Healing power is in the mind of the patient – the work of Dr P.P. Quimby

I’ve been to many healers in my time, and it seems to me that the techniques they employ say a great deal about the practitioner’s beliefs about what constitutes a human being. This – explicitly or implicitly – is what guides their healing methods. If you think a human body is simply a physical, mechanical thing, as many doctors used to do, you treat it accordingly. If you see it as intelligent, responsive, self-regulating, then your approach is entirely different.

Dr Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a real groundbreaker of healing, was in no doubt. He saw humans as mind, body and spirit, and showed that our healing power comes primarily from within. Nowadays, few people have heard of him and yet his influence is reflected in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and well known writers such as Louise Hay, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Bernie Segal, Byron Katie, and many others.

Quimby

Quimby was born on February 16, 1802. A clock-maker by trade, he lived most of his life in Belfast, Maine. New England. Although others called him ‘Doctor’ he had little formal education and no medical training, but he had a practical, enquiring mind and unparalleled determination.

As a young man, he contracted tuberculosis. Doctors couldn’t help, so he decided to help himself. Someone suggested horse-riding as the fresh air would do him good, but he was too weak to ride, so he borrowed a horse and cart. One day the horse refused to pull the cart up a hill, so Quimby got down and walked with the horse. When they got to the top, it suddenly started trotting. As Quimby couldn’t get back on the cart he ran down the hill with the horse, which, strictly speaking, he shouldn’t have been able to due to his illness.

Back home, he realised he was breathing freely. The pain had gone (it never returned) – he had experienced a spontaneous healing. In that moment he dedicated himself to understanding what brought this about. He reasoned that there must be something within that can make us well, of which we’re not normally aware.

First he studied the work of the hypnotist Anton Mesmer, who had quite a reputation in Europe. By 1840, Quimby was an expert hypnotist. He worked with a young man called Lucius who, under hypnosis, could apparently diagnose patients’ illnesses and suggest a cure. Later, Quimby realized that Lucius was tuning in to what the patient believed he had, not what he actually had.  So after his early experiments, he gave up hypnotism and instead focussed on curing disease through the mind, getting his patients to see causes for themselves.His approach was evidence-based and rigorously scientific. He trusted no opinions, only knowledge.

He studied the healing methods described in the New Testament. Quimby did not regard the gospel healings as miracles, but as scientific applications of truth as represented by Universal Law.

Ironically he was vehemently anti-religion. He believed that the Church had irresponsibly abandoned any interest in healing and that his purpose was to resurrect it. He studied the New Testament because he wanted to understand and correct the negative thinking of his patients – especially those who believed that ill health was a punishment for some unpardonable sin.

His healing methods were highly unusual. He sat with his patients until he had a mental impression of the problem and its cause. Often he felt every symptom of the disease in his own body. Then he silently challenged the cause in his own mind, addressing his comments to the spirit within which, he argued, could never be sick. Sometimes barely a word was spoken as Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient.

He described the cause of disease in his own words:

‘The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in. if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.

‘This I do partly mentally and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impressions and establish the truth, and the truth is the cure. . . . A sick man is like a criminal cast into prison for disobeying some law that man has set up. I plead his case, and if I get the verdict, the criminal is set at liberty. If I fail, I lose the case. His own judgment is his judge, his feelings are his evidence. If my explanation is satisfactory to the judge, you will give me the verdict. This ends the trial, and the patient is released.’

His son George (who acted as his secretary) described his father’s method of cure as follows (I paraphrase slightly):

‘A patient comes to see Dr Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person’s feelings. These are quickly imprinted on him. This mental picture contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength are imprinted on the receptive plate of the patient. The patient sees the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is imprinted on the doctor again and he sees the change and continues. The shadow grows dim and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease.’

Quimby knew that one mind can influence another, and believed that most disease is due to false reasoning. To remove disease permanently, it is necessary to know the error in thinking which caused it. ‘The explanation,’ he said, ‘is the cure’.  Half a century before Freud, he explained that many of the harmful beliefs are located in the unconscious mind and must be brought into consciousness before they can be dealt with.

Quimby healed thousands of people of a wide range of illnesses, most of whom had not responded to conventional treatment. In the end, it was his very success that killed him. He died of over-work and self-neglect on January 16, 1866, having seen over 10,000 patients in his last seven years.

PPQ

Quimby left behind detailed journals, and some of his clients devoted their lives to spreading awareness of his methods. Rev Warren Felt Evans wrote the definitive contemporary account in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869), but it was not until 1989 that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings were published, edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted most of his working life to the task.

Nowadays we have scientific proof that our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health. Placebos illustrate the effectiveness of suggestion as a powerful healer and CBT and NLP have proved their worth in many situations. Perhaps it is also time for Quimby to receive his due credit. If his ideas and methods were investigated anew, who knows how many people could benefit?

© Feeling Good All The Time, 8.10.2018

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How to improve your memory

A good memory is a huge asset in every area of life, but how many people struggle to remember simple everyday things?

Psychologists universally agree that there’s a great deal we can do to improve. They  distinguish between short- and long-term memory. Short-term is the stuff of day to day living and long-term, well, longer. The techniques taught in memory books and courses deal mainly with the short term memory.

Improving short-term memory

Here are some hints:

  • Write things down. Make shopping lists, action plans, ‘to do’ lists. Keep a notepad with you – paper or electronic and use it.
  • Pay attention. You are more likely to remember something you pay attention to in the first place.
  • Take an interest – we find it easier to remember things which interest us. E.g. sports fans can reel off facts and figures from fixtures long ago.
  • Practise – like most skills, the more you practise, the better you get. And practising a little every day is more effective than a frantic session once a fortnight.
  • Repetition – the continual repetition of information, silently or aloud, ingrains it in the memory. Memory responds to repetition – this is a core principle.
  • Use rhymes – for example, ‘In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.’
  • Mnemonics involve using words and letters to remember things; a popular one is ‘ROYGBIV’ to recall the colours of the rainbow.
  • Weave the items you wish to remember into a story – the more outrageous the better. E.g. if you want to remember items on a shopping list your story might go: ‘One day, when spreading butter over the teacakes, an argument broke out. The man said he’d like some eggs. His wife asked him if he’d prefer bread instead. He said ‘no’, pulled out a tube of toothpaste and hit her over the head with it. She responded by hitting him with a bottle of shampoo….’
  • Use associations. They make use of the way the brain connects and stores information. E.g. the ‘place method’ – physically leaving objects in a special place which acts as a reminder; or ‘face name’ associations – changing a person’s name into something meaningful and matching it with something unusual about them, such as Mr Rose who has a big nose.
  • Another method is to mentally retrace a series of events to jog the memory, e.g. to remember where you left something or recall at what stage a significant incident happened.
  • Memory pegs are a popular way of remembering lists. You can invent memory pegs which mean something special for you. For example:

One is the sun

Two is a shoe

Three is a key

Four is a door

Five is a hive

Six is sticks

Seven is heaven

Eight is a gate

Nine is a sign

Ten is a pen

When you want to remember a list, such a shopping list of butter, eggs, bread, toothpaste and shampoo, ‘hang’ the items you want to remember on the pegs. Each item goes with one peg, and you imagine the two together. So, make an image of butter melting in the sun; eggs cracked over a shoe; bread on a table next to a key; a tube of toothpaste splattered on a door; shampoo spilt over a hive, etc.

When you want to recall the items, simply go through the peg words and note what object you placed on each peg. The pegs trigger your memory, and with practice you can easily remember up to two dozen items or more.

  • Use an affirmation. E.g. If you’re having difficulty recalling something, use an affirmation such as: ‘Right now, I can’t recall… but soon I will. My unconscious is helping me and it will come to me shortly’.
  • Triggers: Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax. Then put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper ‘Alpha’ under your breath (this acts as a ‘trigger’). Ask for the information you require. The answer may pop into your head immediately or come to you later. Your intuition will lead to where you left the object.
  • The ‘place’ method: e.g. imagine a set of the objects you want to remember placed in different locations around the house. Imagine them in different places as you move through each room in a logical order. With practice you’ll find it easy to recall the object/s you ‘left’ in each place.

Improving Your Long Term Memory

These techniques can be useful when you need to remember blocks of information for longer than, say, a week or two, for example when studying for an exam.

  1. Be systematic

Commit the information you wish to store and retrieve to memory systematically. This makes it easier to harmonise with material already stored. Sometimes recalling a fragment of information makes the rest more accessible.

  1. Think about it

Think about what you want to remember and its application to experiences you’re having: it makes a big difference.

  1. Focus

Next time you want to memorise something, imagine that your memory is a clean sheet of blotting paper. Focus intently, imagining the material being absorbed in the same way you would press the blotting paper over the page.

  1. Autosuggestion

Use autosuggestion to programme the memory ‘computer’ housed in your unconscious. Relax into the dreamy Alpha State (the ‘CALM’ setting on the AcuPearls can help with this), then affirm, with feeling:

‘I have perfect memory and concentration. Therefore I can recall instantly and easily whatever I hear, read or study. Because I have perfect memory, I can remember at will whatever I require. I am at one with the source of all knowledge.’

Do this regularly and you will soon notice an improvement. You may find it helps to record the message onto an audio device.

  1. Affirmations and Creative Imagery

You can use affirmations and Creative Imagery to programme your memory. E.g. if you want to remember the contents of a book or lecture, use the thumb and fingers trigger and affirm:

‘I will remember the information I am about to study easily. My mind is clear, my memory is perfect. It is the nature of my mind to remember effortlessly.’

When you have finished, affirm:

‘The information I have just studied will flow quickly and easily. My mind is clear, my memory is perfect. It is the nature of my mind to remember effortlessly.’

Accelerated Learning

Physical and mental relaxation assists learning by reducing anxiety. You can deliberately store information for straightforward retrieval using deep relaxation into Alpha State. This is the basis, for example, of the accelerated language learning method pioneered by Michel Thomas in the 1980s – he demonstrated that students could go from zero to proficiency in a few months.

Summary

Memory training appears daunting at first, but with perseverance the result can be impressive and have a knock on effect on all areas of life.

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.10.2018

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Children in Eastern Europe have long been using accelerated learning techniques to learn foreign languages, sometimes reaching fluency in just a few months. The language teacher, Michel Thomas, used these techniques to help celebrity students from nil to fluency in a few months.

 

Accelerated learning removes the main blockage to learning – stress. Pupils relax, close their eyes and drift off while the teacher speaks the information at a slow pace and prescribed pitch and rhythm. In some cases, they learn more than a hundred times faster than before.

 

You can do the same using the thumb and fingers trigger, which is particularly useful if you have reasons for wanting to absorb a large amount of information (e.g. an exam, or if you’re an actor/actress remembering your lines).

 

Relax. Bring the thumb and fingers together (this sends a signal to the brain to prepare for stronger programming). Affirm that you will easily remember everything you are about to see or hear. Add, ‘Nothing will distract me. I have superior concentration and understanding’.

 

Read the material (or record it beforehand) at a slow and steady pace. You will absorb and retain the information more readily than in the waking state.

 

When you’ve finished reading, again use the trigger to relax and affirm ‘I can recall the material I’ve just read/heard about… (mention the subject) at any time using the thumb and fingers trigger’.

 

When you need to recall the information, use the thumb and fingers trigger and affirm that the material will rapidly return to consciousness.

 

Steve, a young student, was worried about his forthcoming exams. He’d done very little work, but with less than a month to go, was willing to do whatever he could to get good grades. He prepared a précis of the information, recorded it onto tape and listened to it daily, morning and night. He used the memory affirmation and the thumb and fingers trigger. During the exams, he used quick relaxation techniques and deep breathing to stay calm.

 

Steve achieved the right grades. He felt he’d cheated the system, but he hadn’t. He’d just found a way to make his brain work better, and surely that’s what it’s all about.

 

These techniques work. They’re tried and tested and are frequently taught in memory training courses. But they have to be practised regularly for maximum results.

You won’t get far without self-belief. It’s one of the biggest factors in success, yet many people, even the most able, lack it.

To strengthen your belief in yourself:

  1. Make your short-term goals challenging but within reach. Your unconscious finds it hard to accept a huge leap but can adapt to a series of small steps. For instance, if you want to be a radio presenter, don’t expect an early call from a national station – you’ll only be discouraged when it doesn’t happen. Instead, get some experience on hospital radio, then work your way up to local radio, then regional stations.
  2. Reflect on your successes. A belief can be formed instantly, after one event, so long as you think about it and dwell on it. Whenever you succeed at something or exceed your expectations, reflect on it. Keep a list of the goals you’ve already achieved and read it through frequently. Your confidence will grow with every positive step, however small.

 

 

  • Read and repeat your written goals to yourself every day. Keep your mind on your goals, keep going and be alert to every opportunity.

Think success. When you face a difficult situation, think, ‘I can do it, I’m equal to the task’. Constantly remind yourself that you’re better than you used to think you were.

 

  • Write down affirmations that support your new beliefs. Copy them out frequently. Read them morning and night. Commit them to memory and repeat them silently as often as you wish.

 

  • Learn from others in every possible way. Associate with people who support your goals and share your philosophy. Read self-development books. Listen to motivational audio materials. Attend workshops and lectures given by inspirational people.

 

  • Persist, persists, persist. Don’t let anyone steal your dream or alter your new reality.

 

 

 

Exercise 5.9

 

Think of additional things you can do to build beliefs.

Write them down.

And do them.

 

 

 

AcuPearl reharmonises

AcuPearl is designed to reharmonise the vibrational interconnections of the body, encouraging it to return to natural rhythms, cycles and shapes associated with optimum health and vitality. It interacts with the body’s connective tissue matrix and the human biofield though its magnetic field patterns.

 

Pendant-Model-2

For further information, www.acupearl.co.uk.

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Taking Charge of Your Life

Before we can take charge of our lives, we must acknowledge some basic truths:

Everything we are is the result of ‘causes’ laid down in the past; what we will become will result from what we are now and from ‘causes’ still to be laid down. This is the universal Law of Cause and Effect.

These ‘causes’ are primarily our own thoughts, imaginings, words and actions. If we ‘sow’ the right ‘seeds’ from now on, we change, and consequently our life circumstances change too, irrespective of what has gone before.

We are in charge of what we think, believe, imagine, feel, say and do. Once we acknowledge this, we know we always have choices, and we can use this power once we know how to use certain life transforming tools and techniques.

  •  It’s not what happens out there in the world that shapes our lives, but what happens in here between our ears! This is not what most of us were taught as children, but it’s true. We cannot alter our genetic make up, nor can we go back and change out early programming and conditioning. But for most of us of sound mind, our thinking is within our control.

We can choose what we think about.
We can choose where we allow our imagination to go.
We can choose what we think, say and do in response to what happens around us.

In other words, we can consciously lay down the ‘causes’ that create our future lives and then watch and enjoy the results unfold. Indeed, we are doing it all the time whether we are aware of it or not. So learn to become aware of what you think, say and do in every moment and how it impacts on your circumstances.

Since your thoughts are the prime causes, take responsibility for your thoughts, and you literally take charge of your life.

Once you know this, the door to the best possible future is wide open. Only an idiot believes that thinking, feeling and doing what you’ve always done will bring different results!

That’s why Dr Napolean Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’, the most influential book on happiness and success ever written, said:

‘The vast majority of people are born, grow up, struggle, and go through life in misery and failure, not recognising that it would be just as easy to switch over and get out of life exactly what they want, not recognising that the mind attracts the thing it dwells upon.’

From the time you reach adulthood, nobody else can make your life happen for you. Blaming circumstances (however unfortunate) and other people (however unpleasant) won’t change anything; in fact, it makes things worse – you become a victim.

See whatever happens in your life as the world’s response to your state of mind

Here’s an illuminating exercise. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Relax your body and let go of all tension. In this relaxed state, reflect on the events and circumstances of your life. Don’t judge. Don’t blame. Just reflect on how your thoughts, beliefs, imaginings and actions have created your life and how past decisions have affected you.

As I said,you’ll find this very illuminating!

Copyright David Lawrence Preston 22.9.2018

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The Law of Cause and Effect

The Law of Cause and Effect (sometimes known as Karma) is fundamental to the universe. It is probably most closely associated with the physical sciences, for example, when a snooker cue strikes a ball, the ball moves, and when one ball hits another, the impact made by the first causes the second to move. Their speed and direction can be predicted accurately by applying precise scientific measurements and principles.

In the world of human behaviour, causes and effects are not so easily measured and may not be predictable, but are no less real. With very few exceptions (e.g. purely reflex reactions), every action you ever took and every word you ever spoke began as a thought. Your present has been shaped by your actions, which were governed by your past thoughts and emotions; and your future will be shaped by the actions you take from now on, which will be shaped by your future thoughts and emotions.

The Law of Cause and Effect describes the relationship between what we think, feel and do and what we get out of life. It states that everything we are and everything we have has been shaped by ‘causes’ laid down in the past.

Every action has a cause.

Every cause produces an effect.

Thoughts are prime causes.

Speech, emotions and actions (and their results) are their effects.

Therefore constructive thoughts lead to positive emotions and constructive actions.

Negative thoughts lead to damaging emotions and destructive actions.

Therefore we constantly contribute to our circumstances – both present and future – by the way we think. And when we decide to change our way of thinking – including our beliefs, attitudes and prejudices – and sow different ‘seeds’, we change; and when we change, our circumstances change too, irrespective of what has gone before. The world responds to what we think, believe, imagine, feel, say and do.

Some consider this a frightening prospect, because it means taking responsibility for ourselves, but it’s actually one of the most hopeful things about being alive – the fact that we can turn our lives around by choosing to think differently. Only you decide what to think – if you don’t choose your thoughts, who does?

Some would say there’s little we can do, because our futures are laid out in our genes or by fate – but our genes only account for about a small part of our psychological make up. Others argue that we are merely the product of our programming and conditioning and we can do nothing to change this – but these are learned, and anything that has been learned can be reappraised, un-learned and re-learned.

The only question is – how?

It’s not as hard as you may think!

©David Lawrence Preston 28.2.2016

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Anger – hot coals and cool thoughts

‘Holding anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.’

 The Buddha

 

Anger has had a bad press. It’s generally thought to be a bad thing and, sure, it can be harmful when unjustified and badly handled. It raises our stress levels, and if it continues causes no end of physical and mental health problems..

However there’s another side to it:

Properly controlled and directed anger can be constructive if it generates creative energy

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion when managed well. Anger has driven countless individuals to struggle against slavery, poverty, apartheid and other injustices. A disgusted ‘I’ve had enough!’ can turn your life around if it spurs you to action.

Anger can also motivate others, for instance, the sports coach who gets the best out of his team because they are scared of his reaction if they play badly.

If you never responded with justified anger, you could storing up trouble. If you don’t let people know when you are upset with their behaviour, they’re likely to go on doing it. Then the feelings grow, gnawing away at your self respect.

But going to the other extreme is just as bad. If you are continually angry or every trivial event triggers angry feelings, there’s little chance of you being taken seriously and every chance you’ll make yourself ill. This is what the Buddha meant when he said, ‘You will not be punished for your anger, but by your anger.’ In other words, you are the one who has to live with it.

The trick is to know when and how to be angry. You always have the choice to respond with anger or not; no-one can force you to be angry unless you want to. This is not what most of us have been taught to believe – but it’s true.

What causes anger?

Anger has one source only: some expectation is not being met. Something in the environment is not to your liking.

Volcano

There are two sorts of anger:

  1. One is the quick outburst, which may be intense but is soon over and swiftly forgotten. This is usually harmless, and is an effective way of releasing pent-up emotions. Just make sure you get your feelings across without breaking anything, injuring another person or (if it’s important to you) damage your long-term relationship.
  1. The other is the slow burning type, which is not so easy to get over. The pressure builds up until one day it erupts, triggered by some trivial incident which isn’t itself the reason for the blow up – the real cause is the suppressed emotion. Try not to let this happen: it’s always better to express your feelings immediately, not wait until resentment has hardened.

How about you? How do you deal with anger. Do you try not to show it? Or let fly? Do you believe it’s better to express your anger or keep quiet? How did your family deal with anger when you were a child? Is there something in your background that makes you react the way you do?

Seven tips for coping with anger

I’ve gone through angry phases in my life and had to learn to deal with it. Here are seven steps that I’ve found helpful:

Take a deep breath and count to ten

If you feel anger coming on, before lashing out, stop, take a deep breath, count to ten and exhale slowly. It really does work.

Interrogate yourself

Ask yourself:

  • Is my anger justified?
  • Have I got my facts straight?
  • Did the other person mean any harm?
  • Am I reacting like this because I’m over-tired, stressed or just fed up?
  • Am I taking it out on an innocent person?
  • Am I likely to do something I’ll later regret?
  • Will it get the outcomes I want?

Examine your motives

Behind a great deal of anger is an attempt to make someone feel guilty, or manipulate them into doing what you want. Ask yourself if you are being reasonable. Would it be OK for others to demand that you always comply with their expectations? So why should you they fall in line with yours? Isn’t it better to become more tolerant and accepting?

Become more assertive

Find a way to release your anger by becoming more assertive. Say how you feel appropriately and immediately, not some time later when memories have faded and resentment has built up. If you feel things are getting too heated, walk away. Go for a stroll to cool down.

Mentally rehearse

If you anticipate an angry confrontation, think it through and mentally rehearse. Decide what you want to achieve and write down the points you want to make.

Don’t stew

Once you’ve had your say, forget it. Don’t stew over what you could have said. There’s no point.

Own your anger – and let others own theirs

Finally, if someone is angry with you, remember, it’s not your anger – it’s theirs, and you don’t have to match it if you don’t want to.

©David Lawrence Preston 19.9.2018

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Building Self-Confidence in Practice

In-I-T-I-A-te change!

When you apply the I-T-I-A Formula – Self-awareness +Intention +Thinking +Imagination +Action – to confidence building, the shift in consciousness is not necessarily dramatic, more like a gradual awakening. Over time, you cast off your negative conditioning and adopt more empowering beliefs. Then feelings and actions change too.

It’s like climbing a ladder; don’t try too much at once, take it one rung at a time. Small steps are important. Every day, stretch yourself a little further; have a go at something which you would previously have found too daunting, like striking up a conversation with a stranger, asserting yourself, or giving a talk to a local group.

Each time you succeed, you gain encouragement, your attitude changes, and before long it will get easier and you’ll feel better than ever before.

One of the secrets of confidence building is to act ‘as if’ you’re growing in confidence, and ‘as if’ you are the person you want to be. This is what William Shakespeare meant when he wrote, ‘Assume a virtue if you have it not’.

Project an air of quiet confidence, even if you don’t feel it. For instance, if you feel shy in the company of people you don’t know, shake hands firmly, look them in the eye, speak with a confident tone of voice, and smile. It may feel like a big effort at first, but even if you have butterflies in your stomach, act as if you’re confident and you will feel more confident. Eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade.

Many outwardly confident people had to work at it, knowing that if you act confidently and look as if you know what you’re doing, then sooner or later you will feel that way.

If it feels uncomfortable to begin with, remember that it’s only your programming and conditioning trying to keep you to old habits.

It’s important to keep in mind what you’re striving for – reinventing yourself as a calm and  confident person with high self-esteem and a healthy and secure self-image.

Mental rehearsal

Creative imagery is a great ally when building confidence. Mentally rehearse any impending challenge, creating the perfect result in your mind every time to impress this on your subconscious. ‘See’, ‘hear’ and ‘feel’ yourself as a confident and successful person.

Here’s a useful four-stage routine for building confidence. Let’s say you have some goal in mind, such as making a sale, attracting a member of the opposite sex, passing an exam or attending a job interview:

  1. ‘Visualise’ yourself as a confident person and imagine what it would feel like to be loaded with confidence.
  1. Next,’ visualise’ yourself behaving confidently, for instance delivering the talk with assurance, interacting with others confidently and handling difficult questions with ease.
  1. ‘Visualise’ yourself having accomplished your objective.
  1. Finally, ‘visualise’ others’ response to your success, e.g. applauding, congratulating you etc.

Remember also to use the modelling, and anchoring techniques to the full.

Celebrate your progress!

Every time you take a step forward, reward yourself. Buy yourself a small treat, take a weekend break, go on a course – something that will give you a further taste of pleasure and success.

If on the other hand things don’t work out as you planned, don’t chastise yourself. Reflect on what you can learn from it and put the episode down to experience.

Focus on the positives

Every moment, think of all the good qualities you have. Don’t get caught up in what others think of you – or, more correctly, what you imagine others may think of you (because we can never know for sure what another person is thinking). Otherwise you’ll only attract people who demand you to keep them happy.

Instead, keep yourself happy! Be the kind of person you want to be and you’ll attract others who are the same. Remember, like attracts like. The rest follows automatically.

Be patient

If you really believed in yourself, how would you feel? Then isn’t it worth spending a little time each day working on yourself, building your self-belief? Of course it is. With a good self-image, confidence, a clear purpose and a realistic action plan almost anything is possible.

But you’ll have to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and, if your confidence is currently low, neither is self-belief. So start now, wherever you are at, and never, never give up. It’s open to everyone!

©David Lawrence Preston, 25.8.2018

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Nature or Nurture: Why You Are The Way You Are

Nature or nurture?

One of the questions that has occupied psychologists for years is ‘Are we a result of ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’?’ To what extent are we shaped by childhood experiences, parenting, schooling and environment? What part does our genetic inheritance play? What really determines the sort of people we are and who we become?

Some believe that where we grow up, our parents treatment of us and the experiences we had as children are largely responsible for who we become. They’re right to some extent, these are important – but it doesn’t explain how people from similar backgrounds with comparable levels of ability – even twins – end up leading very different lives.

Ability and hard work don’t account for all of it either it – it takes just as much effort to empty dustbins or work long hours in a shop as it does to be a company chairman.

The answer is, whatever our origins, the world – which includes other people – responds to what we think, believe, imagine, say and do. So to harness our inner resources we must be self-aware. We must know ourselves before we can truly know anything else.  The key is understanding the workings of your mind.

Is the ‘brain’ the same as the ‘mind’?

Let’s imagine you bought a new computer. What’s the first thing you would do, once you’ve unpacked it and plugged it in? Surely you would consult the operating manual. But you’re not provided with one for the ‘computer’ between your ears! You need an instruction manual for the mind.

The brain, unlike the mind, is a physical thing. It’s a small organ weighing about 1½ Kg., housed in the space between the ears. It’s the physical vehicle through which the mind operates. It’s often compared to a computer, and in some ways it does resemble one, but it is far superior.

It is an astonishing fact that most people use less than 5% of their brain’s capacity – if that!

If the brain is the hardware, the mind is the software. The mind is an activity. It is a mass of accumulated thought-forms – ideas, beliefs, memories, attitudes, habits, prejudices and so on. It can’t be seen or weighed, but like electricity, we know it’s there and can monitor its workings.

Programming and Conditioning

In the first few years of life, our adult caretakers teach us what they think we should be. Most of us accept this programming and carry it into adulthood.

Conditioning is the way one person uses reward and punishment to shape the behaviour of another. It is how circus animals are trained and military officer enforce discipline. It’s the chief way in which we learn to relate to the world when we are young. It plays a big part in shaping our behaviour, our attitudes and our beliefs.

This is how it works: if a young boy (or girl) pleases his/her adult caretakers, they respond favourably. This is extremely pleasurable for the child and encourages a repetition of the behaviour (i.e. reinforces it). But if the adult caretakers disapprove, s/he will be told off, punished or have privileges withdrawn, which discourages a repeat of the behaviour.

Conditioning can be beneficial when administered by caring parents who believe in empowering their children. But many parents are ill informed, critical of themselves and their children. Children are quick learners and great imitators: their parents’ and teachers’ habits are soon passed on, and of course, once they reach the teenage years, the peer group and media influences come into play too.

Much of the damage is done in run-of-the-mill remarks which adults regard as insignificant – ‘Don’t…’. ‘Stop it or else…’ ‘You can’t…’  ‘Who do you think you are?’ Young children often take such comments to heart or interpret them in ways which weren’t intended, e.g.

  • ‘Let me do it.’ (You’re not capable.)
  • ‘You’re just as stupid as your father.’ (You’re not OK and neither is he.)
  • ‘Can’t you see I’m busy?’ (You’re not a priority.)

Beliefs about life in general are also handed down, e.g.

  • ‘You can’t trust anyone these days.’ (Don’t be too open with people.)
  • ‘All successful people lie and cheat to get to the top.’ (So you must too.)
  • ‘There’s no point in going to college. It doesn’t get you anywhere.’ (Success is a matter of privilege or luck.)
  • I’m damaged by my childhood and I can’t change. It’s just the way I am.

Research shows that as much as fifty percent of our programming is in place by the age of six; eighty percent by the age of twelve.

Psychologists used to argue that our conditioning is virtually impossible to change, but we now know that this is not true. If it were, then most psychotherapy would be ineffective.

Acknowledge the importance of your conditioning on your thinking and behaviour, then take responsibility for how you handle it.

See your programming and conditioning for what it is – simply part of your learning, some of it very valuable, and some if it worthless or unhelpful. Anything learned can be unlearned and relearned. It’s just a matter of understanding a few basic principles and using some simple techniques. Whatever has gone before can only affect the future if you let it. In a psychological sense, what matters is not where you’re from, but where you’re at. To believe otherwise is tacitly allowing yourself to be controlled by the thoughts and feelings of a young child – the child you once were. That wouldn’t make sense, would it?

Your genetic inheritance

A hundred years ago it was common for behavioural psychologists to argue that only a small proportion of our characteristics comes from our genes. Then later, largely thanks to studies of identical twins, some scientists argued that half or more of our character is genetic.

Increasingly, the role of our biochemistry is also being recognised. We know, for example, that the levels of certain hormones at pivotal phases of our development  controls our level of ‘maleness’ or ‘femaleness’, our sexual orientation, predisposition to aggression, anxiety and depression, and a range of abilities including mathematical reasoning, spatial awareness and emotional skills.

Furthermore, in the past few years, scientists have discovered that our genes do not control anything, they merely create potential which can be switched on or off by environmental and psychological influences. For example, a genetic predisposition to certain health issues can be ameliorated by a good living environment and a healthy lifestyle. So it’s not the genes themselves that make us the way we are, but how our life circumstances and psychological factors such as attitude allow genetic factors to express.

The debate is far from settled, but it is clear that only a small part- perhaps 25-35% – of our adult character comes to us with our genetic and biochemical make-up, but consider this: if even a third of your characteristics are fixed, two thirds are not! That gives you a great deal of scope to make the best of who you are!

 

Copyright David Lawrence Preston 2018, All Rights Reserved

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An empty shell

Today’s doctors study anatomy in great detail, aided by constant improvements in microscope technology, electronic scanning and, in recent decades, computers. But what exactly are they studying?

If you want to see what a human body looks like with its mental and emotional energies taken away, look out for Professor Gunther von Hagens’ travelling Bodyworlds Exhibition. Here you will find real human bodies displayed in all their glory (or stripped of their dignity, depending on your point of view).

The Professor is a controversial figure. In the 1970s he developed a technique called ‘plastination’, which removes the moisture from human and animal bodies and enables him to preserve them more or less indefinitely.

I found the Bodyworlds Exhibition a powerful educational experience. Waiting to greet me were over two hundred exhibits. Some were simply displays of body parts, including both male and female brains sliced like ham, a smoker’s black lungs opened up and compared with a non-smoker’s, and the tubes inside a scrotum drawn out to their full length, about a metre or so.

Others displayed complete cadavers with their skin removed, their bones, muscles and internal organs arranged in a variety of poses, each designed to demonstrate different anatomical features. A variety of athletic poses illustrated the use of muscle systems; there were plastinates riding a plastinated horse, playing basketball, kneeling before a cross and so on.

Juan Valverde

One stood proud, holding his skin in one hand like a blanket and unashamedly revealing his internal organs, mimicking a similar pose on an anatomical plate dated 1559 by Juan Valverde de Amusco in which a man holds a knife in one hand and his own skin in the other.

Another opened his arms like a pope to reveal all the organs of his stomach and chest cavity and another the torso of a pregnant woman sliced vertically in half to show the womb and foetus in situ.

It is easy to see why von Hagens is accused of publicity seeking. Indeed, press reports in 2009 that he was planning a sex show featuring plastinates attracted hundreds of complaints. Politicians and churchmen lined up to label it revolting and unacceptable, and a short video about the exhibit was banned in several countries.

But despite the protests, the Professor insists that his work is educational. Visitors see the structure and inner workings of the human body and the long-term impact of diseases and are brought face to face with the effects of poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.

I certainly learned a lot, and my occasional discomfort never turned into offence. But as I left the exhibition, one thought kept recurring. I had not been looking at whole human beings at all: whatever had kept them alive and made them human – their very humanness – was no longer there. 

Without our non-physical attributes – what some philosophers call the ghost in the maching – we are nothing but an empty shell.

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.7.2018

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The Nature of Creative Intelligence

The religious powers-that-be describe the qualities and characteristics of their particular deities in various ways. For example, the supreme being of Islam, Allah, and the ‘Father God’ of Christianity are loving, fair and merciful, but mete out stern justice to non-believers in the afterlife. These beliefs are a matter of faith and rely solely on ancient ideas captured in scripture written long ago.

G_d

I don’t believe in this kind of g_d, but I do believe that there is a Creative Intelligence underpinning and infusing everything. Many quantum physicists – including Einstein and Max Planck – agree. This Intelligence is certainly not a person, but a ‘presence’ or ‘principle’.

Its qualities can be inferred from science, experience and common sense. The world around us provides plenty of evidence that intelligence is at work. It has beauty, order, meaning and intent. What kind of power could produce these effects? Only a positive, bountiful and constructive life force. What would life on Earth be like if this were not so? Could we exist? How long would we survive? Could life on this planet, where everything is in perfect balance, have been created by a malevolent power? A negative life force would surely destroy its own creation.

Since Creative Intelligence is inherently good and it flows through everything, then everything must in essence be inherently good. Only human ignorance and stupidity disturb the balance of nature. Imagine if we were to disappear like the dinosaurs millions of years ago; the Earth would soon be returned to its natural state of harmony.

If humans were to raise their consciousness, rise above their destructive behaviours and work together to create a perfect world, who knows what would be possible?

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.7.18

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