Identity, the container for all of our life experiences and predicted actions, is a function, and output, a program, that is based on our memory, real and imagined.
This means, that if we imagine a different past, we will express a different future.
The ‘older’ memories tend to access our ‘deeper’ subroutines of the Identity program. That is, the younger memories we have, the more foundational the identity patterns are, and therefore the more power they hold. Think of it as a hierarchy. The ‘old’ wires (older repeated stimulus/response loops) that were laid down when we were much younger tend to get reinforced the most (because they were used longer and earlier) and are used and linked to others. They are the core, the root, the stem, the core infrastructure, the foundation from which other branches are then laid upon.
This is why working deeply with the inner child identity memory works so well. If/when we can recall that state of inner child peace or sense of sensuality and complete acceptance. There is an ‘essence’ or spirit of this younger us that is sensitive and aware, yet powerful and independent. When we can imagine and remember that ‘younger’ self to be the most whole and complete, physically, sensually, emotionally and thought pattern wise, moving thru environments, interacting with others, crafting and doing work… then the better we will incorporate those patterns into our future identities, into our Belief and Expectation systems.
Practical tools to do this are:
1) Get the body/human/animal into a receptive state for experiencing the ‘remembered’ self. This is done by hyper-oxygenating the system with breathwork, sonic landscapes, and sense of spaciousness in the self (convincing the current identity that it is living in some imagined reality). Anyhow, there are some can openers that pry the lid off of our receptability. Namely ‘Trance’ like techniques.
2) Imagine what it was like, from a physiological, emotional, thought, feeling, and sensory/sensual state to be that person in a specific environment. Ideally feel the whole body at once, moving thru space and interacting with others. Live this movie, live this story, feel it in the body, and associate positive emotions with it. Play with it.
3) Repeat this often, and have it be a ‘movie’ that you observe over and over again.
4) Practice being this feeling state in the ‘real world’ frequently. Practice it laying down at first, then standing, then moving thru space.
This also works to imagine the future. Because Memory is both a past and a future predictor, we can modify our memory system by imagining a new future as well. Both of these are tools to overwrite the program that is causing distress, causing stimulus response loops that are causing physical or emotional pain, limiting the human from expressing itself in the most relaxed and powerful ways.
The ancient teachings of Chi-Gong, of Daoism, and of Meditation all apply the same principles, however they add a mystical layer to it and a story to it. They will add in a pantheon of gods, spirits, animals, and entities. These are tools that enable the human to place themselves (their identity) into a larger framework. It enables the identity to become more maleable. More open and receptive to change.
In the Pantheon tool set, we visualize gods or Godesses who embody different emotional and situational aspects of being human. This then triggers our mimicry tool. Mimicry is a tool for us to relate to others, generate a sense of unity, and therefore facilitate value exchange and learning.
The Pantheon tool sets always unite the ‘mystery’ with the ‘human’. They connect the unknown mystery of how we’re here with a human’s existence in story form. They put Gods in human form living out an imagined social environment such as family, business, fighting/opponents, lovers, crafting, etc.
The power of the Pantheon tool lays in its tapping into the more powerful emotional wiring that humans developed to facilitate their social bonds, a wiring that I believe was made to facilitate collaboration amongst humans so they can better expand their species dominance in an ecosystem, and even against other humans. Anyhow, it’s simple. We have LOTS of brain space (literally lots of neural regions) dedicated to recognizing faces. We also have LOTS of neural space dedicated to interpreting human emotions based on facial expression. Same goes for tones, sounds, language.
The Pantheon toolsets use this core Human fondness for facial recognition and interpretation to generate faces and body postures of gods and goddesses which trigger emotional states in us. We then try to mimiic those facial expressions, and the emotional experiences. This generates a more sensual relaxation (Yin) or sensual aggression and action. (Yang).
The more we train a story of a God, the more we relate to it. The more we relate to it, the stronger the story circuit gets. Our Mimicry mechanism (also called mirror neurons) begins to wire a simulus-response loop into our memory. When aspects of this Pantheon story arise, it triggers that stimulus/response loop. Our bodies will then generate subtle physiology shifts intended to serve us in that imagined environment.
How can imagination affect physiology? Crazy!
Well, our neocortex (the imagination and prediction region of our brains) literally has cables that are wired into our mid-brain (the emotional response part). The mid-brain controls our automatic responses to situations. The mid-brain connects down into the brain-stem and cerebellum. These control our muscle movements, chemical secretions, hormone releases and regulation.
So, it literally is a ‘top-down’ cascade effect.
Imagination affects Emotion which affects Physiology.
Lastly, in Kung Fu, we practice the Eight Animal styles. Pretending to be an animal really strips out our sense of human identity, and lets us ‘play’ or imagine being something completely different. Our physiology response appropriately. Its Hard Wired. ;-)