Association Series Part 3: When It Seems to Not Be Working
Some things are long-forgotten and will never be remembered.
- Not being able to consciously remember some part of our past may have nothing to do with us hindering association from working, but may be because we have never had any reason to recall these particular memories.
- It is possible to remember things long-forgotten if there is a trigger that activates association.
- You will benefit much by reading “The Importance of Memory”along with these two articles about association.
There are some things that we have forgotten which we may never remember. The choice to not remember them may have nothing to do with hindering association from working as God designed it to work, but may be because we have never had any reason to recall these particular memories. It is safe to say that many of our life experiences have been long-forgotten and will never be called upon unless something triggers them.
It is possible to remember things long-forgotten if there is a trigger that activates association. To illustrate: a few years ago I revisited a place where I grew up as a child. I had not been back to that place since I was a little boy. As soon as I drove up to the old home place, I was immediately flooded with memories of things that I had long-forgotten. Being back in the old neighborhood triggered my association and memory lane opened wide.
We will discuss memory in some measure in this article, but you will benefit much by reading “The Importance of Memory” along with these two articles about association.
If we can feel it, then we can also remember it.
- Memories that appear to be out of reach while focusing on lie-based negative emotion, are actually only a choice away from becoming consciously accessible.
- The lie that is causing us our emotional pain is not in the memory. We currently feel whatever we currently believe, not what we used to believe -memory.
- When feeling something, we are believing something and everything we believe is linked to memory. This is how association works.
- Our core belief is currently the cause for what we presently feel, as well as, the lens through which we are interpreting what is happening in our current situation.
A person’s memories that appear to be out of reach while he is focusing on his lie-based negative emotion, are actually only a choice away from becoming consciously accessible. The fact that the person feels something reveals that they also believe something. All belief was learned in the context of a life experience.
What we currently believe is causing us to feel what we feel, is no longer our memory of it, but rather, what we currently believe to be the truth. What we feel in this moment is coming from what we believe now. The lie that is causing us our emotional pain is not in the memory, even though we remember believing it there. We feel whatever we are believing, not what we used to believe. Herein, is how association works. I feel what I am currently believing, but my belief was initially embraced in a life experience that is now my memory. So then, if I am feeling something, I am believing something and everything I believe is linked to what I remember.
During the original life experience (that is now memory), we ascribed meaning or understanding to why we believed the experience happened. The combination of what we believed happened (the memory content) and why we believe it happened (understanding or meaning) was the substance that formed what is now our current lie-based core belief. This current core belief is how we interpret what we believe happened and why we believe it happened. This core belief is now the cause for what we presently feel, as well as, the lens through which we are interpreting what is happening in our current situation.
So we see that emotion, memory, meaning and core belief are all intricately woven together. We cannot have one without the other. None of these components have been forgotten, just deliberately suppressed and denied, either consciously or unconsciously. This hinders the natural process of association from functioning.
Solution belief shuts down association.
- Anytime association is hindered – that is not remembering something – it is by deliberate choice though not necessarily a conscious one.
- Our lie-based core belief creates perceived problems for us that demands we come up with a solution to solve it. This is how association is hindered.
- Our solutions to these problems are supported by beliefs that can cause the process of association to stop working. We call these beliefs, “Solution Beliefs.”
- A solution belief is not core belief, but rather belief that supports a solution, thereby hampering association from working as it should.
Anytime association is hindered – that is remembering something – it is by deliberate choice. Otherwise it functions like breathing without any conscious thought or effort. If we are feeling lie-based emotion, then we are remembering. If no memory comes to mind, then we are in some way stopping it from happening. By association, our perceived problem is hindering us from the natural function of remembering.
Examples of perceived problems can be:
— “If I remember what happened I will be overwhelmed by it,”
—“If I remember, it will destroy my current life,”
—”Remembering what happened will be more than I can bear.”
Our solutions to these problems are supported by beliefs that can cause the process of association to stop working. We call these beliefs, “Solution Beliefs.”
Solution belief is not core belief, but rather belief that supports a solution to shut the door tight, thereby hampering association from working as it should. The good news is that the person also holds the key to every closed door. (Learn more about “Solutions” here.)
For example: if I believe remembering some particular memory will overwhelm me, then I may believe that by not remembering I will not be overwhelmed. My solution is stopping association from working.
Association and the Formulation of Core Belief
- The raw data that comes to our minds through our five senses during a life experience make up what we refer to as Experiential Belief.
- Experiential Belief is (basically) the content of our memory —what we remembered having happened in the experience.
- Experiential Belief is not why we believe the life experience happened as it did, or any interpretation we may have ascribed to the experience. It is only what we remember to have happened.
- Our understanding as to why what happened occurred is referred to as Assumptions and Conclusions. These assumptions and conclusions are based upon our Experiential Belief – what we remember having happened.
- We came to believe our core/heart belief, that is now our current belief, through ascribing meaning and understanding to the memory content -that is, what we remember to have happened and to the assumptions and conclusions we derived.
- Once the core/heart belief is established it is not a part of the memory or contained in the memory, but rather becomes our current belief.
- Memory helps us to identify how we came to believe what we believe and why we feel what we are feeling.
Let’s take a minute and review how Experiential Belief and and Assumptions and Conclusions are used to formulate a Core Belief, and how this relates to the process of association. By way of example: let us suppose a person has a life experience where he was harshly rejected by his father. This father berates him and then walks out of his life and never returns. During this experience, the person will record what is happening through one or more of his five senses. This raw data will make up what we refer to as Experiential Belief. Experiential Belief is (basically) the content of his memory —what he remembered having happened in the experience. Experiential Belief is not why he believes the situation happened as it did, or any interpretation he may have ascribed to the experience. It is only what he remembers happening. A part of this content is remembering how he felt (but not the emotion itself), remembering what he believed (but not the actual belief), remembering how he interpreted what happened (but not the actual interpretation.) The interpretation is now his current belief and what he feels is coming from this belief.
Sometime after the life experience, the person will come to an understanding that explains for him why what happened, occurred. This understanding is referred to as Assumptions and Conclusions. These assumptions and conclusions are based upon his Experiential Belief – what he remembers having happened. Because his father treated him harshly and abandoned him (memory content) he concluded that his father hated him, and that pleasing his father was impossible to do (assumptions and conclusions). In a ministry session, these particular assumptions and or conclusions might come out something like, “Nothing I ever did was good enough for my Dad.” or “He never liked me, in fact, He hated me.”
Finally, by drawing from both Experiential Belief and his Assumptions and Conclusions, the person may interpret the event as, “Because my father treated me harshly, abandoned me, hated me, and because I could not please him, this means that I have no worth or value.” What he believed happened (memory content) and why he believed it happened (Assumptions and conclusions) becomes the basis for the formulation of his Core-belief or also known as his Heart-belief.
It is from this memory context (what is believed to have happened -experiential belief) and ascribed understanding (belief as to why what happened did happen- assumptions and conclusions) that he came to believe the core belief, “I have no worth or value” – the interpretation given to what happened and why it happened.
The negative emotions that this person will feel in any future situation will come from the core/heart beliefs that were established earlier in his life. Once the core belief is established it is not a part of the memory or contained in the memory, but rather becomes the person’s current belief. His remembering what he believed at the time of the experience is a part of the memory, but this remembering of the belief does not produce any emotion. However, the current core belief, “I have no worth or value,” still needs the context (what he remembers happening) and understanding (interpretation of what happened) in order to feel true, but the memory does not produce the feeling. He concurrently remembers the content of the memory and the understanding that was ascribed to it as well. These two factors support the belief, “I have no worth or value,” which subsequently produces the pain he feels. This in part, helps us to see the importance of memory.
How and where does association fit in?
- When a person is feeling lie-based negative emotion and yet says that he is unable to remember any related memory, it is ALWAYS because he is choosing to not remember.
- The absence of memory is not because he is unable to remember, rather, he believes something that forbids his choosing to remember. His choosing not to remember is his solution to the problem that remembering would incur.
- People can remember, when they identified the belief hindering their mind from associating, and exchanged this belief for the Lord’s perspective.
So we see that negative emotion is flowing from a person’s core/heart belief. However, this core belief is reliant upon the memory of the experience and the assumptions and conclusions formed in order to feel true. In the example above we see it was because the man remembered that his father abandoned him, and therefore must have hated him and was surely impossible to please, that the man came to believe that he was worthless. His heart belief that he was worthless was the source of his present emotional pain. This pain is intricately interconnected to the belief that is also intricately interconnected to his memory. So if he is feeling, he is remembering. If no memory comes to mind when he feels what he is feeling it is not because he can’t remember, but only because he is choosing to not allow association to work.
So during a ministry session where a person is feeling lie-based negative emotion and yet says that he is unable to remember the related memory, it is ALWAYS because he is choosing to not remember. The absence of memory is not because he is unable to remember, rather, he believes something that forbids his choosing to remember. His choosing not to remember is his solution to the problem that remembering would incur. Association always works when it is not being deliberately hindered. Howbeit, this hindering is not always a conscious act.
In every session that I have facilitated over the last twenty-plus years of doing TPM (thousands upon thousands of ministry hours), every person who could not remember their memory during a ministry session, did remember when they chose to do so. And they chose to remember, when they we able to identify the belief hindering their mind from associating, and exchanged this belief for the Lord’s perspective.
Even though remembering is a natural and expected mental function, a person can willfully choose to keep it from happening. This can cause frustration with some people, as they believe at the conscious level, “I want to remember, but nothing comes to my mind.” It is clearly their desire to remember, but at a subconscious level, not what they are choosing to do with their will.
We really do not have to think about associating in order to do it. It is naturally occurring all day long. In the same way that we breathe all day long without thinking about it, we also are remembering all day long, moment by moment, using our associated memory information to navigate throughout our day. In the same way that we can choose not to breathe, we can also choose not to remember. However, like breathing, we can hold our breath for only so long before it gives us trouble. Belief too, will eventually find its way out.
Preconscious, Unconscious, Conscious or Subconscious?
- Preconscious thinking can be accessed at will, but unconscious thinking is outside of the conscious awareness and cannot be willfully surfaced just by choosing to do so.
- When the belief that is keeping the process of association from working is exposed and replaced with the Lord’s perspective, the wall of unconsciousness will dissipate and memory will surface.
- Suppression is the act of consciously resisting a particular memory, impulse, or feeling. Whereas, repression is the outcome of suppressing something until that which is being suppressed becomes unconsciously forgotten or blocked. When we can no longer willfully retrieve what we are suppressing, then it is considered to be repressed or unconscious.
- Nevertheless, a repressed memory is not completely irretrievable since it can be accessed when the belief holding it in repression is identified and replaced with the truth.
- When suppression, repression, or dissociation occurs, the person is not a victim of either, but rather he is using them as a solution to keep from remembering something that he does not want to remember.
- When we identify the belief we hold that hinders us from remembering, and exchange it for the Lord’s perspective, we will remember all that is needed for us to find freedom.
Many of the decisions we make from moment-to-moment, actually occur at a preconscious level in our thinking. Preconscious thinking can be accessed at will if we choose to give it our attention. For example: if someone asks you, “What did you have for lunch?” you can quickly access this information. It is not unconscious thinking, but rather pre-conscious. It is available if we choose to look for it. Whereas, unconscious thinking is outside of the conscious awareness and cannot be willfully surfaced just by choosing to do so. This does not mean that we are powerless to remember it. We will remember it if we need to when we are willing to identify the belief that hinders us from remembering it. This goes back to the “Belief and Choice Principle.”
People choose not to remember at an unconscious level, thus making the decision that blocks the process of association from occurring. You see this with people who “genuinely” say that they cannot remember anything even though they are writhing in emotional pain right in front of you. Because this information is unconscious and not preconscious, it is a little more difficult to access. When the belief that is keeping the process of association from working is exposed and replaced with the Lord’s perspective, the wall of unconsciousness will dissipate and memory will surface.
My (Ed Smith) experience praying with untold numbers of people who have shown difficulty in remembering certain things, has convinced me that people do suppress some of their memories out of their consciousness even to the point of them being repressed.
There is a difference between suppression and repression. Suppression is the act of consciously resisting a particular memory, impulse, or feeling. Whereas, repression is similar to suppression but is the outcome of suppressing something until that which is being suppressed becomes unconsciously forgotten or blocked. When something is repressed it cannot be willfully retrieved.
Suppression is the act of pushing a conscious thought or feeling out of conscious awareness. When we can no longer willfully retrieve what we are suppressing, then it is considered to be repressed. Nevertheless, a repressed memory is not completely irretrievable since it can be accessed when the belief holding it in repression is identified and replaced with the truth.
When suppression or repression occurs, the person is not a victim of either, but rather he is using these mental processes to keep from remembering something that he does not want to remember. The same can be said about dissociation. It is not that the trauma he suffered dissociated him, but rather he dissociated so he might mentally survive the trauma. The dissociation remains in place after the trauma because of what he believe about remembering it. Suppression, association and dissociation are all forms of solutions to solving perceived problems.
When a person tells me that he cannot remember something, I believe him. That is, I believe that he cannot willfully and consciously choose to remember something that he is withholding at an unconscious level of thinking. However, I do believe that he can consciously choose to feel what he feels, and expose and identify what he believes that is hindering him from remembering. When he identifies the belief he holds that hinders him from remembering, and exchanges it for the Lord’s perspective, he will remember all that is needed to find freedom. As long as the person believes that his suppression, repression or dissociation is solving a problem, then he will not let his solution go. Letting go would make no logical or practical sense. However, when the person knows the truth about his perceived problem, holding onto the solution will cease to make any logical or practical sense. Letting go will occur the moment he knows the truth that the Lord can give.
So then, if we slowed down what we are doing in any given situation and focus our attention on what we are thinking, we may be surprised at what we discover. The first thing we may notice is that we feel something. This feeling is flowing from something we believe from the past that is being accessed. Simply asking ourselves something like, “What am I feeling right now, why do I feel it and why am I about to do what I am about to do?” can reveal much. That is, if we are willing and able to tell ourselves the truth.
Association is a God created process that we all possess and use daily. If we are in a ministry session and feeling negative emotion, yet no memory comes to mind, it is always because of something we believe concerning ‘remembering’. The De-Solution Tool is designed to help us when this occurs.
Definitions of Terms
(This section is for your convenience and not a part of this training.)
The conscious mind is your awareness at the present moment. You are aware of something on the outside as well as some specific mental functions happening on the inside of you. For example: you are aware of your environment, your breathing, or the chair that you are sitting on.
The subconscious mind — the preconscious mind — consists of accessible information. You can become aware of this information once you direct your attention to it. Think of this as memory recall. You walk down the street to your house without consciously needing to be alert to your surroundings. You can talk on the cell phone and still arrive home safely. You can easily bring to consciousness the subconscious information about the path to take to your home. You may also easily remember phone numbers that you frequently use.
It is possible that some of what might be perceived to be unconscious becomes subconscious and then conscious (e.g. a long-forgotten childhood memory suddenly emerges after decades). We can assume that some unconscious memories need a strong, specific trigger to bring them to consciousness. Whereas, a subconscious memory can be brought to consciousness more easily.
The unconscious mind, consists of the primitive, instinctual wishes as well as the information that we cannot access. Although our behaviors might indicate the unconscious forces that drive them, we do not have easy access to the information stored in the unconscious mind. During our childhood we acquired countless memories and experiences that formed who we are today. Often we cannot recall most of those memories. They are unconscious forces (beliefs, patterns, subjective maps of reality) that drive our behaviors. https://staroversky.com/blog/three-minds-conscious-subcosncious-unconscious
“Suppression is viewed as a thought (or thoughts) that exist in the conscious mind. We find these thoughts to be troublesome or maladaptive in some way, so we make a conscious attempt to stop thinking about whatever it may be. By the fact that it still rests in the conscious mind, it is just reduced in frequency or intensity, or “minimized”, “muted”, “restrained”.
It may come back to mind frequently or you may be able to control it for the most part. Though the key part is that you are WILLING your mind to stop and expending energy or EFFORT to suppress the thought.
Repression is largely achieved in the same manner as suppression, except once the thought is repressed, we lose conscious awareness of its existence. It is swallowed up by the subconscious mind, almost always WITHOUT WILLING it to stop. Once it is put away into the subconscious it takes NO EFFORT to keep it there.
Repression usually deals with and works on very painful or deeply distressing emotions or thoughts. So much so that the mind does not even want to recognize they exist. So the mind HIDES the thoughts from ITSELF. It detaches and forgets that it even dumped them deep in the shadows of the subconscious psyche.” https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-suppression-and-repression
“Dissociation is a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memory and sense of identity. Dissociation seems to fall on a continuum of severity. Mild dissociation would be like daydreaming, getting “lost” in a book, or when you are driving down a familiar stretch of road and realize that you do not remember the last several miles. A severe and more chronic form of dissociation is seen in the disorder Dissociative Identity Disorder (once called Multiple Personality Disorder,) and other Dissociative Disorders.” http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/dissociation-and-dissociative-disorders