The Time Machine is a perceptual filter that takes you out of the present, which is the only place you can actually make changes in your life. Do you find yourself living in the past, hanging on to past negative experiences, allowing them to influence you in the present; or living in the future, anticipating and dreading the unpleasant things that might happen, rather than living in the present? When you relive past or future scenes, experiencing these scenes as if they were happening in the present, the original feelings and conclusions are reactivated.
When you come out of your Time Machine travel, you will bring back into the present these painful feelings as a hangover. With traumatic events, the Time Machine allows you to experience the same painful scene over and over. When you project yourself into a future situation, experiencing that scene as if it were happening in the present, you bring your current resources into that future scene. This denies your ability to gain resources in the present to help deal with this future situation – feeding the anxiety.
The truth is that you add greatly to your current pain by using your Time Machine. The truth is that you can learn to notice when you begin firing up your Time Machine, and choose to use New Program tools to change this destructive process. Gaining “frequent flyer miles” in your Time Machine allows you to feed your depression and anxiety. Travel into the past feeds your feelings of depression; travel into the future feeds your anxiety.
You can start to ask the key questions: “Who am I?” (Who’s driving your bus in the present), “Where am I?” (What is the actual situation in the present), and “What time is it?” (Is it past, future or present time)? These questions help you orient out of the time machine and into the present.
The Time Machine is very different than allowing yourself to reflect on a past or future scene, while staying in the present. You are free to remember who you are becoming, and bring an attitude of nonjudgmental curiosity and caring into the scene. The difference has a lot to do with perspective.
When the camera angle is coming from your New Program Adult eyes in the present, looking at yourself in the scene, you can rally useful resources to help nurture yourself in the scene. When the camera angle is coming from your eyes in the scene, you tend to experience regression and a flood of painful feelings. Does this pattern feel familiar to you? Feel good about noticing this and shift your camera angle so you can begin seeing yourself in the scene, while being in the present. Jot down in your journal examples of time machine travel.