Becoming fully Present with the “Then What” Exercise

Picture of Frederick Dodson

Frederick Dodson

The “then what” exercise is a quick way to become present, clear and worry-free.

Example:

What do you fear?
Losing my job.
And then what?
I’ll be out of money.
And then what?
Can’t support my family.
And then what?
They look down on me.
And then what?
We become homeless.
And then what?
We beg.
And then what?
We get sick.
And then what?
We die.
And then what?
I go to a dark place in the afterlife.
And then what?
I’m punished for failing.
And then what?
I go to hell.
And then what?
I’m tortured.
And then what?
I’m tortured some more.
And then what?
I’m tortured for all eternity.
And then what?
Nothing.
And then what?
I cease to exist.
And then what?
I make a comeback (laughter)

The purpose is to take a fear to it’s very core. You will always find that it dissolves into absurdity or nothingness. Often you will find laughter or release.

Another example:

What do you fear?
Growing old.
And then what?
I look ugly and have no energy.
And then what?
Nobody likes me anymore.
And then what?
I’m lonely.
And then what?
I die alone.
And then what?
Then nothing.
And then what?
I don’t know.
And then what?
A new body maybe? (smiles)

If you’re not free of the specific fear you did the exercise with, the exercise is not finished.

The same exercise can be done with desires. Why would you want to do it with desires? To learn how you can experience fulfillment in the PRESENT MOMENT, without the need for some external desire.

The same can be done with action. Why? To see that you can be whole and complete in the PRESENT MOMENT, regardless of action.

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