Step 1: Increasing the number of contexts for Spiritual self-schema activation
Rehearse (practice) and Record
a) On your Transforming Obstacles into Opportunities Worksheet, enter those contexts (i.e., people, places, situations, and activities) that you reflected on above that activate old, habitual self-schemas that make it difficult for you to experience and express your Spiritual nature. Describe how you will prepare for, and ultimately transform, these contexts into ones in which you can continue experiencing and expressing your Spiritual nature. Refer to your previously completed 3-S Blueprint and identify the warning signals that will alert you to slow down and become increasingly mindful of, and in control of, your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Describe the scripts you will use (e.g., self-affirmations, recitation of memorized inspirational sayings or scriptures) and the behavioral action sequences you will enact (e.g., deep breathing, visualization exercises, seeking support) and the skills and tools you will need in order to transform what was once perceived as an obstacle into an opportunity for Spiritual development.
b) Each day during Phase 3, when completing your daily 3-S Construction Plan enter the potential obstacle that you expect to encounter that day, and describe how you will use the materials, skills, and tools you described on your Transforming Obstacles Worksheet (or if the obstacle emerges unexpectedly, how, in retrospect, you did, or did not, successfully transform it). As in Phase 2, become an actor who is taking on the role of someone walking your Spiritual path who can transform these obstacles into opportunities for Spiritual development. For example, when an encounter with a certain individual gives rise to feelings of dislike, impatience, or anger, you might try to view this person as someone who helps you to become mindful of your automatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause you to veer off your Spiritual path and onto a path that leads to distress. Remind yourself that by doing this you are not attempting to change that person in any way, nor are you judging the rightness or wrongness of your feelings concerning this person; rather, you are taking back your power over your own being, and are thereby preventing yourself from mindlessly activating an old self-schema while in this person's company. Continue in this way each day transforming perceived obstacles until you are able to prevent yourself from inadvertently, mindlessly, swerving off your personal Spiritual path.
c) While actively engaged in transforming perceived obstacles, continue your practice of stopping 3 times daily to become aware of what self-schema is currently activated and the extent to which that self-schema is compatible with the experience and expression of your Spiritual nature. Enter this information on your Self-Schema Check-In log. Refer to this log frequently; it will provide you with important feedback as to the usefulness of your warning signals, cognitive scripts, and behavioral action sequences, and provide you with the opportunity to make appropriate modifications to them. Do this each day, gradually increasing the number of "obstacles" you can transform.
d) Continue also your practice of daily meditation, increasing the amount of time as appropriate to your skill level.