It has been often said "life is just one big relationship". This appears to be true as every day we encounter other people and experience feelings in relationship to them as well as to our work.
More importantly, every moment of the day we are experiencing feelings in relationship to ourselves. There are several major scientific discoveries concerning the subconscious mind and the mind/body connection which show us how we understand, manage, and can change, our relationship with other people and ourselves.
The Influence of the Conscious and Subconscious Mind
Your mind has two parts each with separate functions: there is the conscious part, which is 12% of our mind, and the subconscious part, which is the other 88%. The conscious part is the one we readily identify with. It is our "doing, action state". It is what we use to perceive the world and to make decisions such as "I don't like this person!". The subconscious mind is responsible for storing our memory ("The last time you saw this person you had an argument!"), plus habits ("Every time I'm criticised I get angry!"), personality, self-image. Also it controls our bodily functions (notice you don't have to consciously think about doing these things).
The subconscious mind retains a primitive mechanism, which records the "experience" of every situation you encounter. This is called "conditioning". If you either anticipate (think about) or actually experience that same situation again, those previous feelings will be re-experienced emotionally in the same form, either positively or negatively. This mechanism forms part of the way we learn.
Unexpressed Emotion is Stored and Subconsciously Recalled
Basically we are aroused by only two sensations - pain and pleasure. We all want to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. The emotional cycle which can lead to depression begins in the present with our initial experience of pain or pleasure, and ends with complex feelings which are "remembered" exclusively in the past. This cycle of emotions has been found by psychiatrists to follow this pattern:
- Pain in the present is experienced as hurt
- Pain in the past is remembered as anger
- Pain in the future is perceived as anxiety or fear
- Unexpressed anger, redirected against yourself and held within, is experienced as guilt
- The depletion of energy that occurs when anger is redirected inward creates depression
In many cases these "hurts" which become "conditioned subconscious reflexes" are modified by our subsequent behaviour. Say for instance you make a serious mistake at work and the boss calls you into his office to severely discipline you. In the conversation you experience intense emotion because the mistake was not entirely your fault but you are not given the opportunity to clearly explain your point. You are then sent back to your desk with feelings of anger and frustration. A few minutes later a colleague mentions that the "boss wants to see you again". In the moment of hearing this your subconscious anticipates your next encounter. This could be by projecting the feeling of fear - "I don't want to experience another hostile situation with that unreasonable person!" Or maybe you experienced anger - "If he/she doesn't give me the opportunity to speak I will let him/(her) have it!" Or guilt - "I really have stuffed things up this time haven't I!". Or maybe depression - "I have had enough of this job!" These feelings subconsciously arise (you don't consciously ask for them to appear!) and are anticipated before the actual experience.
The Mind and Body are not Separate
Biochemists, physiologists and psychologists have discovered that our bodies express themselves as either thoughts or molecules. For instance, the feeling of fear can be described as an abstract feeling or a tangible molecule such as adrenaline. Without the feeling there is no hormone and without the hormone there is no feeling. In the same way there can be no pain without the nerve signals to transmit the pain and no relief of pain without endorphins which block the pain reception. This is a major discovery - every thought produces a chemical reaction in the body.
This idea is important for two reasons. First, if you experience anger in an encounter with another person, they may experience an angry outburst from you but your body also experiences a biochemical outburst of chemicals within itself! If you encounter this person again, or even just think about them, these feelings are anticipated, and the biochemical process is initiated, and the chemicals are again released. If you have a habit of responding to certain situations in anger, the same result occurs.
When experiencing the feeling of acceptance, forgiveness and love the body produces, a different combination of hormones. The important fact about these positive chemicals is that they have the power to neutralise both an actual experience of anger or a subconsciously anticipated one. You can learn how to consciously control your feelings so that negative subconscious reactions and emotions can be neutralised. New responses to situations can be chosen.
In the Life Skills Seminar you learn how to improve your relationships by understanding how the brain works and by practising the following skills:
- How to consciously relax and release stress any time anywhere
- How to develop focused concentration
- How to consciously develop feelings of acceptance, forgiveness and love
- Mind/body exercises to neutralise negative subconscious reactions formed out of past relationships
- Mind/body exercises to program new subconscious reactions to relationships.
You May Ask "How Effective Are These Techniques?"
How about I let some of my seminar participants explain that to you
Sandy, I want to let you know how very much your course has changed my life. As Norbert Wiener has said, the techniques you teach are nothing less than "the secret of life". For some years I have been a nervous and fearful person, both of which were a manifestation of going through a marriage break up and bankruptcy proceedings. Confidence in myself had plummeted. Through the techniques you have taught me, my life has dramatically changed around.
For example, my first book is on track to being published; my business is on track to being largely successful; and more importantly, all my relationships family and friends continue to strengthen. By using the techniques I've been able to cope with my stresses and work towards balancing the diverse demands of relationships, family and finance. It is electrifying to be associated with someone who understands the awesome power of imagination.
Spiritually it is gratifying to know someone like you, who understands the power of forgiveness and the power of love. It can be truly said you are a walking example of one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's creeds - "Every soul is not only the inlet, but may become the outlet of all there is in God."
Kieran John Forde, NSW
Dear Sandy, Since completing your seminar I have made a "career move". I am no longer the harassed mother at the supermarket, come on you've all seen me! I am now the assertive, positive listener, creating a happy environment. My new career has taken on a new dimension, I am the "Super mum" I want to be, not the one society expects me to be. I am now responding to my inner needs & expectations not society's - mine are realistic goals set by me - I can only succeed.
Primarily we teach by our actions, not words; by using the relaxation methods I am enriching my life and theirs. I have come to realize how powerful positive parenting can be. My goal was so high it wasn't immediately evident. I didn't even think I had one, but it was sitting there waiting for me to grow into it. With the help of your seminar I have made my first step towards that goal by helping my children be at peace with themselves and each other. Imagine if we could create a generation, a world, to become at peace with themselves and each other, and we are all capable of that, now that's an incredibly powerful thought. My latest emotion of joy is now locked into my subconscious when my 3 year old son said: "Mummy I like you!" I felt a great peace spread through me, suddenly I knew I already had what I was looking for and with my new found positive approach I could really start to enjoy it ....
Tracy Johnson, NSW
I had been a fairly heavy smoker (30 a day) for 27 years. I did not make a big deal about the smoking as a goal, but it was there in the background the whole time. On the Wednesday following the seminar I had my last cigarette after dinner. Very cool, no fuss - I just KNEW it was my last cigarette. A week later I still had no urge to smoke (just a feeling of "what's missing?" I haven't been irritable or cranky (haven't beaten the kids once!) and I feel just great and not a little pleased with myself. I went on and applied the techniques to releasing weight. I released 5 stone (that's 31 kilos) - my self esteem soared, relationships improved - you can just imagine all the great effects can't you? I feel just great!
Julie Van den Driesen, VIC
So What is the Next Action Step that You Can Take?
CALM makes suggestions on how you can develop your skills in dealing with Overcoming Grief and Loss using Sandy MacGregor's low cost Tapes, Books, CDs, Videos and Seminars which have been utilised by thousands of people successfully since 1990.