An article by Anke Sommer
Deep internal processes were the topic of the most recent Institut Sommer weekend. Every participant at the event explored his or her very own deep process. Everyone has these deep internal development processes. They demonstrate the personal boundaries in which we live and the space in which we’ve shaped our everyday lives. If we go into these internal processes and allow ourselves to be guided by process facilitators then we can reduce our own limits. We regain the freedom that a few past experiences have taken away from us at some point.
Development processes: what looks easy on the outside is actually the hardest work!
If we look at these development processes from the outside, we can quickly identify the step that the person concerned still has to take in order to extricate themselves from their dilemma, which is experienced internally. This small step, mostly a missing action, will quickly provide the person with solutions that dissolve the existing problem.
Why is this step not taken?
Because internal boundaries are guarded by a person’s own intellect. The mind is the entity that reflects what we learned as children. We have simply taken on our parents’ biggest limitations and are now restricting ourselves with them. These boundaries are stubborn and surrounded by all kinds of defensive behavioural patterns.
How do we overcome these boundaries?
First and foremost with a decision. Can I live with these boundaries? Do I want to? Everything we can live with should leave as it is, as change work on these kinds of personal boundaries needs patience and extreme willpower that can even overcome one’s intellect. The latter becomes extremely clever and inventive in the process, as it battles with the coping mechanisms we have developed in our lives. If one of these mechanisms was aggression, then it will be aggression the intellect serves up, striking the person who is working on this boundary or someone who has unintentionally come up against it, e.g. a partner, colleague, family member, the boss or even employees, etc. But if we have an internal boundary that we’re finding really irritating because it’s simply restricting too much of our natural freedom then it’s worth putting in the hard work on it.
Can you facilitate such processes yourself?
Yes, as part of a conscious process, but if unconsciousness comes into play then this is no longer possible. We cannot see this unconsciousness for ourselves. We need an outside facilitator who acts as our own pair of eyes and makes what is unconscious conscious. But we can also expand our awareness by paying attention to the voices that reflecting our behaviour in the outside world. As far as the solution is concerned, it isn’t the criticism in these voices that’s interesting but rather the aspects that are made visible by being seen from the outside. “My god, you’re stupid. Why don’t you…?” Or: “Can’t you see that XYZ isn’t doing you any good? Get away from them!”
Getting away or leaving a situation would be the simple but up until now absent response. The internal boundary simply doesn’t allow us to leave the situation. The arguments telling us that it is impossible just to go, for whichever reasons, reveal the stubbornness of our intellect, which is defending our parents’ boundaries with all the power and vehemence at its disposal, and prompting us to stay put.
Time to get serious…
If you’ve had enough of always coming up against your boundaries at a certain point then you can opt for this kind of deep internal process. If you then manage to avoid limiting your ideas about how long such a process can and should take then you have reached a good starting point. You can then look at how quickly your process takes you up to and over your boundary. For some clients, the boundary has been overcome in a single intensive day, for others it was a more gentle, longer-lasting process. Each process bring new knowledge and with it a bit more personal freedom.