Do you get confused when facing an issue about where to start and what to say? This is one of the biggest questions I’m asked about tapping. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
A great first question when you’ve identified something you want to work with is
“When I put my attention on this, what do I notice, where does my attention spontaneously go?”
Here’s why this works: this is a very open ended question, it doesn’t direct you about how you put your attention on this issue, only that you do it. That leaves you free to notice whatever your spontaneous response is, whether it is a thought, an emotion or a feeling in your body. It is effortless in the sense that it doesn’t require you to think up a “right” answer; it does take focus as you turn your attention inwards and quietly notice where you attention goes. Wherever your attention goes is the right place for you to begin – for each of us that might be a different place. Tapping works best in this highly personalized way.
The second step is to go for more detail, to clarify your response as specifically as you can. How specific you get will again be very personal to you; whatever you can identify is great. Ask yourself these questions to get more clarity:
If you had a thought
eg “that’s not fair!” or “I’ll never be able to do it” or you might
remember some words that were said eg “you’ve ruined my life” ask some
of these questions:
“What emotion goes with that?”
“Where do I feel that in my body?”
“What picture/image comes to mind when I listen to those words?”
If you had an emotion eg sadness, anger hopelessness etc ask some of these questions:
“What thoughts go with this emotion?”
“Where do I feel that emotion in my body?” followed by
“What sensation does it have (sharp, dull etc)?”
“Is there a picture or image that comes to mind when I feel this?”
If you had some sensation in your body, you can ask these questions:
“What am I sensing specifically?”
In your own words name the location as precisely as you can (just under my left kneecap) and the sensations qualities (prickly, heavy, burning etc.)
“What emotion goes with that?”
“Is there a thought that goes with that?”
Sometimes it is possible to identify a lot of information, at other times only one or two qualities can be identified. Whatever you notice will be just fine. We always start from where we are and roll along at our own pace. With practice you will be able to identify more specifics faster.
Our subconscious has a wonderful protective quality and will do it’s best to provide only as much as we can handle at one time. There’s no race to be won so allow yourself the time to go at your own pace.
You might notice that you habitually notice more through one kind of response (thought, emotion or sensation) than the others. Again this is perfectly normal as we all have a natural heightened sensitivity through one or two modalities in this way. All will lead us to the resolution we are seeking and none is better than the others. With practice you will develop a greater self awareness of the other modalities.
The third step is to measure the intensity of your response on a 0 > 10 scale by asking these questions:
“How true / powerful is that thought?”
“How strong is that emotion?”
“How strong / intense is that sensation?”
Remember 0 is a complete absence and 10 is high. The numbers are only a rough guestimate and their real value is for comparison to your numbers when you have done some tapping for your response.
When saying your setup statement (the words you say while tapping on the karate chop spot on the side of your hand) include the strongest responses you had.
“Even though I’ve got this tight anger in my fists1, I’m so angry with Bill for scratching the new paintwork on my car2, I just want to hit him3…”
As a reminder phrase you can use any of the three underlined phrases. It might be useful to do a round using each phrase.
After you’ve completed your round(s) of tapping, remember to compare apples with apples.
This means you are asking yourself a specific question about your
current intensity on the phrases you’ve just been tapping on. From the
example above the questions you might ask are:
1. “How tight are my fists now?”
2. “How angry am I with Bill now for scratching my paintwork?”
3. “How much do I want to hit him now?”
If these are not a zero, then construct a new setup statement and do some more tapping on these specific aspects until they are a zero. Once you are at zero for this specific response, go back to the original question in step 1 and check for any other responses that come up now. Continue to cycle through steps 1, 2 and 3 until you have complete pace about the issue.
Asking the right question after you tap:
If you were to have asked a different question when you’d finished your rounds of tapping on the anger (which many people do), it might be something like
“How intense am I now about Bill scratching my car?”
This could lead you to an entirely different answer. If your number is still high, you might be tempted to decide that the tapping isn’t working. What might have happened is that the anger had dropped (and the tapping has worked), and you are now experiencing a different emotion, sensation or thought; you might now be really disappointed in Bill and feel heaviness in your heart. By comparing apples with apples and asking the right questions, it would have been more apparent that you were in fact making good progress and had just reached another layer of response that wanted to be cleared too.
These foundational steps can help you gain deeper insight into
what’s bothering you and develop a deeper awareness of your unique
patterns of response. In a future newsletter we’ll discuss some more
questions you can use to go even deeper into the issue and discover more
of these personal patterns.