a method of achieving inner peace
December 9, 1977
derived from the book by Ken Keyes

Whenever we are irritated, or angry, or anxious or fearful, or tense, or threatened, or resentful, or bored, or jealous, it is because our bodies and nervous systems have been "programmed" to respond with those feelings whenever certain events occur to us. That is an event occurs in the outside world, and we react in a programmed way with a particular emotion. Whether this programming has been done consciously or unconsciously or whether it has been done to us by outside events does not matter; what matters is that we can change that programming. We can feel acceptance instead of resentment, love and caring instead of irritation and anger, calm instead of anxiety, assurance instead of fear, inner peace instead of tension or threat, and joy instead of boredom or jealousy.

The "instant reprogramming" method is based on the insight that we don't need to feel all these emotions of tension, irritation, and rejection, whether towards others or towards ourselves. It's all right to feel them, because that's our programming at the moment; but we don't HAVE to, and by recognizing that we can free ourselves from them. This process may have to be repeated many times before any emotion is fully reprogrammed; but in every case it can bring immediate calm and peacefulness no matter what is happening.

The method is actually quite simple and specific. For example, if someone does something which causes us to have feelings of anger, we can think to ourselves, I don't NEED to be angry or annoyed or resentful; it's all right but I don't HAVE to. If someone or some situation threatens us in some way, or makes us have feelings of fear or anxiety, we can say to ourselves, I don't NEED to be FEARFUL; maybe I need to get away from here but I don't need to be in a state of fear. If someone is involved with someone we love in a way which causes us to have feelings of jealousy, we can think, I don't need to be jealous; everyone is a conscious being and I can't really be hurt by their experiencing love and caring, so I don't NEED to be jealous. And in general in any situation where we feel uptight or upset in any way we can say to ourselves, I don't NEED to be uptight or upset, it's not FORCED on me by the situation, and this can immediately have a calming effect on us, enabling us both to accept the situation, free ourselves from our programming, and love everyone and everything around us.

The method will only work if we actually believe that we don't need to be in these tense or unhappy emotional states. If we think that we have to experience anger or jealousy or boredom, then we just reinforce our old programming and we will continue to feel those emotions whenever the outside (or inside) conditions trigger those emotions. If we think that expressing anger or resentment or any other emotion is good for us, then expressing those emotions reinforces having those emotions. But ir we can see clearly that we are not forced to have those emotions, that is, they are not inevitable in the way that sweating or hunger or yawning are, and if we keep that in mind every instant, we can free ourselves from those emotions.

It also helps to recognize that talking about our emotions is different from expressing or directing negative emotional energy towards others. It helps us to see the programming which we have, and to accept it And it helps others to 3ee us as we are and not as we pretend to be, and it helps all of us to see the oneness which we all share. So this method does not mean repressing or suppressing emotions, merely seeking to accept and reprogram them. This method also explains why it is possible to free ourselves from negative emotions without losing the ability to feel positive emotions. Any emotion disappears only as we reprogram it, and we will continue to feel enthusiasm and excitement and happiness and joy and inner peace and love unless we try to reprogram them also.

The beauty of this method is that you can practice it all the time, and it does not require any special training or meditation periods, and it can be fun while you are doing it.

(originally published under the name of John Fitz)