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The Hoffman Process

The Hoffman Process

Book Summary by Linda Brown

   In 1969 Bob Hoffman developed the principles of the process that bears his name. In 1972 he put them into practice. Initially a thirteen week program, in 1985 these principals became an intensive eight day residential seminar known as the Hoffman Quadrinity Process.

The process explains why you behave the way you do and will help you gain control of your own life. The four major components of the process are as follows:

(1) awareness (2) expression (3) forgiveness and (4) new behavior.

Hoffman believed that the blocks in our lives (which stifle creativity and success) could not be cast aside merely by talking out our problems to a therapist, but must involve the four essentials of his process.

He realized that people must heal emotionally and that this involves compassion for ourselves and our pasts. The Hoffman Process offers psychospiritual transformation and helps a person build up a sense of self that does not rely on others.

Most of our patterns of behavior originally occurred because of our parents or caregivers. In fact, the majority of our patterns occurred around the time we were eight. If old hurts are still limiting our lives, it is because old reactions stick around unless we do something to rid ourselves of them.

Emotionally going back and reliving these bad times can release blocked energy that has been held in as fear, anger or depression.

Step 1 - Awareness - This initial step in the Hoffman Quadrinity Process is about recognizing where we are now versus where we want to be. We must uncover the patterns we are in - victim, manipulator, blamer, workaholic, etc.

These are strategies we've adopted in order to cope. These are the masks we wear. If we act a role all the time, it becomes a prison.

We can become aware by identifying situations in which we give our power to other people. We can learn to respond to situations rather than react to them. We can decide how we'd really like our lives to be and how we feel when we visualize our ideal.

Awareness can be helped along by writing these things down without censoring yourself. You can also use visualization. Pretend it's that way now and live as though it is. When people see only negatives in themselves and their lives, this robs them of energy.

You cannot feel good about your life unless you feel good about yourself from the inside out. Summon forth your spiritual side and begin spending time every day with it, like a new friend.

Step 2 - Expression - To reclaim power, it is necessary to express old hurts. What we repress emotionally for too long eventually shows up in our bodies as disease. Go back to your early life and relive hurtful parts of it. Even exaggerate these painful old negative feelings. You weren't born with them; you learned them.

Vent your anger. Anger is healthy when properly released. Vocalize it, stomp on it, dance it out, whatever it takes. You might even write a letter to your parents or others telling them the ways they hurt you and how angry it made you. After the feelings have poured themselves out into the letter, you can burn it.

Trace the patterns learned from your parents and see how one of them had the same patterns. Release these patterns. Build a boundary between them and you. Now you have more freedom to be yourself.

3- Forgiveness - Move on. Realize your parents were probably doing the best they knew how to do at the time. Even if not, forgive yourself for permitting someone else to abuse you. Truly forgive them. Make it an emotional investment. Truly forgiving will let you feel a source of inner strength.

In order to clear resentment, you must first express it. Walk through the pain again until it doesn't feel as strong. Then learn to feel love where you felt anger or sadness before. At some point turn things around to where instead of emotionally "accusing" your parents or caregivers, you are defending them.

It might prove helpful to hold a conversation with your "child" parent. Healing work that comes from this part of the Hoffman Process occurs subtly. You connect more with your spiritual self.

Tears are another way of cleansing the heart. Tears help clear the blocked emotions that have prevented love from entering our lives. Mourn for the past you are putting to rest. Performing a ritual while bidding farewell to the negative side of your parents helps the process.

Light a candle for each of them or in some other ritualistic way commemorate this event. Doing ritual work is an excellent way of letting the seen and unseen worlds come close. That is when miracles can occur.

Forgiving others is not enough, however. We must also forgive ourselves for our own mistakes. Then we can start fresh, after facing the differences between our emotional and intellectual selves, or our thinking side and our feeling side. Now it is time to balance the needs of our emotional side with those of our rational side.

They often cause us inner conflict. These old voices we're programmed into give us doubts, insults, and messages of self-hate. The voice we need to hear is the wise voice of our spiritual self. Bridging this gap can be helped along by meditation and intuition.

Step 4 - New Behavior - To live life fully it is necessary to feel. Changing our belief systems instead of repeating our same history can let us do that. Our old fears can turn into courage and our shame to self-respect. If we really feel, we are able to experience the "big five" emotions - joy, anger, fear, grief and love.

Criticism has caused us to think we weren't good enough. We believe we are a mistake. One of the strongest statements in the book is that love "reminds us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience." In healthy love, you aren't needy and you don't try to fill a void with a relationship or an addiction.

The Quadrinity Process is about first changing yourself and how you perceive things to be. Once you do that, it is possible for you to change your life. Instead of rejecting present experiences as bad or unnecessary (guilt, anxiety, anger), accept them and learn from them. Find kindred spirits who will support you. Support them as well.

The ghost of childhood relationship enters into our present, and the book tells us to avoid self-sabotage - don't be emotionally hijacked by old patterns of behavior. Both intellect and emotions can warn us, if we permit them to.

Let your spiritual self stay in touch with what you want in a relationship. When it comes to love, we are most attracted to people who match our parents in order to heal our childhood love wounds. If we are able to heal old feelings of rejection, we won't look for the same kinds of relationships again.

When you accept or reject people, do it because of who they are rather than your perception of them. Your perception is clouded by your past. Some of our old patterns, when examined, show us why we are approval seekers, or why we reject before being rejected, etc.

We can enrich our relationships by using new behaviors. We can also heal old friendships. Sometimes it helps to have a friend or two with whom you can give and receive feedback.

The book also discusses jobs, because in today's society more time is spent on the job that ever before. For too many, self-worth depends on their work and the money they earn. Hoffman says that your work patterns usually resemble those of your parents.

If you dislike the work you do, recognize and express how you feel about it. Find out what's keeping you there and what you can do about it. Note also your feelings about authority and money. People not only have a fear of poverty; some people have a fear of abundance.

Suggestions are offered on building a stronger sense of spirituality. One way is to never lose sight of the fact that you are a spiritual being. Another is using the imagination to visualize yourself as a spirit being in human form.

Other ways are paying special attention to your breath and setting aside a physical space for yourself to practice.
Like spirit, the body too gives and receives energy. We should treat our body as sacred, offering it the right nutrients and exercise.

Discern how, in growing up, you learned to love your body (or didn't). Have a dialogue between your body and mind. Delight in your five senses.

Understanding why you are the way you are can help you become the way you want to be. The Hoffman Process offers people a new emotional education by teaching them to become the creative force in all areas of their lives.

It engages all four dimensions of the self - intellect, emotions, physical body and spirit. Its focus is on raising self-awareness and self-development of the individual, thus raising the self-awareness of society.

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