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Mastering Your Emotions - Waking WREMS State

by Ann Fillmore PhD(more info)

listed in mind matters, originally published in issue 92 - September 2003

The Principles of WREMS

1. Our mind is infinite;

2. We own our own emotions;
3. You can change only yourself;
4. Do, not try;
5. Clear the negative before doing the positive;
6. Calmness is completion.

Picture of open eyes

What is WREMS?

Imagine you are calm, mindful, emotionally mature and you have a great sense of humour. Okay, so it won't happen all at once, but when you take the WREMS journey, it does happen.

WREMS – Waking REM State is a skill. Not therapy or pop-psych or new age magic – it is a practical tool that allows you direct access to your subconscious mind and the power to call up memories, desensitize emotional trauma, become calm and move on. Calm is the sensation the Dalai Lama terms mindful or being at peace. Once you learn the skill, you set off on a journey unprecedented in human exploration. Belief is not a prerequisite although there are principles you must attend to and they are tough ones.

First, you must take ownership of your own emotions. All around you are societal beliefs and restrictions on emotional change and ownership that insist you are not in control of your own emotions. For example, you may have been labelled depressed and told your brain has a 'chemical imbalance.' Nonsense. Brain chemistry is always fluctuating.[1] When you feel sad, listless and numb, it's most probably because you're suppressing years of rage and possibly unresolved grief and you've become so frozen in physical movement that your body has become ill as well.

Instead of being taught how to identify emotions and fix emotional trauma like depression, you are told to trust a therapist – a stranger with a financial agenda who hasn't a clue about the authentic intricacies of your life, who might put you on mind-numbing ineffective drugs – which is the last thing you need.

Secondly, on the WREMS path, you have to accept responsibility for your own emotions. They are tools that signal your feelings, your intended behaviours and your health. Tools that you own.

Thirdly, after several months of doing WREMS, you realize you are no longer emotionally out of control. This can be a shock to you and everyone around you.

Finally, WREMS gives you a doorway to the infinite universe – infinite means limitless. Another concept we earthlings have problems with.

Let's get going. Let's move on.

What is the Subconscious?

Even before birth all mammals and some birds dream. Whenever we dream, whether with or without REM, whether asleep or awake, we are in touch with the subconscious.[2] I use the term subconscious as the function of mind below the BETA brain wave frequency, where we do everyday experience in our society. One simple way to picture mind is to think of an iceberg. The tiny visible tip above water is your conscious, chattering, busy, social mind. The subconscious lies below but they make up one iceberg with no real boundary.

We should also take into account that English is a rather crude language to describe the subtleties of moving on and beyond.

There are few ways as effective as REM to communicate with the subconscious. The simple action of moving your eyes back and forth in a rhythmic motion, whether asleep or awake, opens a direct link to your subconscious, specifically the area where your memories are stored. Since your memories are filed by the emotions you experienced at the time, you also have a direct link to your emotions. Everything you experience throughout your life – perhaps even beyond here is stored in subconscious.

Brief History of WREMS

Musicians keep their WREMS ability, as do artists and other creative folk. Overall though, we Westerners lose most of our ability to do Waking REM State at around eight years old because society discourages intense daydreaming and creative imagination and, in fact, stigmatizes a child who persists in being 'out there'. Why?

In Western history, mysticism was considered evil and spiritual access was relegated to priests. Later, under the guise of medical professionalism and hard science, emotions and the subconscious became the domain of psychiatry. It wasn't until the invention of the printing press that the European adult had an acceptable way to consciously induce WREMS again. Yes, reading – when you only look at a book, you see funny symbols. When you move your eyes quickly back and forth and read a book you have an emotional response and imagery.

WREMS is daydreaming with intensity. WREMS is being creative, playing music, writing a book. I want to give this skill back to us Westerners. How WREMS developed is quite a journey in itself.

My PhD research concerned how inundation by fear over long periods of time affected humans – battered women and hostages, for example. In January 1989, I presented a workshop on The Process of Fear, at a conference called Stress in Time of War and Peace in Tel Aviv, Israel. Later in the conference, I stopped by a brief dissertation review by a woman named Francine Shapiro titled EMD (Eye Movement Desensitization). I was sceptical, as were the rest of the audience, that mere eye movement could fix traumatic memories. Also suspect was her claim of discovering EMD while walking along a cliff above the California ocean. Who wants to experience a Theta-level altered state walking along a cliff? Besides, she presented no evidence of any control studies.

Back home, a month later, I received a letter from a fellow attendee saying he'd done EMD and was astounded. In retrospect, the fact that he got in was astounding. As we WREMSers later found out, men have difficulty doing this on their own. Following his instructions, I tried it for myself. The world as I knew it, in one fell swoop, took a giant shift to another plane of existence. Although I continued to use hypnosis for certain clients, mostly I began using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). But I soon came to see an urgent need for a better way to do emotional recovery. Because EMDR is used on a client by therapists steeped in their own agenda and poorly trained about emotions and the subconscious,[[3] as much can be put in as taken out. If EMDR and hypnosis are used together, very bad things can happen. Even in the most benign therapy session, the client comes away with no more understanding or control of emotions than when they went in.

I went back to my research on fear and continued with investigations into the entire subject of emotions. I decided to find another way besides doing therapy to a client, so I developed WREMS for adults with workbooks and a website and copyrighted everything. There are plans to produce a children's curriculum so a child doesn't have to lose their daydreaming ability, and a full-length book that explores, well, everything – the extent of WREMS is as infinite as the mind itself. Next will be a non-profit organization that can further research on this. For myself and the thousands who've taken the WREMS journey, the goal is make emotional health and self-sufficiency available to the world.

For those of you who want to take the first baby-beginner step onto the invisible bridge over the great chasm, here you go. The basic instructions will get you in and the tools will get you through.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that getting in is merely the first step. As with any journey to unknown lands, you will want a map, a guide and advice from those who've already travelled the path.

Colour = emotion charts

Basic Instructions

To Get In

Read all the instructions and all information on identification of emotions; it's important. Your conscious/rational mind lies to you – you were not taught how to do emotions. For example, little girls are shamed if they become angry and little boys are taught to cover fear with rage. Thus a grown woman who becomes very angry blames herself and becomes terribly ashamed and then depressed. Men despise themselves if they exhibit fear. So strong is this that you can tell how threatened and afraid a man is by how enraged he acts. That's why the colour = emotion charts were invented, to give your subconscious a way to bypass the conscious mind and to tell you exactly what you are honestly feeling. Trust the colour.

Look over your colour = emotion charts thoroughly to be aware of what colour and what shade of that colour links to that emotion. You don't have to memorize the charts. Your subconscious mind picks up the messaging technique almost instantly.

Pick one emotion or focus. Feel it strongly – for example, if you want to work on anger, be angry – growl and snarl. Do not expect your first WREMS session to stay on your chosen focus. Learning to maintain a focus often takes many sessions.

Go to a quiet, private place. No music, no TV. Have tissues and a blanket with you. Tissues are for tears. The blanket is in case you bring up something scary because fear makes you feel chilled.

Hold your fingers or a pencil in front of your eyes. Move your fingers or the pencil back and forth in steady swings and make your eyes track back and forth. Do about 24 eye swings then pause. Wait about 30 seconds, sensing what is happening to you. The swings and the pause are one set. Some WREMSers close their eyes during the pause. During swings eyes must be open.

No matter how stubborn and stiff your eyes are, make them move. This is what gets you into a Waking REM State. Your eyes may hurt or feel gritty or give you any number of complaints. Keep going. Remember that when you sleep REM your eyes flick back and forth at incredibly rapid speed. If you have physical symptoms, for example a headache, these have meaning to your focus; they are not caused by the WREMS.

After several sets you may feel dizzy, have a surge of emotions with or without images, feel nauseous or any of a number of reactions, depending on the emotion-memory file you have accessed. You are now in and have direct contact with the subconscious, specifically the area where your memories are filed. Since your memories are filed by the emotions you were experiencing at the time, you also now have direct access to your emotions. Be ready! Remember – you are in control. Taking notes is vital because things go very quickly and you may have to go back in a subsequent session to deal with what comes up.

Feel emotions as deeply as you can. Let them surge full power. Be glad you are feeling. Many people have to go through session after session to get rid of numb in order to recover their emotions. Here is where we instruct you to do about anti-depressant medications. You can begin doing WREMS work while still on a/d meds, but to do complete work, especially to master and finish a focus and to desensitize, you must come off the a/d meds. Consult your medical doctor first. Tell him what you are about to do. Explain that WREMS work takes the place of a/d meds and WREMS brings about permanent, positive change. Amazingly, we've found medical personnel to be more open to WREMS than therapists who are often, to be polite, not.

To stop a session, simply stop moving your eyes. If you have not completely finished clearing the file you will dream it out during your next night's sleep or finish it in a subsequent WREMS. No matter how tame a session you experienced, there was material uncovered or desensitized. Much of this material was not put into words. It may take hours, sometimes days for material to surface to a verbal level or perhaps not at all. You may only receive images, colours or body sensations. There is no absolutely right or wrong way to do WREMS. You will find your own style.

The Three Tools of WREMS

• Recall
• Desensitization
• Colour = emotion charts for emotion identification

All are absolutely necessary to master your own mind and your own emotions.


If you want to access a particular person or event, use recall. To help with the focus, look at photographs or memorabilia during your pauses, for example, photos of your Mum at a young age or your graduation. Your subconscious mind will send you sensations, emotions, colours and images. As long as there is material to bring up, the recall will continue. Avoid judging or doubting, fighting, interpreting or questioning the material being recalled. You don't want to have to desensitize yet. You simply want to know what happened or how it really was. This might be difficult because of the surprise factor. Often, what you were told happened, say in family myths, was not what really happened. You will be receiving from your subconscious mind the truth because your subconscious mind never lies.

Another use of recall is to ask a question of your subconscious mind. This is a little trickier. You must be able to focus on the question you are asking. Keep it simple. Remember, the subconscious mind is not very verbal. For example, if you ask how old you were when you fell off that big black horse, your subconscious mind will most likely send you the image of your falling off the horse and feel of hitting the ground. The first couple of times you assign an age to the images and sensations, you think you are guessing. Not so. You'll soon learn to trust your ability to verbalize what the subconscious mind sends you.

Take this to heart. Your subconscious mind will do as you ask it to do, but in its own way and its own time. Arguing with it could only make it more stubborn. Respect your subconscious mind.


This is what permanently changes your reactions to and interpretations of emotional situations. It changes the way you behave and it bestows calm and mindfulness.

The best way to explain how to desensitize is to give an example. Let's say you are having problems at work with the 'boss from hell'. Go to your private place. Get comfortable, as desensitizing is almost always painful.

Get in. Focus on the boss. Let's say the emotion of anger/frustration comes up with the image of boss. Keep going. Bring up everything about boss and authority.

The next image comes up. Wham! Maybe of that professor you hated in college. Feel the anger/frustration. Work through the next image and the next. Finally you hit the core memory file. Let's say it's your father. Finish it. You're now up to about ninety minutes. This will probably not clean out your entire file on father, but it will certainly desensitize your file on anger/frustration with authority. Usually, instead of one emotion, you will go through a predictable cycle of emotion, for example, anger —> shame —> sadness —> anger, in each session.

You know you completely finished a file when you become calm and the colour message changes, for example, dark red (anger) has become bright red (determination).

When you see your boss again you don't react as you did before. Usually, he no longer reacts to you the same way either. We don't know why this occurs, but often other people recognize you've changed before you do.

A shift in your perception comes about three days after your WREMS session and the next comes at three months and a big shift exactly a year later. These plateaus are sometimes subtle and often you become conscious of them only when challenged with what before would wreck your day and you don't react.

A warning: desensitizing gives you the power of seeing what has happened over all these years. It does not change the situation. Review the principles of WREMS. You can change only yourself. If this bothers you, do a WREMS around it until you are at peace with what is. The moment you have completed a WREMS, your destiny will have changed. This you must accept.

It's best to wait about three days between sessions. There's no law against your doing a session sooner. It'll just take longer to reach the next plateau. What you need to do, you must get done.

Clear all the negative, dark material before doing positive affirmations.

Colour= Emotional Charts

See above chart


1. Pert CB. Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel. Scribner. 1997.
2. Solms M. Dreaming and REM Sleep are Controlled by Different Brain Mechanisms. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 23 (6). 2000.
3. Masson JM. Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing. Antheneum. 1988.

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About Ann Fillmore PhD

For many years, during her long career Ann Fillmore PhD was an international consultant dealing with victims of violence. As a behavioural scientist, she served as expert witness, worked as a therapist and before retiring, invented the self-help technique: WREMS (  Now retired, she is busier than ever, teaching Tai Chi and writing. Her mystery novel: Way of Escape is about rescuing women in danger and the sequel is on its way.  

As well as continuing her research into emotions and behavioural interactions, she also has become very interested in the development of psychic abilities: The Emerging Psychic  (

For intense adventure, Ann looks into what exists in other realities by heading up a paranormal and historical research team (COAST GHOST Paranormal Research Society  

Ann Fillmore lives on the central Oregon coast, is an ardent gardener, bird watcher and painter. Her three dogs and several cats allow her to share the old house and garden. She may be contacted via   or on her Facebook page:

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