Chuck’s Place: Trigger, Habit or Both?

A sting can cause a trigger; gathering pollen is a habit!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

“That really triggered me!” ┬áHere, a sore spot, a vulnerability has been touched by someone’s comment, setting off this emotionally explosive reaction. Typically, the wounded party expects that others should know and respect this sensitivity and refrain from going near it. One often feels entitled to an apology.

A trigger is anything that can cause one to remember and feel an unprocessed emotionally charged experience. If someone tries to forget being attacked by a dog, the mere mention of its name can arouse anger and terror. Inwardly, the experience of being bitten has been pushed out of consciousness, protecting one from the discomfort of the reactivated memory.

The psyche envelops overwhelming experiences with strong defenses to keep the dreaded event far away from consciousness. Traumatic events may be so far removed from consciousness as to render one amnesic of their existence, even for decades.

Though the need for distance from a disturbing event may be necessary to function, it comes at the price of wholeness. The psyche must employ a good amount of energy to contain the disowned, unwanted or unknown parts of its experience. Furthermore, relaxed functioning may be compromised, as vigilance may be needed to avoid encounters with triggers associated with the split-off experience.

Ultimately, all events of a lifetime must be reconciled. A shamanic recapitulation, in this life, emotionally neutralizes all experience, rendering the psyche fully cohesive and able to be open to life without concern for triggers.

The life review referenced in near-death experiences, or reported by spirits in the afterlife, is required before one can advance into new life. Problems we haven’t resolved will preoccupy our lives, regardless of what subtle plane we may transition to. Recapitulation in this life both frees one for fulfillment in this life but also advances one in preparation for new life in the afterlife.

Habits are automatic beliefs, programs or pre-programmed behaviors that lie dormant in the subconscious mind. Programs are connected to genetic coding, as well as instinctive and archetypal imperatives that are specific to the nuances of the human species.

When a need or suggestion is encountered, the subconscious automatically activates the relevant program to address the situation. Thus, if one is attacked the subconscious will automatically activate fight, flight or freeze in response to the event. These reactions are not reactions to triggers, they are purely instinctive reactions to an existential threat. An instinctive habit is objective, a trigger is subjective.

The subconscious is also filled with habits that are derived from one’s subjective experience in this life. Thus, a person who has been bitten by a dog may consciously choose to always avoid dogs. This intentional behavior becomes a suggestion to the subconscious mind that molds it into an automatic, unconscious habit.

Thus, for instance, our bitten subject may unconsciously find themselves only walking certain routes that are known to be dog free. Now, if, while calmly walking one of these routes, a bark is heard, the subject may be triggered into emotional distress via encounter with the unreconciled memory of the original bite.

While triggers require a successful recapitulation if they are to be neutralized, habits, to change, require new suggestions to the subconscious mind. Thus, if one’s habit is a belief that one is unable to dance, one must first eliminate the conscious restating of this long-held belief. The subconscious will only manifest the suggestions one states.

To change a habit we must routinely state the new instruction to the subconscious mind: “I am able to dance.” This is not a discussion with the conscious mind. No reasoning or processing is required. What is required is the statement of intended fact to the subconscious, without any discussion.

To avoid conflicting suggestions to the subconscious, which virtually nullifies the formation of new habits, it is critical that one have complete faith in one’s suggestion. If one can embrace the belief that anything is possible then one can mobilize the requisite intensity of suggestion most likely to influence the subconscious.

One is often tested by the subconscious by the activation of old programs, despite one’s new intent. Old habits will reassert themselves until the new habit is established. Be calm, patient and persevering until the subconscious automatically prompts the newly established program. Simply repeat the new intent with calm assurance that it will manifest.

Trigger and habit are frequently intertwined. A new habit will be blocked from formation if a defensive habit must be retained to protect one from a potential trigger. Triggers, which represent split off experiences, must be neutralized through recapitulation before a habit, used to keep triggers at bay, can be effectively replaced.

Though both habits and triggers may be permanently altered, their pathways to change are distinctly different. Triggers must be processed at a conscious level to be neutralized; habits require rote repetition of new marching orders to the subconscious to result in a changed habit.

When triggers and habits are intertwined it is necessary to first reconcile  the triggered event to effectively free the subconscious to take in the instructions for the desired change of habit. Change itself is always possible. Remember, anything is possible!



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