Friday, September 11, 2009

The Matrix: The Psychological Flexibility Warm Up

Enhancing Psychological Flexibility: The Warm Up

First we will do a little stretch of the mind, nothing complicated, just a stretch. For this exercise I will use a writing pen, but if you don't have a pen handy, any little object will do.

The first thing to do is experience the pen through your five senses. So hold it in your hand and look at the pen. Really experience it through your sense of sight.

Next hear the pen. Click the pen or tap on it to make some noise. Really experience the pen through your sense of hearing.

Next feel the pen through your sense of touch. Run your finger over it and really get the feel of it.

Next smell the pen. Bring it up to your nose and give it a sniff.

Next, well, if you are intimate with your pen, then you can taste it. If not then smell it hard and sense the taste though your smell.

That is experiencing the pen through your five senses.

Now set the pen down. You will now experience the pen in your mind. So you "see" the pen in your mind. Then you "hear" the pen in your mind. Then you "touch" the pen in your mind. Then do the smell and tast in your mind. Finally, notice any other mental experiencing of the pen.

Question: Is there a difference between those two ways of experiencing (5 Senses and Mental)?

Who is noticing that difference? Or if you are noticing they are the same, then who is noticing the sameness?

You probably said "me," or "I" am noticing.

We will always use this basic stretch of noticing the difference between 5 senses experiencing of the world and mental experiencing of the world. Think about it: When you came out of the womb you started experiencing the world through your five senses. Then your mind went to work on learning about mental experiencing. That basic 5 senses experiencing to mental experiencing has been with you all along.

Next recall how it feels to move TOWARD something that is important to you. Maybe it was family, work, or school. Simply recall that feeling of moving toward something important to you.

Then recall how it feels to move AWAY from an unwanted mental experience like fear, sadness or anger. Simply recall that feeling that you get when you pull the covers over your head, or you did not go out, or maybe you did not pick up the phone in order to avoid having one of those mental experiences.

Again, who is noticing the difference between moving TOWARD and moving AWAY?

Yes, it's "me" or "I" doing the noticing.

The diagram below includes the me/I circle in the middle.

This is basic stretch. The fine print in the lower right says Kevin Polk, Ph.D., Jerold Hambright, Ph.D and Mark Webster. We came up with the Matrix for a presentation.

I will get to more about that presentation in later blogs, but the main thing to remember is that in the center of the Matrix is psychological flexibility. That is, if the ME or I in the middle has the choice to be noticing 5 senses experiencing, mental experiencing, choosing to move toward or away. As we go further and further into the blog, you may notice your psychological flexibility increasing.

Remember, start with five senses experiencing, then move to mental experiencing, then toward and away moves. That's the basic stretch.

Next we will continue the "stretching."

Flexibly Yours,


Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D.
Psychological Flexibility Blog and Podcast

Note: I am a clinical psychologist, so I must say this stuff is in no way meant to replace treatment. If you think you might me having significant problems, please seek professional help.

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