The Complete Positive Remembering
Milton kept looking at the window and wishing
he could get close enough to look out.
Looking and wishing so badly
he could just get a little closer.
Then something truly wonderful happened . . .
Many years ago a seventeen year old boy was totally paralyzed and bedridden with polio.
His family were farmers, so while they went about the daily chores they would tie young Milton into an old rocking chair they had also made into a potty and set him up so he could look out at the world.
One day Milton's family got busy and left him in the middle of the room. Helpless, Milton kept looking at the window and wishing he could get close enough to look out. Looking and wishing so bad he could just get a little closer. Then something truly wonderful happened. As he sat there he suddenly realized his chair was beginning to rock ever so slightly.
Excited by this and he began to wonder was it an accident, or did his thinking about moving the chair actually cause his paralyzed muscles to move just a little.
The tiny movement of that rocking chair would have gone unnoticed by most people but to him it changed his life forever.
He would sit for hours staring at his hand and trying to remember how his fingers felt when they grabbed the handle of a pitchfork, and how did it feel to climb a tree and hold onto a limb with his hand.
The real memory of swinging from tree to tree by grasping the branches caused his now paralyzed fingers to twitch and with practice to eventually return to his control.
Slowly bit by bit his fingers began
to twitch and move in tiny jerking ways.
Weeks and months of constant practice paid off as the movements became progressively greater and more coordinated until they got to the point Milton could consciously control them.
Milton Erickson began to understand he was causing these movements by constantly remembering some activity he had actually done before the polio.
What is Positive Remembering?
This online book is about how to use real memories to boost your health, relieve pain, reduce stress and attract success.
The reason real memories can do these things is:
Memories actually record the
your body needs to re-establish health.
What is Memory?
To understand what Positive Remembering is there are six important facts you need to know about your memory.
1. Your Memories are as real and physical as your arms and legs
Your memories are real, physical
things. They are not other-worldly, they are not made
of something that can not be seen or touched. Your
memories are a part of your physical body in the same
way as your arms, legs, fingers and toes are parts of
Your memories, your emotions, all the things you have learned in a lifetime are "written" on the real living cells of your brain. These cells are called neurons and you probably have over 100 billion of them inside your head right now.
Memories are real because they can be lost.
know memories are real physical things because just
as you can lose a finger or a toe you can lose
memories. For example, an injury, stroke, or tumor in
the left side of the brain can cause a person to lose
their abilities to speak, or read, or write or do
mathematics. Alzheimer disease can gradually rob a
person of a whole lifetime of memories.
We know memories are real physical things because damage to certain areas of the brain can cause us to be unable to do something we've learned to do but leave other abilities intact. For example, it takes five different areas of the brain to speak out loud a word we see written on a page. Damage to any one of those areas causes a person to lose some specific ability. If the angular gyrus is damaged a person can speak but not read. Damage in the Broca's area will leave a person unable to speak. Damage the Werniche's area will leave a person unable to understand what that written word means. Damage to these areas of the brain can also cause strange problems such as a person who can write but not read, read numbers but not letters, or sing but not speak.
build up your muscle
you can build up your Brain
Another reason we know memories are real physical things is the fact that learning actually changes the physical make-up of the brain.
Years ago a scientist named Mark Rosenzweig discovered learning causes the brain to grow. He found this out by raising two sets of rats.
The first set were rats who were raised in separate cages all alone with no exercise and play area.
The second set were rats who were raised in a group with many other rats and a community play and exercise area.
The results were so surprising to the scientist that he repeated this test many times before he published the results.
What was so surprising?
The rats which were raised alone had smaller, less developed brain tissue than the rats raised in the stimulating group cages.
Other researchers have found that if a rat is stimulated in a certain area of his body the area in the rat's brain which controls that area will grow.
The brain actually changes and
grows in the areas
which control the things we learn the most.
person who spends thousands of hours playing the
piano actually increases the size of those areas of
her brain which controls her fingers. We all know
some one who because of blindness has highly
developed senses of hearing and smelling.
You can change the size of your
muscles by exercising them with weights
You also change the physical structure of your brain by the things you learn
Understanding your memories, your learning and your emotions are real physical parts of your body that can be changed is one of the most important ideas in this book. Imagine how you could change your brain if you exercised it with the weights of learning something you really love. Imagine how you could change your health by "exercising" the memories which naturally boost your immune system.
2. You have a tremendous number of abilities stored in your memories.
The human memory is the most advanced and marvelous thing ever created. Within your memory, right now as you read this, is enough information to write a best-selling book, enough mental pictures to paint as great as Michelanglo, enough sounds to make more music than a thousand C.D.'s. Your mind knows more about how to maintain health than all the doctors on earth. A thousand computers and ten thousand books could not contain what you already have stored in your head.
Your memory is a vast storehouse of information ready, willing, and able to help you change your life and bring your unrealized dreams to the world of the seen.
3. Your memories can be active
or dormant "seemingly forgotten"
Memories exist in two forms. They are either in a state of being actively remembered or they seem to be lost or forgotten.
people claim they have poor memories but scientists
tell us we have a lot more stored than we realize.
For example in a famous study scientists found that
25 years after graduation people said they could not
recall many of their former classmates, but when they
were shown a random set of pictures and names they
were able to pick out 90% of their classmates.
The fact is you actually remember much more than you realize. Most of the information you have learned is not lost, it is just in storage waiting for you to release it.
What you think is forgotten is really only in storage.
The ATM experience
Have you ever pulled up to an ATM machine to get a little spending cash and suddenly been overwhelmed by a case of complete amnesia? You look in the mirror and see five carloads of anxious people behind you and you can't remember your secret number. You look in the rear view mirror and decide to fake them out and pretend to punch in your number. Then something truly amazing happens. Your finger seems to know what numbers to push. You are fascinated to find the number your finger punched is the correct secret number
Your memory has learned things without you knowing it learned them.
One day not too long ago I found this Jimi Hendrix cassette of mine in an old dusty box. I was really glad it wasn't lost because a few years back I used to listen to it every day while I walked. So I took my long lost tape out to the car to listen to on the way to work and an amazing thing happened, each time a song would end, somehow, after years of not hearing this tape, I knew the beginning of the next song before it started to play. I don't mean I knew a few of the songs. I literally knew what the next song was going to be without a single mistake. After a while I tried to consciously guess what the next song would be but I never could. The tune flashed into my mind only during the silence between the songs.
THE WHISTLING TREE
A good example of this is my son's whistling tree. My son and I recently visited a place I lived when he was five years old. As we were walking around the property my son suddenly stopped and smiled as he looked at one particular tree.
"What is it," I asked?
And he said completely surprised, "You taught me how to whistle under this tree!"
His memory had been held in storage or as we say "forgotten" for all those years until he walked under that particular tree. There are many trees on that property but only one that called my son's memory out of storage.
test if you know how to type.
Question: Which three letters does your left pinkie finger control?
I guarantee if you answered that question you had to visualize a picture of either the keypad or of typing something to do it. However, anyone who knows how to type could sit down right now and type Q A Z with their left pinkie without thinking.
another test you can take to demonstrate what your memory has
learned without you knowing it.
Question: Do you know if the tip of your tongue presses against your top teeth or bottom when you say the letter "L" ?
Without trying it just now, you probably could not get that answer right, yet you obviously have that information stored somewhere "up there" in your head.
THE "WOW" EXPERIENCE
somewhere "up there" in our brain there are a
tremendous number of memories stored so well we're probably
not aware we even have them.
Some of them like the ATM and Jimi Hendrix memories are so amazing they are what I call a "WOW!!! experience". Because when they happen to you, you just think WOW!!!
spend so much time complaining about our bad memories and
hearing others complain about their bad memories, that when a truly
amazing "WOW!!! experience" occurs it's hard to believe. If we
take the time to think about how amazing these "WOW!!!
experiences" are we're suddenly faced with the realization
that there must be a huge amount of
information "up there" in our head somewhere which
seems to show itself only when it feels like it.
If we take a little more time to think about our WOW!!! experience we'll also realize how truly wonderful it would be if we could find some way to release and use this ocean of stored knowledge trapped inside our heads.
Your memories are grouped and connected
When a memory is recorded in the brain it is not filed away by itself but instead it's linked with other related memories.
Memories are recorded as complete experiences. Every sight, smell, sound, other people involved, the place it happened, your heart rate, blood pressure, your feelings and emotions about the situation are all linked together in your memory.
Your memory automatically connects some experiences to others.
Do you know of a certain kind of food that actually makes you sick if you eat it? In fact, you probably can't stand to even smell it, and thinking about it right now kind of makes you nauseous.
For me it's turnip greens. I used to love to smell them cooking(if you are not from the South "greens" cook in a big pot for a really long time).
Anyway smelling them cook and eating them was such a treat for me. But, one day, I got sick and you guessed it, turnip greens were on my stomach at the time. Actually they came out of my stomach at the time.
Now, I don't think the greens made me sick that day, I was just sick and I had eaten them by chance. Regardless of what did it, since that day I can't stand the smell of turnip greens cooking and the thought of eating them makes me sick.
Most of the time it is good for us when such things as sickness and turnip greens are connected in our memories. This connection could stop us from eating something harmful.
If greens were really something that were bad for me, then the smell of them would be connected with the feeling of being sick to my stomach and automatically keep me from eating them. Just as getting burned as a child immediately teaches the child to keep his hands away from the stove.
One Connected System
The brain and body may seem like two separate parts but they are really ONE CONNECTED SYSTEM.
Every part of you talks to every other part. Every single part -- whether it is a single cell or an organ like the heart, or even the brain itself -- influences every other part. They are all like a wheel with spokes, each spoke is attached to all the other spokes.
For example, a cold virus enters the body and effects the whole body - not just the nose, but also the emotions, the dreams at night and the way we deal with other people that day.
And just as on the tiny level of a cold virus that can effect the emotions and dreams, so too can the things we see and feel and think and dream effect our body on the cellular level.
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have been shown to cause the cells of the immune system to slow down their attack on disease. (more on this in the next chapter)
How can thoughts and feelings "talk" to the cells of your body?
And how can individual cells "talk" to your thoughts and feelings?
The answer is your brain and body have a system like the U.S. Post Office.
When you address a letter you include the name, street, city, state and zip code of the person you want the letter to be delivered to. The post office sorts the mail and hand delivers each piece to the mailbox at that certain address (most of the time)
LETTERS -- Instead of "letters"
your body and brain have extremely small substances which are
called by many different names such as Hormones,
Neurotransmitters, Endorphins etc.
ADDRESS -- Instead of having a written address like the U.S. Mail - your body's "letters" have a certain shape like a "key".
MAILBOXES -- On each cell in your body there are tiny "mailbox" like receptors. Each of these "mailbox" receptors is also shaped a certain way like a "lock" so that only the right shaped "key" can be delivered.
Your brain can "talk" to the cells of your body using this system. And not only can the brain talk to the body but the body can also talk back to the brain.
The cells of the body can send their own "letters shaped like keys" which travel back to the brain and fit into the right "mailbox locks" there. It is like the body is saying "I heard you and this is what I think".
Your body and mind use these tiny "letters" to do such things as:
3. blood pressure,
4. heart rate and breathing rate,
5. sexual development,
6. blood sugar levels,
7. pain reduction or pain blocking,
8. and the recording and recalling of memories.
So your brain stores your memories, thoughts and feelings with the same substances it uses to regulate things in the body. EVERY PART IS CONNECTED.
This wonderful communication system is how thoughts which are as real and physical as any other part of your body can influence the working of the cells of your immune system.
This is also how the cells of your body can influence the thoughts, feelings and dreams of your mind.
5. You can make a memory active by seeing, hearing, feeling, doing or imagining something connected to that memory.
In each of the above "WOW!!! Experiences" there was some ACTION that seemed to act as a key that unlocked the memory such as:
The memories were ALWAYS RECALLED by something related to the memory.
Your memories are stored like library books. If you want to find a certain book you look it up either by the subject, or by the title, or by the author's name:
Remembering your memories, your feelings, your ATM numbers are like finding a library book - they will not be "remembered" until you look them up by activating something that has been stored with them.
For example, the sight of the tree automatically helped my son's brain look up the forgotten memory of learning to whistle. The tree also unlocked the memory of me being there and how he felt great about learning to whistle. He effortlessly recalled the whole learning to whistle experience out of storage by the sight of that one tree.
You Can Choose to Remember and therefore choose to CHANGE:
By purposely seeing, hearing, doing or imagining something related to the memory you want to recall.
6. Remembering Activates Everything Connected
what I'm about to tell you is one of the most important concepts
I want you to remember.
It is the key to understanding how Positive Remembering works.
When YOU choose to see, hear, do or imagine something you are:
COMMMANDING - your brain to remember other related memories, thoughts, feelings and activities.
ORDERING - your body to feel and function
the way it did when those memories were recorded.
In other words your heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, etc. will be like they were when those memories were recorded.
COMMANDING - opposite memories, emotions and body states to be put back in storage or "forgotten".
Memories like fear are forgotten when opposite emotions are remembered.
In 1923 the famous hypno-therapist Emil Coué wrote:
"Every thought solely occupying our mind becomes true for us and tends to transform itself into action."
Coué was a pharmacist by training but he became fascinated with the practice of hypnotism. After years of study he opened a free clinic in Nancy, France where he eventually treated between 15,000 to 40,000 patients annually. In the early 1920's Coué's fame spread all over the western world and many "Coué Institutes" were opened in Europe and the U.S.
He believed that every thought (OR MEMORY) dominating the mind ordered the brain and body to take action. Coué noticed a strange thing would happen to his patients if he could get them to strongly imagine they were becoming well - all thoughts of becoming sicker would go away.
"It is impossible to think of two things at once"
When you are trying to do something what you are really doing is imagining there is some obstacle in the way, stopping you from doing it. In other words you are thinking two opposite thoughts at the same time. One thought says "you can" and the other says "you can't". Coué came to understand that both of these thoughts were giving conflicting orders to the brain and body - but like a game of tug-of-war the thought with the strongest emotion would always win.
Coués most important discovery was this fact that two opposing thoughts cannot exist in the mind without one of them winning and sending the other to be forgotten.
He summed up his discovery this way
"it is impossible to think of two things at once. You cannot imagine yourself getting sicker and at the same time getting better. One or the other of the self-images must be chosen. Therefore, if you can make a sick person think that his trouble is getting better, it will disappear; if you succeed in making a kleptomaniac think that he will not steal any more, he will cease to steal, etc."
Coué makes what he meant clear with this story.
that we place on the ground a board about 30 feet long by 1
foot wide; it is clear that everyone would be capable of
walking from one end to the other without stepping off the
Let us change the condition of the experiment and suppose this board was placed as high as a [spires of a cathedral]. Who is then the person who would be capable of advancing but one yard upon this narrow way? Decidedly no one. You will not have taken two steps before you will begin to tremble, and then, in spite of all efforts of the will, you would unfailingly fall to the ground.
Why, then, do you not fall if the plank is on the ground, and why do you fall if it is raised high in the air? Simply because, in the first place, you imagine that it is easy for you to go to the end of the plank, while in the second place, you imagine that you will not be able to do it."
When you give your mind a strong, vivid image it will dominate any opposite thoughts. This image will cause your brain to put those opposing thoughts in storage or as we say "forget" them.
Children do this naturally. They become a pirate or a princess. They don't try; they actually become the character of their choice instantly and without effort. Their whole personality changes immediately. For a time this play orders their brain to "forget" the real world.
WHAT POSITIVE REMEMBERING IS
Dr. Lewis Thomas described your storehouse of memories by calling them:
"a kind of superintelligence that exists in each of us infinitely smarter and possessed of technical know how far beyond our present understanding."
POSITIVE REMEMBERING is the key you can use to unlock the POWER of the super intelligence within you.
Positive Remembering is PURPOSELY CHOOSING TO SEE, HEAR, IMAGINE or DO something to unlock all the powerful tools for change your memories have been collecting since birth.
smell of a certain cookie baking brings with it the feelings
and images of Grandma's house that were recorded at the same
time you learned 'that smell' meant you were going to get
something good to eat and probably a hug and kiss, too.
If you want to feel that same calm, safe feeling you had at Grandma's you can POSITIVELY REMEMBER by imagining you are a child again at Grandma's house or you could bake the same kind of cookies she used to bake.
sight of a growling dog automatically triggers memories of
fearing mean dogs, and all the related feelings such as
increasing blood pressure, heart rate, fear - these are all
But, when you Positively Remember a friendly family pet you are ORDERING your mind to remember calmness and automatically putting feelings of fear or tension back in storage or "FORGETTING" them.
can slow your heart rate when you're afraid, not by trying
not to be afraid, but by POSITIVELY REMEMBERING things that
By trying not to do or think something what you're doing is ordering the mind to remember the very feelings you're wanting to get rid of.
The following story illustrates very well how Positive Remembering works.
BUNNY CAN ORDER YOUR BODY to stop bleeding
Your memory knows how to get Bugs Bunny to stop a little girls bleeding.
There was once a little girl who was a free bleeder who came to an emergency room with a cut in her mouth that was bleeding really hard. One of the nurses had a natural understanding of the way the mind works and had an idea of how to help.
She looked the little girl in the eye and asked, "What's your favorite cartoon?" The little girl said Bugs Bunny. So the nurse said to the girl "I bet if you close your eyes, you can see Bugs right now in your mind".
The little girl closed her eyes and shortly said she saw him.
Then the nurse asked, "Could you have Bugs chew some gum? Can you see him chewing gum and blowing bubbles?"
"Yes, he's blowing bubbles" the girl said.
"Good" said the nurse, "now can you look around the room in your mind where Bugs is chewing gum and see if you can find a crack in the wall where the blood is leaking out? Do you see the crack?"
"Yes," the girl said
The nurse said, "Good, I wonder if you could ask Bugs to stick his bubble gum in that crack and stop the blood from getting out?"
A few seconds later the little girl said "Bugs did it"
"Good," said the nurse "now that bleeding will stop"! And in seconds it did completely stop.
So what memories did the girl tap into when the nurse asked her about Bugs Bunny and chewing gum?
her body had of calm Saturday mornings warm and safe at home
watching Bugs on TV. Memories of how sticky bubble gum is.
You see the little girl was a free bleeder which had probably been told that if she bled she couldn't stop. So the sight of blood also called out of storage the emotion of fear and the learning of how to speed up the heart.
The nurse didn't try to talk the girl out of her fear, if she had she would have only made her fear stronger. The nurse simply bypassed the memories of not being able to stop bleeding and instead got the girl to remember Bugs Bunny. When Bugs was called out of storage what other kinds of memories do you think were called out with him? Right! Feelings of calmness and memories of laughter.
You do not have to fight fear - it will automatically be put back in storage when an opposite emotion is "remembered". And let me ask you this, what kid doesn't know how sticky gum is? How it sticks to your shoes and how it sticks in your hair and Mama has to cut it out, right? So if Bugs puts that sticky stuff in the crack, it won't come out and the blood will have to stop, right? Somehow this gives the mind the order to stop the blood that it naturally knows how to do but hasn't so far because the free bleeding memories told it not to.
We don't have to know how the body stops bleeding to get it to stop.
Your memories are powerful because when your brain stores them they are automatically connected to other memories, other emotions and the condition of the body existing at the time. This connection is the reason Positive Remembering can be turned on in these various ways:
Bugs Bunny and Chewing Gum
Memories of Saturday
morning cartoons at home relaxing and safe,
ignore hospital, and gushing blood.
Body to decrease
heart rate, relax muscle tension and stop bleeding.
which in turn
feeling of fear in the Mind.
Body naturally knows how to stop bleeding-
it just has to be COMMANDED to do it.
How can this little memory lesson change the way you live your life?
1. PHYSICAL -Your memories are as real and physical as any other part of your body.
2. MANY ABILITIES STORED -You have a tremendous number of abilities stored in your memories.
3. EITHER ACTIVE OR DORMANT -Your memories can be active - "remembered" or dormant - "forgotten".
4. CONNECTED -Your memories are grouped and connected with other related memories, emotions and body conditions.
5. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO REMEMBER -You can make a memory active (remember it) by seeing, hearing, feeling, doing or imagining something connected to that memory.
6. REMEMBERING ACTIVATES EVERYTHING CONNECTED - When a group of memories are remembered they activate related emotions and body states and put everything unrelated back in storage:
You can use Positive Remembering to Improve Your Health
In the last chapter you learned what Positive Remembering was and what kinds of powerful abilities you have stored in your memory.
In this chapter I want to show you the specific ways you can use Positive Remembering to release your body's natural abilities to Boost Your Health.
I want you to see two sides of the story. The first is the ability of the body to heal itself and the second is the destructive ability of the body and mind to destroy it's health and even kill itself. It is very important to see both sides because then you will know the full power of your memory.
The Doctor Who Painted Warts
Thomas, who called your mind "a
kind of super intelligence", was very interested
in the cure of warts. Why? Because he had noticed
that warts could be cured by the body with some
pretty unscientific methods.
"[warts] can be made to go away by something called thinking, or something like thinking"
He and many other doctors had found that if they put some kind of worthless colored ointment on a wart and told their patients the wart would go away, to their amazement it usually did. So they reasoned that if the ointment was worthless the body itself must know how to cure warts.
thing to them was the paint seemed to turn on the
body's natural ability to heal the warts. Doctor
Thomas called this natural
ability of the body to heal itself a kind of
superintelligence within us which must have all of
the abilities of "a surgeon, a skilled engineer
and manager, a chief executive officer, and a cell
biologist of world class."
So why did the body not go ahead and heal the warts without the ointment?
Maybe because the body was operating under the group of memories that told it you have to have medicine to get rid of warts. After all you remember Aunt So-and-So having to go to the doctor to get rid of hers', right? But the ointment was medicine and now the opposite group of healing memories is called out of storage.
Although you don't know how the body does it, this group of memories gives the body the order to destroy the warts.
The Power of Negative Remembering
Why does the body occasionally kill itself.
Have you ever
known someone who just gave up after a doctor told
them they had just a short time to live?
Do you remember the woman from Florida who was incorrectly told she had AIDS. Her health immediately deteriorated and she began showing the signs of sickness. Only months later when she was told the test results were wrong did she make a complete recovery. I would be willing to bet the woman would have eventually died with AIDS like symptoms if she hadn't found out the truth.
What's going on inside these people's bodies we can only speculate about but we do know what's going on in their thoughts and imaginations. All the memories and learning about death, disease, and fear have been activated by the words of a medical doctor. The group of memories about how to be healthy and maintain health have been put into storage and as we say FORGOTTEN. Every memory of their own sicknesses and the sicknesses and deaths of people they've known are called out of storage and are now giving their bodies the order to be sick and die.
Believe me this is not that far fetched because when you think of all the germs and viruses we are all subjected to every day you'll realize that if you turn down or turn off your body's immune system you would be overcome by sickness in a few days.
Have you have ever heard of "Voodoo Death"?
Many years ago
when Christian missionaries were sent to remote and
isolated tribes to convert them they noticed a
terrible phenomenon among the people, a witch doctor
would curse someone and the person would die shortly
An example of this was the case of a young tribal man who came to a hospital and told the doctor he would die in a few days because a curse had been put on him and nothing could be done about it. The doctor had known the tribal man for many years so he decided to run every test he could to give the man some peace of mind and assure him he would not die. The tests were run and the man was found to be totally healthy but this knowledge didn't help. The man lay in bed and grew weaker. The next day at eleven A.M. the apparently healthy man was dead of no known cause except sheer terror of the curse.
Modern scientists have actually identified a part of the brain which might be responsible for these sudden unexplained deaths. A small area of the brain called the insular cortex has been found to cause heart damage when it is stimulated by extreme hopelessness or fright.
And don't think for a minute we who live in the modern world are immune from this kind of death from fear. Every time there is an earthquake or some other natural disaster several people die of sudden heart attacks.
What you think may determine
how long YOU Live
Let me ask you another question that has to do with what we've been talking about:
Which is a
better predictor of future health; how a person rates
their own health or a doctor's objective report of
how healthy that person is?
Which is better the person's opinion or the Doctor's report?
A few years back in Manitoba, Canada 3500 senior citizens were asked the question,
"For your age would you say, in
your health is excellent, good, fair, poor, or bad?"
Each one of the 3500 were also given a complete exam by a doctor and a report was made. For seven years each person was monitored to see which was the most accurate predictor of actual health;
what the person believed his/her health to be?
or what the doctor reported their health to be?
The results were amazing:
the person believed he/she was in good health but the
doctor's report said he was in poor health -- the
person lived longer anyway.
And if the person said he was unhealthy but the doctor said he was in good health -- the person was three times more likely to die.
Doctor Robert Ornstein summed these results up by saying,
"People who tend to rate their health poorly die earlier and have more disease than their counterparts who view themselves as healthy.
So we can see
from this study that as far as predicting health, what we
think may determine how long we live.
Whatever feelings and thoughts we Remember are the same feelings and thoughts that are giving orders to the body.
A CHANGE IN ATTITUDE
Let me tell you about an amazing study that illustrates the POWER OF POSITIVE REMEMBERING.
During the 1970's a research couple named Elmer and Alyce Green looked through a stack of 400 documented cases of spontaneous remission of cancer.
I'm talking about cancer that just went away, people completely cured without an explanation. The Green's were looking for any healing factor common to all these people that might explain their complete recovery. They looked at the methods those people said they used to get well. Some had went to Lourdes Cathedral for a miracle, others used a vitamin C cure, and so on.
Can you guess what they found in common with each case?
The only common factor they found was a change in ATTITUDE.
a change in ATTITUDE from a feeling of helplessness and negativity to positive feelings of HOPE FOR RECOVERY.
What kinds of memory groups were these people triggering when they started to have feelings of hope.?
I would say that hope for recovery got these people to begin to actively search for a cure. And as you know by now if you are looking for health what you are really doing is calling it out of storage and automatically putting the unhealthy and helpless feelings back into storage or in other words - FORGETTING THEM.
Let me say it again -
If your looking for a cure, if your looking for health-you are literally commanding the body to recall the vast storehouse of learning your body has accumulated over your entire lifetime about how to be healthy.
Searching for a cure that you fully expect to find causes you take action. And the action of looking gives your mind the command to hope. So hope fuels action and in return action fuels continued hope.
IMAGINING activates your brain in the same way as actually EXPERIENCING
When you are looking at someone or something, groups of neuron cells in your brain become active. The more often you hear, see, smell, taste or feel the more these groups of cells expand. As we learned in the last chapter, when you "exercise" your brain it grows more connections.
The Greens and others have also found that when you just remember or imagine something or someone the brain activates the same groups of neuron (brain) cells that it does when you actually see, smell, taste or touch.
The same pattern of neuron cell activity occurs in each of the following:
If you can remember what you did when you were healthy or imagine what you will do when you become healthy again - your brain will establish the same patterns of activity that it would as if you were actually seeing, hearing or feeling these experiences.
Cells that Blow Up Cancer
Actually your body does have memories of how to destroy cancer and many other diseases. Without your knowledge your body has been destroying cancer cells all your life.
Reseacher Jeanne Achterberg explains how your body fights:
"Certain white blood cells, called T-cells, are targeted to identify and demolish any and all cancer cells they encounter in a most wonderful way. Picture a mighty midget, full of lethal toxins, stalking its prey. Finding the dreaded cancer cell, it thrusts itself inward like a missile, releasing its chemicals. Blisters form on the cancer cell, making it look as if it has been roasted on a hot grill. The blisters grow bigger and, within a millisecond, the cancer cell explodes into oblivion. The macrophages are called onto the scene as part of the clean-up team; they swell up, join forces, and head for the site of destruction, programmed to digest any remaining pieces."
So your body already knows how to destroy cancer cells. The problem is sometimes your immune system gets turned down because of stress, disease, lack of sleep or many other reasons.
When this happens how can
you get it to take action?
The answer may be to imagine your immune system taking action.
Jeanne Achterberg has found there are basically three kinds of cancer patients;
Hopeless? Take ACTION
Sheri Lewis the creator of "Lamb Chop" illustrates this important point. She wrote after her total recovery from breast cancer that hope and action work both ways.
you are hopeful, of course you can take action. The miracle
occurs when you don't feel much hope, yet you push yourself
into action anyway. Perhaps it is the brain,
stimulated by action, that brings you back to hope. I don't
know why it works. I just know that it does."
This is the perfect definition of THE POWER OF POSITIVE REMEMBERING - The Miracle Occurs When You Take Action Without The Feeling Of Hope Then The Brain Must Supply The Feeling Of Hope -if you don't have hope right now go ahead and take action confident that hope will shortly follow.
Take IMAGINARY action if you want to survive
But you might ask what kind of action can a person take with a disease like cancer? The answer is to take imaginary action. Do you have any memory or learning that could know how to destroy cancer? The answer is yes as we learned above, our immune system knows how to destroy cancer. How can you get these memories active - by seeing, hearing, doing or imagining something related to the memory you want.
At about the same time as the Green's were doing their study another research couple named Carl and Stephanie Simonton were teaching cancer patients to use visualization to aid recovery.
They found ALL, patients who recover from cancer had used a common weapon: They had ALL been visualizing themselves being well. To me this is darn amazing!! These people were taking action in their imaginations and automatically turning on feelings of hope.
They found that all survivors believed they had the power to exercise "some influence over the course of their disease."
Survivors not only wanted to live but believed that they had to live and needed to live in order to accomplish some goal. They believed they could beat the disease by not only refusing to give up but by defying cancer by planning to live. The Simontons studied these people and developed a program to teach other patients to do what the successful patients were already doing.
Use your crayons to Remember
The Simontons taught their patients to imagine and draw their immune system killing their cancer:
This is a powerful tool to ORDER your brain to activate the memories you want. All these techniques helped the patients to take action and I believe also helped them give their bodies orders to fight to get well.
The Best Medicine-Laughter
Another person who used the POWER OF POSITIVE REMEMBERING to overcome great odds was Norman Cousins. He was diagnosed with a debilitating disease -- (ankylosing spondylitis -- a disease of the connective tissues) -- that was certain to end his career as the editor of The Saturday Review. The doctors had no way to treat him.
Cousins remembered when he was 10 years old he had been misdiagnosed as having tuberculosis and sent to a sanitarium. While he was there he noticed that the patients divided themselves up into two groups. One group believed they would survive and the other group resigned themselves to their fate and gave up. Cousins joined with the positive group.
He came to notice that:
". . . the boys in my group had a far higher percentage of 'discharged as cured' outcomes than the kids in the other group. Even at the age of ten, I was being philosophically conditioned; I became aware of the power of the mind in overcoming disease. The lessons I learned about hope at that time played an important part in my complete recovery [as an adult] and in the feelings I have had since about the preciousness of life."
So what did he do about his disease as an adult?
He checked himself out of the hospital and began to treat himself with what the Reader's Digest calls the Best Medicine-LAUGHTER!! He watched old Marx Brothers. movies and reruns of Candid Camera. He laughed instead of worrying about the illness. And while he calmed his nerves with laughter he made detailed, elaborate plans for things he wished to do with his life as soon as he beat the illness.
What was he ordering his body to do?
Well obviously you have to be alive and well to accomplish any future plans you make. So he was giving his mind the order to recall from storage health, hope and action.
Laughter forces the mind
to put fear and frustration back into storage.
REMEMBER two opposite thoughts can not exist for long in the mind.
Norman Cousins -- Everything Is Connected
Elmer and Alyce Green
Earlier in this chapter I mentioned Elmer and Alyce Green. The Greens were pioneers in the field of Biofeedback. Biofeedback uses machines to pick up what is going on inside a person's body and then "feed" that information back in a form the person can understand.
For example, a biofeedback
machine can record the temperature of a person's fingers and show
this information on a computer screen.
With these machines patients become aware of the changes taking place in their body instantly, even before they could actually feel them.
In their experiments the
Greens found that people could raise the temperature in their
hands by imagining the hand being put into warm sand on a beach.
They proved a person can slow down or speed up his heart rate by
At first the patient was greatly aided by the feedback equipment because it enabled him to be aware of even tiny changes in his body. After the patients learned this technique they no longer needed the feedback equipment to get the same results.
But the most important thing the Greens discovered was their patients did not actually know how they were physically changing the things, all they did was imagine the result they wanted and let it happen.
Alyce Green said and this is really important:
Now keep in mind your
imagination is a mixture of all your memories.
She goes on to say:
The Sad Story of a Man who was cured of Cancer
The story of Mr. Wright is the best illustration of the fact that the body is in the business of taking orders for better or worse.
Many years ago there was a man who had lymph cancer. All through his body he had huge tumors the size of oranges. He was kept on oxygen and strong sedatives to make him more comfortable because the doctors had decided he had just a short while to live.
His Golden Opportunity
But Mr. Wright had hope. He had seen a report in the newspaper about a new miracle drug that was to be tested at the clinic. When the test began he begged to be included. He told them that this drug was his "golden opportunity" and finally persuaded them to give him the drug.
Improvement -- Only in Mr. Wright
They gave him his first shot on a Friday but didn't expect him to live out the weekend because he was completely bedridden gasping for air. But on Monday when the doctor came back he was surprised to find the man walking around, smiling and talking with the nurses. Only in Mr. Wright was there this improvement. The tumors had shrunk to half their size over the weekend.
The doctors kept giving Mr. Wright the drug and within ten days he was sent home. And get this, ALL SIGNS OF THE CANCER WERE GONE.
Mr. Wright - Everything is Connected
Double Strength Water Cure
But, after about two months the newspapers started carrying stories about the so called miracle drug. All the clinics were reporting they were having no results. Well Mr. Wright was very upset by these stories and he began to lose faith in the drug. Amazingly his cancer reappeared and he fell into a deep despair.
Seeing this the doctor decided to trick him and told Mr. Wright the newspapers were wrong. The Doctor convinced Mr. Wright that the original drug just needed to be refined and that the very next day a new double-strength version of the drug would arrive and he was sure this would return Mr. Wright to complete health. But, to make him even more anxious the Doctor made him wait several days for the extra-strength wonder-drug and this anticipation built Mr. Wright's faith even further.
Finally the doctor gave him the first shot of the drug. But what Mr. Wright didn't know was the doctor had injected him with nothing more than fresh water. And you know what, Mr. Wright recovered even faster this time than the first and was released from the hospital.
The Power of Negative Remembering
Then two months later the
American Medical Association released their report on the test
In big, bold headlines the newspapers reported it was a "worthless drug in the treatment of cancer."
Can you guess what happened next? Right, shortly after this report Mr. Wright was back in the hospital with his faith gone and his cancer back. IN LESS THAN TWO DAYS HE WAS DEAD.
This is a real life example of everything we've been talking about so far. We know that the miracle drug was worthless from the beginning so it was something else that cured Mr. Wright.
Just as the ATM keyboard called the forgotten secret number out of storage, the shot of what Mr. Wright believe was a miracle drug called his forgotten health out of storage.
One thought dominates the mind and gives orders to the body
This is so important to get a grasp on this idea: Mr. Wright's memories, learning, images of health and hope and activity had been put in storage when the cancer had established itself. He had an amnesia for health in his body, an amnesia as complete as the forgotten ATM number.
You see two completely opposite thoughts can not exist in the mind at the same time. You can't believe you're sick and healthy at the same time for very long, one or the other thought will eventually dominate the mind.
And whichever thought dominates the mind also gives orders to the body, just as Alyce Green said,
"The body is in the business of taking orders, and what we imagine about ourselves determine what those orders are, for better or worse."
You see from the story of Mr. Wright how true that statement is and more than that how the body will even take orders to destroy itself when hope and health is put in storage by the thought of hopelessness.
How a Rocking Chair helped cured paralysis
Let me illustrate some of the ways the body takes orders from our thoughts when we POSITIVELY REMEMBER some group of memories.
Many years ago this seventeen year old farm boy was struck down with polio. He could hear, see and even speak but otherwise he was totally paralyzed and bedridden. His family were farmers so while they went about the daily chores they would tie young Milton into an old rocking chair they had made into a potty and set him up so he could look out at the world.
One day Milton's family got busy and left him in the middle of the room. Milton kept looking at the window and wishing he could get close enough to look out. Looking and wishing so bad he could just get a little closer. Then something truly wonderful happened. As he sat there he suddenly realized his chair was beginning to rock ever so slightly. He was really excited by this and he began to wonder was it an accident, or did his thinking about moving the chair actually cause his paralyzed muscles to move just a little.
The tiny movement of that rocking chair would have gone unnoticed by most people but to him it changed his life forever. From then on he constantly tried to relearn how to move by trying to remember in detail what that movement had felt like when he had been able to do it. He would sit for hours staring at his hand and trying to remember how his fingers felt when they grabbed the handle of a pitchfork, and how did it feel to climb a tree and hold onto a limb with his hand. Slowly bit by bit his fingers began to twitch and move in tiny jerking ways.
Weeks and months of constant practice paid off as the movements became progressively greater and more coordinated until they got to the point Milton could consciously control them.
He began to understand he was causing these movements by constantly remembering some activity he had actually done before the polio. The real memory of swinging from tree to tree by grasping the branches caused his now paralyzed fingers to twitch and with practice to eventually return to his control.
Teaching Others to Remember for Health
These experiences so fascinated the young Milton that the study of the connection between the mind and body became Milton Erickson's life work. He became a doctor and one of the most famous psychiatrists in the world. He set out to learn as much as possible so he could help others just as he'd helped himself.
Erickson taught his patients many ways to call memories out of storage. When a woman would come to see him because she was worried about her menstrual cycle being late he would ask the woman to go to the restroom and put on a kotex just in case her period was to start during their session.
After she came back into his office he would ask her to describe in detail what her body felt like when she's about to start.
Of course, he was helping the woman reestablish that group of memories which would then give her body the orders to go ahead and start her period.
How You Can Use Positive Remembering to Improve Your Health
In the first chapter you learned six important facts about how your memory works. In this chapter the same six principles have also been used by these real-life people to improve their health.
When you understand how memory works it will become your tool to give you power over what you think, how you feel and how you view the world around you.
memories can help you gain the power to boost your health;
practice remembering you are "exercising" your
In this chapter Milton Erickson taught us how to make a memory stronger by constantly remembering the real memories of being able to move his body.
Are you using real, detailed, emotional memories to order your mind and body?
Take time to really remember how you felt before you were sick. Imagine doing something you used to do before this illness happened.
chapter you learned your memories have the natural
* cure warts if you believe they can,
* have the ability to actually kill you if you are faced with extreme hopelessness or fright,
* help you live longer if you believe you are healthy,
* give you hope if you first take action,
* fight sickness if you fight to live and refuse to fight if you give up,
* fight cancer if you give them feelings of hope,
* remember how to activate paralyzed muscles if you remember past activities that used those muscles.
How to relieve your PAIN by releasing the power of your memory
In the last
chapter you learned how
to turn on your immune system to improve your health.
In this chapter I'm going to show you how Positive Remembering can release your body's own power to REDUCE and RELIEVE PAIN.
Your body's natural morphine
body has the natural ability to relieve pain by using
those same tiny communication substances
(neurotransmitters) we talked about in chapter one.
Do you still remember the "key shaped
letters" your brain and body use to
"talk" with each other?
A few years ago several research scientists were studying why the body was able to use the drug morphine so effectively. Candice Pert and others believed the morphine molecule must be shaped like one of the body's own natural pain relieving chemicals.
only problem was none of these so called natural pain
killers had ever been discovered. Finally they found
what has become known as "endorphins"
because they were like the body's own natural
Candice Pert found that morphine worked in the body because it had a certain shape that could fit into the body's "mailbox" receptors and pretend to be these natural endorphins.
What does this mean to you?
It means your body already has the natural ability to relieve pain. It also means you have the natural ability to "talk" to your pain relieving abilities by using The Power of Positive Remembering.
You can release the natural "morphine" of
your body by remembering the thoughts and feelings which
automatically put thoughts of pain back in storage.
example, when a doctor gives a patient a shot of
"morphine" the patient believes he will get
relief from his pain because the doctor told him it
was morphine and he will get relief because the shot
really was morphine. But what if the doctor lied to the
patient and told him a worthless water shot was
really a shot of morphine? Would the patient get
relief for his pain?
The answer is probably YES !!
every 100 patients who experience pain reduction from
a drug like morphine, 56 patients
will get the same pain reduction
from a so called "worthless" water shot.
What does this mean?
it means if you believe the
treatment for pain will help - IT
Just as we saw in the story of Mr. Wright as long as he believed the shots were really going to cure his cancer he got better.
As long as Dr. Thomas' patients believed his paint would cure their warts -- it would.
Mr. Wright and the wart patients both had a something real to help them activate their memories. And once the healing memories are active the opposite memories are automatically put in storage and forgotten.
What can you do to activate the memories which will automatically put the feeling of pain in storage?
In the first chapter you learned to remember you must see, hear, feel, imagine, or do something related to or connected to the memories you what to activate.
To get relief from pain you can do any of the above actions.
Talk to Your Pain as if it were a Person
I've shown throughout this book your imagination
is made of reorganized parts of memory. Your
body can not tell if what it is being ordered to do
is "real" or only imaginary. If you're
falling your body feels fear and if you dream you are
falling your body also feels fear.
When you have pain you can imagine it is a person and talk to it. It does not matter that the pain is not a person, your body can not tell the difference. As long as you're pretending to talk to the pain the body will respond as if the conversation is real
Begin by actually speaking to your pain as if it were a person you care about. Tell this person in great detail about how you feel.
For example a man named Albert Kreinheder had become disabled by crippling rheumatoid arthritis. He had severe pain in every joint in his body and could get no relief. Disparate one night he decided to talk to his pain directly.
He said to the pain:
"You hold me tight in your grip, and you do not let me go. If you crave my undivided attention, you have received it. Whatever I attend to, I must also attend to you. Even when I write, I feel you in my hand, and always in all parts of my body. I am terribly frightened by you. I have no control over you, no access to you, no power to influence you. You need only go a little further, and then I am utterly helpless. Will you ever stop? Why are you here?"
waited for his pain's response and his
imagination gave him one. His pain "spoke"
to him and "they continued to talk until his new
friend PAIN released him. Since that time Mr.
Kreinheder has been free of this pain.
As you develop a "relationship" with your pain you can begin to ask your new friend to reduce or eliminate the discomfort, or give you periods of relief. When the pain agrees with what you have requested in your imagination your body will be automatically ordered to obey.
Memories of comfort will be automatically remembered and memories of pain will be sent back to storage.
Remembering the Past to Relieve Pain
the last chapter we talked about how Milton Erickson
regained control of his paralyzed muscles by
remembering how those muscles felt when he used to
During this same period Milton was in almost constant pain from muscle spasms. He needed a way to relax, so he could get relief. It's because of this that he made another amazing discovery - he could reduce his pain and relax by remembering a long walk and recalling in detail how it feels to be really tired.
Remembering the wind blowing to relieve pain
in life when he was again stricken with polio he
learned he could go into his bedroom lay on his
belly, prop his head up on his hands and remember
how it felt to watch the wind blow across a field
As we've learned this automatically reestablished the group of memories and feelings he had as a boy before the pain of polio.
Remembering crickets chirping to relieve pain
of Erickson's patients could get relief from pain by remembering
the sound of crickets chirping.
When this patient was a boy he used to love to listen
to the crickets.
When he remembered the sound he was reestablishing a whole group of memories and feelings from a time before his current pain began.
How You Can Use Positive Remembering to Relieve Pain
Divide and Conquer
When a person was in pain Erickson would ask them to tell him in great detail where the pain was and exactly how it felt. He would literally get them to pick the feeling of pain apart.
What did it feel like here and how long does it last there?
As they did this he would gradually get them to describe exactly were the pain stopped and how the body felt in those areas. As they described the pain free areas they were automatically forgetting pain or putting it back in storage. Remember two opposite thoughts can not coexist for long in the mind, one will dominate eventually and give the body its marching orders for better or worse.
How to Divide and Conquer
Distracting the mind to Relieve Pain
The most important thing to remember is to not try to fight whatever thought or feeling is bothering you. Instead of fighting to keep from thinking of the pain you simply raise an equal and opposite memory. Have you ever had a headache that hurt so bad and then get interested in watching a TV show. Only later do you realize your painful headache had gone away and you don't even remember when it went?
If you're thinking about not hurting what memory groups are you really triggering? Right, you're thinking of the pain and this continues to trigger memories of pain. As long as those memories are dominating your mind they are giving marching orders to the body.
Erickson told this story to help his patients understand the idea of getting the mind on some other thought instead of trying to not hurt:
. . I called upon a patient of mine and had her describe
all of her feelings as she sat in the living room. Actually
she was in bed.
She gave me an extremely vivid account of all the
feelings she had in a wheelchair in her living
room. Now, do you suppose she could feel any of
that continuous, dull, aching pain from the
cancer in her hipbone, in her spine, while she
was telling me exactly what it was like to sit in
a wheelchair; exactly how the arms of the
wheelchair felt; exactly where the back of the
wheelchair rested against her spine; exactly the
position of her eyes when viewing the television
screen; and exactly how much she could see with
her peripheral vision from the wheelchair? She
could not, because she was too interested in the
revival of those experiential learnings about
sitting in a wheelchair. And, of course, she was
literally dissociated from her pain as she
described sitting in that wheelchair."
". . . This woman forgot about the pain in bed; it was as if she were out in the living room watching television, seeing the screen door that led to the street, looking at the flowers over on the end table, seeing me sitting there on the couch in her living room."
Robert's good, red, strong blood
example of distracting the mind from the pain is the
story of Erickson's three year old son Robert who had
fallen and cut his lip pretty badly. Robert was
screaming real loud and of coarse his lip was
bleeding fast. Erickson would wait for Robert to get
finished with a scream and take a breath then he
would talk to him quickly before the next scream.
Erickson said, "It hurts just terribly, doesn't it Robert?"
After another scream Erickson added;
"And it will keep right on hurting"
Erickson says this because he believed you should never argue with pain. That only gives it more power by trying to say it doesn't hurt when you know it does.
After the third scream he says
"Maybe the pain will go away in a minute or two."
This makes Robert think of the future when the pain will go away.
When Robert paused for the next breath, Erickson pointed at the sidewalk and asked his wife a question,
"Mother, is that good, red, strong blood?"
Robert began to look down at the blood while his father and mother debated whether or not he had good, red, strong blood.
"You know, Robert, the color of the pavement makes it difficult to see if your blood is the best kind of good, red, strong blood. You've got to see the blood where it is nice and white."
So they take Robert into the bathroom and get him interested in watching his blood drip in the sink. They ask him to see how truly red it is and then how pink it becomes when it mixes with water.
Robert's fear and pain are forgotten while he becomes involved in looking at the blood.
Erickson tells Robert that he "didn't think his
lip was cut enough to require as many stitches as
Betty Alice, his sister, bragged about owning. And
[he] didn't think he could have as many stitches as
his brother Alan bragged about owning, but [he] did
want him to see to it that he counted those stitches
and that the surgeon put in as many stitches as
While Robert was getting stitches the doctor was amazed to watch him count them instead of cry. Robert had forgot his fear and now he had remembered his natural competition with his brother and sister. In the end he was protesting because he only got seven stitches!
Positive Remembering can release your natural power to relieve pain.
Overcome Fear and Phobias with Positive Remembering
You can use the Power of Positive Remembering to overcome fear and phobias.
You can do this because all fears and phobias have been learned and stored in your memory.
The sight or even thought of dogs, heights, insects, small places and every other kind of phobia have become automatic triggers for fear. In other words the sight, sound, or thought of these things act like the key which unlocks the physical response of fear.
Through the Power of Positive Remembering you can change the keys, alter them so they do not automatically unlock fear.
Your body has a natural reflex we call fear. Scientists call this reflex the flight or fight response. In other words, your body when faced with something threatening will automatically get ready to fight or run. It does this by activating the sympathetic nervous system which causes these changes to happen to your body.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE CAUSES:
What does this biology lesson have to do with phobias?
The answer is your memories are never stored alone. They are always grouped with other related memories and emotions.
You have the flight or fight response when you're born. If some day you are bitten by a dog or just witness someone else being bitten your memory of the event will be grouped with the fear response.
Now when you see a dog, even a friendly dog that is no danger to you at all, the fight or run response is automatically remembered also. What was once a natural defense to keep you from being hurt is now activated every time you see, hear, or even imagine a dog. Any dog, no matter how big, little, aggressive or friendly.
How can Positive Remembering help?
You can do the same
exercise you do to reduce pain. You can pay full
attention to your fear. Pick it apart. Look at every
detail of it. Pay attention to exactly what you are
Milton Erickson gives an example of this method. He writes:
"Consider the child who is afraid of dogs, awfully afraid of dogs, especially of that great big brown dog. She is really terrified of dogs and of their barking. . . .You center her attention down and down and down to that bite the great big brown dog gave her on her knee; to the bite he gave her on the face; to the fact that the dog wasn't barking when he bit her on the face; he wasn't barking when he bit her on the knee; that he was a big dog, not a little dog; that he was a great big brown dog, not a little willy black dog. And you are constantly emphasizing this girl's reality to the great big brown dog that bit her; to that one dog that bit her on the face and bit her on the knee. You take her all-inclusive, comprehensive, phobic reaction to dogs in general and you narrow it down [to the dog that actually bit her].
. . As she tells you all about that great big brown dog she cuts her problem down to the point where she can tell you that your big short-legged brown dog is a nice dog, because he is not a great big brown dog. [You can gradually add more distinctions until the generalized phobia is reduced back to the original fright which is no longer a problem since no current reality can exactly match the past.]
With pain you first describe the pain in detail, then you describe the areas of comfort in detail until you get the comfort memories active. In the case of fear you can also describe your fear in great detail, then you can describe the things you are not afraid of.
When you pick something apart you destroy it. When you divide a general fear into small parts you conquer it.
The important thing to remember in Positive Remembering is to not fight or resist the fear. You are not trying to get rid of all fear. You are only picking your general fear apart and re-defining it to a specific fear. If you try to fight pain or fear you are really only giving them more power. Because if you pay attention it you are automatically activating more groups of memories which are related to the pain or fear.
In the next
chapter we are going to learn how to reduce
stress. But the techniques you are going to learn in the
power to reduce stress are very important to how to
overcome fear. You will learn that the body has a
natural opposite response to the flight or fight
response. In other words your body already has a way
to counteract the bad effects of the flight or fight
response. If fear is connected to the flight or fight
response then fear will be removed when the opposite
relaxing response is active.
How to reduce the effects of STRESS by releasing the power of your MEMORIES
. . . over my head was a full grown snake moving toward me
One Saturday a couple of years ago I was going through an old storage shed on my property when I heard a sound, looking up directly over my head was a full grown snake moving toward me.
Immediately that flight or fight response sprang into action in my body.
My heart raced, my breathing
rate increased, my muscles tensed - and I
ran. A little while later I could
feel my heart rate go down, my muscles relaxed, and
my breathing slowed.
On Monday, I woke up late, I
couldn't find the car keys, and I was stopped for
another half-hour on the Interstate because of an
accident. When I finally make it to work there is a
message from my kids saying they missed the school
bus, and to top the whole morning off my boss comes
by to remind me that I left that report he needs in
an hour at home. My heart rate goes up, my muscles
tense and my body goes through a mild version of the
flight or fight response. Only in this situation I can
not fight or run.
Our bodies are designed to be ready for action immediately in the face of danger. The sympathetic nervous system springs into action and if we actually fight or run we use up the energy and return to normal. But in the stressful situations of modern life, the effects of stress tends to stay with us all through the day. Our heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and muscle tension in our arms and legs are all increased. Blood is moved to our muscles and away from our stomachs causing us to digest our food more slowly. This is why your legs or arms ache at the end of a stressful day, they've been tense - ready to fight or run - all day.
What Stress Can Do
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds (66%) of office visits to family doctors are prompted by symptoms related to stress. Some doctors believe the figure may be closer to 80% of visits are from people showing physical signs of mental stress.
So you understand that stress is natural and the flight or fight response is designed for your protection against danger. When you run or fight your body uses the tension and returns to normal. But in today's world, most of the time, you can not run and the energy is not used.
The ill effects of stress are caused by two main factors
Thoughts - Things, people, and events are believed to be a threat whether they really are or not.
Muscle Tension - The tension in the body causes the mind to remember other thoughts and memories of stressful events
This is a vicious cycle which feeds on itself and eventually, as we've seen above, causes great harm to the body
How You Can Break the Stress Habit
You can break the stress habit with the Power of Positive Remembering. You have learned throughout this book that it is better to not fight a thought you don't want. Instead, it is better to think another thought or do some activity which reminds your brain of another group of memories. For example when you're sad you can simply smile and sit up straight which will automatically give your brain the orders to recall memories which agree with what your body is doing.
Your brain only has so much attention it can give, so when you divide that attention between two opposing thoughts, one of the two must lessen.
the oldest study of how the mind and body works
This point of opposing thoughts has been studied for thousands of years by the ancient people of India. The ancient people of India began studying the human mind several thousand years ago. In fact, YOGA was perhaps the first systematic "scientific" study ever undertaken to determine how the mind itself worked. For many centuries the students of Yoga worked to develop specific techniques to be used to control their minds.
What I want you to remember is what the Yogi's called the mind, we call memories; and what they called control we call Positive Remembering.
About two thousand years ago one of the great yogi's (or teachers) named Patanjali wrote a book of basic instructions that summed up the practice of Yoga. This book became known as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Pa-ton-ja-lee) and his been memorized by students of Yoga ever since that time.
The Mind - a swirling whirlpool of thought-waves
Patanjali described the human mind as a swirling whirlpool of thought-waves. Thoughts swirl around like a tornado in an uncontrolled mind. He said the person who fails to control this whirlpool ends up identifying herself with it.
The conflicting and random swirl blows the person in every direction because she believes she is those thoughts.
She believes she is "happy," she is "sad," she is "mad, "she is a "failure".
The person becomes so identified with the thoughts swirling around in her head that she eventually gets a feeling of helplessness. As she quits trying to give direction to her life and allows herself to go with the flow of the whirlpool, she is eventually overcome by the signs of what we call depression and the physical symptoms of stress.
Signs of Stress
Patanjali lists the following as the symptoms of a person who has let the thoughts in their head control them:
"sickness, mental laziness, doubt, lack of enthusiasm, sloth, craving for sense-pleasure, false perception, despair, grief, despondency, trembling of the body and irregular breathing."
Patanjali says this whole situation is caused by a person identifying herself with the thought-waves either by default or by fighting them directly.
The only way, Patanjali says, to control the mind and therefore direct your life is to choose some object, some idea or truth, or some person to concentrate your attention on. His whole idea is wrapped up in the name of his philosophy because the word "yoga" literally means "union".
So to unite yourself with an object, an idea or another person is the way to calm the whirlpool and its affects. Instead of giving in or fighting you ignore the swirl of thoughts and raise a wave of your own, concentrating all your attention on becoming united with it.
By one-pointing your attention on something good the distractions are deprived of their energy without direct action against them. Remember your brain only has so much attention it can give. If you use this limited attention to tell distracting thoughts to go away - what you are really doing is giving those thoughts energy.
The famous biologist Hans Selye agrees with this, he writes,
" To give meaning and direction to life we need a lofty long-range purpose . . . a long-range aim offering us permanent directions throughout life can eliminate many of the frustrating doubts that cause distress about the choice of our actions"
Selye believes we are biologically constructed to perform a work that has a purpose. He believes the only way to maintain physical and mental health is to work toward a long-range aim that we feel is worth the effort.
"Just as our muscles become flabby and degenerate if not used, so our brain slips into chaos and confusion unless we constantly use it for some work that seems worthwhile to us."
Patanjali admits that even the simple exercise of paying attention to your breathing can tame the whirlpool but he recommends you choose something greater than yourself to concentrate on. To assure long-term success he taught his students to concentrate on such things as :
God, prayer, a single eternal truth, or some great person like Jesus, Moses, or Buddha. This choosing something or someone to unite with gives direction to life and starves the whirlpool to death.
Like a boat adrift on the sea you set your sights on some clear destination, put your oars in the water and constantly paddle toward your goal. When the winds blow you off coarse you immediately row your boat back keeping only your objective in mind, desiring only to be united with it. This constant repetition, this deep longing for union with your dream gives purpose to your life, meaning to your existence, and hope for the future.
And best of all it REDUCES THE HARMFULL EFFECTS OF STRESS.
Modern Science and Ancient Yoga
Modern science has proved Patanjali and Yoga right. Scientists have discovered that the body has a natural opposite response to the flight or fight response. Dr. Herbert Benson has named this the relaxation response. At the first of this chapter we talked about the sympathetic nervous system and how if activated it almost instantly caused our body to gear up to fight or run. To oppose this reaction scientists have discovered that another system called the parasympathetic nervous system causes the body to relax.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
How Do You Get This System to Activate?
Dr. Benson and Patanjali both say that if you one-point your mind the parasympathetic system will activate automatically. When you stop and breath slowly and deeply, when you pray, when you think of some truth, even when you concentrate on crocheting or repeat one word like "peace" to yourself - you rob the whirlpool of its' energy and cause the parasympathetic nervous system to give your body its gift of relaxation. By doing this everyday you can counter the effects of stress in your life and on your health.
How You Can Use Positive Remembering to Relax
When you are stressed your brain orders the lungs to take rapid shallow breaths. Remember this is one of the changes the Sympathetic Nervous System causes when it is activated.
1. Slow, Deep
Breathing to Reduce Stress
If you want to turn on the brains relaxation you can force your lungs to take slow, deep breaths. You do this by paying attention to your belly. When you breath in your belly should push out. When you exhale your belly should push in. (Watch a baby breathing and you will see the baby's belly rising and falling as it breaths.)
This is a way to order the Parasympathetic Nervous System to give you relaxation.
2. Group A Memory
Word or Phrase with Breathing
While you are doing this exercise say a single word like "peace" or a phrase like "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want". You can use any word or phrase you want as long as you remember to say it over and over again during your breathing exercise.
As you say your word or phrase over and over while breathing your brain will GROUP the memory of relaxing breathing with this word or phrase and eventually you will only have to say or think the word to release the Power to relax.
3. Exercise to Reduce
The third thing you can do to reduce the harmful effects of stress is physical exercise. A short walk, a few minutes swim or any other physical activity can help your body use up the tension. It takes very little exercise to have a big effect - even a daily 10-minute walk raises energy levels and lowers tension for 2 hours.
You Can Do Something About Stress
important idea for you to remember in this chapter and in the previous
chapter about how to overcome fear - is you can
turn on your body's natural ability to relax with the
Power of Positive Remembering. You are not a
slave to fear, or the harmful effects of stress. You can do
something about it. You can ORDER your brain and body to relax.
How to create SUCCESS by releasing the power of your MEMORIES
How Can Positive Remembering
help you change things outside the body?
In the last few chapters you have learned how Positive Remembering can order the mind and body to change your health.
But how can you use Positive Remembering to change things outside your body? How can your memory give orders to a world which is not in the habit of taking orders?
Dolly Parton's mustard seed key chain
Dolly Parton, the country music singer and movie star, answered these questions so well in her autobiography when she told the story of the mustard seed key chain.
One day when Dolly was in the third grade, two men from the Gideons came to her school. You know the Gideons they're the ones who put free Bibles in hotel rooms. Anyway one of the men handed out key chains with a plastic ball attached on the end. Inside the ball was a single mustard seed and a piece of paper with a Bible verse on it.
The paper read,
"If ye have faith, even as much as a single seed of mustard, ye shall be able to move mountains"
They told the children a story
about a man who put the mustard seed verse to the
test. He prayed all night "that the mountain to
the east of his house would be in the west when he
went out the next morning. When he looked out the
next morning and saw the mountain still in the same
place, he said, "See there I knew it!"
Looking back at her life and how far she's come from growing up very poor she makes a profound statement about that man's faith. She writes:
"I knew my dreams would come true. He knew his wouldn't. And that, as they say, has made all the difference."
Dolly has spent a lifetime looking for every sign of success and because she's expecting to find it, she has. But some people literally look for every sign of failure. Even if something good happens in their life they'll expect it not to last. If you know your dreams won't come true then you won't even bother to look for them. If that perfect opportunity comes by you probably won't notice. And as Shari Lewis taught, hope makes us take action, but those without hope will take no action.
ACTION automatically calls HOPE out of storage.
Have You ever heard of Brain Filters?
of oil filters, water filters and air filters but
have you heard of Brain Filters?
Oil, water and air filters are all designed to stop almost everything that is not wanted from getting through. Some air filters remove dust, smoke, and microorganisms from the air by stopping them from getting through the filter.
The filter does two things:
also filters what comes into it
You and I are both guilty of only seeing what we want to see and only hearing what we want to hear. Actually it's the way our brains are designed to work.
- The brain doesn't pay attention to every sight, sound, or smell the senses send to it.
- The brain filters out most of the information the senses can pick up and instead selects just a small amount to pay attention to.
Right now as you read this, you are ignoring a lot of incoming information.
Until I mention it you probably aren't paying attention to the way your shoes feel on your feet. Until now you probably haven't noticed the sounds of passing cars outside or the ticking of the clock or the need to itch your nose or the colors in the picture on the wall next to you. You've ignored these things without trying until I reminded you of them.
Your eyes were able to see them, your nose was able to smell them, your ears could hear them and your skin could feel them but your brain filtered all that information out and ignored it.
At the same time it was filtering those things out the brain was also selecting certain information to pay attention to. It was allowing the words on this page to come through its filters and be recognized.
This filtering is very important to our survivalIf we had to notice every blade of grass, every leaf on a tree, every sound and every feeling we would go insane. We could never do anything or make any decision because we'd have too much meaningless information to deal with. So the brain filters out most the information coming our way and instead selects a small amount of the total picture to pay attention to.
does the brain decide what's
meaningful and what can be ignored or filtered?
The answer is you tell it what to select and what to ignore by the things you focus on.
Dolly Parton has constantly looked for and focused on success. By doing this, she has automatically given her brain the order to pay attention to things that agree with her image of success. At the same time she's ordered her brain to ignore or filter those things that do not agree with this image.
The human brain has developed a system to save time. The brain does not actually record reality as it is, but instead builds models, or mental pictures of reality to compare what comes in through the senses.
For example the mind has a mental concept or model of what a door is. Whenever the eyes see something that fits that model no matter what color it is or how large or small, or whether it's made of wood or metal the mind can quit paying attention to those things because it has recognized the object as a door. The brain doesn't need to take in every detail about the object because it has recognized the door and now it can filter out other details about the object.
So we see only what we want to see and hear only what we want to hear. The sights, sounds, and feelings that don't agree with what we're focused on are automatically ignored.
In the Bible, Jesus said,
"It will be done for you as you HAVE BELIEVED"
Notice he said as you HAVE BELIEVED not as you are going to believe or kind of believe. What you imagine is ALREADY true about yourself becomes the orders you give to your brain's filter. If you see yourself as successful your brain will filter out everything that does not agree with this image.
In other words, whether you like it or not, your life right now is the product of your beliefs. I know that there are some circumstances in your life that were put upon you such as where and to whom you were born, how you were born, your looks, or some disability you were born with or acquired as a result of disease or accident. But regardless of these circumstances, how and what you have believed about yourself have made you the person you are today.
You set the limits by the orders you give your brain and body. You do not have to be a victim of circumstance.
Helen Keller was both deaf and blind yet she went on to graduate from college and become a writer. Franklin Roosevelt was paralyzed by polio from the waist down. He refused to be limited by this handicap and went on to become President of the United States.
Use a Picture to keep
your Positive Memories active
Whatever you use to keep the positive memories active will work. For example, Have you heard of the Hilton hotel chain. Of coarse you have. But after this you'll think of something different than luxury hotels. From now on you'll remember the story of the man who was broke but refused to be broken.
A year earlier Connie was the proud and ambitious owner of a string of eight hotels. In fact in November of 1930 he had completed a three hundred room, nineteen story hotel in El Paso, Texas. He had hosted a party for twelve hundred people on opening night. That night Connie gave a glowing speech about America being the land of opportunity and told the audience that this "thing" ,as he called the Great Depression which started in 1929, "couldn't last." But he was wrong and by the end of 1931 he was broke.
wasn't just broke he was under a mountain of debt. He
had lost everything he had spent his life to build
because of the Great Depression. He had to move his
family into one of the hotels because he couldn't pay
the mortgage. To keep going for a while he had even
accepted a $300 loan from a bellboy, but that didn't
last long. When he pulled into the gas station where
he had credit the attendant told him he couldn't
charge anymore gas. Then the attendant filled the
tank and paid for it out of his own pocket.
Hilton was living out of suitcases constantly
traveling, desperately trying to raise enough money
to keep his indebted hotels from being taken away. On
one of these trips in December 1931 he had 38 cents
in his pocket when he saw a picture in a magazine
that changed his life. It was a picture of the
Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue in New York City. This
picture stirred him so deeply that he spent what
little money he had to buy that magazine.
Looking back on this event Conrad Hilton remembered:
"[W]hen I saw my first photograph of the recently built "new" Waldorf in 1931, read of such luxuries as a private railroad siding in the basement, a private hospital for guests, a golden rivet in her innards where her construction had started, six kitchens, two hundred cooks, five hundred waiters, one hundred dishwashers, not to mention two thousand rooms, I was beating my way around Texas half hidden under a ten-gallon hat, existing on a voluntary loan from a bellboy. My laundry was in hock and a gun-toting constable was trying to find places to hang up the court judgments against me.
"It was a presumptuous, an outrageous time to dream. Still I cut out that picture of the Waldrof and wrote across it 'The Greatest of Them All'. As soon as I had won back a desk of my own I slipped the dog-eared clipping under the glass top. From then on it was always in front of me.
years later, in October,1949, 'The Greatest of Them All'
became a Hilton Hotel."
Every day he looked at the picture to keep his goal in mind. Fifteen years later the Waldorf became a Conrad Hilton hotel.
When you see a Hilton Hotel from now on remember this story about a man who was broke but refused to be broken.
Use your Imagination to keep Your positive memories active
The famous golf pro Jack Nicklaus understands this. He wrote in his autobiography that he always first imagines the perfect shot before he ever swings. He says:
"it's like a color movie. First I 'see' the ball where I want it to finish, Then the scene quickly changes and I 'see' the ball going there: it's path, trajectory and shape, even it's behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of a fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the images into reality." If the body is in the business of taking orders why not give it orders to do it exactly right.
Your imagination is made of rearranged parts of memory
If you're into playing music listen to the story of Liu Shih-kum and his piano.
was a world famous Chinese pianist when in he was thrown into
prison by Mao Tse-Tung for playing western music instead of
Communist. Liu was beaten repeatedly and kept in a tiny prison
cell for six years with no books, no paper to write on and of
coarse no piano. But Liu had hope because even in prison he took
action. For six years he practiced on an imaginary piano.
Finally he was released by the Communists and allowed to come to Philadelphia were he played brilliantly with the orchestra even though on that night he had not touched a piano in over six years. He not only survived he flourished because he took action and automatically gave himself hope.
HOW to CASH a 10 Million Dollar BAD Check
days before his father's death Jim Carrey had signed a $10
million deal to star in the sequel to his blockbuster hit movie
THE MASK. Now he was a grieving son standing before a casket and
remembering how much his father had believed in him.
Years before he and his father had dreamed he would someday make it big in movies. Jim believed it so strongly, that while he was still an unknown actor, he had written himself a check for $10 million for "acting services rendered."
Thankfully, Jim had the consolation that his father had lived to see him become a star. He had accomplished everything his father had "hoped his whole life for [him] to do. Now on this saddest of all days Jim paid tribute to his father by placing that well worn "worthless" check for $10 million he had written to himself inside the casket. Though worthless, that check was more valuable than any movie deal.
It had been Jim Carrey's way to POSITIVELY REMEMBER his belief in his dream and his love for his father who encouraged that dream. That check reminded him of HOPE and that hope ORDERED his mind into action, even when earning millions seemed only a distant fantasy.
NAPOLEON'S MAGICAL STONE
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the obscure island of Corsica of the coast of Italy. Although he later became the emperor of France he did not learn how to speak French until he was ten years old. One day when he was a little boy his Grandmother called him over and gave him a very special gift. It was a beautiful star sapphire stone. She told young Napoleon that he must take care of the stone because it had the magical power to make whoever owned it the Emperor of France.
The boy was so impressed by the stone he kept it with him his whole life. As you know Napoleon did go on to become the Emperor of France. Was the star sapphire stone really MAGIC? The answer is Yes and No.
When Napoleon died the stone was examined by expert jewelers and found to be a worthless fake. The precious magical stone with the power to make whoever owned it the Emperor of France was nothing more than a cheap imitation of a sapphire.
The stone was not real after all, but it had worked magic in the life of Napoleon. It was not the stone that was magic, but the fact that every time Napoleon saw the sapphire he remembered his dream. He was reminded that the stone had the power to transform a poor boy from nowhere into an Emperor in the heart of Paris.
Each time he looked at it, held it in his hands he TURNED ON the real source of the magic. The real power of his own memory to make what is not into what will be. When doubts and fears came along, Napoleon had the stone to remind him of the memory and the feeling he had as a boy when he first received the promise of future glory. His belief in his own success would then overcome the thoughts of doubt and fear.
The stone's real magic was to constantly remind him of his childhood belief until believing in success became his habit.
Success is only a side-effect of THIS
I believe the next story will help you fulfill your purpose in life and find lasting success and happiness in all you do.
This man was Viktor Frankl. During World War II he was sent to the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. In this death camp where he spent over three years and lost his wife, Frankl discovered something great in man. It is ironic to find the glory of mankind in a place famous for the cruelty and evil of one people setting out to exterminate another. But in the doomed lives of his fellow prisoners Frankl found the one freedom that can never be taken away from man without his consent.
" We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to, those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate."
Frankl found the great glory of mankind was his ability to choose.
He goes on to sum up his greatest idea:
"in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him-mentally and spiritually."
It seems obvious that a person has choice but you and I know in life how easy it is to believe we are not free. So, if you are free to choose;
Frankl said this inner strength came from hope for some future goal you could look forward to.
"It is the peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future-and this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task."
The future the person looks forward to didn't matter. It only mattered that to achieve this goal gave meaning to his life. A reason to get up and a guide for his actions. Some believed heaven waited for them, so they acted to please God. Some hoped to see their loved ones again and wanted to live in such a way that their family would be proud. Others wanted to create some work, like the book Frankl wanted to write, and wished to survive to do it.
Imagining the Future to Activate Hope
In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Frankl tells the story of how he lived through the horror of the concentration camp by imagining his future. They were made to march a few miles in the freezing cold with only thin rags to wear on their bodies and torn shoes on their feet. They were made to work all day and fed most the time only a watered down soup or a small piece of bread.
While marching one day in the bitter cold in tears because his feet hurt so much he began to imagine himself standing on the platform of a well-lit, warm and pleasant lecture room. He imagined he was giving a lecture on his experiences in the camps as if they had happened long ago.
As he gave his imaginary talk he was no longer suffering the pain or the cold-he was in the warm lecture hall of the future wearing clean clothes and being treated with respect. He was looking for his future by making detailed plans, he was expecting to live long enough to tell about this awful place. And this imagining the future was his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence.
For example Frankl tells the following story:
"When I was taken to the concentration camp of Auschwitz, a manuscript of mine ready for publication was confiscated. Certainly, my deep desire to write this manuscript anew helped me to survive the rigors of the camps I was in. For instance, when in a camp in Bavaria I fell ill with typhus fever, I jotted down on little scraps of paper many notes intended to enable me to rewrite the manuscript, should I live to the day of liberation."
When you dream you're giving your body and mind orders to expect those dreams to come true. You're ordering your mind to take action and you're automatically giving yourself the gift of hope. This is the Power of Positive Remembering. This is the power to change your life into the life you've always hoped it would be.
All people are faced sooner or later with the questions:
Viktor Frankl believed the answers to the three above questions could only be answered by you, yourself. You have the choice of why your here, what's your purpose, and only you should decide what you want to do with the rest of your life.
When we are young we believe we have all the time in the world to do a hundred different careers. Unfortunately the choice is often made for us, by default. By failing to choose we end up where ever the chips fall. We come to believe its just our "fate" to be less than we dreamed as a child. After all we've had this and that circumstance to hinder us. And if only this person or that person had acted differently we could be in a much better position. But sooner or later we have to admit we are at fault. We either gave up our dreams because they seemed to hard to obtain or we really never choose a goal in the first place.
But how do you change this?
The answer is your imagination, your ability to visualize, your power to "see" in your mind anything you wish. This is the reason man can choose and therefore it is the tool you can use to control your mind and direct your life.
Frankl's most important advise is this;
"Don't aim at success . . . For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the UNINTENDED SIDE-EFFECT of one's personal DEDICATION TO A CAUSE greater than oneself or the BY-PRODUCT of one's SURRENDER TO A PERSON other than oneself."
Success is the natural fruit which grows out of the seeds of:
As Frankl has written it is you who can and must "decide what shall become of [you]" , so you must come to see yourself as the creator of your life, with a vision all your own and the natural ability to bring this vision to the world of the seen. This has far reaching implications because if God created you with the ability to create yourself and if inside you is a secret hidden vision you've always wanted-then it is your right and duty to create your vision.
HOW TO BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME
NO MATTER HOW BAD IT GETS
THE HIDING PLACE is the true story of the life of Corrie ten Boom. During World War II, the Nazi's caught Corrie, her sister Betsie and her father helping Jews. They put the ten Boom family in prison for this. Eventually Corrie and Betsie ended up at the same prison camp called Ravensbruck. One day they were put in Barracks 28.
Corrie writes on page 197,
"[Betsie and I] followed our guide single file-the aisle was not wide enough for two-fighting back the claustrophobia of these platforms rising everywhere above us. The tremendous room was nearly empty of people; they must have been out on various work crews. At last [our guide] pointed to a second tier in the center of a large block. To reach it we had to stand on the bottom level, haul ourselves up, and then crawl across three other straw-covered platforms to reach the one tat we would share with-how many? The deck above us was too close to let us sit up. We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw. We could hear the women who had arrived with us finding their places.
Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.
"Fleas!" I cried. "Betsie, the place is swarming with them!"
We scrambled across the intervening platforms, heads low to avoid another bump, dropped down to the aisle, and edged our way to a patch of light.
"Here! And here another one!" I wailed. "Betsie, how can we live in such a place!"
"Show us. Show us how." It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
"Corrie!" she said excitedly. "He's given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!"
Corrie began reading a passage from the New Testament book 1st Thessalonians and when she got to the right part Betsie said,
"That's it, Corrie! That's His answer. 'Give thanks in all circumstances!' That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!"
I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul aired room.
"Such as?" I said.
"Such as being assigned here together."
I bit my lip. "Oh yes, Lord Jesus!"
"Such as what you're holding in your hands."
I looked down at the Bible. "Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here!
"Yes," said Betsie. "Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we're packed so close, that many more will hear!" She looked at me expectantly. "Corrie!" she prodded.
"Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds."
"Thank You," Betsie went on serenely, "for the fleas and for -----"
The fleas! This was too much. "Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea."
" 'Give thanks in all
circumstances,' " she quoted. "It doesn't say. 'in pleasant
circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us."
And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong."
The secret to being happy all the time is to look for the blessings in all circumstances, constantly activating positive memories and feelings.