Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Developing the mentor Pt 1

A friend of mine (who also has CFS) has been doing an e-mail class with US Zen teacher Cheri Huber over the past few months. Cheri's work places a strong emphasis on developing a compassionate and kind inner-voice, which she calls a 'mentor'. 

As part of the e-mail course my friend was asked to find someone else to teach some of Cheri's practices to, focussing on the development of an inner-mentor. I am the proud little guinea-pig!  

I thought I'd blog about doing my 'assignments' (because if I blog about them it means I actually have to do them!)

My first task was to find a way of recording my voice.  I ended up just clicking on the video recorder in my laptop and recording myself speaking on video.  This way, the recordings are on my desktop and with one click I can be listening to them.  (I thought it was important to make the listening process as simple as possible, or I'd find an excuse not to do it! Like most people, I don't particularly enjoy listening to my voice on tape.)

My next task was to record myself saying all the positive, good things I was doing to support myself in my meditation and awareness practice, and all the ways I was committed to giving myself a better life. 

It was quite weird to record myself saying these things, but I came up with three minutes of affirming statements.  The recording says things like: 'I'm really committed to making my life better and giving myself the best chance of getting well and finding peace.  Even when my meditation practice is really difficult and I feel like I'm getting no-where I still keep going.  I'm committed to spending money on books and on my psychologist.  I'm committed to travelling to the monastery whenever I can.  I really appreciate the parts of myself that are persistent and focussed and creative - because these parts help me just to keep going in this practice.' 

Now my task is to listen to this recording every day.  As I listen I silently say, 'Yes, that's true' after every statement I make on the recording. 

It is very interesting to listen to what the critical voices in my head say in response.  'No - it's NOT true!' they say. 'If you carry on like this, just focussing on positive things, you'll never get well!' 

I try not to engage with these voices, but just bring myself back to the recording and my silent repetition of 'Yes, that's true.'

I've been listening to Cheri Huber's radio programs for a year now and have noticed she often recommends people record themselves speaking.  Until I did it myself I wondered why, but now I see why it's so powerful. 

I have a 'voice' running continuously in my head, and for 99% of the time it's a voice of judgement, and comparison.  Having another 'voice' that I listen to on my laptop makes it clear that what is going on in my head is just one opinion.  It's not necessarily correct and I can learn to develop this kind, mentoring voice and then have a choice about what I listen to. 

All very interesting! I'll let you know about the next assignment when I do it.


  1. Way cool, Emma! Sounds good to me! Anything that gets us to mindfulness, self-awareness, self love is all important! I will have to check out Cheri's stuff. Lately I've been studying A Course In Miracles.


  2. Most people aren't aware of the "running commentary" in their minds. It is so important to begin to take notice because what we say to ourselves matters.

    Good luck with your practice!

  3. Wow, this sounds really powerful! I've never heard of Cheri Huber, I better go look her up now! Fantastic blog btw!

  4. Yes, it is really powerful, and thanks for your comments on my bloggy ramblings. Actually, it was spldbch (from the comment above) whose blog introduced me to Cheri's work!


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