“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
All of us try to solve our problems by searching for the solutions in different books, websites, other people’s opinions and so on. We seek external information which we can incorporate in our selves to solve our own problems and make our lives peaceful. There are many of you who seek the help of others in solving your own dilemma or go through some self help book which will quickly narrate the steps which you use to vanquish the problem.
Have you ever thought that perhaps rather than finding peace through external sources you should come close to your own home. All the answers to your questions lie within yourselves. The process of Core Transformation brings you insync with your inner self. It brings you close to what Sigmund Freud refers to as the Unconscious self.
The iceberg theory of Simgund Freud explains that our conscious self, the one we are aware of, is only at the tip of the iceberg. There is a whole lot of self present below our sea, in our mind which we don’t even know exists and this is known as the unconscious self. As Freud (1915) states himself that the unconscious mind is the primary source of all human behavior; and like the iceberg it isn’t visible to us.
Core Transformation is a process where you delve deep into the root cause of the issue or the problem you are facing and solve that issue. Supposingly you fell from a bicycle, the external measures you take are applying band-aid to heal the wound but this technique will help you in the short term. Whenever you fall you’ll put band-aid and then do that activity again. But if you delve deep into the root cause that is why you fell in the first place then it will provide you with long term solutions. Perhaps you aren’t proficient in riding a bicycle or perhaps you are afraid that you may fall because you have seen others fall or perhaps riding makes you lose control which you don’t like.
Once you begin the process of core transformation and start digging deep into yourselves, you will come up with long term solutions and inner peace. In a session with Michael Watson when a person revealed of having road rage, through the process of core transformation it was revealed that because she felt out of control while driving she exhibited road rage. Diving more deeper it was revealed that she wanted to be safe and secure. Further depth revealed a want to lower her guard down towards people which will provide freedom and inner peace. The surface problem of road rage had a deeper root cause and through the process of core transformation it was revealed.
The process or skill of core transformation will help in exploring the deep root cause of the problem and in turn provide inner peace to all of us.
The principles of core transformation have been present in spirituality and philosophy. The emphasis on achieving inner peace, self love and self knowledge has been told by many philosophers across time. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher laid emphasis on self knowledge being the key to all the wisdom in the world.
The Vedas which are Hindu sacred scriptures have teachings which dedicate themselves towards self knowledge as is mentioned in Rig Veda is to achieve spiritual knowledge of self is the main goal of man’s life. The goal of life is to know the soul which is the master of all activities that the body does. This will lead to spiritual and mental liberation. Vedanta philosophy taught in the Vedas believes god is within everyone so our journey of seeking god within is through self knowledge and self realisation. Lord Ganesha is perceived as the god of all wisdom in the Hindu philosophy. The pursuit of knowledge is not limited to the outer realm but exploration of the inner self too. Atma Vidya or self knowledge becomes the highest truth and the foundation for all knowledge.
The Upanishads are late vedic period religious texts which teach the ‘atma anatma’ jnana which explore the knowing yourself labeling it as the most meaningful quest of life. The true nature of the atma or soul is not the physical body which is perishable but exploring within that body.
In Buddhism, Lord Buddha is seen as the awakened one who has achieved self knowledge and the buddhist discourse enables everyone to focus on achieving nirvana or enlightenment through which you can achieve inner peace and wisdom. The importance of inner peace and knowing yourself is very essential to live a meaningful life.
‘And your unconscious mind has just made an important decision.’
- Dr. Milton Erickson
A session with Dr. Milton Erickson changed the whole viewpoint of Connirae Andreas who was facing a personal issue. A few group sessions with Dr. Erickson, she seemed to note that no change was happening and he wasn’t working directly with her. On the last day when she resigned to herself and just simply observed what he was talking about, suddenly she felt a sense of complete wellbeing. As she describes it herself, all of a sudden she felt like a different person. She didn’t know how this happened but the sense of peace provided her solutions in the coming days without consciously planning to seek them.
Connirae who had studied psychology since undergrad gained PhD in psychotherapy in 1989 from North Central University,Minnesota. She had been practicing and teaching NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programing long before her session with Dr. Erickson. After seeing a deep change in herself through the session she became persistent in digging deep into NLP and tried to discover some all-purpose method for gaining the sense of deep change and peace she felt which would benefit others too.
Core Transformation was mainly derived from the Parts Model of NLP which has a 6 step reframing format and language models. In 1989 Core Transformation took its form with Connirae working with people who had tried everything but no solution had worked. She wanted to use this deep method which had brought change in her and resolved her own issue by Dr Erickson where there would be a lasting change. She observed people, observed their and her own language pattern and non verbal actions. Connirae started deeply talking to her client asking for a deeper positive level and it actually happened, she found the person in a deeply positive state and she could feel the healing power radiating from the person. She realised that this reversing cause-effect was actually working and had healing potential in it. She called these phases as ‘Eliciting the Outcome Chain’ and ‘Reversing the Outcome Chain’ which became key points to the Core Transformation process.
She felt that though Dr. Erickson didn’t do Core Transformation on her, she still doesn’t know how he helped her but that session laid the seed of inquiry and curiosity which later unfolded into the process that is Core Transformation. This process became so successful that which was once used in a transformational workshop is now used as a stand alone process and you can actually be certified as a Core Transformational Therapist in the USA.
The process of Core Transformation
Achieving Core transformation means that you have reached within yourself, connecting with that inner self to resolve the issue or problem you were facing and thereby gaining peace.
Connirae along with her sister Tamara Andiraes and Betsy Koos decided to use Core Transformation to help a person who wanted to lose her weight but didn’t know why she couldn’t seem to lose it. Susie who was in her 60s couldn’t seem to lose her weight even though she had tried everything so she thought of therapy. She explained that even with her nutritionist’s strict diet she seemed to gain more weight than losing it. Over the past years she had been in long term counselling four times with a therapist who had said she was a resistant client often sabotaging herself. After a few sessions it was revealed that since her father was at work and her mother was emotionally unstable, she took care of her brother as a way to belong to the family. Her only safe option of coping was food so she consumed a lot of food as a coping mechanism. Though she tried changing this but it didn’t happen.
With Core Transformation Betsy made her learn about the choices she could help in her goal towards weight loss using the parts approach. The motivation behind any goal is quite important and when asked why Susie wanted to lose weight, she told that it was for a vacation with her brother who had been critical of her being overweight and she believed weight loss would eventually improve their relationship along with she wanted to improve her health too. With Core Transformation they used deeper inquiry methods to unearth the goals of what her inner self wanted which was comfort and delving deeper revealed acceptance and belonging. Work was done on each part in the subsequent sessions. She could actually face her feelings and accept herself. Betsy helped Susie overcome the feeling of being blamed and made her feel a sense of belonging and peace by the third session. She wanted Susie to accept her true self as she was without living based on others expectations. She became expressive about her feelings with her brother and her relationship improved. Susie found a sense of peace and positivity. She began losing weight and learned so much more about her inner self making peace with herself and gaining inner peace.
There are five states which help in the process of Core Transformation and they are as follows:
1. State of Being
It means the state of being in presence or being constantly aware of your surroundings and with yourself.
As Buddha says,“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
It ensures that you are present with yourself in all situations and it can also be called as fullness or wholesomeness. It goes deeper beyond self-concept which is the view or perception of what we have about ourselves, our beliefs, ability or a mental image of what you feel you are. It goes beyond that conscious knowledge you have accumulated about yourself.
As Connirae herself said, ‘Having a well formed self-concept is important and useful, but this sense of being is a direct experience of my presence, not an idea or belief about who I am. Rather than being self-conscious, this state is one of simply being.’
2. Inner Peace
Inner peace is the core state where you are at peace with yourself at any point of time. This is something which you achieve after gaining the state of being.
"Peace can become a lens through which you see the world. Be it. Live it. Radiate it out. Peace is an inside job."
- Wayne Dyer
This state comes when you are calm and at peace even in situations which aren’t peaceful. It can also come from a calming situation but the calmness should come from within yourself. This state is also called Calm Centeredness.
Thich Nhat Hanh once said, ‘It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being at peace that we can make peace.’ Being in peace all the time is the ultimate sense of inner peace.
Love is one of most important core states which leads to core transformation. In the words of I Love Lucy’s Lucille Ball, "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."
Self- love is loving yourself with your whole heart. Loving your strength, your beauty, your flaws, your mistakes without any judgement. Accepting yourself as you are and believing in yourself. As Geet from Jab We Met proclaims I am my own favourite person, Be your own favourite.
It is seen that we are our worst critics. We become too harsh on our actions, so be gentle with yourself because at the end of the day it is yourself that is left with you. Yourself will never betray you so be kind and love yourself.
The feeling of being ok is when you do something and feel ok. Like you gain some prize and someone compliments you then you feel ok with yourself. In a deeper sense this is your self-worth or self esteem that is how worthy do you feel yourself to be.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” - Buddha
Self esteem according to Smith and Mackie(2007) is the positive or negative evaluation of the self that is how we feel about it.
Having a positive self esteem and thinking you are worthy is necessary because everyone deserves that kind of worth. As Carl Rogers rightly puts, ‘Every human being, with no exception, for the mere fact to be it, is worthy of unconditional respect of everybody else; he deserves to esteem himself and to be esteemed.’
Oneness is something which you may know as spiritual connectedness or being filled with the light or nirvana. It means that you are everything but you are nothing. Spirituality notes that we all belong to each other. Even when we feel that we are an individual we belong to the world. We are all one.
“In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature.You look beyond the veil of form and separation.This is the realization of oneness.”
- Eckhart Tolle
The notion that you are everything and everything is you, that there is no separation. Recognising god within yourself and thereby in everything and unifying everything into universality. It is up to you to believe this and let it govern your life or not.
There are several steps which are taken to achieve the core states which are as follows:
1. Choosing A Part To Work With
Firstly the client is taken to the root cause of the issue and experiences it again as though it was happening for the first time. The Unconscious is given the driver's seat here. As the book ‘Core Transformation:Reaching the Wellspring Within’ authored by Connirae and Tamara Andereas describes, ‘When we do this process, it is important , to begin with, the experience we have- some feeling, inner voice or image that gets in our way. This is the automatic and unconscious part of us that we will work with and transform.’
After experiencing you accept and welcome all the parts or causes of the problem and trauma you experience. It is rightly said accepting the issue is winning half the battle. The dynamic of the relationship between problem and you is changed from fighting to coming to terms with it.
2. Discovering The Purpose
The next step is getting to understand the reasons behind the whole process itself. Discovering the purpose of why you are doing the core transformation process itself. You can get answers in the form of literal words or perhaps you decided to take action because you saw a picture or smelled a scent which triggered you.
3.Discovering The Outcome Chain
In this step you discover how you are getting the results you like. What will be the outcomes if you actually are able to solve your problem. Supposingly you are working with the issue of shyness. The Intended outcome or purpose could be because you want to do good in a job and this issue is hindering your goal. The other outcomes could be gaining a sense of freedom or a better social life or feeling happy.
4. The Core State: Reaching the Wellspring Within
Towards the end of the process, the person comes in terms with the state of love or self love and oneness. Views the world through those lenses and understands that the limitations are the best way of being in the world which is known as the Core State.
5. Reversing The Outcome Chain
Once you discover the Core State, what the inner part wants then you are in a position to transform the basis of the whole inner self. This can be known as insight which is a deep understanding of oneself and we can address the underlying issues. This can be different for everyone with some questioning themselves while others could subconsciously accept it. Everyone has a different method of accepting and having a positive viewpoint about their new self.
6. Growing Up The Part
In this step you essentially grow your new self. You write down the age of the part and ask it if it would like to have its benefits and reach the core along with the unconscious.
7. Bringing The Part Fully Into The Body
Once decided you bring that part to work with you and your body letting your body embrace this new self.
8. Reversing Outcome Chain With this Grown up Part
The reverse outcome chain method which was earlier mentioned is done with this new grown up part or self.
9. Checking For Objecting Parts
Alongwith embracing the new part you also check for parts which you feel won’t be happy with this transformation process and work on them to make them happy.
10. Timeune Generalization
According to the book by Connierae and Tamara Anderaes, in this final step you envision your timeline and float back over it to just before you were conceived. With your core state radiating through your being, allow yourself to move forward through time, letting the core state colour and transform every moment of experience you had to the present time. Also envision your moving through the same path to the future viewing how that is also coloured by the core states. You should cycle back through this timeline generalization several times with being faster each time. It helps heal past events which were troubling and ensure that core states are available in the future situations.
You should know that the Core states won’t come immediately and will happen gradually over time. The core transformation process happens at a deeper level and it takes time to reach it.
The example of Julienne can make you understand that with time and patience you can reach that inner peace. Julienne felt resentful towards her husband. On one instance when a guest complimented the window placement her husband thanked the guest even though she had spent a lot of time figuring out the placement herself. She felt furious and afterwards confronted her husband who apologized but still she didn’t feel satisfied as if something was unfinished.
She decided to use the Core Transformation process for her anger. She questioned the part which felt angry why it felt that way, the answer didn’t come automatically. She then let that part feel angry and the answer emerged that she wanted to fully express herself. She thought perhaps that part wanted recognition but it didn’t resonate with that. She asked the part if she fully expressed herself then what would happen and she received the answer being full and strong vitality. After questioning that if she gets vitality then what will happen and she experienced a glow of peace.
Another example is of Kimberly who used core transformation because she wanted to accept someone who had hurt her. She believed the other person struggled to be nice and even if the intentions were positive. Even though she tried to see the intentions but ultimately she remembered how mean that person was.
The goal was to love and to be loved and after the process she felt the core state of total love not only in herself but had compassion for the person who had hurt her.
Core Transformation helps you lead a balanced life and make peace with yourself. It is quite important for us to accept the issues which had haunted her in our past and hindering our lives. Once you identify those parts you get to know where to work on. There will be objections from within because any type of change causes hindrances itself. It is important to work on those hindrances first, resolve them and then resolve the parts. When you are undergoing the process of Core Transformation you will have a lot of chatter in your mind. Rather than ignoring or discarding that noise, accept it and make it your friend. When you talk calmly to your mind you will calm down. Ultimately being patient is the key here because the process happens gradually with time. You need to work with your body. Sometimes the body may present some obstacle regarding accepting the new changes so you should work with those obstacles and resolve them. Listen to your body.
The benefit of the Core Transformation process is that alongside changing unwanted behavior and resolving problems it also brings you insync with your inner self, leading you to know more about yourself and gain inner peace. It is a beautiful process where you are able to reconnect with yourself and experience a sense of wholeness you haven’t experienced before.
This article on 'Coming to the Core' has been contributed by Radhika Srivastava, who is a Psychology student from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. She is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP), which is under the leadership and guidance of Anil Thomas. GIRP is an Umang Foundation Trust initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.
Radhika has a deep interest in exploring the field of psychology and its applications into the current world. She is passionate about mental health and well being and plans to pursue a career in this field. She is extremely curious about psychology and wants to pursue higher research and utilise her skills in helping other people.
Anil is an internationally certified NLP Master Practitioner and Gestalt Therapist. He has conducted NLP Training in Mumbai, and across 6 other countries. The NLP practitioner course is conducted twice every year. To get your NLP certification.