“Positive thinking” does not work (and what does) – Part I

If you found out you had a serious disease, and you have heard that if only you believe you can heal you will, and you decide to just sit there and do nothing, that’s not what I think is wise. Chances are you are just trying to avoid facing it, and that’s what I call being “delusional”!

Another extreme is being paranoid and acting out of fear and worry.  So you focus on the treatment all the time. My friend Anita Moorjani (best selling author of Dying to be Me) explains how she literally created her cancer out of focusing on avoiding it. (And she does not have family history of it.) Click here for the video interview >>>

“Positive thinking” does not work if only a small part of your consciousness is trying to be “positive”, and that most of the other part is not in alignment. Or it can feel like your “head” is saying something, your body (including your heart and your gut feel) is believing something else.  (In fact all of us have some sort of “split personalities”!)

However, if you can see how the disease is just the body trying to heal and bring you back to balance (it will be the subject of another post), then you are learning from your experience and taking the first step in addressing the root cause(s).

So let’s come back to how our brain works…

Latest neuro-science has found or confirmed these:

  • 95% of the consciousness is in the subconscious level, and the subconscious mind directs our physiology, perceptions and habits. Only 5% is in the conscious level (so it’s really like the tip of the iceburg)
  • We store emotional memory at the cellular level. That means if you have unresolved anger for example, it affects every single cell in your body. It affects gene expression.
  • As such our perceptions and beliefs have a direct impact on our health (in fact Traditional Chinese Medicine and many other ancient body of knowledge have always acknowledged the direct link between emotions, thoughts and physical health)
  • We remember negative experience much better than positive ones (as a survival need).
  • Over 70% of our thoughts are repetitive and negative (if we run on our “auto-pilot” mode).
  • We only see what we already believe if we are operating from the automatic left brain driven state and we deny and filter out what does not fit into what we already believe (that’s why we confirm existing beliefs by default)
  • Most of our limiting beliefs are formed from interpretation of our experience and they are formed before the age of 6 (and we continue to reconfirm these beliefs later in life by default).  In fact we “download” our programming before we are even born from our parents.

These limiting beliefs are programs running in our subconscious mind.  Most of us struggle trying to be “positive”, “happy” and “doing the right things” from the top 5% level of consciousness, which is our conscious mind, driven by our left brain.  And we seem to have no control over our “automatic” insecurities, self criticism, fear of change, self doubt, anxiety and/or self sabotage, which is coming from the amydala in our limbic brain (our primordial brain) which triggers the stress response.

Unless we can proactively align our conscious and subconscious minds, and clear cellular memory of negative emotional charge (which triggers the stress response), we will have a hard time living a truly fulfilling life and reaching our full potential.

And it is a moment-to-moment awareness training – it’s like taking out the garbage regularly at home – would you do that everyday?

But how? As cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton explains well in his ground-breaking book The Biology of Belief, our subconscious mind is like a tape recorder. It runs on pre-set programs we have formed before we were even conscious. No matter how our conscious mind calls out and tells it to change the tape, it is not able to do anything…

Or is that true?

The good news is, latest neuroscience has also shown that our brain is highly malleable and its growth and wiring continues throughout our life.  While it gets “lazy” if we don’t challenge its existing wiring, we can first become AWARE, and train our brain to interpret the experience at hand in a different way (that is more empowering and life-affirming). It takes practice just like training a muscle.

And sometimes that’s why it takes a really big “challenge” (e.g. getting sick, losing a loved one, losing a secure job…) for us to “wake up” and break out from old programming.

It’s when we are forced to pause and consider other ways to do things and to perceive things that we had previously filtered out as an automatic response.

Proceed to Part II to read about less “traumatic” ways to change and get different results…

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