Adaptation Practice is a safe and effective way to cope with emotional distress – in particular with fear, anxiety, sorrow, grief, depression, anger and all other kinds of emotional, psychological and mental suffering.
Distress and suffering have causes. To relieve them we need to deal with the causes. To understand why we suffer emotionally, psychologically and mentally and why is it usually so difficult to deal with suffering we need to consider some basic facts of life.
For this we need to look at ourselves. We won’t find what we’re looking for in a book or online. If we look at ourselves we notice something we’ve known since we were little children which is that we have preferences: we like this and we dislike that.
And we want to have what we like and we want to get rid of or avoid what we dislike.
It’s not complicated, it’s simple. It’s perfectly natural and normal but it’s easy to forget or overlook these simple facts of life.
If we can have what we like, what we want and we can get rid of and avoid what we dislike and don’t want, then everything is all right, we feel satisfied, contented, life is good, we’re happy.
The trouble is that life is not always so obliging and all too often things are not how we would like them to be.
All manner of things go wrong, at home, at work and in between. And when something goes wrong emotion flares up and affects every organ and system of the body and every function and faculty of the mind.
The heart misses a beat or pounds rapidly, we gasp, hold our breath or hyperventilate, we turn white or blush, our palms sweat, our muscles tense up, we have butterflies in the stomach, we feel sick, churning, hollow, the bottom has fallen out, we wet ourselves, the hormone system, the nervous system, including the brain, and the immune system are all affected.
It’s difficult to pay attention and to concentrate, we can’t remember new information, we can’t stop thinking about the past, abstract
thoughts and the future, we lose sight of reason, we are confused, we can’t distinguish between what is true and what is false, we find it difficult to make decisions and our will is affected, making us wilfully say and do things we wouldn’t do unless upset.
Again, look at what happens when something goes wrong. I might drop a pencil and the lead breaks, how infuriating that would be, or it might be a glass of red wine that spills all over the carpet. ‘Damn!’ We shout as we momentarily screw the eyes up, clench the jaw, make a fist and slightly tense the shoulders, abdomen and lower back. All because something has gone wrong for me and emotion has flared up in me.
The emotion drives me in what I say, do and think. Having said damn or equivalent and pulled a face and generally tensed up for a second or two, I then think about what has happened, why, what the consequences will be, how to save the situation.
The difficulties we have, the psychological stresses that afflict us do not start in the mind, or the head, as thoughts. They start deep in the body, in the midriff, as emotion flares up and gives rise to moods and feelings and all the changes mentioned above. The effects in us might be momentary, or they can continue for hours, days, years.
Emotion arises in response to changes in and around us depending on our likes and dislikes and so depending on whether we like or dislike those changes.
Something is not right for us. We are not sure what is happening inside us. But there is a safe and effective way of dealing with it. This way is as old as the hills. Here it goes by the name Adaptation Practice.
Just as the laws of biology, physics and chemistry represent our understanding of the physical aspect of the world so Adaptation Practice, no matter what we call it, is our understanding of the emotional, psychological and mental world. It gives a framework to help us understand what we cannot see or measure objectively. Most importantly, the instructions in Adaptation Practice give a framework for change, to relieve emotional, psychological and mental suffering. This is the sole purpose of Adaptation Practice.