The Firewalk – Creative Imagery in Action

The most convincing demonstration of creative imagery for me took place a few years ago. About three dozen of us gathered in a field in Somerset one cool April evening. A five metre lane of burning hot embers was prepared, and one by one we tentatively stepped onto the fire, muttering ‘cool wet moss’ and imagining the glowing embers as crunchy popcorn.

The only preparation we’d had was an hour and a half visualising that we could do it, affirming ‘I am cool and calm’, ‘I am powerful’ and ‘I walk through fear’, imagining the soft, pleasant coolness beneath our feet.


The fire walk is a convincing demonstration of mind over matter. There is no logical explanation, but it’s been done by millions of people all over the world, people just like you and I, every one a testament to the power of creative imagery, autosuggestion and affirmations.

Creative imagery is powerful. Creative imagery works. What you visualise today can become your reality in the future, so make sure you only visualise what you desire for yourself and your loved ones.

Try this:

Pick something you know well – a close friend, your house, car, a favourite scene etc. Close your eyes and visualise it. If you can’t visualize the whole thing, pick a part of it such as their face, a tree or the front door. Play with the image. Make it bigger, smaller, brighter, dimmer? Can you make it more colourful, hazier, clearer? Touch it – how does it feel? Add movement, for instance, walk round the house and see it from a different angle, get in the car and go for a spin. Practise until the image becomes stronger, more animated.


If you are a newcomer to creative imagery, be patient. Not everyone can conjure up crystal clear pictures in full colour. Most of us find it difficult at first and all can improve.

If you’ve tried it for a while and are still finding it difficult, it could be because you’re just not naturally a visual person. People process information in many different ways. Some are visual – they primarily use pictures; others are auditory, which means they function better through sound. A kinesthetic person experiences the world primarily through feeling and touch. Which are you?

If you’re auditory, try to ‘hear’ sounds you associate with your chosen outcome. If kinesthetic, ‘sense’ or ‘feel’ the result you want. This makes use of the way in which your brain functions. Whatever you’re most comfortable with is absolutely right for you.

If nothing seems to happen, don’t give up. Perhaps you are trying too hard or have allowed doubts to creep in. Or maybe something better awaits you. Your intuitive Superconscious mind may be trying to direct you onto a different course. Keep an open mind. You’re harnessing powerful energies, so don’t misuse them.

©David Lawrence Preston, 9.10.2017

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The Superconscious

The human mind has powers far greater than those most of us imagine. That’s because it extends beyond our physical boundaries into the energy field that surrounds us, connecting us with other minds and linking with the information fields that control the universe.

Among the amazing capabilities of the mind are its ability to:

  • Seemingly pluck ideas out of the air
  • ‘Know’ something without any concrete evidence
  • Solve complicated problems without any specialist training, including in our sleep
  • Send and receive messages from others, and
  • Recall events and circumstances apparently from past lives.

All these are functions of what is often called the Superconscious Mind. We are part of a limitless source of knowledge and inspiration that extends beyond the physical brain and limitations of the five senses. It includes everything that existed in the past, exists in the present and will exist in the future, if indeed the terms ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ have any meaning in the quantum world.

Superconscious inspiration and insight have been available to us since the day we were born. Listen carefully. Every moment, the universe offers you spiritual guidance that you would be unwise to ignore.

The Superconscious challenges scientific analysis

Superconscious insight is often dismissed as bogus by neuroscientists because it cannot be explained by current scientific understanding of the workings of the brain alone. However, the evidence is overwhelming. For instance, Uri Geller is only one of many psychics to be investigated under rigorous conditions and has repeatedly proved his ability to communicate telepathically over huge distances. Nevertheless because the investigators have found no physical explanation, he is frequently portrayed as a trickster.

Superconscious abilities

We are a long way from understanding all the powers of the Superconscious, but we do know that they include the following:

  • An ability to ‘know’ and to ‘connect’ that does not rely on past learning.
  • Intuitive insight and decision making.
  • Heightened creativity and inspiration.
  • The ability to stand back and observe, reflect and detach from our thoughts and emotions.
  • Telepathy – the ability to communicate unaided at a distance.
  • Synchronicity – the ability to perceive, interpret and be guided by linked events and coincidences.

How do you make use of your Superconscious?

Think about it:

  • Do you instinctively know when something is going to work or not?
  • Have you ever felt an overwhelming urge to do something without being able to justify it logically? Did you follow it? What happened?
  • Have you ever backed away from a course of action that seemed logical at the time, only to discover later that it would have spelled disaster? What happened? How did you feel?
  • Do you ever wake up with a good idea, or the answer to a problem that has been bothering you?
  • Have you ever had a ‘psychic’ experience? What happened?
  • Do you ever feel that life is trying to steer you? In what way?

Trust your Superconscious

Surveys reveal that more than half of us believe in tarot cards and palmistry, and nearly half in mind reading. Sales of pendulums, dowsing rods, crystals and other New Age paraphernalia have rocketed in recent years. There is nothing wrong with any of this, as long as we remember that the props themselves are unimportant. They are merely tools which help some of us access our Superconscious.

Seek help from professional psychics if you must, but don’t hand responsibility for your life over to them. Instead, develop your own Superconscious abilities. When you place your trust in them, they never let you down. Our Superconscious abilities are a natural part of us. The more we use them, the more reliable they become.


©David Lawrence Preston, 11.12.2016

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The Higher and Lower Selves

Our inner experience often feels like a tug of war as various streams of thought battle for attention. Some thoughts come from the needs of the body and emotions. They make up the part of the mind referred to as the ego or ‘Lower Self’.

In contrast, we also have thoughts which come from the part of the mind referred to as the ‘Higher Self’, when we’re thinking, speaking and acting from a consciousness of pure love.

Living from the Higher Self is living to our highest potential. We approach life in a positive way and our loving energy spreads out like ripples in a pond, influencing the people around us and making our contribution to a better world.

We are individual expressions of the whole

The first step in living from the Higher Self is to remember that we all have the same life spirit dwelling in us. However, although we are part of the one organising intelligence, through the ego we can fall into the illusion of seeing ourselves as separate.

We are individualised expressions of the whole, like musical notes contributing to a perfect composition. Just as a single note does not embody the whole piece, the piece is incomplete without every note. The universe would not be the same without you. It would be incomplete.

When you act from love you’re coming from your Higher Self

You’re coming from your Higher Self when you’re thinking, feeling, speaking and acting from the pure love and peace that lies within you. Make a conscious choice to love. Put the ego to one side and fear dissolves. You discover inner resources you didn’t know you had. You become a channel for the good that flows throughout the universe.

The Lower Self (or ego)

The term ‘ego,’ is used in many ways:

  • In psychoanalytic theory it is the part of the mind that controls the pleasure-seeking ‘Id’ and is restrained by the conscience (the ‘Superego’).
  • We also hear people described as having ‘a big ego,’ meaning they think too much of themselves.
  • I can also mean the image of ourselves we like to present to the world – our idea of who we would like others to think we are.

The ego is a product of past programming and greatly susceptible to fear and self-doubt. It is a tiny part of who we are, but it behaves as if it is the only part. Even thinking of ourselves as spiritual can be an ego trap if we think this makes us better than anyone else.

Recognising the ego

To dismantle the ego, we must recognise its false ideas and beliefs, dispute them and let them go. It is not an instant process: years of conditioning take more than a few weeks to work through. Only a handful of spiritual masters have ever rid themselves of it completely.

Working diligently on yourself allows the Higher Self to play a greater role in your life. Do you recognise any of these ego-based thinking patterns in yourself?

  • Believing that you are a physical being separate from everyone and everything else.
  • Seeing others as a threat.
  • Believing you have to compete for status and attention.
  • Making comparisons.
  • Jealously safeguarding your reputation because you think this is who you are.
  • Needing to be right and taking pleasure in proving others wrong.
  • Constantly seeking approval from others, since you cannot find it within.
  • Living in the past and fretting about the future, overlooking the present.
  • Seeking to cushion yourself against anything that could threaten your security.
  • Being controlled by the emotions, hence prone to jealousy, judgement, boastfulness, meanness and hatred.

You are connected

Start by dropping the idea that you are separate from the rest of existence. You’re not. Nor are you any better or worse than anyone or anything else. Spiritual energy is part of everyone and belongs to all. As John Donne wrote, ‘No man is an island, entire of itself.’


©David Lawrence Preston, 6.11.2016

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In a nutshell – everything you need to know about the mind

Knowing how our own mind works is crucial for a truly happy and productive life. So what is the mind? Is it not just another word for ‘brain’?

No. The mind is not a physical thing like the brain. It is an activity which extends into every cell in the body and the energy field surrounding it. It contains the imprints that form your personality, including your habits, interests, memories, ideas and beliefs. It is shaped by your learning and the environment, and ultimately fashions the way you live.

The mind operates at many levels, some of which we are aware and others we are not. These levels of awareness include:

  • The conscious mind
  • The subconscious mind
  • The Collective Unconscious
  • The Superconscious

Each influences the others as information constantly flows between them. However, the deeper, subconscious levels are many times more powerful. The deeper we go into the mind, the closer we get to our spiritual core. It’s like peeling away the layers of an onion until we reveal the innate Intelligence that lies at the centre.

Understanding the mind how its various levels interact with each other is important because it enables us to become more effective in our daily lives.

The Conscious Mind

The mind has often been compared to an iceberg, with a small portion floating above the water level and a bulky mass hidden beneath. The conscious mind is the ‘visible’ part. It is the small fraction of mental activity of which we are aware in any moment, and includes the facility of reasoning also known as the intellect.

We know the conscious mind as an ongoing conversation in our heads, one thought following another, and another. When we pay repeated attention to a thought it filters through to the subconscious and produces record-like grooves which play over and over again until the thought becomes a habit.

The conscious mind has only a fraction of the capacity of the subconscious, but it plays a major role in our lives. We can consciously feed new patterns into the subconscious, creating new habits, weakening old habits and replacing them with new. Similarly, we can weaken old habits by withdrawing our attention from them until.

The intellect

The intellect is the reasoning part of the conscious mind. It gathers, sorts and uses information, calculates, decides, analyses and makes judgements.

The intellect is a powerful resource, but is greatly influenced by childhood programming and cultural conditioning. Thinking habits we learned as children do not always serve us well in adulthood. We must be careful: wisdom cannot always be deduced by logic.

The subconscious mind

A vast number of mental activities take place below our threshold of awareness. These include:

  • Regulating bodily functions such as body temperature, absorbing oxygen and nutrients into the bloodstream, waste disposal, the endocrine system (which monitors and controls the hormones), maintaining the immune system and healing. The subconscious normally acts separately from the conscious mind when carrying out these activities.
  • The subconscious has vast data storage and handling facilities which record everything we perceive, do, think, say and dream.
  • An instinctive goal-seeking apparatus, like a kind of automatic pilot which guides us in the direction of the predominant thoughts and mental images. This is the mechanism behind the so-called ‘Law’ of Attraction.

The subconscious prevents the conscious mind from suffocating in its own thoughts. Can you imagine continually being aware of every memory you ever had, or having to remind yourself to digest your food? Life would be intolerable, wouldn’t it?

All the material in the subconscious is capable of being brought into consciousness. For example, when we dream, the barriers between the conscious and subconscious open and subconscious material drifts into consciousness. It also opens up when we are daydreaming or in an altered state such as hypnosis.

The subconscious mind is responsive to the will of the conscious and has no capacity to think independently. Self-talk acts as a form of instruction to the subconscious, and like a faithful servant, it follows its instructions precisely.

The conditioned mind

The term ‘conditioned mind’ describes those mental activities, both conscious and subconscious, which are the result of previous learning, including the patterns which were programmed into us as children. If we allow the conditioned mind to dominate our thinking, we find it impossible to break away from old thinking patterns and behaviours.

Replacing harmful conditioning with new, positive thoughts is vital for personal growth. Once you know the technique, with practice you can eliminate any unwanted habit from your thinking and behaviour.

The Collective Unconscious

Individual minds appear to be part of a ‘group mind,’ a pool of knowledge and wisdom passed down the generations through our genes and cultural conditioning. This is the Collective Unconscious, a term coined by the great psychologist, Dr Carl Gustav Jung.

There is a great deal of circumstantial evidence for this. Throughout history, societies from around the globe who had no physical contact with each other made leaps of progress at about the same time. There is also evidence of this in the animal kingdom. Leading naturalists believe this is evidence of a psychic force connecting them.

There is little doubt that one mind is able to communicate with others. We don’t understand how this works, but it has been investigated and verified many times.

The Superconscious Mind

The Superconscious is the intuitive part of the mind. It taps into a source of knowing and inspiration beyond the world of the five senses. It is not restricted by logical thinking, nor is it subject to the same perceptual errors, nor is it bound by past experiences or cultural conditioning. No known limit can be placed on its activities.


How do all these levels of awareness related to each other and a better life?

  • Take charge of the conscious mind by being aware of your thoughts and deliberately changing negative to positive with intent.
  • Your empowering new thought patterns then permeate the subconscious mind, which reflects back in your conscious thinking and behaviour.
  • You’ll also be able to examine the impact of the conditioned mind and collective unconscious on you and use your intellect to accept or reject ideas you like or dislike.
  • You’ll also learn how to subdue or silence interference from the conscious and subconscious minds to allow the Superconscious to make itself known.

Big stuff! It takes practice, but once you’re mastered it your life will never be the same again!

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.11.2016

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Why Creative Imagery Has Such A Powerful Effect On The Unconscious

Why does creative imagery have such a powerful effect on the unconscious, and consequently your life? Imprinting a thought-form in your mind (words and/or pictures) is like planting a seed. It may take a while before you see the results, but every time you focus on that thought, the roots are burying deep. Eventually the fresh green shoots appear, and the more emotion and enthusiasm you put into it, the sooner it happens. Once an idea takes root at this deep level, it’s extremely difficult to shift.

Here are the main reasons:

1. The unconscious thinks mainly in pictures and feelings

The unconscious ‘thinks’ mainly in pictures. It also processes feelings. It is accessed mainly through the right side of the brain, which is more receptive to these than language (which is largely a left-brained function). For most people, the best way of impressing anything on the unconscious mind is to ‘show’ it a picture, and back it up with emotive words and feelings.

That’s why advertisers display their products against glamorous settings. The viewer unconsciously associates the product with drink with aspirational people. But if the advert said ‘Us this product and become one of the jet-set,’ you would dismiss it as a load of rubbish. Putting the message across VISUALLY and creating EMOTION circumvents the critical faculties of the conscious mind and impresses it on the unconscious.

2. The unconscious cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy

The unconscious is incapable of knowing whether the information it receives has come through your five senses or from your imagination. It responds exactly the same to all input.

Show your unconscious an image, and it accepts it as real. It stores the event in your memory as if it really happened, together with the emotions you were feeling at the time. Have you ever woken up at night in a sweat after a bad dream? You knew it was just a dream, but your unconscious didn’t. That’s why you reacted as if it was real. Have you ever cried at the cinema? You were watching artificial lights flickering on a screen and listening to recorded sound! You knew this all along, to why did they have such a powerful influence on you?

3. The unconscious cannot distinguish between good and bad

The unconscious does not question whatever you feed into it consciously or subconsciously. It has no way of knowing whether your instructions are good for you or bad for you. It simply does as it believes it has been directed.

4. The unconscious controls your automatic bodily responses

The unconscious also controls your bodily responses through your nervous system. If you are not convinced, try this exercise:

Sit comfortably, take a few deep breaths and relax. Pretend you have a mental screen, like a TV screen, inside your forehead, just above the level of your eyes. Imagine that a plank of wood is lying on the ground just in front of you, ten feet long and a foot wide. Now imagine that you’re walking along it. How do you feel? Almost everyone can do this easily. Now imagine that same plank twenty storeys high on a building site, suspended between two steel girders. Go on, walk across it. Now, how do you feel? ‘Nuff said?

5. Creative imagery is the most effective way of accessing unconscious material

It is also the most effective way of inputting new, empowering material into the unconscious. You can feed in positive thought forms – words, feelings and images – which programme the unconscious for whatever you desire.

Creative imagery is not some fanciful idea – it has been used successfully in business, sport, academia, psychotherapy, the entertainment industry and many other areas of life to change unhelpful patterns and improve performance. Now you know some of the reasons why.


©David Lawrence Preston, 30.7.2016

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Creating a wonderful life with Creative Imagery

We all have a goal-seeking mechanism housed in the unconscious which takes us where the unconscious believes we want to go.  It is best influenced by:

1. Repetition – continually and consciously focussing on positive thoughts and images – effective if you persist going long enough; and

2. Creative imagery – relaxing into Alpha State (deep relaxation) and feeding in positive pictures, words, sounds and sensations.

The techniques I’m about to share have been used by many people in all walks of life, and the results can be astounding. For instance, Clare was on the verge of a breakdown. She’d recently completed a lengthy training course, but had been unable to find suitable work. To make matters worse all the others on the course had found what they wanted. She was also desperate to resolve her accommodation problems. She shared a flat with an ex-boyfriend who was verbally abusive and occasionally violent. Above all she wanted to find a partner who would treat her well.

She learned to relax deeply every day and visualise herself doing the job she wanted and being well-paid for it; enjoying a caring and loving relationship; and sharing her flat with someone she liked. At first, she was sceptical, but after a couple of weeks she was getting the hang of it.

I didn’t hear from her for several weeks. Then I received a letter out of the blue. The ex-boyfriend had moved out, she’d found a well-paid job, joined a health club and made a new circle of friends. She had also struck up a good relationship with a man she’d met at the club. Things were definitely on the up.

I’ve taught these methods to people suffering from fear of flying, needles, dentists, lifts, reptiles and insects; people about to take examinations, driving tests or face difficult interviews; sportsmen and women keen to improve their performances; people with sexual problems or addictions of one sort or another, and many, many more.

1. Make Creative Imagery a habit

Find twenty minutes every day when you will be undisturbed. Go to a quiet place, switch off the mobile and put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. Any time is good, but first thing in the morning and last thing at night are especially beneficial because the mind is naturally most receptive at these times. It is also a good idea to ‘visualise’ the way you would like your day to go when you’re waking up.

2. Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve

Plan each session in advance. Choose one or two goals at a time, or, better still, concentrate on one or two for a whole week.

If you find you have difficulty remembering your routine, record it onto a suitable device and listen while you’re relaxed.

3. Relax deeply

Use your favourite techniques to relax into Alpha Level.

4. Imagine a mental screen

Imagine that you have a screen inside your forehead, just above eye level, rather like a cinema screen. Practise making images until you are totally comfortable with it. In time, you’ll be able to use it at will.

5. Allow your chosen images etc. to materialise

Creative imagery is a passive process. The unconscious cannot be hurried. Be patient, don’t force it, and don’t get frustrated if results don’t come immediately.

6. Give them impact

If the images, sounds and feelings you create are to have impact on your unconscious, they must be as clear and vibrant as you can make them.

  • Create colour images and make them as bright as possible.
  • Visualise moving images rather than stills.
  • ‘See’ them in three dimensions.
  • Place them at the centre of your mental screen.
  • Use all five senses if possible. In most cases, you’ll be able to use at least three. For example, if you’re mentally rehearsing a tennis match, ‘see’ the court, the ball, your opponent, etc., ‘hear’ the strings striking the ball, ‘feel’ the racquet in your hand, the sun on your face and the sweat on your forehead (fill in as many details as you can). Project as much feeling as you can.

7. Reinforce with auto-suggestion

Reinforce creative imagery with auto-suggestion. One effective form of words is: ‘I’m so happy. Now I see myself with/doing…’ etc.

8. Imagine a perfect outcome

Imagine exactly what you want to impress on the unconscious –  choose thought-forms and images that symbolise success – the medal round your neck, the crowd applauding, signing the contract, enjoying your ideal relationship, breaking the winning tape, starting the job, etc.

9. See it through your own eyes

Even if you feel at this stage that you can’t achieve perfection, don’t let this deter you from imagining it. You wouldn’t programme a missile to strike somewhere near the target, would you? The fact that your desire is registered in your unconscious will guide you closer to the real thing.

When you ‘visualise’, you could either ‘watch’ yourself like a spectator, from a distance (‘second position’); or ‘picture’ or ‘experience’ the situation through your own eyes as if you were a participant (‘first position’).

For example, if you were mentally rehearsing yourself on stage, you could either watch yourself as if sat in the audience (this is ‘second position’), or you could imagine on-stage looking out into the auditorium, hearing the audience applauding, feeling the boards beneath your feet etc. ‘First position’ has a much more powerful effect on the unconscious.

If your aim is to acquire a material object, imagine yourself already in possession of it. E.g. if it’s a new car you want, imagine the view from driver’s seat rather than looking in at yourself behind the wheel.

10. Generate as much emotion as you can

Hold your goals in your mind until you can literally feel them coming true. Emotions attract and create energy. The more power and energy you put into your creative imagery, the more quickly your desires will manifest.

11. Practise

Practise every day, even if nothing seems to happen. The results cannot fail to materialise and your confidence in the technique will grow.

12. Take action

Creative imagery eases the way to success, but you still need to do whatever has to be done. So do something every day that takes you closer to your goal. Action also strengthens your self-confidence.

Creative imagery is like planting seeds. First clear the weeds (the doubts and fears), prepare the ground, sow the seeds, add fertiliser, water frequently – and wait. Your creative and intuitive powers will be awakened. It may take a while to take root and for the first shoots to appear, but if you trust in nature and keep up with the watering (lots of positive thought-forms and constructive action), your faith will be repaid every time.


© David Lawrence Preston, 12.5.2016

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Consciousness and Healing (1)

There’s an old Eastern story about a group of scientists who set out to climb the Mountain of Truth, where all knowledge is revealed. They scramble to the top of a steep slope, only to see another peak beyond that. They climb the next, only to see yet another even higher. They climb that and… guess what? There’s yet another. Finally, exhausted, they reach the summit of the mountain, only to be greeted by the great spiritual masters and meta-physicians who had been sitting there for centuries!

This is no truer than in the field of healing. Humans have long known how to heal themselves and stay healthy, long before medical science became involved. At some time in the far and distant past, humankind became aware that they could usually do something to help speed their recovery when they became injured or ill (previously, like the animals, a sick or wounded person would simply lie low and wait for recovery to take place). Quite when that was no-one knows, except it was a very long, long time ago. We know from archaeological evidence that purposeful healing activity was taking place at least 50,000 years ago.

This discovery – that we could heal ourselves – was a great step forward in human evolution, and began a process which continues today. It’s an ongoing process a bit like the ratchet effect – two steps forward, one step back.

The determining factor is consciousness. The healing methods used at each stage of our evolution were – indeed could only be – a direct result of the consciousness in which they were administered at the time. The capacity to heal and maintain health and wholeness are always limited by the level of consciousness applied to them.  If you think you have an incurable disease, you are probably right. If you think your problem is curable, then you are also probably right. Take tuberculosis (TB) as an example. A few decades ago, mass consciousness dictated that TB was incurable; consequently anyone contracting it died. Today, our healing consciousness has moved on and most TB sufferers make a full recovery. That’s consciousness at work – an ever unfolding process.

What is consciousness?

The word ‘consciousness’ is frequently used but difficult to define. In common usage, the closest equivalent is probably ‘awareness.’ When we are ‘conscious’ of something, we are ‘aware’ of it.

But there’s another definition too – the only thing we know for sure, according to philosopher Peter Russell, it that we have experiences, hence he defines consciousness as ‘the capacity to experience’. This is what Descartes was driving at when he made his famous statement, ‘I think, therefore I am.’

Beyond this we can’t really say, because we can’t measure it, observe it, measure or predict it. Science, baffled by its subjective nature, has tended to ignore it.  And yet we can’t deny that it exists, because we all experience things, and we all have awareness. Consciousness has the potential to become any experience we could ever have, even beyond what we are currently capable of imagining. So how do we experience healing? How do we experience illness?

Healing consciousness is about our awareness of the healing process, and what healing could be. But it’s also much more. Because the healing methods used in any society at any point of history tell us a great deal about that society’s view of what a human being actually is and what it means to be human, as we shall see.

In this and the next two blogs I discuss seven levels of consciousness in healing. I’ve chosen seven simply to illustrate my point.


Level one: the mechanic

Even in this, the 21st Century, there are those who think of the human being as a kind of sophisticated robot, a machine with a brain – intelligent perhaps, but a machine nonetheless. So if a part goes wrong, patch it up or take it out and replace it. These are the plumbers, carpenters and mechanics of the medical world.

Now don’t get me wrong: there are times this approach is entirely justified. If a tooth is completely rotten, it needs to come out, because teeth don’t regenerate like, say, a broken bone or damaged liver. It can be replaced with a false tooth or implant which more or less has the saem function as the original.

Cutting, burning, stitching, manipulation, bandages and splints etc. all play a part in healing. But we should always remember, it is not the scalpel, laser, plaster etc. that heal. They only enable whatever does the healing (of which I’ll say more later) to do its work.

Furthermore, techniques based on the body as a mechanical object (such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and so on) have often been very effective in relieving pain and curing a variety of conditions, and not necessarily just the physcial. A century ago, an Australian orator, F.W. Alexander, developed a technique mainly based on breathing, correct posture and movement which is widely taught today. I know from experience that it can be very effective as it helped me relieve a painful foot condition.

Incidentally – that daddy of all medical advances – the heart transplant – has thrown up some interesting issues recently. It is far from a simple physical replacement – there is evidence that some recipients take on the personality of their heart donor. If the heart is merely a physical object, a pump, how can this be?

The fact is, if you experience yourself only as a physical being and your body as nothing more than a mechanical object, your range of healing methods is severely restricted. If anyone tries to tell you that your thoughts and emotions, lifestyle and relationships have anything to do with your health you won’t believe them, and you’ll be very unlikely to consult a practitioner who uses holistic healing methods.

Thankfully not many doctors still think like this, but until the past couple of decades many did. Even so, most haven’t risen much above this level, as we’ll see.

Level two: the naturalist

At some point in history as the growth of healing consciousness proceeded, humans began to notice that ingesting various natural substances or applying them to the skin could have a healing effect. Initially these came from plants, animal parts and minerals found in the natural world. Water, too, was found to have healing properties.

At first, the discovery process was somewhat hit and miss. It was trial and error (mostly error) as humans found that certain natural substances helped with particular health problems. However, they couldn’t cure everything this way because of the limitations of their knowledge.

In recent years, scientific evidence has supported many ‘old wives tales’, and interestingly, today’s hi-tech pharmaceutical companies have progressed little beyond trial and error in much of their research. If you doubt me – find out how Viagra was discovered!

As Western society became more urbanised and industrialised, people were cut off from nature and adopted lifestyles almost guaranteed to produce ill health. But few made the connection.

Cell 2

Level Three: the microbe carrier

Level three/microbe consciousness is a feeling of powerlessness in the face of a potent but invisible enemy.

Not so long ago invisible forces were at work that brought plague and pestilence on a massive scale, and no-one at that time knew why. Then microbes were discovered, and before long were blamed for virtually all illness and disease. Indeed, many still believe that the human being a walking zoo, a repository for the billions of microbes who make their home on and beneath the skin. And to some extent they’re right.

Hence the cosmetic, household chemical and pharmaceutical companies love to frighten us with nightmare vision of deadly microbes, and aren’t we taken in by it? Why else would they constantly regale us with assurances that their brand ‘kills all known germs’ and the like.

The problem is, if we killed all microbes, we’d be dead! There’s no doubt that some germs can cause acute illness, but the fact is most of the microbes that swim around in the human body are harmless, and the vast majority are beneficial. Probiotic yoghurts are big business precisely for this reason.

Allopaths have two main weapons in their armoury for dealing with them – vaccinations and antibiotics.  Vaccinations are designed to strengthen the body’s immunity against microbes. Although there is evidence of their use in the Orient two thousand years ago, their rediscovery by Edward Jenner in the 18th century bore all the hallmarks of the scientific method – observation, deduction, testing, verification and so on.

Antibiotics are intended to kill their targeted bacteria stone dead, and can be very effective. But overreliance on them causes more problems than it solves. Firstly, there’s a great deal of evidence that they weaken the natural immune system in the long term (vaccinations do too); secondly, they destroy not only the harmful  bacteria, but the beneficial ones too; thirdly (and more scarily) overuse of antibiotics indirectly creates germs that are even more deadly than those they eliminate. Microbes aren’t stupid. When threatened by an antibiotic, they mutate.

So this consciousness that we are merely microbe carriers has a number of problems:

  • Most microbes are actually good for us and should not be feared.
  • A reasonable standard of hygiene coupled with a healthy immune system deals with most ‘threats’.
  • Microbes mutate.
  • Commercial interests use them to scare people.

Our current view of microbes will one day be seen as regressive, but meanwhile it suits the purposes of the medical establishment rather well. Consider the swine flu scare of 2008. Fuelled by a consciousness of fear and panic that the world was about to be overrun by killer bugs, governments spent huge sums on anti-flu vaccines. The pharmaceutical companies reaped huge profits, and then it became clear that it was all a storm in a teacup. Many health experts now believe the whole episode to be nothing short of a scandal, and voices in the European Community and elsewhere have even suggested a conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organisation.

I’ll discuss the next three levels in the next post.

©David Lawrence Preston, 9.5.2016

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Your Body Speaks Your Mind?

I recently came across a book by a Belgian mystic, Christiane Berlandt. Entitled, ‘The Key to Self-Liberation,’ it promises to reveal the symbolism of the main organs (heart, lungs etc.) and other parts of the body (e.g. fingers, chin), plus the psychological origin of a thousand diseases. First published (by the author herself) in 1993, it is a weighty tome of over 700 pages.

There’s nothing new about such works, of course. Louise Hay has been ploughing this furrow for many years, ever since her multi-million selling book, ‘You Can heal Your Life’ was published in 1984. Grounded in the American 19th Century New Thought tradition, she states that we are all responsible for our own experiences, releasing resentment will dissolve even cancer, and we create every so-called ‘illness’ in our body. Now there may be some truth in these for some people, but for a scientific truth to be true it must true for everyone, everywhere and for all time – and there’s not a shred of evidence that any of these statements is universally true.

Sometimes Ms Hay’s well-meaning diagnoses are trite, to say the least. ‘When there are problems with the ears,’ she writes, ‘it usually means something is going on you do not want to hear.’ (Tell that to a child born hearing-impaired.) ‘Deafness represents long-standing refusal to listen to someone.’ (Tell that to a factory worker denied proper ear protection.)  ‘Problems with the eyes usually means there is something we do not want to see.’ ‘The arms represent our ability and capacity to embrace the experiences of life.’ (Tell that to a thalidomide victim or a soldier who has had his arms blown off in a war.) ‘Prostate problems have a lot to do with self-worth and also believing that as he gets older he becomes less of a man.’ Bollocks!

I find Debbie Shapiro’s work more satisfying and very sincere; however she is not immune from the same unproven statements so prevalent in Ms Hay’s work. I opened her book, ‘Your Body Speaks Your Mind’, at random. On page 125 I found, ‘The ribs surround and protect the organs in the chest,’ I read, ‘so they are like your sentinels, guarding your inner being.’ ‘If you have bruised or broken ribs, you need to ask yourself if you have let your guard down and allowed someone to get closer than you would prefer….’ Now I broke two ribs not long ago, and thought long and hard about this. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I couldn’t think of a single way this statement might be true.

Another work along the same lines is Lise Bourbeau’s ‘Love Yourself’ – 350,000 copies sold, according to the banner on the cover, ‘The most complete book on metaphysical causes of illness and diseases.’ ‘She is certain that any physical problem is simply the outward manifestation of dis-ease on psychological or emotional levels.’ I looked up ‘ribs’: a fractured rib, she writes, indicates that ‘the person has lost his armor, that he is unprotected and unable to defend himself.’ Impressive – she broadly agrees with Debbie Shapiro.

What does Ms Beerlandt have to say about the ears, ribs and prostate? Lots. Ears are about listening to our deepest selves; broken ribs about life being more than we can handle; and prostate about self-worth and daring to be yourself. Not much agreement there. Indeed, she puts almost every ailment down to some degree of anxiety, lack of self-awareness or low self-esteem.

Now I have no problem with the notion that the mind affects the body; indeed, I’d go even further and suggest that they are one, integral, inseparable. It’s common sense (and scientifically verifiable) that people who are under mental, emotional or physical stress, depressed, suffering from low self-esteem and so on are more likely to get ill. But human beings are different from each other. How can we say that one person’s, say, broken leg has the same root cause as another’s? How can we discount environmental and lifestyle factors, which we know have a huge impact on health? How can anyone seriously say that we – all of us, everywhere, at all times – create every so-called ‘illness’ in our body? Nice theory, but simply not true.

So where does Ms Beerlandt get her ‘evidence’? Now here’s the remarkable thing. She claims to ‘draw information from an inner source,’ ‘listening deep inside me via my heart and consciousness, to the deep language of life itself.’ (My italics). She writes, ‘the contents have nothing to do with scientific observation, but neither with channelling or guides…. I offer only deep, called-up information….’ What does this mean? That she dreamed it? Or just made it up?

For the record, I am absolutely convinced that the mind and body are interrelated. I agree without question that we can, in certain circumstances, create illnesses through our self-talk, beliefs and emotions. I agree wholeheartedly with those who say that, in certain circumstances, we can heal the body using the power of our minds because I have studied the evidence and met people who have actually done so.  But, sorry, when someone purports to convince me that when people have problems in certain parts of the body they can listen to the ‘deep language of life’ and tell me the cause, I’m sceptical.

© David Lawrence Preston, 28.3.2016

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Understanding the Mind

What is this thing called ‘mind’?

Unlike the brain, it’s not a physical thing. It’s an activity. If you opened up your head you would not be able to find it, because it can’t be seen or weighed. But we know it’s there: we are aware of it and can observe it in action.

Crucially, there is more than one level of awareness within the human mind. At any moment, there are things you are aware of, things you could bring to mind if you wanted (such as a memory of what you did yesterday), and things which lie much deeper, such as childhood memories. We can group these into various categories or levels of consciousness.

The Conscious Mind

The conscious mind is the part of the mind that we are aware right now. It is a stream of thoughts, like a never ending conversation in our heads. The conscious mind functions only when we are awake.

Conscious ‘thinking’ is little more than talking to ourselves.

The conscious mind gathers information through the five senses, processes it according to our previous learning and beliefs, then passes it through to the unconscious for long term processing and storage. It is intelligent, but it can only deal with one thing at a time. Trying to concentrate on more than one is a strain. For instance, if we are reading while someone else is talking, we either have to break off from reading or ignore the other person – the conscious mind cannot handle both.

This is, on the whole, fortunate. It means that we don’t have to consciously remind our heart to beat, our lungs to absorb oxygen or the digestive system to function. Nor is our attention cluttered with information that we don’t need at that moment – that is all stored in the unconscious memory banks.

The Unconscious Mind

We are only ever aware of a small percentage (less than 5%, probably much less) of our mental activity. The remainder (more than 95%) lies beneath the threshold of awareness in the unconscious. It is often compared to the mass of an iceberg which floats below the surface, out of sight but exerting a considerable influence on our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

  • The capacity of the unconscious is virtually unlimited.
  • It works continually, even when we are asleep.
  • Unlike the conscious, it deals with ‘wholes’, not minutiae.
  • It can come to conclusions without going through analytical thought processes.

We call it the unconscious, but this doesn’t mean that we are never aware of it: all unconscious material can be brought into consciousness, and as long as we have the conscious ability to reason and to think, we can influence it.

When unconscious material comes to the surface in the form of a pleasant memory, it can bring a feeling of harmony and contentment; but it can also disturb, bringing feelings of discomfort or, at worst, psychological problems of one sort or another.

There are many sides to the unconscious:

The subconscious contains material which lingers just below the surface and is capable of being accessed whenever we need it, such as an address, a date, route or set of instructions we have not used for a while. We can normally handle up to nine pieces of information at a time, which is why most telephone numbers are less than nine digits, especially if they do not require intense concentration. For example, we can talk on the telephone and sign a letter at the same time, but would not be able to work out a difficult algebraic equation or plan a major project.

The conditioned unconscious is a storehouse of memories, instincts and drives – a library of knowledge, dreams, experiences and emotions. Much of this material is imprinted in childhood. It’s the part of the mind, for example, that reminds us of what we believe we can and can’t do.

Some of this material can be accessed without involving the conscious mind, for example, when we learned to use a keyboard. At first, we used all our conscious faculties to remember which key was which. Then, with practice, the unconscious took control – an experienced typist can easily type a document accurately and hold a conversation at the same time. The same applies when we learn to ride a bicycle, drive a car, play a musical instrument, speak a foreign language, or knit, and so on.

The unconscious also contains a kind of goal-seeking mechanism which seeks out whatever we consistently place our attention on.  Once a desire is planted in the unconscious, the mind tries to help bring it to fruition. This is a vital and invaluable function of the unconscious.

The unconscious can’t think for itself; it just processes whatever information is fed into it and carries out instructions given (deliberately or accidentally) by the conscious. Once an idea takes root there, it is extremely difficult to shift. Used correctly, it can help to take us where we most want to go; but it can also unknowingly keep us bound to destructive habits and beliefs.

You can learn how to get the conditioned unconscious on your side, so it works for you instead of against you.

The body’s automatic regulation system: the unconscious also regulates the physical operations of the body, including the healing and immune systems, heartbeat and circulation, breathing and oxygen absorption, digestion, waste disposal and the Autonomic Nervous System.

The Superconscious

‘Superconscious’ is an inclusive term for those aspects of mind that transcends the physical and go beyond what we can be explained through our bio-chemistry. It includes the intuition, often referred to as the ‘sixth sense’ or ‘gut feel’, and the ‘Spiritual’ or ‘Higher Self’.

Higher Consciousness

Science recognizes that the basic building block of the universe is a field of energy and information which permeates all things, including us. We live in, and are an integral part of, an ocean of intelligence and consciousness. Much of goes on around us cannot be understood by the human mind with all its preoccupations, fears and misconceptions. This is a fascinating area of research.

Understanding how the mind works is a vital part of self-awareness, which is vital for happiness, confidence and spiritual and self-development.

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.3.2016

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