Pattern Changing


The Bottom Line

You can change any Pattern by switching from being bummed or critical about doing the Habit again! to being excited about noticing that you’re doing it again.  Even if you’ve already long since done the Pattern and you’ve been beating yourself up about it for days, you can still switch to noticing that you’re doing the beating-yourself-up Pattern again.  Change that Pattern, and you’ll soar.

The Nitty Gritty

I’ve been repeating this often lately, so it’s time to write it down.

Changing a Pattern or Habit is actually easy, though it takes a little while.  Patterns take advantage of the power of Ritual, one of the fundamental principles of Magic.  They’re created by repetition, and they’re changed by repetition.  Karma is also a Habit Pattern, since Karma is inertia not retribution, but Karma can be more difficult because the roots are deeper, and there’s usually a Victim component to it.

Patterns are useful – think of driving a car.  If you have to Consciously attend to everything necessary while driving, it’s exhausting.  When you can trust some things to Habit, you can relax, and it’s much safer.  You don’t have to stop and think,

“Hmmm, colored lights.  What’s a Red Light mean?  Oh yeah, Stop.  Now which pedal was the brake?  Was it this one?  Oops, not that one!  I better text my friend and ask…”

But like any inertial process, Patterns can get stuck in places where they’re no longer of service.

The key to Change is straightforward.

Whenever you notice the Pattern and feel badly for doing the Pattern, you reinforce it.  Whenever you notice the Pattern and feel good about noticing that you’re doing it, you break the Pattern. 

You’ll need to reinforce that new Pattern of feeling good about noticing by repeating it many times, but you’ll find that each time it gets easier.  It gets easier because the noticing Pattern gets stronger as it’s repeated, and because each time you notice, you notice a split second earlier than last time, and the sooner you notice, the easier it is to shift.  Pretty soon you’ll be noticing when you’re thinking about doing the old Pattern, before you even do it!  The Pattern might be useful in some circumstances, but now you decide whether to use it or not.  When you feel a surge of intense Joy rushing up your spine as you notice, you’ve achieved healthy Conscious control.

You may also bring into Consciousness the subtle but powerful split-second mutual reinforcement that occurs between thoughts and feelings.  You might not so much notice that you’re thinking about feeling badly, instead you might notice that there’s a clunk in your Belly, and that your Body interprets a clunk in your Belly as a signal that you’re doing something wrong.  If you can get into the middle of those rapid-fire interactions, you can begin having some real Choices.

Mid-Pattern Stops, Negative Thoughts, and Externalities

There is a special situation where we’re in a social setting and we start into a Pattern, then notice, but we’re embarrassed to stop in mid-sentence or mid-stroke.  The embarrassment is a different Pattern, and it can be addressed the same way.  The logistics are a bit more complex when Patterns overlap, but we can break it down and work on each Pattern separately till we get good enough with each to practice working on them together.  We can even recruit a friend to set us up and then witness while we start a Pattern, stop, make amends or back out, and start over.

There’s an obvious connection here to Tapping.  We can certainly tap about thoughts (Even if I’m thinking about…), though it’s more common to tap about feelings – both Emotions and Bodily Perceptions.  A powerful technique for working with negative thoughts is Cancel, Neutralize, Upgrade.  As soon as you notice a negative thought, you say it out loud, if that’s feasible.  Buy doing so your Intention is to Cancel the negative thought, Neutralize the vibration it has created, and Upgrade the part of yourself that thinks negatively.  Then it may still help to Consciously feel good about noticing, as that will amplify the power of your Change.

A very great proportion of our behaviors are Habitual, much more than we realize.  We Unconsciously recognize the Pattern of an external Circumstance, and react to it Habitually.  How do we react to criticism from a boss or client or significant other?  Do we have the same or a similar reaction every time?  Or does our reaction vary from boss to client?  If we have Habitual reactions to important Circumstances, then we need to get those into Consciousness so we can choose a response appropriate to the moment, rather than just parroting our old Pattern.  Patterns of this type are some of the most limiting in our Birdcage, and often present situations where practicing with a trusted friend is useful.


When we revert to a Pattern we often regress.  If we were told we weren’t worthy at age six, then anytime someone insinuates that we aren’t worthy, it can regress us to that age, and when that happens we lose contact with everything we’ve learned since.  It’s as if first grade is a separate place in our brain, and when we go there we can’t see outside of it.  When you consider that All There Is Is Now and the past is just a collection of Parallel Lives, that’s actually the way it is, except that the separate place isn’t in our brain.  We forget even how to multiply – that was third-grade stuff.  Not so good if our boss is haranguing us over an arithmetic error.

One way out of a regression is to find a way to bring ourselves back to the Present Moment.  For instance, maybe our car keys can trigger our memory of being able to drive a car – that’ll certainly lift us out of the first grade.  To make that work we need some cue to help us remember the future.  That sort of time-travel is “theoretically” impossible.  But we might stage a couple of situations where we can notice.  Go talk to someone who usually criticizes you, while holding your car keys.  If the do criticize you, you can feel good about noticing it, and you will have anchored that to your keys.  They probably won’t, because they only get off on making you feel bad, and if you aren’t going to do that, they aren’t going to waste their energy on criticizing you.  But you will have set an anchor anyway.

More Complex Patterns, like Karma

In addition to Karma, there are a couple of other Patterns that can be more difficult to break through.  Patterns that were installed when we were preverbal infants, for instance, have no mental component to them, which makes them more difficult to notice.  Seven Generation Patterns can also be difficult.  If your grandmother taught your mother that she should never go outside after dark, without ever telling your mother that she couldn’t go outside because of Wolves, your mother may have programmed you to avoid being caught outside after dark, even though you grew up in Pasadena and now live in Beverly Hills.

We often never notice that Seven Generation Patterns even limit us, which brings us to the real leverage point in this whole practice – noticing the Pattern to begin with.  How often do we see ourselves as racist, or sexist, or biased against any other group of Morons?  We usually cover our prejudices with superiority.  In some cases it behooves us to go looking for Patterns to change, especially if it feels like our Karma is pretty clean.  Bad Things do happen to Good People.

Any sense of superiority is an excellent place to start.  Watts advised that our Good Karma is a lot harder to break through than our Bad Karma.  Or any place where we see other people doing things we’d never dream of doing, but we might enjoy.  Especially useful for bringing into Consciousness are Stress and Anxiety.  We can check the set of our jaw, our breathing or gnashing, our sense of Well-Being, the tension in our Belly, the angle of our spine or neck, or any difference in temperature between different parts of our Body.  If we detect tension there, we can congratulate ourselves for noticing, and tap it out.

Once we’ve identified a Pattern as a Pattern, breaking it is easy.

Cognitive Psychology has biased us into thinking that if we know why we’re doing something, and the reason doesn’t make sense, then the Pattern will go away by itself.  Karmic and other deep Patterns don’t work like that.  With a deep Pattern, the apparent cause is not the real cause.  If you are about to be executed in a parallel life for having a relationship with a Priestess, you don’t avoid relationship in the current lifetime because you’re afraid of commitment.  You can tap on your fear of commitment till you’re green and get nowhere.  When you’ve noticed and removed the first layer or this kind of Onion, you just have to move on to the next layer.  If you’re getting nowhere, PIAVA to get to the next layer.


A special and all-too common Pattern is painful self-criticism.  Our programming can easily make us believe that some Pattern of ours is wrong.  Guilt and Shame only deepen the Pattern.  We need to directly address the Guilt or Shame.  Noticing whenever we criticize ourselves, for any reason, is a powerful practice.  Criticism doesn’t invoke Change either.  Preference can.  Whoa, I’d prefer not to do that again! is much more likely to produce Change than What a stupid thing to do!  But better yet, work with the your noticing.  You’ve rejecting one Pattern (the stupid one), your Self-Rejection is the second Pattern – and a much more important one, and you’ll need to supplement those tasks with noticing and tapping on the negative Emotions.

Sensitivity to criticism from others is an altogether different Pattern, and one that often confounds the earlier type.  Unless you’re in business to make other people happy, then What You Think of Me Is None of My Business.  If you don’t believe that, consider noticing the Pattern and just feeling good that you noticed it.  You don’t even need to want to change it, but noticing it will help you discriminate between situations where it’s useful and situations where it’s socially suicidal.  If you are in business to make other people happy, then don’t take your business home with you, leave it at work.  If you do take it home, there’s your Pattern to notice and Change.

Virgo and Chiron

Self-Criticism is a special problem for Virgo, whether we’re talking about Virgo Sun, Moon, Rising, or other prominent planet or Angle.  Think about the last concert or play you went to and left feeling energized, and one that left you drained.  Those are the positive and negative poles of Leo.  The performers were either channeling Energy into the room, or sucking it out of the room.  Libra’s job is maintaining Harmony.  It’s easy for the other eleven Signs to see Libra as codependent, because they always appear to be giving away their Integrity in order to facilitate Harmony.  But for Libra, Harmony is Integrity.  Whether Leo is positive or negative, Virgo’s job is to create a bridge from the individual to the social, from Leo to Libra.  In India, recycling is simply Shiva’s function, completely healthy.  But in the West, ragpickers are despised, and that rubs off on Virgo.

If you stop and think about how you might go about the task of recycling Leo into Libra, you can see how difficult it really is.  You can’t walk up to Leo and criticize them into getting more collaborative or trading jobs with the janitor for a week.  They’ll laugh at you.  Leo knows that what you think of them is none of their business.  Yet once a hundred people do that, they might be willing to try to change their stripes.  And there’s a very good chance that any given Leo will have Venus in Cancer or Virgo.  So criticism of Narcissism is one of Virgo’s legitimate roles.  But Virgo can go too far, and see any form of Ego as Narcissistic – especially their own Ego.  That’s a Pattern every Virgo needs to work on.  A healthy Ego is anyone’s best supporter.

Virgo is ruled by Chiron – Despair and Miracles.  It’s the old Einstein quote about how we can’t solve a problem by using the same thinking that formulated the problem.  Or the Medieval Scribe standing at a copy machine and saying It’s a Miracle.  We can despair over insoluble problems, or we can reorganize the paradigm we use to view the problem.  Is the present economic malaise a systemic collapse, a temporary detour, or the beginning of a whole new process?  If we’re an employee and we see it as a temporary detour, we keep looking and hoping to find a job.  If it’s a systemic collapse, we curse the banksters.  If it’s the beginning of a whole new process, we start looking for clues about how we might create Community instead of Employment.  If, three years later, we still aren’t employed, but we aren’t hungry either, it’s a Miracle.

The worst kind of Despair is Unconscious Despair – when we don’t even notice that we don’t believe something is possible.  When we think about satisfying our most basic needs, employment immediately comes to mind, and nothing else.  We don’t even know the rest of the Universe is out there.  When it’s cloudy, we don’t see the Stars.  If we live in Buffalo, we don’t even know there are stars (just kidding, Buffalo!).  Here’s another powerful question to ask ourselves – What do I want that I don’t know how to get in a hundred different ways?  Then feel good about noticing that, tap on it, and PIAVA learning a few hundred new ways to get it.  Like this Eagle sculpted entirely from Gold, for instance.

Where We Been?

Any Pattern can be changed, even complex Patterns like Karma and Regression.  By combining Pattern Change (patting ourselves on the back for noticing the Pattern) with Tapping and PIAVA and Cancel-Neutralize-Upgrade, we can accelerate Change.  The World mirrors who we are and how we behave, and we have no control over other people, only ourselves.  Changing ourselves is actually the only way we have to Change the World.  Ghandi said that.  Don’t start with the “300-pound weight” – practice on small things first, to develop the Habit of creating Change.  Then you can move on to the Big Things.

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