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Excerpted from Inner Healing by Dan Joseph. Copyright © 2002 by Quiet Mind Publishing, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Quiet Mind Publishing, LLC.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"The key in step one is always to become clear about our own feelings and thoughts."

  Dan Joseph, Inner Healing, Part 5

Troubleshooting Step One: Perceptions

One of the trickiest parts of step one is identifying perceptions as perceptions. For example, I may have a conversation like this. (And again, I sometimes have the same difficulties as this person.)

Me: "You were able to identify your specific feelings; thatís great. Now letís go on to the next part of step one. You feel angry because you see your boss as...?"

Person: "I feel angry because my boss is rude."

Me: "I think that itís important to say, Ďbecause I see my boss as rude.í"

Person: "But he is."

Me: "He may be acting in certain ways. But itís important to get clear about our own thoughts, or perceptions of the situation."

Person: "Believe me, if you knew him, youíd understand what I mean. That guy is rude."

In this situation, the person is having some difficulty identifying her perception of her boss as a perception. Itís true that the boss may be acting in insensitive or unkind ways. But in order to clear a space for Godís comfort to enter her mind, this person needs to gather together her current thoughts and offer them to God. Focusing only on the bossís behavior wonít create this opening.

In this case, I might say:

Me: "I understand that your boss isnít showing much kindness toward you."

Person: "Yeah, thatís right."

Me: "We canít work on him, though."

Person: "Unfortunately, no."

Me: "OK, why donít we focus on clearing out our own dark thoughts. Do you have any dark thoughts about your boss?"

Person: "I guess I do. He really triggers a lot of negativity in me."

Me: "OK, why donít you list out some of those negative thoughts. Then weíll offer them up to God, and ask for a replacement."

The key in step one is always to become clear about our own feelings and thoughts. Even if someone else is "triggering" those feelings and thoughts (and this will often be the case), weíll only find peace by working on our side of the equation. Acknowledging our specific thoughts clears the way for steps two and three.

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