The Power of Suggestion

Suggestions have a big influence over our lives. Tell anyone something convincingly enough and they’ll accept what you say. Tell them over and over again and sooner or later they’ll start to believe you.

Unfortunately it’s often the suggestions of others that we allow to control us. For instance:

  • Advertisers use them to persuade us to buy their products. Promotional suggestions are often recalled years after they ceased to be used.
  • Politicians use them too with catchy phrases (whether or not they’re true) as we’ve recently seen with the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum.
  • Parents use them all the time. Young children tend to believe everything their parents say. E.g. when a young child gets hurt and Mum ‘kisses it better’ it does feel better, even though there’s no logical reason why it should.
  • Placebos – pills and potions with no active ingredients – can cure illnesses for no other reason than the patient believes they can. Placebos were once treated as a bit of a joke – as if the patient were ‘fooled’ into getting well -but now they’re taken very seriously indeed.
  • Suggestions don’t necessarily have to be direct: parents who receive a letter from school about head lice in their child’s class often feel itchy!
  • Nor do suggestions have to be verbal. Non-verbals (gestures, facial expressions and so on) can be even more powerful, and verbal suggestions backed up by visual, taste, tactile or olfactory stimuli can be extremely compelling.
  • Some hospital radio stations do not play certain records because of the effect they could have on patient recovery. For example, ‘My Way’ (‘And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain’), ’ ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’,  ‘I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight’ and ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ contain some unhelpful suggestions!

You’ve used suggestion many times, and it has also been used on you. You can learn to make good use of this vital tool to:

  • help internalise your goals.
  • replace negative attitudes and beliefs with positive ones.
  • relax and combat stress.
  • cultivate better relationships with yourself and others.
  • change unwanted habits and personality traits.
  • build confidence in yourself and your abilities.

… and for many other purposes.

Suggestion, Affirmations and the Law of Attraction

Affirmations are simply suggestions made to ourselves – statements that represent how we are or how we want our lives to be. They help bring into effect the great Universal Law of Attraction:

Whatever your mind dwells upon, with feeling, you attract into your life.

Think about it – do you know anyone who is always talking about their illnesses and who is always ill? Or anyone who is always running themselves down, and who consequently never achieves very much?

Affirmations are powerful tools that use the power of structured repetition. One of the best known was formulated by Emil Coué in the 1920’s: ‘Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better.’ He helped many people to heal themselves using this simple phrase. Try it for yourself!

Properly phrased affirmations make a big impact on your unconscious, but be aware you must observe certain rules, otherwise they may backfire.

The following rules apply to affirmations. They’re even more effective when used in conjunction with deep relaxation (this is called ‘autosuggestion’) – but slightly different rules apply.

Personalise your affirmations

Affirmations which attempt to change other people are totally ineffective. Repeating ‘Jim loves me’ does not work, because only Jim can make this choices. But you can affirm ‘I am attracting a wonderful person into my life who has… (all the qualities you’re looking for)’ You may not win Jim over, but you will find someone to your liking.

A simple way to personalise your affirmations is to use the first person pronoun, ‘I’. For example:

  • I accept, love and approve of myself.
  • Every day, I am becoming more calm, peaceful and relaxed.
  • I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, peaceful and happy.
  • I am a positive person. I think, act and talk positively at all times.

Another way to personalise – and strengthen – your affirmations – is to use the ‘first, second and third person’ technique. Let’s suppose you want to be a calmer and more confident person. Add your first name and affirm:

  • I, Chris, am a calm and confident person.
  • You, Chris, are a calm and confident person.
  • Chris is a calm and confident person.

Use positive words and phrases

It’s important to always use words and phrases that express what you want, not what you don’t want. Otherwise you might inadvertently end up with the opposite of what you intended.

The unconscious often overlooks a negation if it occurs in the middle of a sentence. If you affirm, ‘I will not fail’, only the word ‘fail’ registers. It’s far better to affirm, ‘I am a success’.

I recently heard a woman telling how she stuck little notices all over her house one morning reminding her not to forget her son’s team’s football kit for the match that afternoon. The notes said, ‘Don’t forget the kit’. Guess what happened!

Make your affirmations credible

This is one of the biggest secrets for using self-suggestion. The purpose of self-suggestion is to impress your unconscious with empowering beliefs which reflect the way you want to be. This is why some writers recommend stating all your affirmations in the present tense, i.e. beginning your affirmations with ‘I am’, ‘I can’, ‘I have’, ‘I do’ etc.

The problem, though, is that an affirmation which totally contradicts your current belief system alerts a mechanism in the brain known as the Reticular Activating System (or ‘Critical Censor’). It can assert itself in many ways, such as an uncomfortable feeling in the chest or solar plexus or a quiet but persistent voice in your head saying, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ This is your old programming and conditioning trying to reassert itself.

How do you get round this?

Firstly, consider affirmations as a tool for change rather than statements of absolute truth. Think of them as planting seeds. You won’t see the results immediately, but have faith in the technique, and you will.

Another way is to choose your wording carefully so the suggestion will bypass the Critical Censor. This is how:

  • Put all weaknesses and limitations in the past tense.
  • Affirm your willingness to change.
  • Affirm that you are making good progress towards your goal, and this continue.
  • Affirm your determination to do whatever you can to improve.

A useful form of wording is:

‘I used to be… but all that is changing. Now I am becoming more and more… ‘

For example, if you’re shy, affirm: ‘I used to be shy, but all that is changing. I am becoming more assertive every day. I know I can and I will continue to improve.’

More examples:

  • I used to believe that I was weak, but all that is changing, and I am now becoming stronger and stronger each day.
  • I used to be negative, but that attitude is now behind me. Nowadays I think, talk and act positively at all times.
  • I used to be judgemental, but that is now changing. Every day, I am becoming more open and accepting of myself and others.

Say your self-suggestions as if you really mean them

The Law of Attraction is widely misunderstood. Just wishing or hoping – even believing – are not enough. You must invest some energy into the conditions you wish to create. In other words, you must do something.

As a first step, invest some emotional energy into the affirmations themselves. Say them out loud, enthusiastically. Mean what you say. A thought alone has little power, but when expressed with genuine feeling, it has real impact. Emphasise your words with passion, a strong tone of voice, movement and firm intent.

For maximum impact, also:

  • Write them out every day – this reinforces them in your unconscious.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror as you speak them.
  • Jot them down in your diary, list them on cards, programme them into your mobile phone, carry them with you and read throughout the day.
  • Record them onto a recording device and listen frequently.
  • Write them on sticky labels and place them anywhere you routinely look.
  • If your goal is something tangible, carry a reminder of it with you and affirm that it is yours every time you look at it.
  • You can increase the effectiveness of your affirmations by adding, ‘This, or something better, I accept for myself, for my greatest good and the greatest good of all’.

Keep at it

The unconscious loves repetition. The more you use self-suggestion, the more effective it is.

It takes about a month to change an old thinking pattern, so don’t give up. Affirm whenever you can, wherever you are, especially during those times when the mind is naturally most receptive. Last thing at night is a good time – give it something uplifting to work on while you are asleep. Another good time is first thing in the morning. If you can find a few moments during the day to relax and unwind – terrific!


© David Lawrence Preston, 23.11.2018

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How To Books, 2004

Can We Really Think And Grow Rich?

In the Victorian era success was believed to be about hard work, serious effort, application and persistence, and maybe a slice of privilege or good luck.

Later Deepak Chopra and other ‘New Age writers taught that by raising our consciousness we achieve everything while doing nothing, and it doesn’t matter what our background.

Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, writing in the 1930s, laid one of America’s most influential and barely recognised authors, Dr Napolean Hill.

I first came across his seminal work, Think and Grow Rich, in the late 80s. At that time I taught in the business department of a university. One day, the secretary of the students’ association invited me to attend a talk given by a former professional footballer who had gone on to make a fortune in the insurance industry. The subject was Think and Grow Rich.  At first, I wasn’t attracted to what I thought (wrongly) was just another book preaching ‘greed is good’. Remember, in this was the Thatcher era. Government ministers showed little empathy for the poorest in society, and every week on TV Harry Enfield’s comic character ‘Loadsamoney’ could be heard mocking the lowly paid as traditional industries collapsed around them.

But I attended. An hour and a half later I was convinced that this was exactly what we should be teaching our students. This was the missing link between academic and vocational success and in many ways the key to happiness at all levels.

Napolean Hill was just starting out on his career in journalism when he met the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, at that time reputedly the world’s richest man. Carnegie, a Scot, had arrived in the USA penniless. He was convinced that the formula for success could be identified and expressed in simple terms that anyone could apply. They made a deal. Carnegie would introduce the young journalist to five hundred of America’s most financially successful men. Hill would interview them and publish his findings. No money would change hands since Carnegie reasoned that once Dr Hill had completed his task, he would need no payment from him.

TAGR was first published in 1937. It was an immediate success. The first five thousand copies quickly sold out despite there being no advertising. Another ten thousand copies were printed, then another twenty thousand, and all sold out within a few weeks. To date, more than fifteen million copies have been sold.

What is the formula that Dr Hill so eloquently articulated? It is based on two sets of ideas – The Six Steps to Riches and the Thirteen Step Programme to Wealth and Success.

Here are the Six Steps:

  • Fix in your mind precisely what you want. ‘Know what you want’, wrote Dr Hill, ‘and you’ll generally get it.’
  •  Determine what you intend to give in exchange. You have to give before you can get, and nothing comes for free.
  •  Establish a definite date by which you intend to have it.
  •  Make a plan and start right away. If the plan isn’t working, amend it, but never give up.
  •  Write a statement of intention on a small card and place it where you can see it. This keeps your goal permanently etched in your mind.
  •  Read the statement several times a day. Let your subconscious mind absorb it.

These Six Steps are complemented by thirteen action points and principles:

  • Desire is ‘the starting point of all achievement, and the first step to riches.’ Dr Hill wrote, ‘All success starts with selecting a definite purpose, the desire to achieve it, and commitment to it.’
  • Faith: ‘a state of mind which may be induced or created by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind through the principle of autosuggestion.’ ‘There are no limitations other than those we impose on ourselves,’ wrote Dr Hill, ‘because both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.’
  •  Auto-suggestion: self-administered suggestion in the form of affirmations to be used morning and night and frequently in between.
  •  Specialised knowledge: Contrary to the well-known maxim, knowledge is not power, but potential power. It only becomes power when it is organised into plans of action and directed to a definite end
  •  Imagination: Everything starts out as an idea waiting to be brought into expression. Imagination may be cultivated through relaxed visualisation, which also strengthens belief in attainment.
  •  Organised planning is the crystallisation of desire into action. To be sure of success, argued Dr Hill, you must have plans that are faultless. You also need a Plan B (and a Plan C and maybe D).
  •  Decision: Lack of decision is a major cause of failure. It causes procrastination, ‘a common enemy which practically all must conquer.’
  •  Persistence: Dr Hill had much to say on this subject. ‘Persistence is to the character of man what carbon is to steel,’ he wrote. ‘No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.’  And ‘every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.’
  •  The Master Mind: No individual has sufficient knowledge and experience to succeed massively without the cooperation of other people. The Mastermind is the harmonious coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.
  •  Sex Transmutation: Sex energy is the creative energy of all geniuses, but it must be channelled into constructive activity.  This means the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression to thoughts of some other nature.
  •  The Subconscious Mind:  Dr Hill wrote that the subconscious is ‘a field of consciousness in which every impulse of thought is classified and recorded and from which thoughts may be withdrawn as letters may be taken from a filing cabinet’. It receives and files impressions or thoughts, and draws upon the forces of Infinite Intelligence for its power.
  •  The Brain: Every brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought being released by other brains. ‘Our brains become magnetised with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds,’ and ‘the circumstances of life harmonise with the nature of our dominant thoughts.’ Dr Hill was teaching the ‘Law of Attraction’ long before it entered the popular imagination.
  •  The Sixth Sense (or intuition) can be understood and assimilated only by mastering the other twelve principles.  This is the receiving mechanism by which ideas, plans and thoughts flash into the mind, and the medium of contact between the finite mind of the human being and the Infinite Intelligence.

So what made Think and Grow Rich the runaway success that it became? Well obviously it offered hope at a time of great economic hardship and was based on thorough research and experience. ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,’ became his most famous phrase. Since we all have the ability to desire, to think, to imagine, our destiny is in our own hands. Moreover, since the Infinite Intelligence does not play favourites, riches are within everyone’s reach.

But there’s more. Far from being a mere formula, it is a profound work of practical and spiritual philosophy. Hill believed there were universal forces beyond our intellectual understanding and identified the blockages that prevent most of us rising above the daily grind, most of which exist only in our limiting thoughts and imagination. He drew on ancient wisdom, that we accomplish nothing without the Power (or ‘Infinite Intelligence’) that works within us. And he gave us tools that anyone able to think and act for themselves could use.

There’s little doubt that virtually every Western success coach and motivational speaker owes Dr Napolean Hill a huge debt without necessarily acknowledging his influence. Most of the self-help books that I have read merely regurgitate his ideas using modern, NLP-influenced terminology and up to date examples. Many of today’s motivational gurus are slick, polished performers well versed in the persuasive arts (take a look at the YouTube clips of Napolean Hill and you’ll see he was none of these things), but scratch beneath the surface and you soon discover that they add little to Dr Hill’s original work.

But here’s the rub. On the surface, TAGR appears to be about financial success, but look a little deeper and you realise it’s much more. ‘Riches’ do not just consist of money – they are anything just and worthwhile that your heart desires. Dr Hill said so himself.  Health, happiness, friendship, peace of mind, love… all are ‘riches’, subject to the same principles of acquisition.

Can we think and grow rich? Certainly. And as Dr Hill concluded, ‘when riches begin to come, they come so quickly and in such great abundance, that you will wonder where they have been hiding during all those lean years!’


© David Lawrence Preston, 22.2.2018

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The Law of Attraction is not what it seems

The two great principles that are said to determine what we make of our lives are the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Attraction. Some people have always known their significance, and now this knowledge is becoming known to many more. As the Buddha said,  ‘All that we are arises with our thoughts; with our thoughts we make our world.’

We have the power to think. That’s what makes us human. It’s also what puts us in charge of our lives. What we think about and the way we think determine how things work out for us. Life is like a mirror, reflecting our thoughts back to us as the circumstances of our lives.

But it’s not just a matter of playing with words or repeating affirmations parrot-fashion. The Law of Attraction works at all levels – conscious and subconscious, physical, mental and emotional – and to get the most from it you have to believe and feel with your whole being.

Of course, a positive attitude help you to live a healthier, longer life and be more successful at everything you do. When life is tough, pessimists lapse into in negative self-talk and limiting beliefs and quickly become demotivated. Not only does it lower their chances of success, it actually weakens the body’s natural defences.  Optimists, on the other hand, stay focussed, seek solutions and act quickly to put things right. They have the courage to try out new ideas and are more fun to be around.

But – and this is a big but – there are many misconceptions about positive thinking.  If you were to read some of the mass market books on the Law of Attraction, it sounds so easy. But it’s not. You could be forgiven for thinking that all you have to do is focus your thoughts on something you want and it will show up in your life. Then you’ll be happy.

There’s a downside. If you use this Law from a consciousness of selfishness or greed, you may get what you want, but you will also reap the effects of your intentions. You will attract the effects of selfishness, greed and uncaring (yours and other people’s) and like King Midas will not benefit from what you have.

The Law of Attraction only works to your advantage when you align your thoughts with the highest good for all – love, joy, prosperity and health, not just for yourself, but for everyone and all beings.

Wire Opera, Curitiba (2)

©David Lawrence Preston, 24.1.2018

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How to Books, 2009

Healing the body with the mind

Following the success of Barbara Mohr’s ‘Cosmic Ordering’[1] and Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’[2] in 2006, the ancient spiritual Law known as the Law of Attraction has come to the fore. It is enshrined in Buddhism, Taoism and the Vedic and Hebrew scriptures. In the Hebrew Scriptures King Solomon went so far as to say, ‘For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,’[3] a message constantly reiterated in the New Testament.

At first glance these modern interpretations appear to suggest that you can enjoy perfect health, acquire massive riches and perform miracles just by asking the ‘universe’ for what you want and believing without question that it’s already yours – despite any appearances to the contrary. Don’t concern yourself with the ‘how’ – let the universe take care of the details. When the time is right, you will receive exactly what you asked for.

In the context of healing, this recipe has appeared to work for some people, but, of course, nothing is ever that simple. Sure, the same universe that makes a person unwell also has the means to cure them, as long as they are willing to do something for themselves. When the right causes are laid, the right effects surely follow.

The problem is, we are never in control of all the causes. You can eat all the right foods, exercise, regularly detox, control your thoughts by denying illness and affirming health, constantly assure yourself that you are fit and well, young and healthy, and still contract a seriously illness.

Research has revealed correlations between certain ways of thinking and believing and the restoration of good health after illness. For example, the Institute of Noetic Sciences identified the factors that characterise ‘spontaneous remissions’. Among them were taking full personal responsibility, facing up to the crisis, looking for meaning in the illness, choosing a new, more fulfilling way of life, learning to express their emotions, close family relationships, setting one’s own goals and reappraising old beliefs that are no longer helpful or appropriate to their situation. Emphasis was also placed on relieving stress and seeking a renewed spiritual awareness through a spiritual practice such as prayer or meditation.

These are correlations; nothing is certain. These physical and mental disciplines massively increase your chances of good health, but they can never guarantee it. Because life’s not like that!

©Feelinggoodallthetime 28.3.2017

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How to Books, 2007

[1] Barbara Mohr, The Cosmic Ordering Service, Mobius, 2006, ISBN 978-0340933329

[2] Rhonda Byrne, The Secret,  Simon and Schuster, 2006, ISBN 978-0340933329

[3] Proverbs 23: 7 KJV

Your Inner Power

Everything you need to build a happy and fulfilling life and become a force for good in the world already lies within you. You may not have been aware of it, but it is there, just as it always was. Look deeper: it may be buried under a mountain of negative thinking, false beliefs and emotional baggage.

You are charged with spiritual energy. It needs only to be released, and as long as you have the ability to think and act for yourself, you can do it. It’s never too late.

Your inner power is non-physical

Your inner power has nothing to do with your physical attributes. If it were, the world would be ruled by Olympic athletes and weightlifters. Elderly, impaired or diminutive individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Stephen Hawking and Mother Theresa would have been powerless and made little impact.

Your inner power is spiritual. Spiritual means ‘non-physical’. It reveals itself in your thoughts and beliefs, ideas, dreams, hopes, feelings and understandings. These shape your world, because your life is a reflection of what you hold in your mind.

Your thoughts, words and actions have real power. Take charge of your inner world and you take charge of your outer world too.


©David Lawrence Preston, 23.1.2017

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How to Books, 2007

Transform yourself by the renewal of your mind

Your self-esteem is a set of thoughts which manifest in attitudes, emotions and behaviours. If it needs a makeover, apply the I-T-I-A Formula. Remember: all four parts are necessary to effect permanent change.

Intention: Decide right now that you’ll treat yourself with love and respect, and accept only what is right for you.

Thinking: Monitor your self-talk, examine your beliefs, and use affirmations to re-align your thinking. Self-deprecating thoughts have nothing to sustain them other than our own habits.

Imagination: Create the person you want to be in your imagination, knowing that he/she will eventually become the reality.

Action: Let your intentions, thinking and imagination show in your behaviour.  If this feels uncomfortable at first, take it in small steps, ignore any discomfort, and above all persist. Consistent action based on right thinking always brings results.

Persistence and determination are key. Let nothing get in the way of your quest for confidence,  high self-esteem and inner peace. Stretch yourself a little every day. Each success, however small, brings encouragement..

©David Lawrence Preston, 16.1.2017

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How to Books, 2010

Transform yourself by the renewal of your mind

Your self-image is a set of thoughts and mental images which manifest in attitudes, emotions and behaviours. If it needs a makeover, apply the I-T-I-A Formula. Remember: all four parts are necessary to effect permanent change.

Intention: Decide right now that you’ll treat yourself with love and respect, and accept only what is right for you.

Thinking: Monitor your self-talk, examine your beliefs, and use affirmations to re-align your thinking. Self-deprecating thoughts have nothing to sustain them other than our own habits.

Imagination: Create the person you want to be in your imagination, knowing that he/she will eventually become the reality.

Action: Let your intentions, thinking and imagination show in your behaviour.  If this feels uncomfortable at first, take it in small steps, ignore any discomfort, and above all persist. Consistent action based on right thinking always brings results.

Persistence and determination are key. Let nothing get in the way of your quest for high self-esteem and inner peace. Stretch yourself a little every day. Each success, however small, brings encouragement..


©David Lawrence Preston, 10.1.2017

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How to Books, 2010

The Creative Power of Thought

Thoughts are powerful things. They have impact. They lead to actions, which bring results. They are the building blocks of our lives. We literally create our experiences by the activity of thinking.

We can take control of ourselves in any situation because we, and we alone, control our thoughts. They determine what we become, what we achieve and the way we see others. When our thoughts change, so do our lives.

Thoughts come and go, but do you always make wise decisions about your thinking? Do you act only on your highest thoughts? When you understand the importance of right thinking you become a creative force and potentially a force for good.

The Law of Vibration

There are vibrations in space related to the underlying energy and intelligence that holds the universe together. Everything is in vibration. Sound, light, energy, matter and thought are all forms of vibration.

Imagine tossing a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples spread out. What happens when two pebbles are tossed into a pond? Two sets of ripples spread out. Where they intersect, they create a variety of patterns.

Similarly, you continually send out thought vibrations. The mind is constantly radiating energy – and so does the universe itself. It emits a constant wave of thought energy. Where the two sets of thought waves intersect, a pattern is created. This is how your world is formed.

Imagine your thoughts intersecting with the universe. What kind of pattern do they create? Align your personal vibrations with the vibration of the universe, then you align with the best life has to offer.

Thoughts have substance

Thoughts have substance. Thinking produces energy. The longer, more intensely and more often you think something, the stronger the energy waves sent out. When your thoughts centre on higher things, your entire being rises to a higher rate of vibration.

Higher thoughts attract good into your life. You can think yourself into health, happiness, friendship and prosperity; similarly, you can think yourself into ill-health, depression, loneliness and poverty. If you repeatedly think, ‘I can’t do it,’ your thought becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (The antidote for this disempowering state is to affirm, ‘I can’, loudly and often).

Negative thoughts are nothing to fear as long as you know them for what they are – not the truth, just thoughts, and swiftly replace them with higher thoughts. There is no reason to think that any negative thought reflects reality.

Thought stopping

Get into the habit of observing your thoughts. Isolate unwanted thoughts and let them go. Say, ‘No!’ ‘Go away!’ ‘Stop!’ or similar. Alternatively, tell yourself, ‘That’s an old thought. I no longer choose to think that way.’ This technique is called ‘thought stopping.’ Persistent application of the thought stopping technique soon stems the tide of negative thoughts and weakens their power.

Drop unwanted thoughts quickly – the longer you cling to them, the harder they are to get rid of. Most of us never take control of our thinking – which is why most of us don’t achieve as much as we would like.


Thoughts are expressed in words. The Buddhist text, the Dhammapada, emphasises this. ‘Just a single word that brings peace is better than a thousand useless words. Just a single verse that brings peace is better than a thousand useless verses.’

Become aware of the words you use. Use words and phrases which make you feel good, inspire others and align with your vision and purpose, and avoid any which are self-deprecating or disempowering.

Mental resistance

When you first become aware of the power of your thoughts and decide to change, you may notice a persistent voice in your head resisting your new way of thinking. This comes from the conditioned mind, the centre of your old habits, which hates change and feels threatened by it.

Give it short shrift. Talk to it. Tell it you recognise where it is coming from, and refuse to take any notice. Tell it to be quiet and go away. Negative thoughts create resistance to the universal flow of life and goodness. You don’t want to think those old thoughts any more.

If you want to transform any aspect of your life, start by changing your thoughts about it. Decide the kind of world you want to inhabit and think the kind of thoughts that will draw it towards you. Fact: when you change the way you think about something, what you think about changes. Not just your perceptions of things, but the things themselves.


©David Lawrence Preston, 10.11.2016

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How to Books, 2007

Why are you here?


Why are we here? In short we don’t really know. We know the universe is orderly and expanding, has purpose and direction, and is presided over by an organising intelligence. So where do we fit in? Why do certain waves and particles take human form? What contribution do we make to the unfolding of the universe? We are like droplets of water in an ocean of consciousness – how can a droplet possibly understand the purpose of the ocean?

As fragments of the Creative Intelligence that underpins the universe, we all have full access to energy and intelligence. The only limits to our ability to draw down this energy are our awareness and intentions. The more we want, think about and feel this power flowing through us, the stronger the link. We can choose whether to connect more strongly or not.

For example, we can choose to be loving, in which case Source energy flows freely and lays down causes which produce beneficial effects. Equally, we can choose to be hurtful, which blocks Source energy and brings negative effects. Whatever path we choose, sooner or later we will have to face up to the consequences, pleasant or unpleasant.

Life is a school

You are here is to make a worthwhile contribution to the world. You can do this by making yourself the wisest, most loving and enlightened being you can. The world is set up to enable you to do this, and every experience and encounter with others offers you an opportunity for growth. We come into this life to be educated, not punished!

We are always in exactly the right place at the right time to learn. Once a lesson is learned, further schooling on this point is unnecessary and we can move on. Train yourself to look for the meaning behind every experience. There’s a learning opportunity in every situation, but you’ll find it only if you’re willing to look behind the appearances and stop judging things ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Learning is not necessarily effortless, but the hurdles we must overcome strengthen us and speed our progress. We should concentrate not on the effects, but on setting up the right causes. If we quickly succeed – great! If we fail, we can make changes, try again, and welcome the opportunity to correct our mistakes.

When you’re living your purpose…

When you express your purpose in your daily life, a great deal changes. You experience a greater feeling of fulfillment and well-being.  You have more energy. You feel more loving towards yourself, others and the world. In addition:

  • Self-limiting thoughts melt away.
  • You take more pleasure in giving and receiving and seeing the beauty in our world.
  • You trust the process of life and allow it to take you where you’re meant to go.
  • You have a deep inner sense that there is nothing to fear, no scarcity and no accidents. Everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be and always turns out for the best.
  • You understand that the universe has no limits and as you are a part of it, neither do you.

©David Lawrence Preston, 4.11.2016

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365 Spirituality book

How to Books, 2007

The Real Secret

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is simply stated as ‘whatever we focus our minds upon we attract into our lives.’ It has become popular – dare I say fashionable – as a result of a best-selling book, CD set and DVD called ‘The Secret’. But it’s nothing new. King Solomon, the Buddha and Socrates said the same, and in recent years, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Barbara Mohr, Dr Wayne Dyer and many others have written about it.

‘The Secret’ promises, among other things, that you can ‘learn to have, do or be anything you want – eradicate disease, acquire massive wealth and achieve the impossible! Wow! And the amazing thing is, it works. The Law of Attraction is as precise as the laws of mathematics.

I first became aware of it in the mid 1980’s when I was invited to a talk on Napoleon Hill’s masterwork, ‘Think and Grow Rich.’ Before then I had been a habitual negative thinker without knowing what I was doing to myself. I had twice lost job (my employers were so unfair!), and been divorced (she was to blame, of course!). My health deteriorated until I suffered a complete breakdown (my parent’s fault for not loving me enough when I was a child, naturally!).

I decided to apply Napoleon Hill’s blueprint. I joined a Mastermind Group of people intent on making themselves rich. I diligently recited my affirmations every day but nothing much changed – except my level of frustration.

Now I realise that for everyone I know who say it has worked for them I know several others who say it hasn’t. This blog is about why.

What ‘The Secret’ says – or rather what people think it says

The first part of ‘The Secret’ claims that the Law of Attraction doesn’t discriminate between good or bad, it simply gives you what you think about. Therefore you can literally ‘think’ your desires into existence by choosing your thoughts. Just quieten your mind, ‘feel’ your desires coming true, and they will.

It makes no difference whether you were born into an impoverished background,  physically or mentally impaired, in a wealthy country or the Third World, received a first class education or none, nor whether you are talented, creative, intelligent or not. Just let the universe know exactly what you want.

  • Believe that it’s already yours. Let the universe take care of the details. The means to acquire will be shown to you.
  • Affirm, ‘Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.’ (Mark 11:24) (Note – I have always been convinced that this passage is about spiritual gifts, not money.)

Good stuff! But then the next part goes on to urge the reader to use the Law of Attraction to become wealthy. The more you ask for, the more you’ll get. Why ask for $1? It’s as easy to manifest $1 million as $1!

So overwhelming is this message that you have to listen very carefully to pick up a subtle caveat – happiness will come only if your thoughts are accompanied by love. Miss that, and you easily get the impression that you will attract money like bees to a honey pot and be happy and contented ever after. Implication: money guarantees happiness.

Of course it’s not that simple.

What’s missing:

I think there are three main reasons why it doesn’t necessarily work in a holistic sense, to bring health, happiness and wellbeing:

First, our lives are not just shaped by our own thoughts. There are vibrations in space related to the underlying energy and intelligence that holds the universe together. Everything is in vibration; sound, light and thought are vibrations. There is thought-energy coming from the universe itself. There is thought-energy coming from our own minds and from other minds. We humans are part of all creation and cannot isolate ourselves.

Imagine tossing a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples. When two pebbles are tossed into a pond, two sets of ripples spread out. Where they intersect, they create a variety of patterns. Imagine tossing a third pebble into the pond. Now three sets of ripples intersect and create a pattern. Similarly with thought-waves. Where the three sets of thought waves intersect, a pattern is created. This is how your world is formed.

Symonds Yat Oct 11

So this is my first observation – it is not just my thoughts that create my life. It is the interaction between my thoughts and the sum total of every thought that is and has ever been thought throughout the entire universe!

The second reason relates to the nature of Creative Intelligence (CI), the source energy of the universe. It emits a constant wave of positive thought-energy including growth, creativity, peace, and life-affirming oneness. Imagine for a moment if CI were capable of thinking bad thoughts about creation – the universe would not be able to exist.

And this is the point. If we use the Law of Attraction for greedy and selfish gain we are going against Creative Intelligence. We become like a droplet of water trying to fight the ocean. We may get what we want, but, like King Midas, we will not enjoy it.

Selfish thoughts attract selfishness (ours and other people’s) and greed attracts greed and greedy people. When our thoughts do not align with the good, we feel dissatisfied and unhappy.

The third reason is much more practical. To manifest, thoughts must be backed up with action. Every action is preceded by an intention and a thought, and every thought is conditioned by our intentions, imagination, our actions and their results. I’ve written widely about the I-T-I-A Formula – intention, thought, imagination and action. We need all four to create the life we want.

So there we are. The Law of Attraction is powerful, but if used manipulatively it can bring great pain. And I have no doubt that somewhere in another dimension, Robert Maxwell, Howard Hughes, Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein are listening to my words and nodding in agreement! And one day maybe Donald Trump will too!

©David Lawrence Preston, 3.8.2016

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