuals who go through transformation can often feel like lobsters with a new shell. This is a period when we can feel soft and vulnerable. Doubt and uncertainty can occur (see trigger list!). The more time you spend grounding, the faster this will pass. In some ways, it feel like you’re learning to walk in the world again, which can take a little getting used to, at first.

A word of warning. The ego likes to strike back after big breakthroughs. Ultimately, it is just doing its job of trying to protect you from anything strange and unknown. It will sometimes throw a lot back at you in the days after those major breakthroughs. At this time, it is important to be extremely vigilant towards the triggers that are occurring. Keep running the process and grounding as much as you can. Do something as simple as acknowledging the good work of the ego, enabling it to pass. Thank it for trying to protect you and tell it that you are grateful for all the work it does. That can be enough. If it isn’t, then your new interpretation of life has found a whole new load of great new work on the past for you to do.

I hope you enjoy the process and the long walk to a more graceful and peaceful life.

This is a living document that I like to continually update, as I get more feedback from others. If you have some experiences to share on how this worked for you, or how you would change or update the process, please let me know at getintouch@marcwinn.com

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  1. J. Stewart says

    Hello Marc: I found my way to your site during a search to understand “imaginal cells,” a new term for me. I recently moved from an increasingly busy and chaotic metropolitan area to a very small, quiet town specifically to work on decluttering my inner landscape. The move was in response to listening to, trusting, and acting on the wisdom of my inner voice. And, I have been stuck on how to begin, distracted by national events. This piece, “The Grace Cultivation Process 2.0,” presents clear instructions for doing this very important inner work. I believe I have my answer on next steps and am excited to begin. Thank you.

  2. Bernard Richard Adams says

    Marc, this is one of the best posts I have ever read from you – simply – Thank You.

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