Dr. McKenzie has talked about the various “chains” of prior programming and erroneous beliefs that can present problems. This month, he discusses some solutions to the problem. The following exercise can help you learn to take control of thoughts and emotions.)
The following is excerpted from my forthcoming book, “The Magic Mirror” (copyright 1983) and is reproduced here for your benefit. I call this exercise “Thought Mastery.”
Find a comfortable position and enter your level.
Tell yourself that you want to look at your thoughts as an external observer. This observer is looking for things you habitually tell yourself.
Remind yourself that these thoughts, while habitual, are under your control. You turn them “on” and you can turn them “off.” These thoughts only seem to turn on out of control because they are pervasive and repetitious – they intrude into your consciousness like a worry.
Start by recalling the typical consequences of a habitual thought. Examine how you feel now, and then call up the usual symptoms. Recall the emotions or the pain and discomfort from a recent instance.
Now mentally go back to the activation event – the turn on -the stimulus. Review everything about the earliest onset of your feelings – the earliest awareness of your symptoms. Review where you were, who was present, what was going on and how you felt. Be especially aware of any changes in your feelings. You are now aware of the consequences (your symptoms or usual reaction), and you are aware of the stimulus and the activation of your emotions.
Count mentally, 1, 2, 3, and like magic, at the count of 3, the thought you told yourself appears to you. You are acutely aware of the thought-link between your present feelings or symptoms (real or recalled) and the thought you turned “on” when the stimulus occurred.
Tell yourself, “I do not want the effects and consequences of this thought-link. I will be more and more aware of turning it ‘on’ and I will control the entire process by turning it ‘off.’ The more I turn it off, the less it controls me – I have mastery.”
Reaffirm the fact that your thoughts influence your emotions. Know that you can master any thought activity of which you make yourself aware.
I suggest that you take time to explore, become aware of, and master your habitual thoughts as you activate your concepts of sadness, happiness, anxiety, anger and any other pervasive or repetitive thoughts, feelings or ideas in your life.
Remember that exploring your conscious and subconscious mind is necessary for active mental control.
UNCHAIN YOUR MIND
To cast loose the chains of the mind, we must practice going to level, and strive to change the perceptions and the fantasies that represent the meanings that we attach to our experiences.
The links that we have forged are the inner dialogues within our own minds. As one of the ancient Greek philosophers, Epictetus, wrote, “Men are distressed, not by things, but by the views which they take of them.”
Once you gain awareness of the “furnishings” of your mental “house,” you can rearrange, repair or replace it at will.
The applicable Silva Method techniques are those of problem-solving which enable us to recognize the negative thought patterns and the “silent” assumptions, the “cognitive schema,” that can trigger and/or perpetrate emotional upsets.
We can also identify the distortions or unrealistic ideas, the habitual thoughts, which we have in relation to external events in our world.
Using our programming techniques, we can substitute more realistic, corrective thinking which will reduce our painful feelings. Through self-programming, we can also replace faulty belief systems with reasonable ones, and finally, with mental projection, we can develop and improve interpersonal and social skills.
The end result of freeing the chains of the mind is greater self-confidence and self-esteem.
As one of my clients said, “I feel wonderful now because I realize I am no longer a victim – My world is for me – I have control!” I thought of Isaiah 30:15, “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
By Dr. Richard E. McKenzie
Better and better,