'The Guru Next Door' is a well-written and riveting tale of self-discovery. It weaves a personal story of pain and learning with the greater teaching…[ Valerie Gilbert, NYC ] >
The Centerpiece of the Option Method: The O.M. Dialogue.
The O.M.Dialogue is where the essential teachings of The Option Method take place. While lectures, workshops, discussions, readings, exercises and the like can help lay the groundwork for effective application of The Option Method – the learning that is most relevant to each individual takes place in dialogue work. The whole point of The Option Method is to achieve a frame of mind where you can give yourself an opportunity to question your unhappiness in a way that reveals exactly what you believe about the situation you are unhappy about. The goal is to empower yourself to take responsibility for your emotional life – your inner being - and navigate yourself to where you want to be. Participating in and then mastering the O.M.Dialogue is the only way The Option Method can really become a tool for your self-discovery.
If your goal is to use The Option Method to help others, you must start with yourself. Your own dedication to seeing that you don’t have to be unhappy is the most powerful impetus for success in working with others. At the Center, becoming proficient and active in using The Option Method for yourself, is a prerequisite to continuing study in using the Method to help others.
The most important thing to know about The O.M.Dialogue is that it flows quite naturally from the Option Method attitude. The Option Method attitude encompasses Bruce Di Marsico’s teachings about the nature of unhappiness and happiness, described in part above and in great detail in The Option Method: The Myth of Unhappiness, The Collected Works of Bruce Di Marsico on The Option Method and Attitude. Fundamentally, the teachings recognize that each person strives to be happy, but when happiness seems out of the question, each person will seek to avoid the greater unhappiness. It also recognizes that our emotions are based on beliefs or judgments we make about how the events of our lives affect us. Quite simply, if we believe an event is bad for us, we feel bad. If we believe an event is good for us, we feel good. If we have no feeling about an event, we feel neutral. In this way, we, and not the event, are the final arbiter of how we feel. What flows most naturally from this point of view, is
- Compassion that the person is unhappy and believes they must be unhappy,
- Willingness to consider that the person does not have to be unhappy.
- Suspension of any assumptions or expectations about why the person is unhappy,
- Openness to finding out why the person believes they have to be unhappy,
- Taking a completely non-judgmental approach to anything said in the dialogue,
- Allowing the person to proceed at their own pace and to be where they are.
Therefore, the O.M.Dialogue is essentially an open-ended, loving, non-judgmental inquiry into the cause of unhappiness for each individual with the recognition that each person has the choice to believe as they do and ultimately choose their own emotions. The essential elements of the dialogue are to identify and clarify exactly what the unhappiness is about, using such questions as:
What are you unhappy (personalize with your own word) about?
What is there about that, that makes you unhappy?
Then, asking questions designed to find out your specific reasons for being unhappy, such as
Why (for what reason) are you unhappy about that?
What are you afraid would happen if you were not unhappy about that?
What are you afraid it would mean if you were not unhappy about that?
And, ultimately, questioning the reason for the belief, such as
Why do you believe that?
Why do you believe being happy would be bad for you right now?
The end result of the O.M.Dialogue reveals
- Exactly what you are unhappy about,
- Why you are unhappy,
- Why you believe you have to be unhappy,
- Why you believe it would be bad for you to be happy,
- The choices you have made that led to your unhappiness,
- The fears you have about your ability to be stop being unhappy,
- How your specific feelings are tied to specific beliefs,
- What you really want and were not realizing
In other words, the O.M.Dialogue takes you from the point of unconscious suffering to conscious liberation. It shows you the true cause and way out of all your unhappiness. If someone were to waive a magic wand or give you a special pill that would give you such knowledge, that would be a wonderful thing. Or would it? Is such a thing even possible or desired? If someone tells you why you are unhappy, what have they really taught you? That they know you better than you know yourself. That you need someone else to give you the answers. How empowering is that? But, if they ask you why you are unhappy in a way that you can answer, then you can experience yourself as the one who knows everything and you can revisit that place of knowing over and over again.