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!

3 Replies to “Acknowledgement Part 7: Understanding Drilling Down To Bedrock”

  1. “Anytime you feel emotion it’s clear proof that you have mismapped the territory.”

    When I read this it scared me, so I did some drilling. Went a little something like this:

    I want to have a perfectly mapped territory so I can win at life
    Which means ->
    I have to become an emotionless robot
    Which means ->
    No one will like me

    Once I got here I was too scared to acknowledge “No one will like me”. But I did kind of dodge the issue by realizing that even if I became emotionless people would still like me.

    I’m going to have to think about “No one will like me” some more and see if that is something I can accept.

  2. This is good stuff. I was attracted to acknowledgement when I read about it on jimmy’s blog, but I applied it pretty inconsistently and aimlessly. This structured approach could help with that. Hope to see more.

    Found your site through your reddit account. Was googling for Gendlin’s focusing after doing a session of it with mixed results. Honestly I wish I had a local therapist who knew about this stuff and could help me apply it. Been pretty disappointed with the ones I’ve met so far.

    1. When I created Acknowledgement it was with a structure. I think Jimmy was merely talking about it and not trying to teach you how to do it.

      If you do get to work on it, do the exercises and post em in the comments…

      As for the Gendlin stuff, Ann Weiser Cornell has a nice book called “The Power Of Focusing” which is a good how to guide. In addition, I offer sessions over Skype. If you’re interested send me an email joef at wikihyp dot com.

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