Many people struggle to recall memories, and only know they have a problem by the current circumstances they’re experiencing.
For others, however, there are so many memories that seem to be connected that it can be very difficult to know where to start.
There is a simple, organized method for addressing all of the memories that are relevant to your current challenge – and using this method will mean that you may not even need to address some of these memories since they may have flipped before you even get to them.
The Structure of Problems
Whatever your problem is right now, it is only the surface part of a deep and complex structure.
Think of a house – the part of the house you can see cannot exist on its own. It is the foundation that supports the building.
Depending on the type of building, the foundation may be simple or more complicated.
It may have several levels, or it may be one level.
The structure of the foundation is very different to that of the house.
If you didn’t know anything about houses or how they’re built – in fact, think back to when you were a child, before you knew about how buildings are constructed – looking at a house, you will have had no idea of the structure below the ground that goes into keeping that building standing strong.
It is the same with every problem you have.
No matter what it is, or in which area of your life you’re experiencing it, it has a foundation below the level of consciousness.
And that foundation has a specific structure. In the case of problems, the structure of the foundation varies depending on the individual; and the fact that each person has a unique life experience means that every structure is unique.
Robert discusses how these structures are formed:
How Memories Form the Structure of Problems
These foundation structures that support your problems are built up of memories.
The subconscious constructs foundations out of different memories.
Very often the combination of memories may not make logical sense to the conscious mind.
The subconscious is not capable of logic or reason, and it creates these structures based on experiences – connected by feelings – rather than on reason or logic.
For example: While a rabbit and a physical threat to survival is not a logical match to the conscious mind, the subconscious can connect them through an experience that the individual may no longer consciously remember.
Angela is a baby, and she’s in a dreamy, relaxed state.
Angela is focused on a rabbit, and unaware of everything else around her. Suddenly, a door slams and her body reacts in shock.
Her brain immediately triggers her organs to produce fight or flight chemicals, and her body instantly goes into an emergency state.
Her subconscious will automatically search to make a connection between the danger and the source of it.
Since the baby’s conscious mind is not yet able to work out where the threat came from, and since her full focus was on a rabbit at the time, her subconscious may create a connection between the rabbit and the stress state.
From then on, whenever she sees a rabbit, her body goes into fight or flight and she starts to cry.
Her parents have no idea what happened, and cannot understand why their child is suddenly and inexplicably terrified of bunny rabbits.
As she gets older, her conscious mind understands that rabbits can’t hurt her, but she still can’t help feeling fear whenever she sees a rabbit.
Naturally, Angela’s conscious mind doesn’t remember the original incident, but the memory of it is stored in her subconscious as part of her survival system.
Her conscious mind believes she has a weird phobia of rabbits, and so she simply does whatever she can to avoid coming into contact with them.
Now, another baby may not have made the connection between rabbits and danger – not every individual will make the same connections.
It will depend on the emotional state at the time, the intensity and precise position of the focus, and the events that followed the incident.
It will also depend on the experiences that came after the event and were filtered through that particular event.
If, for example, the child is then later on somehow surprised by a rabbit or someone holding a rabbit, or someone in a cartoon rabbit costume, the subconscious may then add that incident to the structure of the rabbit threat.
While these incidents may seem to have a certain logic (they all involve rabbits) there may also be other memories that are part of the structure of this particular problem that appear to have nothing to do with rabbits – this is where the conscious mind struggles to understand the connections.
For example, that child may encounter a bully at school whose face somehow reminds her of a rabbit – very fleetingly.
And since that thought is fleeting, her conscious mind barely registers it; but because her subconscious is on the look-out for danger, to keep her safe, it recognizes the connection, and attaches the memory of that bully to the threat of rabbits.
In addition to this, as a teenager, Angela may have a traumatic break-up with a boyfriend; and as she’s standing in the corner store, having just read his text, her eyes catch the bunny ears on the cover of a magazine.
Again, while her conscious mind doesn’t register the connection, or even really see the ears since she’s so focused on the pain of the break-up, her unconscious mind again connects the memory with the rest of the rabbit threat structure.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
So, trying to find and address each memory in that structure is an impossible task.
The only way to effectively deconstruct the foundation of the problem is to address the earliest reference of how you know you have a problem.
So, in the case of the rabbit phobia, Angela won’t remember the original incident, and she’s unlikely to connect any of the other memories to the problem; so, she starts with the earliest memory she can recall of feeling fear about a rabbit.
This happens to be an incident when she was in high school, and a new friend invited her round to her house – and Angela had no idea that her friend had a pet rabbit.
Angela’s friend brought the rabbit out to show Angela, but Angela had gone to the bathroom.
As she came out of the bathroom, her friend (who was oblivious to the fact that Angela has a phobia of rabbits) was standing right in front of the door, holding her pet bunny up in front of her face as a “cute” surprise.
Angela’s body immediately goes into extreme stress – based on all of the “evidence” her subconscious now holds of the danger of rabbits – and she screams.
Her friend is shocked, and unfortunately, is not very understanding.
The friendship peters out, and Angela’s subconscious registers this as an additional danger of rabbits – they damage relationships.
Naturally, this additional information is not verbalized and understood intellectually; it is an instinct.
So, Angela begins to use FasterEFT on that memory.
She taps on the fright she got when she saw the rabbit, she taps on the look of the rabbit, the expression on her friend’s face, her friend’s reaction after the incident, and everything else that comes to her when she recalls this memory.
The memory eventually flips, and the new memory shows her friend holding up a toy rabbit from the other side of the room.
In this new memory, Angela doesn’t have the fight or flight reaction, but she explains her phobia to her new friend.
Her friend puts down the toy rabbit and gives Angela a hug, and they go on to have a fun day.
This is the new, flipped memory.
Now, as part of the entire structure, this memory will have been supporting other memories.
Those may well change as it changes.
Next, Angela goes back to the idea of rabbits.
She imagines seeing a rabbit in front of her, and she can feel the fear.
It’s not as strong as it was, but she can feel it.
Now, more memories are coming to her – she remembers several encounters with rabbits that were very stressful, and a few memories that come up that seem to have nothing to do with rabbits at all (including that big break up when she was a teenager) and she doesn’t know which one to start with.
How to Decide Which Memory to Start Working On
If you have a lot of memories that are coming up for you, and you don’t know where to start, start with the earliest one.
Start with the earliest memory you have.
This is like removing one of the lower cards in a house of cards – it may well cause those above it to collapse as a result.
If you’re not sure which is your earliest memory, pick the one that has the strongest emotional charge.
Once you’ve addressed that one, go back and check your problem, and notice what’s different.
If there are still negative emotions left (no matter how small or apparently insignificant) make a list of the other memories that have come up for you.
Just use one or two words to identify each one, and list them in order of intensity or timeline – whichever feels easier.
Then, simply work your way through the list, working on each memory using FasterEFT.
As you clear them, you may find you get to some memories that no longer have any emotional charge at all, and these may have even already flipped.
If they haven’t, be sure to flip them before you move on. Keep going back to check your current problem in-between – and notice what’s different about it each time.
Don’t stop until you have completely cleared all of the negativity around your problem – in other words, don’t stop when it’s reduced, make sure it has completely flipped.
From then on, whenever you encounter anything that bothers you, or you have any thoughts, feelings or memories that come to you that bother you, use the FasterEFT technique in the moment to clear and flip them.
The Bottom Line
Start with the memory that is the earliest or the most emotionally intense.
If you can’t decide, make a list of all of the memories, and simply start at the top and work your way through them.
You will not necessarily need to work through every single one since flipping a few of them may result in the others automatically collapsing.
Here are a few resources to get you started: