Acknowledgement Part 8: Focusing Inside To The Core

Till this point we have learned quite a lot of useful Acknowledgement stuff. You can actually do brilliant work using just The Basic Protocol to settle things down, and then focusing on one thing and Drilling Down To Bedrock, all the while Going Meta to keep things on track.

In this post I’ll teach you a new protocol. It’s called “Focusing Inside To The Core” (FITTC). I will elaborate in a later post, and to keep it short, you use FITTC when you hit a situation where there is strong emotion. DDBT is good for working out a recurring problem that you face, TBC is good for settling down when things inside are disorganized and flying around, GM is always relevant as it keeps things on track, and FITTC is good when there is strong emotion.

Now doing FITTC is very simple and easy. It’s much like DDTB, just the target and end point is different.

Instead of ‘Why is it like that?’, we ask ‘Why do I wish that?’. And we stop when the answer contains the word ‘want’.

You start with The Formula:

I wish he wouldn’t have left, of course I wish he wouldn’t have left, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that he left.

At this point you ask ‘Why’. Why do I wish that?

Why do I wish he wouldn’t have left?

Because I miss him.

Now we go back to The Formula.

I wish I wouldn’t miss him, ofc I wish I wouldn’t miss him, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that I miss him.

Back to ‘Why do I wish that’

Why do I wish I wouldn’t miss him?

Because it hurts so much when I miss him.

And back to The Formula.

I wish it wouldn’t hurt so much, ofc I wish it wouldn’t hurt so much, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that it hurts so much.

Back to ‘Why do I wish that’.

Why do I wish it wouldn’t hurt so much?

Because I don’t want it to hurt.

At this point we have hit ‘The Core’. The key word to look for is want. When you see that word, you have hit The Core.

And now you go back up.

I don’t want it to hurt, and so of course I wish it wouldn’t hurt so much, and so of course I wish I wouldn’t miss him, and so of course I wish he wouldn’t have left.

It’s that simple.

The Formula, Why do I wish that, The Formula, Why do I wish that… Until you hit the word WANT in response to the Why question.

Now of course, if you hit something you don’t wish that can also stop it… So you might get.

I wish he wouldn’t have left, of course I wish he wouldn’t have left, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that he left.

Why do I wish he wouldn’t have left?

Because I love him.

At this point “I wish I wouldn’t love him” might be untrue. And so we have hit the end and we go:

I love him, and so of course I wish he wouldn’t have left.

In essence, you either stop when you hit the word want or when you hit a spot where you don’t wish the next wish that comes up.

Try it, post in the comments, and ask your questions. Also tell us what it was like. I think it’s a pretty cool experience!


Acknowledgement Part 7: Understanding Drilling Down To Bedrock

Ok, so last post I promised I would speak about some of the theory involved in Drilling Down To Bedrock (DDTB). I’m doing this because it’s cool stuff and also because it’s pretty useful in troubleshooting DDTB.

Think about it like this. We all map the world. All the time. It’s what helps us predict what is coming so we can respond effectively. Heck, I would say it’s the whole point of having a brain.

Of course we all make mistakes when mapping. And often we then experience real life, and we remap. So I think Mike is a very nice guy, I see him act very nastily, and I change my map. No big deal.

The problem is when people have bits in their maps they don’t update (for reasons we have spoken about and will continue to explore in other posts). No matter the experience. This selective inattention then causes them to poorly predict what will happen and so they act in very suboptimal ways. It also causes them to be perpetually surprised when things happen that violate their experiences.

The cool thing is that when your map mistake is very general, you end up building a lot on top of that which is also mistaken. It’s also harder to disconfirm the map as the experiences you have can always be marked as ‘exceptions’.

For example, my client has a map that ‘there are no bad people out there’. Now she gets married to Mr. Bad. So now, as Mr. Bad can’t be defined as ‘bad’ to her, she completely misreads her situation. She doesn’t predict his behaviors well, and when he does act bad she gets completely taken by surprise, and not only that, she also takes the blame! No wonder she is suffering so badly!

Now of course this is all standard Acknowledgement stuff. The point here is that it’s not only about expectations vs reality. I’m asking you to look at it as maps vs territory. I’m asking you to realize that we ALL have gaps and errors in our maps. I’m asking you to realize that anytime you feel emotion it’s clear proof that you have mismapped the territory.

The point of DDTB is to get down to the spot of the mismap (or mismaps). Instead of stopping at the surface layer, instead of just “I didn’t realize the account would be empty” we can get to “I didn’t realize Mr. Bad would empty the bank account” and perhaps “I didn’t realize Mr. Bad is bad” and maybe even to “I didn’t realize people can be BAD”.

The key is that a wish is a mismap.

Now that we have this, we can ‘drill down’ by checking to see what casused the reality that I’m wishing against. So for the wish “I wish I had money for rent”, when we ask “why don’t I have money”, the answer to that will be the more general level mismap. Perhaps “because I don’t have a job”.

Lets look at this a bit deeper. The question ‘why’ is a horrible question. A truly horrible question. Why? (Hah!). It’s simple. There are an unlimited number of factors for anything. To use this example , asking ‘why’ tell us much less then ‘what is horrible about the question why’.

The question of ‘why don’t I have money’ can be answered so many ways. I don’t have rich dad, money doesn’t grow on trees, money isn’t made out of belly lint, I am not Bill Gates, I’m not a genius, I spent too much on beer, God is mad at me… Get the point?

So why then ask why? And here is the key point. Why will elicit the piece that is considered the least solid in the clients map! So ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’ is mapped as solid. And so when you ask ‘why’, money not on trees isn’t seen as a separate cause, rather it’s simply a seamless reality. It doesn’t exist as a separate ‘fact’. The answer to ‘why’ will be the thing that is the most ‘separate‘ in the clients reality. The piece that is least seamlessly integrated as part of their map of reality. That is the mismap!

And so ‘I don’t have a job’ as an answer shows us that to the client that is more unexpected then ‘money not growing on trees’ or ‘no rich dad’ or ‘not being Bill G’. Some will answer ‘no rich dad’.

And each person will ‘give up’ their very own mismaps.  They can’t help it. They can’t see other ’causes’ as they are just seamlessly part of the map. The ‘rich dad’ person will think that ‘no job’ isn’t a REASON. And the same the other way around.

So in essence the question is, ‘this happened, you didn’t expect it on some level, what then did you expect to happen?’ ‘And this did happen, so what went wrong?

We capture all that in one big fat ‘why’.

Once you hit bedrock, you are at the point where you have no more wishes. That means you have gone down to the point where it IS all one seamless reality. You have found something ‘underneath’ your ‘deepest’ mismap and have now recognized that. And then you go back up and do ‘Of Course’ and remap the map so that old mismap is recognized as caused. At this point you’re unable to hold that mismap anymore and you now have that seamless reality all the way up.

In a future post I will speak about what happens when you get ‘I don’t know’ as an answer to ‘why’.

This post was a bit ‘heavy’ and so please take to the comments to ask any questions, let me know what you think, or just to give me some more awesome feedback so I stick to this thing! So far the comments and feedback have given me a lot of juice to keep writing. Keep it up please!

Acknowledgement Part 6: Troubleshooting “Drilling Down To Bedrock”

A few points in regards to the last protocol “Drilling Down To Bedrock”.

Firstly, when you ask ‘why’ you often get “I don’t know” as an answer. The way you deal with this is simple, you treat it like any interruption. You Go Meta in it and you do Acknowledgement for that (“I wish I would know, ofc I wish I would know, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that I don’t know”) and then you get back to asking again “Why”.

If you once again get “I don’t know” you just do the same thing again. Acknowledge it and go back to asking “why”. Sometimes you need to do this a few times before you get anywhere.

Sometimes after doing this 5 times or so you still have the “I don’t know”. In that case you check to see if the question of ‘why’ seems irrelevant or foolish to you. Much like the question “why did Jim in Kansas eat bacon for breakfast today?”. Ya simply don’t care! In that case, you have hit Rock Bottom and you can once again start working up the chain using “of course”.

Secondly, sometimes when you ask ‘why’ you get more then one answer. What do you do then?

In that case you set each answer as the starting point of a new branch to work down. Like a mind-map or tree. Then you pick one of them, go down it till you hit Rock Bottom, and then you work down the other one. It can be very useful to fully map out and explore all the bits, if you have a lot of stuff to map, then map it!

In the next post I hope to talk some theory about what’s happening when we use the Drilling Down To Rock Bottom Protocol, which will help flesh out some of it for your practice.

As always, comments and questions welcome.


Acknowledgement Part 5: Drilling Down To Bedrock

So we have learned The Basic Protocol and we have learned how to Go Meta when doing Acknowledgement.

Now it’s time to learn another protocol. It’s called “Drilling Down To Bedrock”.

Here is the theoretical bit. Say you have acknowledged something and it’s now fully accepted as part of your reality. It’s still possible for the pain and suffering to ‘come back’.

How? Well if there is a reality that causes the issue and you haven’t acknowledged *that*, you will constantly have the issues come back.

For example. What if you didn’t get a bonus at work. So you do Acknowledgement and now you have accepted it. Excellent.

But you haven’t acknowledged the fact that your boss hates you, well then the next time you think about it, it will regenerate! After all, if the boss doesn’t hate you, then you SHOULD get a bonus…

And so when A causes B, and you still haven’t accepted A, then B will get regenerated over and over again.

If you haven’t accepted that you have no skills then the ‘I wish I had a job’ will keep coming back.

If you haven’t accepted that the Feds took all your money, then the ‘I wish I had my private jet’ will keep coming back.

Makes sense?

Good. This is why we have the ‘Drilling Down To Bedrock’ protocol.

Here is how you do it. Immediately after you Acknowledge a wish and reality you ask ‘why’. Then you take the answer to that and do an Acknowledgement on that.


I wish I would have a job, of course I wish I would have a job, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that I don’t have a job.

Why? Because I have no skills.

I wish I had skills, etc…

Simple enough?

Now I’m sure you’re wondering, when do you stop?! Can’t you ask ‘why’ to each answer?!

Ah. So here’s the thing. At a certain point the answer you ‘why’ will be something that you don’t wish away. So in the example above lets say you went:

No job —> no skills —> didn’t go to school —> had a newborn baby…

At that point the words ‘I wish I didn’t have a newborn baby’ might not be true. We call this Rock Bottom.

Essentially you have reached a point where the reality that underlies your suffering is something you *don’t* wish wasn’t true.

Once you hit rock bottom you run the chain in reverse.

So you say ‘I had a newborn baby and so of course I didn’t go to school and so of course I have no skills and so of course I have no job.

And then you’re done.

In summary: Do Acknowledgement, then ask why, then do Acknowledgement on that, keep going till you hot Rock Bottom. Then start from Rock Bottom and go up the chain using ‘Of Course’ to go from step to step.

If in the middle you notice some stuff getting in the way, just take a momentary detour and Go Meta on it. Then get right back to Drilling.

Do one in the comments and feel free to ask any questions if you get stuck.


Acknowledgement Part 4: Going Meta

Ok. So we have learned how to do The Formula and The Basic Protocol.

Time to focus in on something that often happens while doing The Basic Protocol. Many beginners think it’s a problem, advanced practitioners realize that it’s actually a very important part of the process.

Here it is. Often when you do The Basic Protocol and you’re noticing the thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they come in and doing Acknowledgement on them, you get stuff that is irrelevant and distracting.

And so you might get a thought or sense of “why isn’t this working?!” or “I hope I’m doing this right…” or “This chair is so uncomfortable”…

At this point most people would simply try and ignore it so they can get back to work. This can be difficult and often times doesn’t work. It also obscures key information as we will discuss in later posts.

Ok, so what do you do?

And the answer (as you might have guessed by now) is to Acknowledge it! And so even though the thought you have at this moment doesn’t seem relevant to what you are trying to work on, the fact that it has shown up makes it a target for Acknowledgement.

We call this “Going Meta”.

And so in the example above where the sense of “why isn’t this working?!” shows up, to Go Meta we would then do “I wish this was working, ofc I wish it was working, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that this isn’t working”. For “I hope I’m doing this right…” we might do “I wish I knew I was doing this right… etc”. And then you get right back to where you were (unless something else pops up)!

And so here is the exercise for this week. For 5 minutes a day do Acknowledgement using The Basic Protocol making sure to Go Meta when something shows up that ‘doesn’t belong’. Let me know how it goes in the comments.

Good luck!

Acknowledgement Part 3: The Formula and The Basic Protocol

Ok, so we have the basic conflict. Every suffering has a reality opposing a wish/expectation. After doing the last exercise you’re skilled at identifying the wish from a reality.

So now what? How do we resolve this issue?

And the answer turns out to be quite simple. The wish and the reality need not conflict. You actually CAN have the reality in its fullest sense as well as the wish in its fullest sense.


Well what if the reality doesn’t ‘kill’ the wish? If we can do that, the wish no longer ‘fights’ acceptance of the reality and we can fully accept and integrate the reality. And the conflict is gone.

An example is the candy case. The child wants candy and now is told that there is none. The child can’t accept the reality that there is no candy as the wish blocks that. If there is no candy then wanting candy ‘dies’.

So what if we said this to the child…

“I wish so badly that we had candy. I wish we had red candies, blue ones, green ones, pink ones. I wish we had bags and bags, boxes and boxes of candies. I wish we had so many candies that the whole entire house would be stuffed with them! Wouldn’t that be awesome? Yeahhhhh. You would eat so much candy your stomach would be full with candy. All day and all night. Well we don’t have any candy in the house now and tomorrow first thing I will go out and buy you some!”

What happened? We validated the wish. In essence we said “just because there isn’t any candy doesn’t mean you can’t want it! You sure as heck can want candy and that’s ok even though there isn’t any”. The wish is valid even though there is a reality here. Once we do that, the wish no longer needs to block the reality as it’s in no danger of ‘dying’. Once we have that the reality is accepted and integrated.

And so the solution to The Basic Conflict is extremely simple. The key is to validate the wish before you try and stuff home the reality.

Turns out I have a simple formula to do this. And here it is.

Simply say out loud “I wish I had my first class ticket, of course I wish I had my first class ticket, who wouldn’t?! And I acknowledge the fact that I don’t have my first class ticket”.

Here we validate the wish, it then feels ‘safe’ and it no longer needs to block the reality. We have the wish and the reality living side by side in perfect harmony.

And so here is the exercise. It’s called the Basic Protocol. Write it out in the comments and I will respond.

Start with something in your life that bothers you. Rate how bad it bothers you at this moment from 1-10 (with 10 being the worst). Write the topic and the number.

Next write it out fully using the Basic Formula. Then notice the next wish or reality that comes afterwards and use the Basic Formula on that as well. Then the next thing that comes. Do it for 10 items or till nothing more comes.

Then rerate it on 1-10. If it changed, describe what changed.

Here is an example.

Failing school – 8.8

I wish I would not be failing school. Of course I wish I would not be failing school, who wouldn’t? And I acknowledge the fact that I’m failing school.

I wish I could study well. Ofc I wish I could study well, who wouldn’t? And I acknowledge the fact that I can’t study well.

I wish my Dad didn’t have such big expectations for me. Ofc I wish…

4 – I feel X has changed…


Acknowledgement Part 2: Exercise

Here is the first acknowledgement exercise. It probably won’t take you more than 5 minutes and it’s extremely simple.

The goal is to train you to spot both sides of the basic conflict even when presented with only one side of the equation.

For example, lets say you have this reality:
“I can’t afford my rent!”
3 possible wishes are:
1. I wish I could afford my rent
2. I wish I had a free apartment
3. I wish my landlord would be more understanding.

For “I’m so hopeless that I have no wishes” you can do:
1. I wish I wasn’t so hopeless that I didn’t have any wishes
2. I wish I wasn’t depressed
3. I wish I cared about life

Now as you notice the first wish is always the opposite of the reality. So for “my pet died” we have “I wish my pet didn’t die”. For “X”, then the wish is “Not X”

The other wishes are really based on what the person themselves feels. And so it might be “I wish I had time to say goodbye” or that might feel completely irrelevant. It all depends on if that wish is there or not. No one outside the person can know that.

And so with that, here is the exercise.

In the comments section give 3 realities in our life that you don’t like. It can be a Big Deal like ‘My Mom is dead’ or something small like ‘I’m out of beer’. For each of the 3 realities, write 3 wishes that you sense are there. The first wish is always “I wish not X”, as for the other 2, notice what you have inside of you and write that.

So 3 realities, and then 3 wishes per reality. I will be watching the comments and letting you know how you did (and helping out if you get stuck).


Acknowledgement Part 1: The Basic Conflict

In this series of posts I will go through Acknowledgement. I will explain the concepts, give you exercises to do, and train you in troubleshooting. If you do the exercises I assign (which will mostly be pretty quick and easy) you can get pretty skilled at Acknowledgement rather quickly. I’m talking in the range of less than an hour for basic proficiency. As always, this is a work in progress and feedback is welcome.

Now you might be wondering. What the heck in Acknowledgement anyways?

Acknowledgement is a tool I created a few years back. I designed it so you can use it to help end your suffering, to work on ‘fixing’ yourself from psychological and emotional problems, to solve unsolvable problems, and to help yourself (or others) change.

It’s extremely simple and extremely powerful. Jimmy gives a decent description of his experience with it on his blog (perhaps he’ll link to it in the comments).

And so with that, let’s begin.

I’m going to start here with a simple premise.

Any suffering we experience is a conflict between a wish/expectation (I will use the work ‘wish’ and it’s interchangeable with ‘expectation’) and the reality. This that we don’t wish for, we don’t notice or suffer from.

Here is a simple example. When I fly I suffer because of the long lines, the small seats, and the bad food. If the plane was on time and I was in first class I would be perfectly happy. But hold on! Even in first class I have other passengers there, I don’t have a hot tub on the plane, and I can’t sing at the top of my lungs! In a private jet, that would not happen. So how am I not suffering?! And truth be told, if Bill Gates was stuck on a commercial flight, even being in first class I think he would suffer from all those things.

And the difference is simple. I wish for no more than first class. And so when I’m in first class there is no discrepancy between my wish and the reality and so I’m not suffering. For Bill, he wishes to be on a private jet, and so first class is suffering for him.

Now this idea is nothing new. Not by a long shot. In future posts I hope to describe this idea itself in more detail. It won’t be terribly easy as I have a lot interrelated ideas on this, and I hope to be able to get it down on paper.

Ok. So suffering is when we wish for things that aren’t reality. The gap between my wishes/expectation and the reality. And so the question is obvious. Why then do we persist in wishing things that aren’t happening?! Sure yesterday I had a ticket for first class, but I lost the ticket and today I’m flying coach. So now the reality is that I can’t fly first class! So why don’t I just recognize that as my new reality and why doesn’t that new reality automatically exclude any further wishing? And so how is it possible to wish?! And why do we wish when all it really brings is massive suffering!

And the answer is simple. All our wishes are in essence messages (from a certain angle all of us is messages, it’s something I’ll speak about in other posts). It’s the message of ‘pursue the wish’. If we accept the reality that the wish is not possible, well then the message will be automatically ignored. And so the wish itself, the message itself, is still ‘calling’ to be heard. Accepting the reality is therefore something the wish will ‘fight’. The wish ‘fights’ to be heard.

In another sense… Since if I accept reality the wish must disappear and die, the wish itself blocks my full acceptance of the reality. The wish has its own self-preservation instincts and it doesn’t want to die. And so it is BECAUSE of my wish that I don’t fully accept the reality. The wish doesn’t want to ‘die’. I will explain this all in a later post that goes deeper into the concepts of The Basic Conflict, but for now I ask you to work with the metaphor of a wish that doesn’t want to die.

And so in essence, whomever gets there first ‘wins’. If I first want/expect something and then I find out that I can’t have it, then the wish will block my accepting that I can’t have it. And so we have The Basic Conflict and we have suffering.

However if the reality gets there ‘first’ then the wish never gets generated and there is no suffering.

Here is a cute little intervention that works with this concept. Say you won 2 million bucks. Spent a million and lost the remaining million a year later. And it’s hurting. Here is what you do. Imagine for a moment that you’re going back in time to BEFORE you won the lottery. So it’s the day before you won your 2 million. And someone comes over to you and says ‘hey, do you want to win 2 million of which you will spend a million during the next year and then the second million will be given back’? And I can imagine that you would say YES! Now get the cash, spend the million, and lose the other million, going till the present moment. Notice how now the missing million doesn’t bother you.

Why? Simple. You don’t wish to have the remaining million as it was never a possibility. Why? Because the reality got there first. You never wanted to have it past a year as you knew before you got it that it was for a year. Case closed.

A good illustration of this is a child that asks for candy and is informed that there is none. Often times the child will dispute that and keep shouting that there is a candy! Why? Same thing. If there is no candy then they can’t ‘want’ it! Had we told the child in advance that there was no candy before the wish came we would be fine (and it’s a very useful parenting technique as we will discuss in those posts). But now, once the wish is ‘active’ accepting that there is no candy ‘kills’ the wish. And so there is no acceptance.

Now I want to make it clear that there are complications and permutations of this that we will discuss. And this is the basic idea for now.

Ok. We got it. So what do we do? How do we fix this conflict?

That will be the subject of future posts.

In short… When we want or expect something and it’s not happening, that is the experience of suffering. The conflict. So why do we keep wishing and expecting?! The answer is that the want doesn’t want to die. And so if it gets there before the facts, it won’t just roll over and die because the facts showed up. If the facts get there first then the wish never even starts (with many exceptions). In the next post we will give a solution to this problem.

Comments welcome. They make me feel good and I do stuff that makes me feel good. So I’ll post more. So if ya like it, comment. Even just to say that you liked it or disliked it.


I’m Back

After a nearly 2 year hiatus, I’m back to blogging.

I have 4 books inside which are begging to be written and I have not been listening to them too well. My friend Jimmy H suggested that I blog in order to get the words on the page. I think it’s a fine idea.

The books are on
1. ‘What Do You Want’
2. Acknowledgement
3. Childrearing
4. Romantic/Intimate relationships.

I’ll be posting about each topic and I hope to build some momentum and keep it rolling. Your comments and interest certainly will help me along.

See ya around.


A Tip For Working with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

When working with clients who suffer from GAD (general anxiety disorder) I have often found that they present with ‘my anxiety just happens, it’s not about anything specific…’. In the past this was quite the barrier for me to work with, and after some time and experience with those clients I have notice some interesting things. I’ll give you two of them here, and you can let me know in the comments what you think.

1. In the intake, even with GAD clients, I have always been able to notice some triggers that make the anxiety worse or add to it. While I don’t find the ultimate trigger for everything (which is what the client is looking for), I do find something that does something. I will often start with that, and once I open those up, more often then not the rest starts to open as well.

2. When I don’t know the triggers, I check for the idea that this that there are no specific triggers and the anxiety ‘just happens’ is itself quite anxiety provoking. That idea has so far always been on the mark. Now that I have identified that global trigger, I open it up by acknowledging the positive intent behind that anxiety (more often then not it’s ‘try to figure it out so I can know why it happens so I can fix it’). Once the client clearly sees that benefit, they let it go, and that bit of anxiety is gone.

At that point I have found that the rest becomes explorable as well. And there’s a simple explanation. The anxiety of ‘just happens’ creates the tight hold on ‘I need to completely figure this out’ which makes it that the client automatically rejects anything that isn’t a full blown perfect explanation for everything, which presents as ‘I don’t know what my triggers are’. Opening up the ‘just happens’ now opens the space for us to pinpoint and pick apart the triggers as well.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.