Forward threading: a new way to learn
If you’ve been reading my blog series Empath sabotage, you may have noticed I posted a blog last week about how left-brained thinking can sometimes get the best of empaths. See, empaths tend to learn in more right-brained ways because the right brain is our emotional center and rules these highly sensitive personality types. It can be hard living in a world where people are rewarded for primarily functioning out of one side of their brain (the left), while the right-brained thinkers sometimes get their process or their experiences relegated as fringe, impractical, “overly emotional” or “artsy”. This needs to change. We need the empaths and right-brained thinkers to come out of the closet in order to have a more balanced flow of information and representation of the human experience.
I went to college for a degree in Education because of the struggles I faced over the years due to left-brained learning disabilities. It forces me to operate out of my right brain (being an empath is kind of a life sentence for me) and I have great difficulty performing mathematical and linear tasks. After being in classrooms over the years and working with kids (and now having a child myself), I see that we all learn in vastly different ways. Remember that you have a right to learn in whichever way works best for you, whether it be listening, observation, experience, memorization, etc.
But today I want to bring another learning method to you — one you may already use but are unaware of, or maybe one you have not considered before. If you’re an empath, you may do this naturally. It’s a technique I call “forward threading” and it’s a way to learn new information without needing to have a base of information to recall from. You see, the traditional educational model tells us you have to begin imparting a base set of knowledge from a very young age — math, letters, presidents, countries, shapes, sounds, etc. From there, children are taught progressively complex information that adds onto the base knowledge they have already acquired until they are considered proficient in knowledge memorization and recall.
Don’t get me wrong — this method works, for sure. But there are a few problems with only thinking in this one way. It creates rigidity because we only believe we are capable of learning if we already know something. Therefore, anything that is outside of our realm of understanding becomes something we feel uncomfortable thinking about. New theories, possibilities, brilliant ideas, flashes of insight are often dismissed, mocked, or ignored until there is “sufficient” evidence to support the foundation of the theory. These kinds of ideas get long forgotten when they could instead be put towards helping humanity and studying viable solutions to our biggest problems. Only information that fits very neatly into a preconceived notion of what knowledge is gets passed down.
Secondly, much of the information we use as our “base” is largely flawed, misinterpreted, contains gaps and holes, or is indecipherable. Everything is filtered through a human lens of the times so we may assume we understand the origins and workings of man based on what we have learned, but there is usually a much more interesting truth at the root.
Forward threading is a great technique because it’s a way to remember and learn new things that you can then write down, record, and be able to later explore, and debunk or confirm. It’s a way to tap into your subconscious mind without using meditation or other methods. Information will start coming to you as insights and you can simply jot them down to think about and come back to later. You don’t need to judge these ideas because doing that will stop the flow of information. The ego is a big road block to this kind of learning. Instead, reflect on what comes to you and later explore the ideas by researching or use the scientific method in your own life to see if it could be true.
For example, perhaps one day you begin reflecting and think, “This hummus is not agreeing with me. Every time I eat it, I get _______ symptom. I wonder if I could be sensitive to it.” So you sit with this idea for a few days. Then you begin deconstructing the ingredients in the hummus: chickpeas, water, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt — which could be the problem? Or is it the phytates, lectins, sodium or BPA, or could it be cross-reactive with gluten, etc? A few days later you have chickpeas on a salad and get the same reaction. The next day you take chickpeas out of your diet for three weeks with no other changes. One week in, you realize you no longer have that nagging symptom. After the three weeks, you are positive it was the chickpeas causing you problems because you haven’t felt ill the whole time you weren’t eating them. Take this information to a doctor and they may say, “Your diet has nothing to do with that. It’s unrelated. And anyway, no one has allergies to chickpeas.” You can then choose to take the standard approach and ignore your instincts in lieu of a rigid pyramid-based knowledge system that requires external validation, or you can trust yourself and keep that food out of your diet.
Over time, new insights will come to you more readily and rapidly. If you choose to trust yourself, you will experience more and more forward threading where you start to see what else in your diet or life may be a problem that you can then get answers to. Ask yourself a question, then wait for a solution to present itself. If you wait and seek it out, it will come. Then you have to begin trusting it.
I like to describe forward threading like this: imagine there is a long, infinite piece of string floating out in space. Though it has no anchors, it stays in place. You feel the urge to pull at the string by asking a question; something you want to know. When you ask, an answer suddenly pops into your mind — a solution, a good idea, an explanation you hadn’t thought of before and you realize this answer is a knot on the string. “I’m not sure if this is the truth” you may tell yourself. After all, you didn’t get this answer from a doctor, or pastor, book, or friend. You found it inside of yourself. Though, you don’t trust yourself so how could you trust the answer, you wonder. But the solution makes perfect sense so after a while, you decide to ask another question by pulling your fingers up the thread. You are given another solution and you realize there is another knot there. Eventually you realize you can keep asking questions in order to find solutions and with each tug you feel the individual threads of the string making it very real, as well as knots that signify answers. You can see that this thread keeps going forever and ever and isn’t limited to a base of knowledge. You are learning in forward.
Or, think about it this way: imagine you are in a terrible accident and wake up in the hospital a few days later with amnesia. You have no memory of who you are, why you are here, or what is happening. All you know is that you have a body that is now in pain and you have a consciousness that feels blank. Although you are an adult, you try to express your thoughts and they come out garbled much like an infant. A nurse stops by your room to check up on you. She speaks to you in plain English and it sparks your memory — you know the words she is speaking and you repeat them back to her. After a few interactions like this, you recall words and are able to say one or two to communicate your needs. After a few weeks, you begin stringing sentences together. No one re-taught you the basics of the alphabet or how sentences are composed; you simply acquired it through internal remembrance. As months pass, your strength builds and you rediscover things you enjoy doing, which gives you a faint remembrance of what you used to do/be in the world. It builds and builds.
I highly encourage you to give this technique a try. Ask yourself, “what do I need to know?”, “what do I need to learn?”, “what does this mean?”, “what is a solution to this?”. It will help you tap into your subconscious stressors that are keeping you sick and energetically drained. It will help you find solutions and get answers. It will help you trust yourself and ignore the loud noise of everyone around you when it comes to decision making in your life. Remember, don’t judge — just observe, then see if you can confirm it.