Sentence Completion Exercises
Sentence-completion work is a deceptively simple yet uniquely powerful tool for raising self-understanding, self-esteem and personal effectiveness. It rests on the premise that all of us have more knowledge than we normally are aware of – more wisdom than we use, more potential than typically shows up in our behavior. Sentence completion is a tool for accessing and activating these dormant or “hidden” resources.
Sentence completion can be used in many ways. Here I will describe a way I find particularly effective. The essence of this procedure is to write an incomplete sentence (or sentence stem) and then write a number of different endings, with the sole requirement that each ending is a grammatical completion of the sentence. Aim for a minimum of six endings.
To truly benefit from the exercises, you should work as rapidly as possible. Don’t pause to “think”, invent responses if you get stuck and don’t worry if any particular ending is true, reasonable or significant. The object is simply to let your thoughts flow forward without impediment.
When doing sentence completion exercises, it is best to work with a journal or computer. That way, past entries can easily be accessed for reflection.
Sentence Completions to Facilitate the Art of Living Consciously
First thing in the morning, before proceeding to the day’s business, sit down and write the following stem:
Living consciously to me means –
Without pausing for reflection, write as many endings for that sentence as you can in two minutes. Aim for at least six.
Then, go on to the next stem:
If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities today –
If I pay more attention to how I deal with people today –
If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my most important relationships –
If I bring 5 percent more awareness to (fill in a particular problem you are concerned about— for example, your relationship with someone, or a barrier you’ve hit at work, or your feelings of anxiety or depression) –
When you are finished, proceed with your day’s business. At the end of the day, as your last task before dinner, do six to ten endings each for the following stems:
When I reflect on how I would feel if I lived more consciously –
When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities –
When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my most important relationships –
When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to (whatever you’ve filled in) –
Do this exercise every day, Monday through Friday for several weeks.
Do not read what you wrote the day before. Naturally there will be many repetitions. But also, new endings will inevitably occur. You are energizing your entire psyche to work for you.
Sometime each weekend, reread what you have written for the week, and then write a minimum of six endings for this stem:
If any of what I wrote this week is true, it would be helpful if I –
In doing this work, the idea is to empty your mind of any expectations concerning what will happen or what is “supposed” to happen. Do not impose any demands on the situation. Try to empty your mind of expectations. Do the exercise, go about your day’s activities and try to notice any differences in how you feel or how you operate. You will discover that you have set in motion forces that make it virtually impossible for you to avoid operating more consciously.
An average session should not take longer than ten minutes. If it takes much longer, you are “thinking” (rehearsing, calculating) too much.