When I am tapping all sorts of things come to mind. Sometimes the memories are clearly connected to what I am tapping on. Other times they are thoughts about memories and people that seem to have nothing to do with what I am tapping on. What should I do with these thoughts?
When I am working with a client during an Emotional Freedom Techniques(EFT)/tapping session, typically the first question I ask them after a round of tapping is, “What came to mind as we did that round of tapping?”
You will notice I ask this question before I ask how much relief they’ve felt or what their SUDs level is. I do this because I believe the thoughts that come to mind during a round of tapping contain more important information than the level of relief.
Real relief is going to last and we will be able to check in on that progress in a moment, but the thoughts that have come to mind are often fleeting — so much so that frequently when I’ve asked this question my clients have said something like:
“Uh…ahhh…it was right there…now the thought is gone.”
Our thoughts and memories are not like files in a computer. Files in a computer are distinct. Each file exists on its own. It might have information about other files or be connected to specific programs, but these files are self-contained pieces of data.
Our thoughts and memories are not at all like this. They exist as complicated networks of interconnections. No single thought is contained by itself. Even when we intend to bring up a specific memory we also bring up all of its connections.
Think about the last time you let your mind wander. You might have been waiting for a friend or sitting in a car. One thought leads to another, then another, and another. It might seem random, but these thoughts and memories are all connected.
When we are doing a round of tapping we tap into this network of memories and thoughts, and we usually gain information about what the truer root of a problem is.
I use the term “truer root” because there are countless times when we think we understand why we feel the way we feel, but on further investigation we find out we are wrong.
For example, I may think I am mad because a waiter brought me the wrong food, but really it’s one more example of me feeling like my needs haven’t been heard.
Also, you will notice I didn’t say “true root” because often the new information we gain gets us closer; then we find out we can get closer still.
When we are tapping on one issue, the mind/body system naturally tunes into everything that one issue or symptom is connected to. As I stated above, sometimes these connections are obvious. Other times they are not.
My favorite phrase that my clients use when I ask them what came to mind is, “I am sure this has nothing to do with what we are working on but…”
I’ve found that the less obvious the connection between a thought and the tapping issue is, the more informative the thought is likely to be.
For me this is really good news because I expect the thought to be very helpful in the healing process.
The question then comes, “What do we do with this information?”
In some cases the connection is so obvious it becomes the issue we tap on next. In other case it is not so obvious. When I get information while tapping that has nothing to do with what I am doing work on I do two things.
First, I make a note of the thought, memory, or person who has come to mind. I don’t want to disturb the work I am doing right now, but I also don’t want to lose track of this new information.
Second, when I return to the new information, if I still can’t figure out what it means, I will tap on something like this.
During my last tapping session a piece of information came to mind…I have no idea what it means…or why it would come to mind while I was tapping on that issue…the new information might be very helpful in my healing path…I would love to know why this information came to mind…but I give myself permission to know that when I need to know what it means I will know what it means…I would like to know sooner than later…but I trust my body will give me the information I need to heal when I need it.
[How to use these tapping phrases]
Often it becomes very clear why that information has come to mind before I even end those few phrases. But even if it doesn’t, by the time I’ve finished that patter I am comfortable not knowing right now.
The way our thoughts and feelings are interconnected makes it very easy for us to dig our way to deeper roots and connected problems by simply paying attention to what is coming to mind as we tap. With all things, it is important that we be easy with ourselves as we are tapping. Don’t get too wrapped up in figuring out what it is — just enjoy the healing process.