The Wisdom Principle The Wisdom Principle

book cover recommend book⇒Your Road Map to Lifelong Happiness: A Guide to the Life You Wantto book home
by Ken Keyes Jr. 978-0-915972-23-4 paperback
birth 1921-01-19 died: 1995-12-20 at age: 74 978-0-915972-22-7 hardcover
publisher Love Line
published 1995-06-19
Ken’s last book finished just before he died. He introduces EMDR, Harville Hendrix, Ron Kurtz’s Hakomi and other therapies as much faster ways of getting rid of addictions than using his classic methods.
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Ken does his deepest discussion of the Wisdom Principles in his last book Your Road Map to Lifelong Happiness : A Guide to the Life You Want.

There are two wisdom principles:

  1. Addictive demands trigger separating emotions that create your unhappiness. Preferences never do.
  2. Behind all of our thoughts, feelings and actions, we always have beneficial intentions (even though we may sometimes use unskillful ways to achieve them).

You really have to read several of Ken’s books to properly understand what these principles mean. I will give you a couple of examples from my own life of their application.

In 1975 my lover suddenly dumped me and refused any further communication. I went into an emotional tailspin, and pined for him for 12 years. What was really causing my suffering? Him leaving or me refusing to let go of the past? The first wisdom principle reminds me that I am the author of that pain, not my ex. To get rid of the pain, the most efficient way is to change my head rather than to persuade him to come back. Even if I had persuaded him to come back, I would still have tortured myself with thoughts of losing him again. Either way, to get rid of the suffering, I had to get rid of my addiction to him.

In 1993 a couple of embezzlers wiped me out financially. I lost my business and all my savings. I ceaselessly obsessed about it. I felt so betrayed by my two friends. How they must have hated me to do such a thing. I started thinking that I must have been a really rotten boss for them to have sought such revenge. When I discovered their true motives, I was able to stop that poisonous churning. One was stealing to buy expensive gifts for his wife. The day the gifts stopped she left him. The other was an alcoholic. Alcoholics will even steal from their parents to get the booze that blocks the pain of their existence. The second wisdom principle reminds me, that even when a motive for some unpleasant act is not clear, it is always for something beneficial such as to feel loved, or to feel comfortable.

Recognising your own positive intentions can be useful too. For example I might find myself eating food when I was not even hungry, or I might find myself furious over some employees embezzling my life savings. I would look for my positive intention, and formulate it in canonical form:

  1. My positive intention is to see myself as _______;
  2. My positive intention is to hear inside that I’m _______;
  3. My positive intention is to feel _______;

I might discover that my positive intention for both those situations situation is to feel calm. Now I can look for alternate, more skillful ways of achieving that same positive intention. I might take a bath. I might put on some calming music. I might go for a short walk in the trees. These activities are quite far removed from food, embezzling, money and the revenge fantasies I imagined I would need to feel calm.

Positive Intentions

book cover recommend book⇒Gathering Power Through Insight and Loveto book home
by Ken Keyes Jr. with Penny Keyes 978-0-915972-13-5 paperback
birth 1921-01-19 died: 1995-12-20 at age: 74 978-0-940687-37-0 audio
publisher Love Line
published 1993-01-01
Informally known as The Methods Book gets down to the brass tacks. All the various exercises you can use to help get rid of addictions. It contains some template pages you could use to create a Getting Free Book diary.
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Ken does his deepest discussion of positive intentions in Gathering Power Through Insight and Love.
If we could read the secret history of our enemies we shall find in each man’s sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (born: 1807-02-27 died: 1882-03-24 at age: 75)

If you can identify the emotional state you are aiming for with some action or addiction, you can seek some other easier way to attain that same emotional state. If you can identify the emotional state someone else is aiming for, likewise you can offer them more skillful ways of attaining it. In any case, you will become more understanding and forgiving. Identifying your own positive intention is the second step in the Choice Process. Identifying someone else’s positive intention is the first step in the Conscious Confrontation process.

Don’t confuse positive intention with the desired outcome. Intentions are internal emotional states. Make sure you find your positive intention somewhere in the list below. If it is not in the list, it is likely not a positive intention.

Positive Intentions
acceptable
accepted
accepting
acknowledged
alive
appreciated
attractive
beautiful
calm
capable
comfortable
competent
complete
confident
dependable
energetic
enthusiastic
excited
Positive Intentions
experienced
fulfilled
fun-loving
genuine
happy
healthy
helpful
humorous
important
independent
intelligent
joyful
knowledgeable
lovable
loved
loving
nurtured
nurturing
Positive Intentions
peaceful
prosperous
relaxed
reliable
responsible
responsive
safe
satisfied
secure
sexual
sexy
strong
supported
supportive
valuable
valued
worthy
worthwhile

In my own case, some of my most common desired beneficial positive intentions are to feel lovable and to see myself as sexually appealing. When my lover dumped me in 1974 I erroneously believed that because he no longer loved me and because he no longer found me sexually appealing, I was unlovable and sexually unappealing. After all, who knew me better than him? The key was to learn to get this reassurance from other people who did love me and who did find me sexually appealing.


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