A few links that may help readers understand FIML

Training in ‘Concrete Thinking’ Can Be Self-Help Treatment for Depression, Study Suggests

This article is about how a technique called “concrete thinking” can help people with depression. FIML does something similar, but on steroids. Partners work only with concrete data–that which has been spoken or indicated within the prior few seconds.

Anxiety/uncertainty management

This links to a Wikipedia article on uncertainty. FIML practice recognizes that human existence is replete with uncertainties we cannot remove. We can, though, remove uncertainty in our communication with our partner.

Cognitive-bias modification to help alcoholics stay sober

This article shows a way that alcoholics can learn to modify a cognitive bias that makes them more susceptible to booze than non-alcoholics. This study relates to FIML in that it shows all of us that we can manage and change how we react to stimuli. This can help with FIML practice because we need to learn to react differently to our partners when something they say causes us to feel a jangle. Rather than become emotional, we want to learn to stop the conversation and do a FIML inquiry.

I just had the links above bookmarked and thought they might be helpful. I will add more as I find them.

More random notes on FIML

  • Neuroses (kleshas, ongoing mistaken interpersonal interpretations) have a sort of ghostly power because they contain large dramatic components. We understand them in similar ways to how we understand people. Neuroses are like ghosts in our minds or superstitions. We treat them like personality traits and invent histories for them. We give them far more power than they deserve because we do not know how to get rid of them.
  • Neuroses can be thought of as a kind of super-level of language that defines chunks of speech or that interprets speech in a dramatic way. Neuroses are automatic interpretations that define how we use and understand language.
  • Once neuroses gain a life of their own, they are difficult to eradicate through traditional methods. If we meditate on them, we often increase their power. If we do a psychological investigation into their origins, we may similarly increase their power and rarely eradicate them. If we calmly deal with them during the dynamic moment by using FIML techniques with our partner, we will unhook them (the repository of them in memory or in our autobiography) from the dynamic moment. When we unhook a neurosis, or disentangle ourselves from it, it is as if we stop feeding a ghost.
  • Our minds are very efficient. If you can show your own mind (with the help of your partner) that your neurotic interpretation is a mistake, and if you can do this several times with the same neurosis, your mind will begin to forget that neurosis. It will stop using it because it can see that that interpretation is wrong.
  • With just a few good FIML examples, most neuroses will disappear. You may still retain a tendency to interpret things in that way, but a quick FIML query will stop the avalanche of neurotic feelings that had characterized your reactions in the past.
  • If we want to grow and learn, we must be able to change.
  • Deep change usually involves changing how we understand ourselves, changing our mental autobiography.
  • Deep change usually occurs due to interactions with other people.
  • We can achieve deep, satisfying change with our partner if we do FIML practice with them.
  • FIML frees partners from static and mistaken interpretations of each other. FIML allows us to change what we have said or heard and explain why. It helps us admit mistakes and explain how they occurred. It allows us to correct wrong interpretations in our own mind and in the mind of our partner.
  • Having a partner in FIML helps us check our work. If we spend long hours in solitary contemplation, we may still have no way to be sure we have reached sound conclusions. With a partner, we will be able to contemplate ourselves in a dynamic setting that also includes contemplation of our partner. We will both grow faster if we grow together.

Random notes on FIML

Sometimes things become clearer when we have just a bit of information, or several small bits. A single detail can sometimes make us perceive the whole in ways we had not before–we may notice connections we had not noticed or recall pertinent memories that had been submerged. I hope the following short notes will be helpful in this way.

  • When we speak to someone, we speak to what we think is in their mind. FIML practice helps us know with much greater accuracy what is in the mind of the person we are speaking to.
  • FIML helps us avoid the worry of wondering if our partner is bothered by something we said (or did) because we know that if they are, they will bring it up.
  • FIML allows far more leeway in how we speak to our partner. It allows us to speak creatively and exploratorily with our partner. We can speak tentatively without the need for strongly expressed conclusions. We can share doubt, wonder, uncertainty with our partner.
  • Our minds are dynamic processes. FIML helps us access the dynamism of our minds in the moment with our partner. We can share and communicate dynamic states without clinging to static interpretations.
  • Interpretations of what others say or of what we think they are saying are all too often static interpretations based on things that happened in the past. With FIML practice, by simply asking, we avoid making harmful or mistaken interpretations. There is no need to guess at what our partner means, and every reason not to.
  • If you wonder what your partner means but don’t ask, you will still make some sort of interpretation. If you don’t ask them because you think it might feel awkward, you are still making an interpretation and limiting your understanding of yourself and your partner.
  • Neuroses (ongoing mistaken interpretations) are fed in the moment. Conversations move quickly and are dynamic. If we withhold a FIML query from our partner, we will almost certainly feed one of our ongoing mistaken interpretations of them, we will strengthen our own neurosis and miss a chance for mutual liberation from it.
  • When we speak or listen, we all tend to be self-centered, in a neutral sense of the term. I don’t mean selfish here, but simply self-centered. When we listen, we tend to listen first of all to how our partner’s speech impacts us. Did I do something wrong? Did I do something right? Will that cost me energy or money? Does that refer to me somehow? Our fundamental self-centeredness¬† is based on being in a body and having a mental autobiography. There is nothing wrong with that unless we use it mistakenly as an integral part of our interpretation of what our partner is saying. If you are wondering if their comments are being directed, subtly or not, at you, just ask them. If you don’t ask, you will either come to a conclusion based on insufficient information or you will continue to wonder about what they said. In either case you will be wasting both your own energy and your partner’s. It’s always “cheaper” (more energy efficient, more truth efficient) to do a FIML query than to avoid it.
  • It’s always “cheaper” (more energy efficient, more truth efficient) to do a FIML query than to avoid it.