As a kid you work on emotional knowing (which isn’t knowledge)and it is sometimes right and sometimes wrong: As an adult you go out and acquire ‘knowledge’ which is sometimes right and sometimes wrong! I really upset one of my philosophy professors when I said that we do not really ‘know’ very much at all and that no one really knows where we started****, we have beliefs, some of us have faith, but many of the things we ‘know’ are no more credible in the long term than when we ‘knew’ the world was flat. If you experience something then you know that it happened, you were there, you weren’t drunk or on drugs so your pretty sure what you experienced; others may or may not believe you but they cannot ‘know’ for sure! One difference I guess is that no matter how much energy is put into knowing something you wont usually make it so. However, putting energy into what you believe can and often does make it manifest! Yes that sounds like gobbledygook!
Unless you have practiced meditating, programming your mind, visualization, prayer (whatever label works for you: personally I try not to get hung up on labels). At the end of the day ‘believing’ give you hope and hope is what gets you over the line.
Sadly being a psychologist for so many years means I have seen a number of completed suicides! They cannot talk about their last moments. Those that almost completed their suicide attempt all say the one same thing: at the end it wasn’t that they had run out of money, friends, love etc.: every one of them said it was because they had given up HOPE!
***As a child no matter how people explained our origins to me, the 1 question that drove me nuts was ‘But where did the nothingness before that come from??’ Now I just tell myself that when our brains evolve more we will be able to answer that question!
So you have been practicing the techniques from Part 1. You now know you have a lot of control over your body; you can also see the link between your mind and your physiological responses right!
Part two of the earlier exercise: (DO NOT START ON THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT PRACTICED THE FIRST PART) I want you to find a pain that you are experiencing now: focus on it with everything you have and MAKE IT WORSE!
Yup I said increase your pain! Trust me on this: Your brain is actually highly experienced in increasing your pain levels in various situtions. In fact we are pretty good at increasing lots of undesirable stuff in our lives; just by using our brain the wrong way. So practice this over and over: Increase – hold – and return to where it was. You know how to do it! Think it! Do it! Think it! Do it! (Just like Homer)
We are talking long term pain and long term results so please resist the urge to go to the next stage too soon: I want you to practice this for as long as it takes for you to feel the exhilaration of knowing you can control you body in this way. Even though it hurts; really do look on the up side of this! When you reach this point (not before) you are ready to have a little talk to your brain: You have established that your brain controls every part of you body! You have just provided yourself with definitive evidence that you can increase your pain levels. Logical conclusion? You can now start to reduce, turn down the levels, of your pain! Remember mentally getting rid of the pain may not mean you can throw away your stick or get out of the wheelchair (it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t either) but essentially we are saying that you know what you need to know about the damage; you do what is necessary, like not running on a sprained ankle: So Brain…we got the memo!… we know what the pain message was for and now we do not need it! You now have the tools to minimize your pain but like everything else in your toolbox: It only works if you use it! Many clients tried this, they did not believe it would work, but they trusted me, results varied BUT everyone got results!
NO I am not saying you are faking it OR its all in your head….OK well actually I am saying its largely in our heads! But you need to take that in context!
OH. The tattoo, well you already worked out the answer by now! People work up a pretty strong expectation of pain from the Dentist. When we get tattoos we have a totally different mindset! ©
There are people born without the wiring that tells their brain to feel pain: you want that disorder you say? Seriously? Have you ever had a paper cut on your finger and it did not even hurt until you knew it was there? Imagine you’re an athlete and you break an ankle but your brain doesn’t receive the message (pain response) so you keep on running….you end up with much worse damage than a sprained ankle. So how about someone who has damaged nerves in their leg; everything medically that can be done has been. They have their walking stick; they know what they can and can’t do… Brain got the memo! Message received! We have damage and we have done everything we can to fix it! So why does he need to continue feeling pain; well maybe if he forgets about the damage he might toss the walking stick and start playing footy. What if I say you can learn not to feel the pain (or at the very least to reduce those pain messages considerably). More on this later…
The process: Take this slow and work on each step until you ‘get it!’ Sit in a chair; I want to work first on getting you to know your body and heighten your physical awareness (and control)! So start with the butt muscle;
You already know how to flex and release your butt muscle. Do you know exactly how you control this muscle group? Or is it more like you just think it and it happens? Practice that a few times. Of course a professional can explain the dynamics of brain impulses, action potentials and a whole lot of science gobbledygook BUT to us mere mortals, it really does seem like we just think it and it happens. Now go for something a little harder, lock in you abdominals (your core) this is really hard to start with but keep trying until you get it (bonus: while you do this you are working on your six pack). Practice locking, holding and releasing. Try to build up to a whole minute ‘hold’ and you will start to get rock hard abs. If your struggling, any gym junky will give you some tips on how to do it.
Now for a visual: Again sitting in the chair I want you to play with a muscle you can see: tense and release a top thigh muscle and watch it move: Think it, move it; think it; move it; Even Homer can do that one.
OK now for a leap of faith, think of a muscle inside where you can’t see… or feel…. .Throats are good for this. Especially if you have ever had anxiety and you have felt that scary tightening of the throat brought about by a fear response. Remember you will not get any proof that it is happening so do it quite a few times. With enough practice you may become vaguely aware that it is working; more than likely you will just have to believe me! BUT since it worked on the ones you can feel and see, doesn’t common sense and logic tell you that it is working on ones you cannot see ??????
Just because you can’t prove something does not mean it is not happening! Can you prove there are no purple polar bears?
I won’t give you the rest of the exercise just yet because I want you to practice this stage first. So keep doing these exercises until you understand that your brain actually can control all your muscles (and your body) ©
Check back in a few days and I will show you how you can apply this to reducing (or eliminating) pain. And we can address the question…..Why is getting a tattoo less painful than going to the dentist?