My Jizo Therapy is wading into the waters of what is popularly known as tapping. Tapping, aka EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques, can be found on countless websites, in dozens of YouTube videos, and at pain clinics.
The very basic idea is that we have acupressure points in our bodies that, when tapped, move energy and help facilitate change. I was skeptical. I listened to various so-called experts and I was still skeptical. I tried it while on my meditation cushion and liked it. I felt more relaxed. I had a better perspective.
Then, I found that tapping could take me deeper into trauma resolution and I felt more and more committed to the process. Later, I added Jizo into the mix. How? Here’s an example (I wish I was willing to make little videos, as this is much more effective when watched and heard, at least for me.)
Say, for example, you are really anxious when it comes to meeting strangers; you are afraid of not being liked, of saying something stupid, of not being pretty/handsome enough, smart enough, sexy, thin, cool — whatever your brand of anxiety says to you.
You begin by using the finger tips of one hand to tap at the spot on your other hand where you would do a karate chop. I am left-handed, so I tap on my left side. It is up to you.
As you tap on each point, make a statement. Start with the negative emotions, the more blatantly honest, the better.
“I am feeling really scared to go to ____ and meet ____ because I am afraid I won’t know anyone there.”
From the karate chop spot, move the tapping to the top of your head and then on to the other locations, following the above chart and making one statement per location. You can make up your own words, these are just suggestions to give you a feeling for the process. You could start with “I hate parties,” or “People scare me.” It’s your story you want to tell, this is just the framework.
“I am afraid I will make a fool out of myself.”
“I hate meeting new people. I have feared strangers since I was little.”
“I don’t want to go. …and I hate that about me.”
“If I don’t go, I will never learn how to make new friends and I will be alone forever.”
“Thinking like this scares me and makes me feel crazy.”
“I am afraid things will never change.”
“God, I hate my life.”
(I am getting down and dirty with my example; maybe you would never say those things. But there are times when most of us get pretty dark inside.)
Between tapping rounds, pause and notice your breath. Notice the sounds around you. Notice any sensations you may have in your body.
As you continue, do a few totally negative rounds, saying aloud the things you might be afraid to admit to even a therapist or trusted friend. Actually say aloud, “I am afraid of going crazy” or “I am afraid I will die if ____.”
As you move through the tapping sequence, getting out the grossly negative for a few rounds, you may even have associations that come to mind, “The first time I met a stranger, they teased me and I felt ashamed,” “My parents always told me never to speak to strangers, never to trust a stranger,” or some another memory that surprises you.
Keep tapping. Breathing deeply into the belly. Bring Jizo, love and acceptance into the next round:
“I hate meeting strangers and I am ready to heal, while Jizo holds me safely.”
“I am afraid of making a fool of myself AND I accept myself just as I am, right now, while Jizo holds me safely.”
“I hate that I am so fearful… and I love and accept myself, while Jizo holds me safely no matter how hopeless I feel.”
“I am afraid I will always be insecure and I think I am ready to heal, while Jizo holds me safely on my path.”
“God, I hate my life… and I am willing to love and accept myself just as I am, while Jizo holds the scared child within me.”
Finish with a round of purely positive: “I love and accept myself, while Jizo holds me safely on my journey.” At the very end of the cycle, tap your karate chop parts of both hands together and say, “Peace.” Then lie down for a few minutes in a corpse-like pose and just notice, without judgement, how you are.
It takes practice. I suggest tapping before breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime on a consistent basis, whether you feel like you need it or not. I like to combine it with some yoga asanas, as I feel even more focused if I take a moment to move into another deep stretch and then tap again. Other times, I sit on my meditation cushion and bask in some well-earned and cleansing tears.
I usually end with a surprisingly deep breath and a huge smile on my face.