Are you suffering in any way with stress, anxiety, anger, grief, depression, disturbed behaviour, problems around food and weight, sex, obsessions, relationships, low self-confidence or something like this? If so, you are likely to find Adaptation Practice helpful. And if you decide to learn how to do the Practice you will change in ways you would not have thought possible.
In Adaptation Practice we are concerned with trying – not having to get it right or to do it perfectly – just to be willing to try, and so trying!
It can’t be said too often that if you want to feel better, you need to try to do the Practice. If you can’t do it at first you can try again. You can try again today and tomorrow and the following days. There is no time limit to how many times you can try. You do not have to achieve anything. Don’t give up. Just try again and sooner or later you will be able to do it and then you will be able to do more. Change comes from trying. This is why we say in the Practice, ‘It’s all in the doing.’
One of the first things that changes when we can’t cope, is our daily routine. We run late for appointments, we don’t do everything we used to do, and so on. For this reason, we usually start Adaptation Practice by setting a simple daily routine that we can work with. It is to decide on a time to get up in the morning and to try to keep to it six days a week. It’s a time of our own choice and has nothing to do with anyone else – as long as it doesn’t interfere with or upset others.
If you are willing to try again and again then you will find that you can do it. It is the same with all aspects of the Practice, as it is when learning any new skill: to learn to walk, to learn to read and write, to learn a language, to learn to play any sport, to learn to ride a bike, to learn to play a musical instrument.
Like the rest of us you will have grown up learning how to get what you want and how to get rid of what you don’t want. But, like the rest of us, you will not have learned how to cope when you can’t have what you want. By doing Adaptation Practice you will now learn how to cope when you can’t have what you want.
Try it! Get a pen and a piece of paper.
This exercise might seem too simple and if it does you will be all the more surprised by your own reactions. You might be angry. You might dismiss the whole idea. You might find it easy at first and then unexpectedly find you can’t do it. You might think it’s so simple that it couldn’t possibly make any difference. Or, that it’s nothing to do with what you want to change. Nevertheless, press on despite all these and other reactions and just keep trying to do this introductory exercise.
Think of it like this: if you can’t lift a bag weighing 15 kg then you certainly can’t lift one weighing 20 kg. If you can’t bear and cope with a small emotion then you certainly can’t bear and cope with a big one. The Practice will develop an inner strength in you to be able to bear and cope with big emotions but you will have to start with small ones and these might seem to have nothing to do with the big ones you want to change.
The question is: ‘What happens when you find it difficult to do?’ If you are willing to try again and again then you will find that you can do it. It is the same with all aspects of the Practice, and when learning any new skill: playing football, playing a musical instrument, learning to read and write, learning a language.
This is a simple exercise. It will take more than this first exercise to improve the quality of your life, to change how you feel and how your moods and feelings affect you, but it will be a start and you might be surprised at what happens to you.
Such an exercise might seem too simple, and if it does you will be all the more surprised by your own reactions. You might be angry. You might dismiss the whole idea. You might do it easily at first and then unexpectedly find you can’t do it. You might think it’s so simple that it couldn’t possibly make any difference. Or, that it’s nothing to do with what you want to change. Nevertheless, press on, despite all these and other reactions and just keep trying to do this introductory exercise.
A time to get up
This exercise will almost certainly evoke feelings in you when you don’t want to do it. But try it! You will soon meet emotion in yourself and you will have to do something with it: get up straight away or stay in bed for a while. You might not recognise that emotion is affecting what you do and what goes on in your mind, but it is. It is the same for all of us.
Everything in the Practice is done six days every week.
1. Decide which day you will have off from the Practice. This can be any day you choose, but keep it to the same day each week. Write this down on a piece of paper (not on a device and not in your head).
2. Choose a suitable time to get up, write it on the piece of paper.
If possible, make it the same time each day for six days a week, depending on commitments and other people. When necessary the time is flexible to fit in with other people, commitments, work and travel. But the time is firm and the exercise will not work if you chop and change on a whim.
The timetable will look something like this (but the day off and the time to get up will be of your choice):
Day off: e.g. Sunday
Get up: e.g. 7.00 a.m.
3. Try to keep to the day off and the time you have chosen to get up.
It’s best to set an alarm.
You need to practise this exercise repeatedly until you are trying as hard as you can to stick precisely to the time you set. When the alarm goes off, get up immediately, without a thought, a hesitation or delay.
At first glance this might seem to be a very simple exercise, something that anyone could do. And yet, like everyone else, you will almost certainly encounter difficulties carrying out the instructions to the letter.
It will be a start
This is a simple exercise and it will take more than just this to improve the quality of your life, to change how you feel and how your moods and feelings affect you, but it will be a start.
When you find it difficult, remember that no one is forcing you to do this. You will only be able to do it if you choose to do it and if you decide on the day and time yourself. It is a commitment you make voluntarily and willingly with yourself. And yet, despite this, you will almost certainly need to struggle to keep to it. Whatever happens, it will be a start because you will have attempted to do something you agreed to do but when the time came you did not want to do. You will have tried not to let emotion control what you do, even though you might not be aware of this.
I suggest you try this for at least three or four weeks. If you would like to let me know what happens when you try to do this simple exercise, or to ask a question about it, please contact me here. I’ll be happy to offer comments and advice which you might find helpful.
Let me know how this first step in the Practice is going. Describe any difficulties you may have had, in particular on any occasions when you didn’t keep to the times because you didn’t feel like doing it or your were too tired, or some other reason like this: what happened? Write to me about it and ask any questions you may have.
When ready, if you wish, you can register for the online Course of 8 Ap Classes here.
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