The Transformation Experience focuses on supporting the Pilot Program ministries in taking the next evolutionary step into a thriving model of ministry. Every organization is made up of individuals, and the capacity and consciousness of its leaders has particularly strong influence on the capacity and consciousness of the organization. It has been said that the capacity of the organization reflects the capacity of the leaders.
The importance of evolving individual consciousness cannot be overstated. In fact, supporting the individual in evolving consciousness is at the very heart of spiritual community and the Transformation Experience. For this reason The Art & Practice of Living with Nothing and No One Against You and its 21-day practice called The Q Process™ co-created by Gary Simmons, Th.D and Rima Bonario M.A is now a key component of the Pilot Program.
The process weaves together the latest research emerging from neurobiology, developmental psychology, and quantum science with the wisdom of the world’s mystical traditions to offer a powerful path to personal evolution.
Growing Up Human
Despite our best efforts, no human environment can fully and unceasingly reflect the Divine truth of our children back to them. Some environments come close, while others fall woefully short. It is now widely accepted that childhood’s earliest years are the most impressionable, but the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology suggests that it may be even more important than once thought. The convergence of several key factors has led to this conclusion:
• Young children are so deeply dependent on their caregivers for survival that parental response to their attempts at communicating needs is critical. Infants often display trauma responses even during relatively small lapses in need fulfillment.
• Young children have not yet developed the ability to think abstractly, so everything is interpreted in concrete terms. They are still differentiating themselves from their caregivers and consequently everything that happens is seen and felt by the child as deeply personal and “about them.”
Early experiences may continue to haunt us, even after years of conventional therapy because the unconscious limiting beliefs we picked up early on actually create associated neural architecture that, when triggered, inhibits the ability to make the conscious choices that align with spiritual principle. The Q Process™ helps participants understand and reflect on their biology (how the brain and perception works) and their psychology (how they create meaning) to uncover unconscious, limiting patterns of thought and behavior set in motion in childhood still operating by default.
Transcending the Past
As individuals and communities become aware of these hidden beliefs and ingrained neural firing patterns they can be transformed and released. Congregants, leaders and even the organization become free from old hurts and incomplete and erroneous perceptions that keep them from manifesting their greatest good.
Research by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and others suggest that our evolution can be fast-tracked if we develop a mindfulness practice that allows us to become aware of physiological and psychological patterns. Mindfulness can be defined as “a way of being,” a practice of being in “moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness,” of consciously “taking a second look at our first impulse, thought or reaction, and as a “practice or path of healing.”
The Mindfulness Center in Southern Maine identifies the five core skills of mindfulness as:
- Clarifying, setting and reaffirming intention: What am I practicing?
- Cultivating a witnessing awareness: developing meta-cognition, state awareness, and practicing outer non-reactivity while witnessing the inner landscape;
- Stabilizing attention: staying focused, placing attention on your intention;
- Strengthening self-regulation: settling negative energy intentionally, bringing the whole brain back on line;
- Practicing loving kindness: calming the inner critic and self-judgment, practicing nonjudgmental awareness and kindness and compassion for yourself and others.
The Q Process™ integrates these five principles in a 21-day structured reflection tool to reframe triggering experiences. The 21 days are made up of three (3) seven-day phases. Phase One focuses on critical thoughts or discordant behaviors that may have been directed outwardly. Phase Two focuses on any critical thoughts the participant has directed inwardly (self-criticism, self-judgment) which trigger shame, anxiety, etc. from old firing patterns. Phase Three follows both internal and external triggers into the past to find a memory associated with the pattern and uses a meditative visualization to loosen its emotional associations allowing the neural firing pattern to shift.
In the spring of 2010, Pilot Program ministries selected an individual to attend a week-long training to become a licensed Art & Practice (A&P) Ambassador for their communities. The training provided them with grounding in the interdisciplinary spiritual and scientific core of the A&P course and the 21-day practice. They returned home and began offering ongoing classes to their community—often starting with ministers, boards, staff, and volunteer leaders. So far the impact has been nothing short of profound.
Here are a few reflections from one ministry’s leadership team on how The Art and Practice of Living with Nothing and No One Against You and The Q Process™ has transformed their lives and their community.
A Powerful Awakening
In the beginning I wondered if the Art and Practice of Nothing and No One Against You was just another personal development class with a fancy name. However, being patient, I came back for another week—still nothing was really singing to my soul. Then we did an exercise where we wrote about something that bothered us. Being a long-time Truth student I felt I was handling things pretty well, so I decided to go along with the exercise. Giving it my best shot, I went deep into my heart and wrote something down.
As I progressed through the questions something interesting began to happen. I started feeling emotions that led me to places and ideas that seemed to have no connection to the original statement I’d written. I saw myself as a child having a conversation with my father. He told me how it wasn’t realistic for him to spend the time and money to sponsor me to become a professional golfer because I was a woman, even though I had the talent to succeed. I was devastated. He proceeded to sponsor and mentor a young man who did succeed in becoming a pro.
At that moment in time I formed the belief that “only men were able to excel in certain professions.” From then on I became an over-achiever, proving I was good enough to receive recognition for my achievements. I had never thought that about myself, and right there in the classroom I had an “Oh my God” experience.
What an insight! It opened up a whole new world to me. I saw how this affected my relationship with my husband, children and people in my work place. It was an amazing awareness of how I created stress in my own life as well as those around me. All those years I thought I was doing what was best for everyone, never realizing a deep wound in my childhood drove me.
The Art and Practice workshop and 21-Day Q Process™ is a powerful awakening if one can go deep into their heart and allow it to happen. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have such simple, wonderful tools to bring peace in my life. I would recommend this class to everyone. I am a prime example at 69 years young of, “you’re never too old or smart to learn.” The important part is to give yourself time, be patient, dig deep and stick with it.
—Darce Blakely, Unity of Panama City, Florida
A New Tool
The first thing that drew me to The Art and Practice of Living with No One and Nothing Against You was the unusual, if not a bit awkward, title. “Hmmm, I wonder if this is like the sequel to The I of the Storm?” However, the Q Process™ is more than just a book—it teaches a way to reach deep into the heart and truly “unpack” all the tangled yarn we have spun from our “stories.”
For me, the Q Process™ is unique; masterfully laying the foundation for self-transformation through the development of the “Q” card. The card exercise grounded me in knowing what I am striving to be. It gently guided me through “enemy territory” and led me to embrace what my life is showing me needs to be healed. It not only took me through many dark, deep places where the healing work was to be done, but gave me tools for dealing with the issues I found there.
At the beginning of the 21-Day Q Process™, my first worksheet was on the subject of my resistance to doing the worksheets! I discovered an underlying belief that I was victim to not having enough time to get everything done. The process itself helped me to surrender to it, a move I do not regret!
The worksheets took me from dealing with “enemies” outside myself, to dealing with the “enemy” being myself, and finally to rewriting my stories. The process took me to very deep places, helped me realize my “now” experience is based on my perspective; changing perspective changes my life experience. It trained me to use the steps as I found myself triggered by day-to-day encounters.
—Susan Hettick, Unity of Panama City, Florida
For more information on The Art & Practice of Living with Nothing and No One Against You, visit www.theQEffect.com.