Establishing Neural Pathways


In the last month I have completed watching a series on ABC TV (from the BBC) titled "the humanbrain", narrated by Professor Robert Winston . The series takes a pioneering journey through the unexplored galaxy inside our own heads, describing cutting edge science and extraordinary experiments. (This series is available from ABC bookshops in Australia for $29.95). My favourite part of the series is when Professor Winston talks about a neural pathway and the fact that science has made the connection between visualisation and the establishment of a neural pathway. Furthermore, the established link between a neural pathway and physical achievement.

The experiment described

A very competent young gymnast, who had been practising for five hours a day for 10 years, wanted to compete in the Olympic Games.

This meant that she had to learn a very complicated move. Despite what the coach showed and described to her, when the young gymnast tried the new move, she failed - over and over again. It was just not working and she  needed a more "radical" approach - visualisation.

We saw the young gymnast standing still and practising the move in her mind - hundreds, if not thousands of times. You, of course, know the end result. When she then actually tried the move she was successful and could now focus on improving her technique. Robert Winston went on to say that what science has shown is that through visualisation the young gymnast had established a new neural pathway inside her mind. It was not until this neural pathway had been established that the actual physical achievement of completing the move could take place. [click here] for a very short excerpt from the program (it is about 2 megs and will take a minute or so for those on broadband).

What more is there?

I have said, time and again, that "all good and lasting change occurs on the inside first". Another way to say this is, "if you can't perceive this happening in your mind's eye then there is very little chance of it taking place in physical reality".

Remember what the deeper meaning of visualisation is? It doesn't mean just see or see in your mind's eye! It is to visualise by using any or all of our senses (see, feel, smell, hear, or taste) and imagine and talk to yourself. The latter two we can all do; however with the five senses we can have varying degrees of success.

So if you can't -
- visualise yourself doing well in an exam, or
- visualise running a race and achieving it in a certain time, or
- envisaging yourself in the job that you want, or ...........
- expand your mind with other examples -

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

Achieving faster using my system

I have written about this before and it is now appropriate to revisit my system. The young gymnast was standing still, focusing on visualising inside her mind, over and over again.

You don't have to stand - you can sit comfortably. It is all very well to say "focus" on visualisation, however many people may have a challenge to do that. An easy way to do that is to go to your Peaceful Place, which takes you to the Alpha brainwave state, that is, a relaxed and focused state. Once you are in this focused state the Reticular Activating System is open and you can work inside your mind establishing new "neural pathways" which become new habits.

I suggest in my system that you say your written goal (in positive, present tense, and personal language,) and then visualise the outcome. In the case of the young gymnast, not only completing the new move, but visualising the fact that she was representing her country at the Olympic Games would be most appropriate.

How do you think she would be feeling at the end of this visualisation? Fantastic! Yes the emotion has started. It is this emotion that is the language of the subconscious mind (not words, sounds or pictures,) and this emotion, can be enhanced using other good positive emotional events overlaying and adding to the original emotion. I teach the Emotional Anchor technique to achieve this. With more emotion the new neural pathway (the new habit) is established faster.

Muscle improvement

Professor Winston went on to describe how science has shown that up to 50% of muscle gain with "body builders" in a gymnasium can be gained just using the visualisation process! Almost unbelievable isn't it

And yet when we stop and think about how science is showing how the human mind works, why not! After all, we have all heard about experiments being done years ago with basketballers shooting for baskets - how those who visualised beat those that actually practised.

A friend of mine is a paraplegic from the waist down. He has been visualising exercising his legs for years and his legs look good. The more common outcome for paraplegics who do not visualise is that their legs waste away.


I am personally thrilled that what I have been encouraging for years, has now got even more science behind it. The credibility of what I teach has taken another leap forward! I encourage you to study and practise my system in your daily life - making the system a habit. This way you establish new neural pathways and achieve the possibilities that you dream about. If you are wondering what to do next then attend my two-day or five-day/four nights seminars or buy and study the system through two-day seminar on DVD.

So, be encouraged! Science is showing how our mind works. To achieve goals faster, create a new habit or to replace one that you wish to let go, use my system - it works - put it into your daily life!

All the best,

Sandy signature
Sandy MacGregor

Success Stories

     Yes I have  a success story that I am happy to share.  I came to one of your seminars in Port Macquarie a couple of years ago with my husband, which we both thoroughly enjoyed and for us it reinforced the messages in your book, (which we had purchased many years ago) and has become a bible for us.  I was interested in working on my peaceful place meditation as a way of overcoming my anxiety and fear of flying, as our family had an 8 week overseas holiday planned in 6 months time, and I was already feeling the fear of getting on the plane. I had worked out that we would be boarding 9 flights during our overseas trip. I purchased your CD for meditation practice on fear/anxiety. 
     Each and everyday I listened to this CD and practised the meditation.  After approximately 2-3 weeks I could feel a shift in my anxiety about flying.  I noticed that whenever I thought of the trip I was becoming less and less fearful of it and actually started to look forward to it.  I really got into the meditation, gaining a sense of smell, feel, emotion and calm.  When the day came that  we were to board our first flight, I was not at all concerned with the flight and got caught up in the shared excitement of our future journey.  Each and every flight I boarded during my trip was the same, I felt relaxed and excited about the next leg of our journey.  The exercise of imagining that I was on the plane, smelling it , feeling it, seeing all of the other people and so on, somehow gave me a sense of familiarity the more I practised the meditation.  I realised that my fears were quite irrational as they were not founded on anything. 
     I have applied this meditation to other little anxieties that may creep into my thoughts and find the meditation extremely effective.  The 'peaceful place' component of the meditation is a strategy/tool/skill I use almost daily.  I love it.  It provides me with the silence to escape the internal chatter that tries to persist in controlling my thoughts. That too has reduced considerably with ongoing meditation, and an inner state of just being and accepting is most prominent for me now. Thank You Sandy.  DS NSW

     Hello Sandy. It's been a long time since I started using the Peaceful Place technique (1996). I credit it with contributing in large part, to the persistence I have been able to exercise in getting to the stage of being in the last few months of my first ever degree. Not only am I about to complete a Bachelor of Arts, with a double major, in Psychology and Philosophy, but I hope (and expect) to obtain an honours year in 2008, with the eventual aim of completing a PhD.
     So it's not just the short term benefit of PP that is important - and in 1996, that was substantial, but the possibility of achieving major changes in life-skills and long-term well-being that is available.  MG SA


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