Increased awareness leads to better decisions. Increased understanding leads to the dissolution of reactivity. To the extent that I understand how I developed an idiosyncratic behavior, I can unravel it from the root and change my reaction to a more functional and productive conscious response.

Cultivating understanding takes skill and practice. It is much easier to examine someone else's navel than your own. Learning to do self-work requires attention, intention, and commitment as it is not always easier or linear.

There are many ways to cultivate understanding. Today's practice, the BEAST, will take off where the BEST left off.


Just as BEST is an acronym for a simple practice that helps you develop a range of awareness, BEAST adds one initial - A - that stands for assumptions:

B stands for Behavior
E stands for Emotions
A stands for Assumptions
S stands for Somatic (of the body) sensations
T stands for Thoughts

If we can become aware of the assumptions we are making which are, for the most part, unconscious, we can begin to unravel where those assumptions came from, what the beliefs are that underlie the assumptions, and the world view they are holding in place.


Do the same as you did for the BEST as described below, then add #5 regarding assumptions:

A. After you have an interaction with another person, your work, or some experience, sit, stand, or lie down in a comfortable position and begin to reflect on what you just did.

  1. How did you behave? Describe your actions such as, “I backed away.” “I froze.” “I began laughing.”
  2. Reflect on the emotions (feelings) that you experienced such as, “I felt calm.” “I felt overjoyed.” “I felt a bit anxious.” If you say, “I felt that...” you are stating an opinion, not a feeling. A feeling always has an emotional descriptor after the words, “I feel.”
  3. What sensations did you notice in your body. “My hands became sweaty.” “My breathing got faster.” “My throat felt tight.” “I felt warm all over.” “It was as if a cold blue wind blew through me.” Sensations can be expressed as tension, temperature, color, and even metaphor.
  4. What thoughts ran through your mind? Without trying to analyze them, hold onto them, or push them away, simply notice them.
  5. What assumptions are you making about yourself, the other(s), or how the world works?

B. Practice your BEAST throughout the day reflecting on each aspect of it. If you want to catalyze greater understanding, take a few moments to write some notes. Consider who in your past believed these same assumptions and what experiences you had that kept these assumptions alive.

As you practice your BEAST, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to access your experience fairly quickly and allow assumptions to bubble up into your consciousness.

Enjoy and as you notice any changes or run into any challenges, please post on the blog.

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