When I was a pre-teen—one of my favorite “toys” was a hard black ball with a clear plastic window on one side. It was called the Magic 8 Ball and like Ouija Boards (only faster) it would answer life’s most important questions — such as “Does Ronnie Mitnick like me?”. My friends and I would spend hours asking all kinds of questions, then tip (not shake) the ball over and watch the answer float to the surface of the window. There were 20 possible answers from “It is certain” to “Very doubtful”. Wikipedia informs me that 10 are positive, 5 negative and 5 neutral — which seems like a clever design by the toy company to inspire you to keep asking. All answers, of course, are universal variations of yes and no.

What does this have to do with tapping?

It’s a useful metaphor. Let me explain.

Whenever we are working on an issue — there are things that we are aware of — we can visualize them, feel them, give them names …. And there are also things that seem hidden from us — things that lurk below the surface. Another metaphor is that famous iceberg that shows only one-eighth of its gigantic mass above the water line. Most of it is submerged below.

So when we start to work on an issue — we just start where we can — with what’s available to our conscious minds. And as we tap and start to relax regarding whatever it is that’s troubling us — more and more thoughts, sensations, pictures, memories — just seem to appear in the window of our attention. Like the Magic 8 Ball answers — they “float” to the surface. This is the stream of consciousness that’s the foundation of Freudian analysis. This always happens. And I assume that the subconscious (that repository of all data) noting the relaxation around the issue — allows more and more information to be conscious.

We know that tapping moves the body out of the “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest” restoring blood flow to the frontal cortex — so the brain is more able to think and consider (digest) all information related to the presenting issue. Even memories we have conveniently forgotten or suppressed will emerge when we are ready to handle them. And not a moment sooner.

The moral of the story? Just relax if, at first, the starting point is “this panic in my chest and I don’t have the foggiest idea what it’s about”. You don’t need anything more than that to start tapping. Very soon — other thoughts will float to the surface. They always do. When you feel safe and ready to remember and process them. The digging that intellectuals prefer — “I want to know why!” gets done in the course of tapping but it is effortless. Instead of straining with a shovel — you just watch as the important information floats to the surface of your attention. You contain all the answers. It is certain.

(And if you’re wondering about Ronnie Mitnick and if he liked me — I’m sure he did.)