Association Principles Part 2: Basic Principles
Basic Principles of Association
- The association process is based upon several principles: 1) Emotions flow from belief: “We feel whatever we believe.” 2) All belief was learned in the context of a life experience. 3) All life experiences, other than the present moment, are now memories. 4) When we focus on what we are presently feeling, which flows from what we currently believe, our mind will associate this current belief and feeling to a memory where we believed and felt the same way in our past.
- The process of association process occurs effortlessly. If it appears we are struggling to recall a memory, then we are actually struggling against our own resistance to remember.
- Remembering is an effortless task brought about by association.
- Belief, not emotion, is the common thread in association. The emotion is what we feel because of the common thread – the belief.
- Association is how we make sense of life as our minds associate the current situation with earlier life experiences.
- Association is effortless. When a person is focused on what he is feeling during the ministry session, a memory should come to mind – effortlessly. If this does not occur, something is preventing this from happening.
The association process, as it is understood in the TPM context, is based upon several principles: 1) Emotions flow from belief: “We feel whatever we believe.” 2) All belief was learned in the context of a life experience. There are no exceptions to this reality. 3) All life experiences, other than the present moment, are now memories. Our only present reality, which is the immeasurable moment we call the present tense, is not a memory. However, as soon as it occurs, whatever happened in that immeasurable moment becomes a memory. 4) When we focus on what we are presently feeling, which flows from what we currently believe, our mind will associate this current belief and feeling to a memory where we believed and felt the same way in our past. This association process occurs effortlessly. If it appears we are struggling to recall a memory, then we are actually struggling against our own resistance to remember. When this occurs in a session you have moved from the EMOTION Box over to the SOLUTION Box.
Remembering is an effortless task brought about by association.
Association typically occurs due to an outside stimulus. For example: if a song is played on the radio and we suddenly feel uncomfortable or uneasy, association is occurring. Without knowing why, we change the station so we do not have to feel the negative feeling. What the old song was doing was “associating” us back to a time where we felt this way in our past. We did not have to try to remember the experience of where we felt the same way before. The song, by way of association, “took us there.” Try this: the next time this happens to you, do not change the radio station; instead, focus on what you are feeling. Watch and see if you recall some life experience with which this song was associated.
Belief, not emotion, is the common thread.
The reason our minds associate to a memory is because of the common denominator of belief that is found in all of the related memories that surface. The emotion is not the common thread, but it is what we feel because of the common thread – the belief. The reason we feel the same way in each of the related memories is because we used the same core belief to interpret each of these life events. The same belief produced the same emotion. Think of the emotion as the smoke that leads to the fire, which is the belief. As we focus on the emotion (the smoke) that is coming from the belief (the fire), our mind will connect us to the related memories where we felt that emotion in our past.
Memory is the mental record of what we remember happening. Memory is not necessarily what actually occurred, but only what we remember having occurred. Memory is never 100% accurate. More often than not, it is a compilation of all that we remembered plus a mixture of other memories and augmentations that we possibly made along the way.
Memories will fade and morph over time; Belief remains relatively intact. It is belief and not the memory itself which is the focus of TPM. In the context of a TPM session, we are not concerned with the accuracy of the memory. We are only concerned with how we interpreted what we remember happening, which has become our lie-based core belief. Nevertheless, memory plays an important role in the TPM process. Learn more about the importance of memory here.
This is not to say that determining the accuracy of what is remembered is not important in a different context; it is just not the purpose of TPM.
Association is how we make sense of life.
We say in TPM that we feel whatever we believe. Every belief was learned in a life experience. Once we establish a core belief, it becomes our current and ever-present belief. So then, as each new life experience occurs, we will interpret it through our reservoir of core beliefs.
When an event happens, our mind will quickly search through all possible belief interpretations and associate the current situation with a previously established belief. Our mind will also associate the current situation with earlier life experiences in order to try and make sense of what is happening.
Have you ever met a person for the first time and knew right away that you were not going to like the person? This is a good example of association. There is something about this person that your mind has associated with someone with whom you have had an issue. You may not make the association at a conscious level, but there is something in your “gut” that says this person is trouble. It is possible that your “gut” reaction is valid, but it may not be. Maybe you have made a quick decision based on your first impression, but discovered later you were totally wrong. Can you see the problem here in trusting your “gut” reaction?
Association is effortless.
We remember things all day without ever giving it a thought. This is how we get through the day. I know how to brush my teeth, make my coffee, pack my computer bag, start my car, get to the office, etc. – all by association. If, while driving to the office, an old song comes on the radio and a bad emotion stirs up, I just remembered by associating. If I arrive at the office and someone is parked in “my” spot and I feel something stir up inside, I just remembered by associating. We call this being “triggered” in TPM terms. Nevertheless, this is how it works. When a person is focused on what he is feeling during the ministry session, a memory should come to mind – effortlessly. If this does not occur, something is preventing this from happening.
As mentoring facilitators, we need to instruct people NOT to go looking for a memory. Rather, we need to teach them about association and how it works (have each person read this article). If they understand the process of association, they will be alert to the times when it is being hampered. This will require the mentoring facilitator to take the time necessary to train the mentee in the process well. To the degree that the one being prayed with understands the Process, Principles and Purpose of TPM, the ministry session will smooth out and difficulties will diminish accordingly. The common question that is often asked, “What about when this happens…? will simply go away.
This is why the second question in the EMOTION Box is worded, as it is: “As you focus on what you are feeling, what comes to your mind?” as opposed to something like, “As you are focused on what you are feeling, can you think of any time you may have felt this way before?” The question, “… what comes to your mind…?” is designed to determine if association is being hampered. The alternative question would send the person looking for a memory when he should not have to look for it.
Our solutions and not the memory are the real issue.
- People are not victims when they encounter a roadblock to remembering. They do not need anyone – including Jesus – to help them find and surface a memory.
- It is not the memory itself that we are avoiding. It is actually the belief that we embraced in the context of our life experience (that we still currently believe) and the consequential emotion that this belief produces.
- It is a belief – though not a core belief – that hinders our making a choice to remember.
- These types of beliefs are supporting our ‘solutions’ to our perceived problem. This is why we call them “Solution Beliefs.”
- In the same way that we need truth from the Spirit concerning our core belief in order to move forward, we need truth pertaining to the lies that are hindering association from working.
Our feelings flow from our belief and this belief is in some fashion linked to the memory where it was first embraced. As we focus on the feeling, we should naturally connect with a related memory unless there is something hindering this from occurring. Our intent at this juncture in a ministry session is not to go on a memory hunt, but rather to rely upon association to do what it was designed to do. When association is not hindered, focusing on what we feel will surface a memory.
Memory will help us discover what we believe to be the cause of what we feel. What we will typically discover is we have assumptions and conclusions as to why we feel what we feel. Examples include: “My dad never loved me,” “my teacher thought that I was stupid,” “no one ever let me play,” etc. As we move past these assumptions and conclusions, we will eventually expose the real source of our emotional pain: lie-based core belief.
When we focus on what we are feeling and allow the natural, God-created process of association to work, a memory should come to mind. If it does not, then we are doing something to keep this from happening. The choice (although we may not feel like we’re making a choice) of not remembering is our “solution” to a perceived problem that remembering has created. The perceived problem is what we think might happen if we did remember.
People are not victims of anything when they encounter a roadblock to remembering. They do not need anyone – including Jesus – to help them surface a memory. They are the ones choosing not to remember, even if they are unaware of this fact. If Jesus were to take a person to a memory that the person was choosing not to remember, this would require the Lord to violate the person’s will. The Lord will not do this. This is discussed in more detail in the article “The Belief and Choice Principle.”
We indeed need His truth, but first we must identify what we believe that has caused us to choose not to remember. When working with a person who reports that no memory has come to mind, the facilitator should move with the person to the SOLUTION Box and ask the three questions that make up the De-Solution Tool.
It is not the memory itself that we are avoiding.
It is actually the belief that we embraced in the context of our life experience (that we still currently believe) and the consequential emotion that this belief produces. The memory itself is not producing the negative emotions we feel when we remember. It is the belief. Once we know the truth and our emotions change to match the truth, thinking about the memory will no longer present a problem or trigger us to feel any pain.
It is a belief – though not a core belief – that hinders our making a choice to remember. Our memory may not surface because we believe such things as, “Remembering will be overwhelming and be more than I can bear,” “Remembering will destroy my current life,” “Remembering will make the event real,” etc. If we believe that by not remembering, we can somehow protect ourselves from any of these things occurring, not remembering becomes an attractive option. These types of beliefs are ‘solutions’ to our perceived problem. This is why we call them “Solution Beliefs.”
In the same way that we need truth from the Spirit concerning our core belief in order to move forward, we need truth pertaining to the lies that are hindering association from working. This is where the De-Solution Tool is applied to identify the beliefs supporting our solution behavior.