Sunday, October 4, 2009

Meditation - The Power of Pretence

Have you ever had the experience of being supplied with the information that you need 'just at the right time'? It could be that someone sends you an e-mail, telephones you, you hear the information on the radio or see it on TV (normally at a time when it seems like just pure coincidence). You know my definition of coincidence don't you? 'God's way of remaining anonymous'. My thoughts on why this happens is either because our thoughts are tapping into similar minded thoughts that are in the ether 'in the great 'Universal Mind' - this could even be called mind power, or that we are really focusing on this thought.

It was just such a situation that happened with me recently when I was pondering on “fears are just tricks of the mind”. (You are not really going to get crushed in a lift – you just think that you dislike confined spaces and this can get into your subconscious mind).

And then I heard the statement on ABC Radio’s AM Program: “New research suggests there may be a link between glandular fever and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), whereby the fever damages an area of the brain, which is then tricked into thinking the body is unwell and subsequently sends out messages of fatigue and pain.”

Glandular Fever and CFS Research

My research (on the internet) uncovered that both the ABC radio report and a Report in the Sydney Morning Herald were referring to an article in the “Journal of Infectious Diseases”. This article reported on a 12 month study of 39 Australians with glandular fever, including eight patients who had developed chronic fatigue syndrome, and it was found that neither the virus nor an abnormal immune response explained the difference between the two groups.

The researchers said the study found personality style such as neuroticism and psychological disorders like depression failed to predict long term illness. Lead researcher Andrew Lloyd, of the University of NSW, said the study was part of the on-going “Dubbo Infection Outcomes Study”, which was tracking the long term health of people infected with Ross River virus, Q fever infection and Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever. 700 people have been involved in the total study which began in 1999.

A long-term Australian study has found Chronic Fatigue Syndrome indeed may be all in the mind – it may be caused by brain injury. Local researchers now believe the syndrome is not caused by a virus, nor a problem in the body's immune system, but instead develops as the result of a type of brain injury caused by the onset of glandular fever. The study's authors say it won't necessarily make for an immediate cure, but it may re-focus research into the condition and lead to better treatments.

Professor Lloyd said “We don't think about this illness as being, you know, a malingering or imaginary thing that you're tricking yourself into saying you're tired or you're in pain, because ultimately it's a valid experience. There is pain, because your brain chemicals are saying you're in pain. And so if those brain chemical signals get out of control, then the subject, the individual experiences pain or fatigue, or disturbance of mood, etcetera.

Key Point

Have you ever had a dream that you are falling – heart beating faster, adrenalin running and hot sweats. What is the first thing you say to yourself when you wake up? That’s right – “it is only a dream”. This is the awake mind saying that – the subconscious or the dream mind didn’t know – it thought the falling was real. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between imagination and reality. Never under-estimate the power of pretence – fake it till you make it! This is why we can trick the mind when we are working with it, deliberately implanting new habits of say “I can easily walk long distances into caves” when in reality we have claustrophobia. To do this you use guided imagery, visualisation, positive self talk and active meditation, the new habit will prevail – and this can happen in a very short time (say a month).

Recently an elderly gentleman who found it extremely difficult to walk to the bathroom first thing in the morning (because of arthritis), lay in bed a little longer and meditated on visualising himself walking easily to the bathroom – then he got up and did just that. Tricking the mind – every morning !

A Possible Solution

A thought could be to combat the signals of pain and fatigue which the brain is falsely giving out, when one has the illness of CFS; we could work inside our subconscious mind, visualising the fact that we are well and able to do the things that we normally did before the illness took hold.

Remember to use only good, positive words and a lot of positive emotion – emotion being the language of the subconscious mind.

All The Best

Sandy MacGregor

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thoughts are Things!!!

Much of this post will be direct quotations from the work of John-Roger – . I would not attempt to re-word what he has to say for he is the "master". I receive an e-mail quotation each day called "Loving Each Day". One of the recent Loving Each Day messages was titled "Energy Follows Thought" - the quote is below in its entirety because of its powerful message - particularly the very last line.

Energy Follows Thought

That means if you are thinking about a hot fudge sundae, all the levels of your consciousness come in line to bring that to you. The same is true for envisioning and moving toward higher awareness and Soul transcendence. All of your levels will start making that happen. You will receive co-operation from your mind, emotions, basic selves; even your subconscious will be guiding you though you will not be consciously aware of that level. That's why it becomes so important to watch your thoughts because you will create in a physical way those things you have focused on in your thinking.

Also, be careful what you say. Listen to what you say and be sure it represents what you really want in your life.
by John-Roger (From: Q&A from the Heart Journal)

So whatever thought you have, whatever you say to yourself or others, is important. Become aware of it - listen to what you say. Make sure it is positive and, if it's not, change it (as soon as you are aware).

The book "You Can't Afford The Luxury of a Negative Thought" by John-Roger and Peter McWilliams talks quite a bit about the mind and mind power. Here are some quotes from that book.

The Power Of Thoughts

A simple thought. A few micromilliwatts of energy flowing through our brain. A seemingly innocuous, almost ephemeral thing. And yet, a thought – or, more accurately, a carefully orchestrated series of thoughts – has a significant impact on our mind, our body and our emotions.

Thoughts have responses in the body. Think of a lemon. Imagine cutting it in half. Imagine removing the seeds from one half with the point of a knife. Smell the lemon. Now imagine squeezing the juice from the lemon into your mouth. Then imagine digging your teeth into the centre of the lemon. Chew the pulp. Feel those little things (whatever those little things are called) breaking and popping inside your mouth. Most people's salivary glands respond to the very thought of a lemon.

For some people, the mere thought of the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard is physically uncomfortable. Try this – imagine an emery board or a fingernail file or a double-sided piece of sandpaper. Imagine putting it in your mouth. Bite down on it. Now move your teeth from side to side. Goosebumps

Thoughts influence our emotions. Think of something you love. What do you feel? Now think of something you hate. What do you feel? Now something you love again. We don't have to change our emotions consciously – just change our thoughts, and our emotions quickly follow.

Now imagine your favourite place in nature. Where is it? A beach? A meadow? A mountain top? Take your time. Imagine lying on your back, your eyes closed. Feel the sun on your face. Smell the air. Hear the sounds of creation. Become a part of it. Feel more relaxed

Most people who take the time to try these little experiments know what we're talking about.

Those who thought, "This stuff is silly. I'm not going to try anything as stupid as this!" are left with the emotional and physiological consequences of their thoughts – perhaps a sense of tightness, irritability, impatience or maybe outright hostility. These people (bless their independent hearts!) proved the point with the "suggested" thoughts. The point being: thoughts have power over our mind, our body and our emotions.

Positive thoughts (joy, happiness, fulfilment, achievement, worthiness) have positive results (enthusiasm, calm, well-being, ease, energy, love). Negative thoughts (judgment, unworthiness, mistrust, resentment, fear) produce negative results (tension, anxiety, alienation, anger, fatigue).

To understand why something as miniscule as a thought can have such a dramatic effect on our mind, body and emotions, it helps to understand the automatic reaction human beings have whenever they perceive danger: the Fight or Flight Response.

Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life. Grenville Kleiser

...... and, unfortunately, so is every negative thought contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.

Remember to keep the self talk positive and to use your subconscious mind deliberately both in the relaxed and meditation state.

All the Best

Sandy MacGregor

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mind and Matter - Mind Matters

I am heartened (actually I am thrilled) that all the newest science about the brain (and mind) is supporting and confirming the scientific approach that I already use when I teach about this. This post introduces some thrilling and exciting aspects of using the mind - the subconscious mind - deliberately.

In 1989 I said that the exploration of Human Consciousness is one of the last great frontiers that quantum science is focusing on. I say "one of the last" because I also believe that another frontier is the proving, in layman's terms, the existence of "the Universal mind" (some call it the "Mind of God"). Those two frontiers are inexplicably bound together.
I have found Dr Joe Dispenza's book "Evolve Your Mind" a veritable feast of recent science, which explains the deeper operation of the Human Brain and the Mind. "The Mind", Dr Joe writes, "is the brain in action." Another description of the mind that I like is "the brain at work" or Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield's expression: "The mind is the personalisation of the brain."

An Example of "Quantum Physics"

My son-in-law, Stefan, told me of an experiment he carried out at university, whereby light passed through small holes onto a sensitive screen that measured the pattern of light hitting the screen. When the experiment was observed and then not observed, the pattern of light measured on the screen was different. That's right! The very fact that somebody was observing the light, had an effect.
Think about it. Your energy effects matter. Your mind effects matter. Your energy matters. We all have a unique energy. The fact that you are in this world means that the world is a different place! Yes, that's right! Your energy makes a difference. It's a short jump to say that what you think matters. Mind matters! The study of all the above (plus other subjects) is Quantum Physics.
Every time we change ourselves, say from being an angry, or fearful, or vengeful, or negative person, we are changing our own energy, and therefore effecting those around us (and the world), in a different way. Wow! Aren't we powerful. We have the ability to change, change our mind by using our brains.

Neural Pathways

I have previously written about how we establish Neural Pathways in our brain and how science has actually photographed the process. An example of beneficial neural pathways are how people can visualise (over and over again in their Peaceful Place, using emotion) the achievements of say a fantastic dive sequence, or a complicated move on the parallel bars, or shooting a basket, or place-kicking a goal, or complicated dance steps ... and then do all of these automatically. All wonderful examples of mind power!

Have you heard the expression "nerve cells (in the brain) that fire together wire together", and hence the continual firing together forms a neural pathway. The more this pathway is used, the stronger and more established it becomes. Actions become automatic because the "body" basically takes over.

Another way of explaining this (from Dr Joe's book) is that science has shown that when we quieten the internal chatter of our brain (going to Peaceful Place in Alpha and even more so by going from here into deeper meditation - the Theta brainwave state) we are using the frontal lobes of our brain in focused concentration to develop the neural networks in our neo-cortex (Left & Right brain) of whatever it is that we are working on to achieve with our mind.

Doing this over and over using great emotion (the language of the subconscious mind is emotion) develops the neural pathway. When it is automatic the memory of it moves into the seat of the subconscious - the cerebellum, which is in the mid brain or the Limbic System. The Cerebellum houses all our automatic actions - it is the keeper of what the body learns from the mind and is directly connected to all the circuits that fire in the Neo Cortex.

There is a corollary to Wire Together, Fire Together

It is absolutely fantastic that science has shown that "there is an important corollary to the 'fire together, wire together' mantra. When we interrupt certain thought processes repeatedly, nerve cells that no longer fire together will no longer wire together. The good news is that those nerve cells don't want to remain inactive. Instead, they seek out new connections and they use recycled neural growth factor to attach themselves to new neurons." Page 396 of "Evolve Your Brain".

This whole process is called pruning, and yes, science has filmed it. I have seen a video demonstrating "pruning" which to my untrained eye was a little hard to follow. meditation, subconscious mind, subconscious, mind, mind power.

Changing an Implicit Memory

When memories move to the subconscious mind, science is calling this "implicit" memory. Other memories or actions when they are not automatic is called explicit. In the process of forming a new habit we are going from explicit to implicit memory.

Changing an implicit memory to get a better habit (smoking to non smoking) is a challenge because the familiar, or the Comfort Zone, is so seductive. The subconscious mind (the Comfort Zone) wants what it's got - and not what it's not got. So "pruning" has to take place.
Awareness is always the first step. Awareness of being a victim, a complainer, an angry person or challenged by unworthiness, a depressed person, an anxious person, a judgmental person ... and more ... is the first step to change. Wanting to change is the next step, that is, saying YES. The next step is doing it and that's what I teach - how to do it.

Nobody said it's easy. Try this - sit or lie down and draw an infinity sign in the air, ? - (it's like a figure 8 lying on its side), with either leg, and the figure 6 with either arm. Difficult isn't it? If you use your will power, practice and visualisation after a while you could change the hard wiring in your brain.

Similarly if you persisted with the methods I teach using
1. Writing the goal in positive, personal and present tense language
2. Writing the reasons for your goals (WIIFMs)
3. Relaxing in your Peaceful Place and visualising the success of the goal
4. Using emotion (building emotional anchor)
5. Deep meditation on appropriate aspects of the above
then you would be able to change the new Implicit Memory - pruning away the old implicit memory and have the new habit housed in your cerebellum.

So , isn't it exciting and fantastic that the science of the brain has shown that change can be achieved and that with positive energy we can effect the world positively.

All The Best

Sandy MacGregor

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Establishing Neural Pathways

In the last month I have completed watching a series on ABC TV (from the BBC) titled "the humanbrain", narrated by Professor Robert Winston . The series takes a pioneering journey through the unexplored galaxy inside our own heads, describing cutting edge science and extraordinary experiments.
My favourite part of the series is when Professor Winston talks about a neural pathway and the fact that science has made the connection between visualisation and the establishment of a neural pathway. Furthermore, the established link between a neural pathway and physical achievement.

The Experiment described
A very competent young gymnast, who had been practising for five hours a day for 10 years, wanted to compete in the Olympic Games.
This meant that she had to learn a very complicated move. Despite what the coach showed and described to her, when the young gymnast tried the new move, she failed - over and over again. It was just not working and she needed a more "radical" approach - visualisation.
We saw the young gymnast standing still and practising the move in her mind - hundreds, if not thousands of times. You, of course, know the end result. When she then actually tried the move she was successful and could now focus on improving her technique. Robert Winston went on to say that what science has shown is that through visualisation the young gymnast had established a new neural pathway inside her mind. It was not until this neural pathway had been established that the actual physical achievement of completing the move could take place.

What more is there?

Know that "all good and lasting change occurs on the inside first". Another way to say this is, "if you can't perceive this happening in your mind's eye then there is very little chance of it taking place in physical reality".
Remember what the deeper meaning of visualisation is? It doesn't mean just see or see in your mind's eye! It is to visualise by using any or all of our senses (see, feel, smell, hear, or taste) and imagine and talk to yourself. The latter two we can all do; however with the five senses we can have varying degrees of success.
So if you can't -
- visualise yourself doing well in an exam, or
- visualise running a race and achieving it in a certain time, or
- envisaging yourself in the job that you want, or ...........
- expand your mind with other examples -

then there will be very little chance of it ever taking place in reality. Positive self talk plays an enormous part in achieving what you want and .......... so does the technique you use to implant the new thoughts in your subconscious mind.

Achieving faster
The young gymnast was standing still, focusing on visualising inside her mind, over and over again.
I know that you don't have to stand - you can sit comfortably. It is all very well to say "focus" on visualisation, however many people may have a challenge to do that. An easy way to do that is to go to a relaxed spot that you have experienced in your life, which takes you to the Alpha brainwave state, that is, a relaxed and focused state. Once you are in this focused state the Reticular Activating System is open and you can work inside your mind establishing new "neural pathways" which become new habits.
I suggest that you say your written goal (in positive, present tense, and personal language,) and then visualise the outcome. In the case of the young gymnast, not only completing the new move, but visualising the fact that she was representing her country at the Olympic Games would be most appropriate.
How do you think she would be feeling at the end of this visualisation? Fantastic! Yes the emotion has started. It is this emotion that is the language of the subconscious mind (not words, sounds or pictures,) and this emotion, can be enhanced using other good positive emotional events overlaying and adding to the original emotion. With more emotion the new neural pathway (the new habit) is established faster.
Muscle improvement
Professor Winston went on to describe how science has shown that up to 50% of muscle gain with "body builders" in a gymnasium can be gained just using the visualisation process! Almost unbelievable isn't it?
And yet when we stop and think about how science is showing how the human mind works, why not! After all, we have all heard about experiments being done years ago with basketballers shooting for baskets - how those who visualised beat those that actually practised.
A friend of mine is a paraplegic from the waist down. He has been visualising exercising his legs for years and his legs look good. The more common outcome for paraplegics who do not visualise is that their legs waste away.
I am personally thrilled that what I have been encouraging for years, has now got even more science behind it. Credibility has taken another leap forward! I encourage you to study and practise in your daily life - making the system a habit. This way you establish new neural pathways and achieve the possibilities that you dream about. So, be encouraged! Science is showing how our mind works. To achieve goals faster, create a new habit or to replace one that you wish to let go, use what I have said above - it works. I encourage you to put it into your daily life!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Video about Sandy

Subconscious Mind

Using Your Subconscious Mind Deliberately

I first heard the term "subconscious mind" in 1982. Since that time a lot has been written on this subject and many ideas and theories put forward as to what is the subconscious mind and how we can work with it. I have proved the power to myself.

Although I have read widely on the subject, I have chosen in my teachings to work only with scientifically based and proven theories on how the subconscious mind works and operates in our lives.

Why Is The Subconscious Mind Important?

The subconscious mind contains all our memory, our habits and beliefs, personality and self image. Perhaps you want to change a habit, such as smoking, or always reacting angrily when someone 'pushes your buttons". Maybe you wish to have better recall in exams. Or you might be challenged by low self esteem. Whatever you want to change, it is essential to change it in the subconscious mind.

But were you taught how to do that when you were at school? Were you born with a manual on how to operate your subconscious? Do you know the laws and the language of the subconscious mind? In my experience, most people answer "No" to those questions!

What Is The Subconscious Mind?

When you buy a computer, you acquire the hardware which is the computer screen, keyboard, disk drive and all the other bits and pieces inside. However, when you plug the computer in, it will not work without an "operating system". The operating system is like a basic, predefined set of instructions which coordinates the use of the hardware. Once the operating system is installed, the computer comes to life and is able to perform fundamental tasks such as saving information, but more importantly, it is now able to accept further, more sophisticated programming. For instance, if you want your computer to type letters. A word processing program is required.

When you want to type a letter, you request the operating system to start this program. What then appears on the screen is a blank page, and as you type, the characters appear on the page. You may not be aware of all the billions of electronic signals which have been "programmed" by both the operating system and the word processing program to flow through the computer in a particular way so that you can type a letter. What you are consciously aware of is the image on the screen.

The human mind/body system operates in a very similar way.

The sub-conscious mind The conscious mind is our current awareness. It can be likened to a word processor. As we type, we make hundreds of decisions - what to write, whether we have written the letter correctly, how the letter should look, etc. The conscious mind is the decision maker. It requests the subconscious programs to perform certain tasks ("let"s go to the shops"), observes what the subconscious programs perform (moving the body to action), and then decides on what else needs to be done.

The subconscious mind is like the operating system, and contains all our memory, habits and beliefs, personality and self image. It also controls bodily functions. The subconscious is both the storehouse of information (the closest shops are in the shopping centre) and the performer of tasks (let's get this body moving by increasing the heart rate). It too contains a set of "predefined instructions" about how many heartbeats to complete, which way the blood will flow, what adjustments to make if the body is walking, as well as what kind of reaction to perform in specific situations (our habits). Note that you do not have to consciously think about any of these things.

The body is like the computer hardware, particularly the screen, set up to respond to the programming. It is the framework within which all this activity takes place. At any given time your body is responding to the programming that is held within the subconscious mind - automatically.

The Role Of The Subconscious Mind

Your mind therefore has two components, each with separate functions. The conscious mind is estimated to be only 12% of our mind, and the subconscious is the other 88%.

The subconscious mind is important because it has the ability to record and remember every incident that it experiences. This is called "conditioning". It forms part of the way we learn and it enables us to perform actions habitually (without thought). If you experience enthusiasm, happiness or love when meeting a person, this mechanism will record those feelings and associate them with that person.

Feelings of frustration and stress are associated in the same way. When you next see that person (or even just think about them!), the subconscious mind automatically recalls the previous feelings, and they are re-experienced. This is why thinking of happy memories can make you feel good, and how the mere thought of a person can make you feel angry.

This mechanism is a system designed to protect us by emotionally recalling the last experience (in Primary School everyone laughed at me when I drew an elephant). This is in anticipation of a subsequent similar situation (when I had to draw a seal in High School, I immediately felt fear, told myself "I can't draw", and traced the seal instead). However, it is also the reason we can continue to experience a lot of other complex emotional conditions such as depression, fear, anxiety, anger, procrastination, and lingering grief, which can express themselves in other forms such as weight gain, sleeplessness, smoking and general ill health. Recent major scientific discoveries enable us to understand and control this mechanism so we can change these conditions.

Your conscious mind can actually program the subconscious mind for new behaviours and habits, in order to react more appropriately to the different situations that we experience. This ability is built into us. Nobody taught us how to walk or how to talk. These miraculous feats of "self-education" were accomplished through an intuitive process of observation, imitation and repetition at a very early age. Unfortunately, as we grow older, many of us get stuck in old behaviours that no longer serve us, and our self-education ability appears to be forgotten.

One Mind To Overcome Many Different Challenges

On a day to day basis we face many challenges. Work pressure and stress, challenging relationships, change, frustration with career choice, questions of prosperity, difficulty in learning new things, fear of accepting new experiences, grief or ill health - most of these situations are viewed as problems.

Firstly, what are problems? Aren't "problems" really challenges which require you to learn, understand and then apply something new? Hasn"t every problem you"ve encountered in the past given you both new skills and valuable experience so that you can deal with future "problems" more effectively and efficiently? We only find problems difficult because we feel frustration in wanting to accomplish something and we don"t know how. Yet in many cases we need to come to this position because it is in this moment we ask for help, and become open to learning a new approach.

Secondly, from my experience, I find that all these situations are ultimately asking us to do just one thing - CHANGE! It is the process of change that we find difficult and frustrating. Why do we find change difficult? Essentially any decision to change is made in your conscious mind. This decision will in some way conflict with your existing habits and beliefs, and it is therefore the subconscious mind (the storehouse and performer of tasks) which must be changed. This means 12% of your mind wants to change the other 88%, and this is the source of all the frustration that we experience.

What needs to be changed is the programming in the subconscious mind so that the 88% is working with the conscious 12%. How do we do that? By using scientifically proven method in which the conscious mind can influence the subconscious mind so that they work together. This involves:
* Learning to access the subconscious mind easily and quickly.
* Understanding how the mind works with a complete scientific explanation.
* Utilising the Laws and the Language of the subconscious mind.
* Permanently imprinting goals into the subconscious.
* Proof - with biofeedback from an electroencephalograph.

Change is tough and no-one want's to do it! You can make it easy by deliberately using the subconscious mind.