Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Mind Matters

Mind Matters

Man invents faster every day in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. From the beginning of the universe or the birth of a star to the origin of life and genetic inheritance, the enigmas of existence have progressively been figured out. However, the human brain which has allowed the man to achieve this knowledge is still a mystery.

The essence of human intelligence is summarized in music - the perfect combination of reason and emotion. For example, each member of a musical quartet, overflowing with a wind of sensations, uses his memory to remember the piece glancing at the musical score every once in awhile and concentrating to create a virtuoso performance in unison with his companions.

The technique is already subconscious while their attention is aimed at creating the most moving performance. This is the objective, to provoke an emotion that, in this case, the listeners can intimately share and which arouses sensations of pleasure and sometimes rejection in the mind.

In order for this to happen music needs memory, intelligence and will. Where are they and why are they produces? These abilities come from the brain, the corporeal organ where all our thoughts and actions are developed. This is also the place where the mind is found as well as the essence of a person. What she thinks, what she feels and what she imagines. It is the hotbed of sensations and feelings, of images and ideas of each individual human being.

Due to its complexity the brain is one of the territories under scientific investigation with a most mysteries. The basis of its biology is known as well as some models of its functionality, but yet it's not understood why some things are remembered while others are not? Why such a strange mechanism like the human mind worries about itself, about the origin of life, and about the meaning of death?



Higher Energy Levels Produce Faster Success

People who achieve success faster usually have higher energetic levels. Energy is defined as the capacity for vigorous activity, or available power. Since energy is a form of wealth that comes to us faster when our energy is in higher motion. When our body and mind function at high energy level, we will be able to learn more, work more and enjoy our life better. The world belongs to the energetic.

Most people do not have access to their full level of creative energy because they have many energy blocks or leaks. Depending on which way you see it from, they are actually both the same thing. It is an energy block when it prevents you from using it. It is an energy leak when it is being diverted to accomplish something else. In short, we are prevented from using certain amounts of our energy because it is being diverted somewhere else for a particular work.

People who are happily successful have a lot more free access to their creative energy than other people because they focus on things that liberate their energy. Our mind moves quicker and easier when our emotional states are lighter and freer. The feeling of happiness supplies us with high levels of energy to do lots of creative work with higher quality, speed and ease. All of it produce faster success.


Michio Kaku: Consciousness Can be Quantified

In the entire universe the two greatest scientific mysteries are first of all the origin of the universe itself. And second of all the origin of intelligence. Believe it or not, sitting on our shoulders is the most complex object that Mother Nature has created in the known universe. You have to go at least 24 trillion miles to the nearest star to find a planet that may have life and may have intelligence. And yet our brain only consumes about 20-30 watts of power and yet it performs calculations better than any large supercomputer. So it's a mystery. How is the brain wired up? And if we can figure that out what can we do with it to enhance our mental capabilities.

When you look at the brain and all the parts of the brain they don't seem to make any sense at all. The visual part of the brain is way in the back, for example. Why is the brain constructed the way it is? Is this nothing but an accident of evolution? Well one way to look at it is through evolution. That is, the back of the brain is a so-called reptilian brain. The most ancient primitive part of the brain that governs balance, territoriality, mating. And so the very back of the brain is also the kind of brain that you find in reptiles. Now when I was a child I would go to the science museum and look at the snakes sometimes and they would stare back at me. And I would wonder, "What are they thinking about?" Well, I think now I know. What they're thinking about was, "Is this person lunch?"

Then we have the center part of the brain going forward and that's a so-called monkey brain, the mammalian brain. The brain of emotions. The brain of social hierarchies. And then finally the front of the brain is the human brain, especially the prefrontal cortex. This is where rational thinking is. And when you ask yourself a question where am I anyway. The answer is right behind your forehead. That's where you really are.

Well, I have a theory of consciousness which tries to wrap it all up together. There've been about 20,000 or so papers written about consciousness and no consensus. Never in the history of science have so many people devoted so much time to produce so little. Well, I'm a physicist and when we physicists look at a mysterious object the first thing we try to do is to create a model. A model of this object in space. And then we hit the play button and run it forward in time. This is how Newton was able to come up with the theory of gravity. This is how Einstein came up with relativity. So I tried to use this in terms of the human brain and evolution. So what I'm saying is I have a new theory of consciousness based on evolution. And that is consciousness is the number of

feedback loops required to create a model of your position in space with relationship to other organisms and finally in relationship to time.

So think of the consciousness of a thermostat. I believe that even a lowly thermostat has one unit of consciousness. That is, it senses the temperature around it. And then we have a flower. A flower has maybe, maybe ten units of consciousness. It has to understand the temperature, the weather, humidity, where gravity is pointing. And then finally we go to the reptilian brain which I call level 1 consciousness and reptiles basically have a very good understanding of their position in space, especially because they have to lunge out and grab prey. Then we have level 2 consciousness, the monkey consciousness. The consciousness of emotions, social hierarchies, where are we in relationship to the tribe. And then where are we as humans.

As humans we are at level 3. We run simulations into the future. Animals apparently don't do this. They don't plan to hibernate. They don't plan the next day's agenda. They have no conception of tomorrow to the best of our ability. But that's what our brain does. Our brain is a prediction machine. And so when we look at the evolution from the reptilian brain to the mammalian brain to the pre-frontal cortex, we realize that is the process of understanding our position in space with respect to others, that is emotions and finally running simulations into the future.


Michio Kaku - Our Brain on a Laser Beam

Isaac Asimov was my favorite science fiction writer and his favorite science fiction story talked about an era far in the future when our bodies would be in pods and we would mentally control beings, beings of pure energy that would go flying around the universe. And, of course, it was science fiction but here's the idea. Mind without body. Pure consciousness roaming across the universe faster than any rocket ship. It turns out that that's actually a physical possibility. First of all the Obama administration and the European Union are pushing the Brain Project to delineate all the pathways of the human brain.

This means that one day we might have a CD ROM called Brain 2.0. That is every single neuron encoded on a memory disc, our personality, our memories, who we are, the essence of our soul would be incorporated in this disc as pure information. Even if we die our consciousness, in some sense, may live on.Now we as an organic being will have died. That means that our neurons will turn to dust. But the configuration of neurons that made our thinking process possible can be put on a disc in which case, in some sense we become immortal. Not only immortal but this could be the most efficient way to explore the galaxy just like Isaac Asimov predicted in his short story. Let's say I take your, not your genome but your connectome, put it on a laser beam; in fact in It's actually calculated how big a laser beam will be required to put our consciousness as pure photons; shine it into the heavens. We are now shooting consciousness into outer space at the speed of light. Forget booster rockets. Forget asteroid collisions. Forget radiation dangers and weightlessness and lack of oxygen. Forget all that. We are riding on a laser beam at the speed of light and then at the end there's a relay station.

A relay station which takes the laser beam and then puts into a surrogate. That is all the neural networks encoded into laser beam can be manifested as a robot on the other side of the galaxy. So in other words, it's like staying at a hotel. If we are a businessman we go from hotel to hotel and relax. The same way we would be on a laser beam going from relay station to relay station and when we go to the relay station we take the robot body of a super human. We become superman on the other end of the rainbow. So is this a physical possibility? Yes. When might we have it? Well let's be honest. It would take perhaps a hundred years or so before we have a complete understanding of the connectome that is all the neuropathways of the brain. Perhaps another century beyond that before we have relay stations on which we could then shoot our consciousness into outer space. Is it mathematically and physically possible and the answer is, yes.


When we are centered in right thinking, we send out only good will to others and are without fear. We cannot be influenced by the negative thoughts of others. In fact, we could only receive good thoughts, as we send forth only good thoughts. Resisting places us in a state of torment. Perhaps our fear is of their personality and do not avoid them. Be willing to meet them cheerfully, and they will either prove golden links in the chain of our good, or disappear harmoniously from our life.


Three factors of Intention - Will, Desire and Belief

Masha'Allah, our Mind is a powerful tool. The Will is the mind force or mental assertion. When we Will something, we mentally assert it. We have the mindset that commands and demands that it must be so, and that it Will. Our Will gives power to our intention. Will is the outward projection of Spirit. The Will is choice of focus. We choose what we focus on, what we hold our attention on, and where we align our energy towards with our Will.

The Will is the ruling faculty of the mind. Only the conscious mind has the ability to assert the Will. We, who has no will has no mind. Our mind is not our own if is being used by another. Unless we control thought, it will control us. Concentration is sustained focus. Will is the faculty of concentration.

Concentration requires interest. The relation between concentration and interest is the relation between Will and Desire. The Will is concentration of attention.


Influence Others by How We Project Ourself

People don’t see us as we are, they see what we project. What we see about others is also what they are projecting, therefore their projection is a mirror of our projection. By changing our projection, we change the reflection we get. Everything we experience in our reality is what we create. We tend to mistake projection with being, therefore we wonder why people are not reflecting our being. The truth is that our being also needs expression. Most people react primarily to our role and not our being.

We are all mirrors of one another. How people relate with us is a reflection of how we are projecting ourself to them. There are people who seem to attract mistreatment everywhere they go. If we experience being treated poorly, pay attention to how we are treating others. Are we aloof, unresponsive and unnoticing towards some people some of the time? Do not expect others to change first, but change the way we project ourself. We can be perceived in a totally different way just by acting differently.

Everything is perceived with an image/reputation. The clothes we wear, the car we travel in, our body language, our voice, our physical appearance, our expression, our emotional state, our mental activity, all of these from the outer to the inner, are layers and components of our image/reputation. This is why changing each of these things can change the way others in our environment respond to us. People are responding to the image/reputation that we project.

What they perceive and respond to depends on the depth and range of their senses/sensors. When we communicate on the same wavelength they are on, this is what is meant by speaking their language.


How Your Unconscious Mind Manifest Reality

"Let's say you have to choose what you are going to do tonight. During your previous sleep period your unconscious mind loads three possible paths into your probability pool. You may choose: staying home, going out with your friend, or going for a walk in the park. The probable version of you staying home has you becoming bored. The probable version of you going out with your friend has you enjoying yourself, and the probable version of you walking in the park leads to a new relationship. You can only manifest one of these. Your unconscious mind looks to your conscious mind for direction. It finds that, even though you would enjoy the fun and excitement of going out, you would rather take a walk in the park because you are seeking a long-term relationship. Your unconscious mind does a little further digging and finds that going out with your friend or staying home does not solve your relationship-seeking goal. So, your unconscious mind determines that going to the park would be the better choice. Then, at the right moment, you get an irresistible urge to take a walk in the park (which you follow) and this probable action gets pulled out of the pool and manifests.

Now I‘ve made this example simple to demonstrate what occurs. However, in many instances hundreds of factors get taken into account before a final version of an event is materialized - for example, factors like your feelings, your physical condition, your long-term and short-term goals, the circumstances that each probable action is liable to put you in, whom you may meet, whom you may not meet, etc.

Despite all these factors, freewill always applies! That's why your unconscious mind looks to your conscious mind for a final determination. The only problem with this selection process is that sometimes your conscious mind doesn't always reflect what you want or what is best for you. This crossing of wires is the reason you sometimes manage to materialize a probable action you do not wish. Your unconscious mind is not at fault for materializing the wrong course of action; for the most part, your unconscious mind is just following orders. The error probably came when your unconscious mind looked into your conscious mind and the wrong data was present.

Using the example of going out or staying home, what if your unconscious mind looked into your conscious mind and saw uncertainty of getting involved in a new relationship? That uncertainty within your mind could alter which probable event you will materialize. You could manifest one of the other two probable versions (the one where you went out with your friend or just stayed home). Those two probable versions have you missing that relationship connection. You can see already that manifesting either of those events does not move you into the probable future of a hot romance. In fact, choosing either of those other events could send you further away from what you desire, as there is a whole other set of other probable actions resting on those probabilities."


Why Positive Thoughts are More Powerful than Negative

Positive thoughts are far more powerful than negative thoughts. One positive thought can cancel out hundreds of negative ones. Our soul stops our lower and negative thoughts from becoming realities unless having them manifest will teach us something that will help us grow. We are loved and protected by our Creator. As our thoughts become higher and more positive, our soul allows more and more of them to project. The more we evolve, the more power our thoughts have to create our reality, and the more responsibility we have to think in higher ways.

We think a thought, and then the thought thinks. We are not attracting because of our emotions. Our emotions are indicating the direction of our attraction.

It is the thought that attracts and the emotions indicate. Since every thought that has ever been thought still exists and law of attraction is gathering those thoughts into rivers or steams, then when we choose a frequency, just like when we set our radio dial, we have access to that probability. Let’s say you have been moving through life and you thought lots and lots of thoughts, and you didn’t make most of them dominant so they didn’t project in our experience. But we thought them anyway.

The formation of our nation was but a dream that came about by contrast that people were living. And of course you say “Oh but there was action and there have been wars that have been fought.” In other words “nothing came if we didn’t fight for it.” And we say it came in spite of your fighting for it. It came in spite of your fighting against it. Because the wellbeing is the biggest stream that exists.”


Neuroscience is proving that indeed, when our brains are free from the basic needs of safety, what engages the most neural activity are those very things: novelty, challenge, connection, and expression. And many of the world’s largest happiness surveys are finding the same at a global level, we want to feel engaged at work and what makes us engaged are things like choice, contribution, and creative expression.


"Alcohol can massively inhibit the functioning of our brain, acting as a “pharmacological hand grenade”. Alcohol also interferes with dopamine production.

While, Nicotine constricts blood flow to the brain, so while it may “soothe” jittery nerves, smoking will actually reduce our brain function severely and the effects are cumulative.

However (and incredibly), we may be on the verge of a vaccine against nicotine addiction, how cigarette manufacturers feel about that is certainly a matter for speculation."


When the brain thinks that we really are healing. It then changes as if healing is happening and this stimulates the actual area of the body that we are imaging at the cellular level. Be convinced that this causes cellular and genetic changes at that site, which eventually leads to what we are imagining happening (a healed body) actually happening.


Our experiences constantly change the wiring in our brains, a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. The more we do something, the more the brain physically changes as it wires it in. It means that our thoughts and attitudes become wired into our brains. But it also means that we can change our habits. In a true sense, it changes the way we look at things and of course, the things we look at then change.


Our mind is a garden, our thoughts are seeds. We can either grow flowers or weeds.

As our thought; so is our consciousness, and as is our consciousness; so is our life. Let our first thought of the day simply be peaceful. Plant this seed. Water it with intention and we will gather calmness.

Success is a state of mind. Commit to directing your thoughts so they inspire and empower your choices.

Logic and rationality are the language of the Mind. Love and Wisdom are the Humility of the Spiritual Soul.

The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits. – Albert Einstein

Intention and desire alter the material landscape of our brain.

"The quality of our life is the quality of our communication. 1. with self 2. with others. 7% words 38% tonality, 55% physiology"

Belief is like a thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life. Faith can move mountains and definitely a stepping stone to Happiness. Faith works only for those who Believe.

"The major block to compassion is the judgement in our minds. Judgement is the mind's primary tool of separation."

"The subconscious mind has to be in sync with the emotion of what you want!  After all, a huge part of the manifestation process is being in the same frequency of what you want. You're recreating the same state and therefore will achieve it in it's entirety and that's a law that doesn't falter."

"The Law of mind is in perpetual operation, and it works both ways. People who dwell on thoughts of failure and poverty will gravitate toward like conditions; they, in turn, will draw to those people who accept failure and poverty."

"We are, where we are and what we are because of the thoughts that dominate our Mind. We are neither masters nor victims of our attitudes. It's a matter of personal choice, the will to win and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur"

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world."


"To fully grasp the complete and profound significance of the Mind in an ever-expanding exploration for human consciousness. It may well always be for us an ultimate endeavour, which we seek to understand and discover in ever-increasing increments of intelligence. The greatest discovery is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

"The man with the money consciousness is constantly attracting money. The man with the poverty consciousness is constantly attracting poverty. Both fulfil the exact conditions by thought, word, and deed that make the path for the thing of which they are conscious, come to them".


Hypnotism: Hijacking Your Brain?

The facts and the fiction of one of the most intriguing psychological phenomena.

Today we're going to point the skeptical eye at a topic that's intrigued nearly everyone who's thought about it: hypnosis. The hypnotist appears to have the ultimate superpower, the ability to persuade anyone to do or feel whatever he wants them to. For the subject, hypnosis appears to be the miracle cure to just about anything: lose weight, stop smoking, feel happier. We've all heard the basic plot points — that it can't make you do anything you don't want to do, that different people are susceptible to varying degrees — limitations that seem to negate the potential benefits. So what can it actually do, and might it be of any value to any of us?

Forms of hypnosis go back through history nearly as far as history itself. Even the earliest reported forms of deep meditation from India and Persia are considered to have been analogous to what we now refer to as self-hypnosis. Even the ancient Greeks are believed to have had practices comparable to Hindu sleep temples, where people would go to essentially become hypnotized to be put into a relaxed state as a presumed medical cure. But the history of hypnotism is associated with one name more than with any other: the 18th century German physician Franz Mesmer.

You probably already know that we get the term "mesmerize" from the name of Mesmer, but what you may not know is that the practice of mesmerism has virtually nothing to do with anything that Mesmer himself actually did. As a physician working with the current state of medical science in the 1700s, Franz Mesmer didn't have much to go on. Like other researchers of his day, Mesmer put forth ideas that were not very sound scientifically. His particular theory was a form of vitalism — the idea that living beings are distinguished from inanimate objects by some kind of "life force" — that he called animal magnetism. Like most other forms of vitalism proposed over the centuries, Mesmer's animal magnetism postulated that living beings were connected by a sort of energy flow, which Mesmer called magnetic fluid. One of his treatments, which he popularized while practicing in Paris, was to use his hands to govern the flow of magnetic fluid through a patient, in lengthy and relaxing sessions, intended to cure some ailment.

It was those who followed Mesmer's work who coined the term mesmerism, but the practice was splintered into a number of unrelated directions. Magnet therapists called their procedures mesmerism. Spiritual healers in Russia called their procedures mesmerism. New Age healers in America called their practice mesmerism. Clairvoyants in England called what they did mesmerism. The connection to what we now call hypnotism came in 1841, when a traveling mesmerist who gave stage shows was going around London putting people into trances, calling it by Mesmer's term animal magnetism. Dr. James Braid, a surgeon, happened to catch one of these shows, and had the opportunity to examine one of the subjects who had been rendered unable to open his eyes. He concluded, rightly it turned out, that the person was indeed in some different state of consciousness. Braid was fascinated, and researched the phenomenon voraciously. In 1843 he published his findings in a book that he titled Neurypnology. It was Braid who coined the term hypnosis.

Braid's book, which may fairly be called the seminal work of modern hypnotherapy, was surprisingly in line with today's understanding of hypnosis. Braid had quickly taught himself to hypnotize patients by having them fix their gaze upon an object held in front of their foreheads, in such a position that it put strain upon the eye muscles and required great concentration to maintain. He would speak to them calmly during the procedure, and once he observed their pupils dilate, he ascertained that they were hypnotized. This part of the process has since become known as the induction phase. As a doctor, he repeatedly found hypnotism useful as a treatment for what he called nervous complaints. He was able to successfully hypnotize patients and induce restful sleep, reduce muscle spasms and pain, and treat other symptomatic conditions.

Braid's basic technique has been revised many times, and one of today's most popular versions was developed in the 1950s at Stanford University, as the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales. It's a series of twelve short tests to gauge just how hypnotized you really are, scored on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 12 (completely). They are responses to simple suggestions like immobilization, simple hallucinations, and amnesia. Most people score somewhere in the middle, and nearly everyone passes at least one of the tests. There's even a script you can follow to hypnotize anyone and put them through the scales, with a little bit of practice.

Not only do people score very differently, there's been little progress made in predicting what types of people are most susceptible. Subjects' suppositions about their own susceptibility don't correlate at all with test scores. Supposed predictors like intelligence, creativity, desire to become hypnotized, and imaginativeness also have no correlation. Most likely, you yourself are a decent candidate who will score near the middle of the scale, regardless of whether you think you will or not.

At least one study has found a physiological difference in subjects who score highest on the Stanford scales. In 1999, grad student James Horton at Virginia Tech took eight people who scored a median of 11 and ten people who scored a median of 2 and took a look at their brains with an MRI. The high scoring group had a frontal section of the corpus callosum called the rostrum that was 32% larger on average than that of the lower scoring group. While interesting and suggestive of the value of further research, this was a small sample size and there may have been other factors.

In 2001, six staffers from Scientific American magazine who had never been hypnotized before underwent the test at their office in New York. It turned out they fit the demographic as well as anyone: their scores ranged from 3 to 8, and they reported the inability to move parts of their bodies, auditory hallucinations, and one even was made to forget everything that happened during his session — despite his best efforts — until being told that he could suddenly remember it all again.

So this raises the question of what hypnosis can actually do. It has real applications in medicine and in psychotherapy. In medicine, it has surprisingly been proven to be quite effective at pain management, in many clinical trials. One survey of 27 such trials found that 75 percent of some 933 patients found some pain relief from hypnosis. It has been shown that pre-surgical hypnosis can reduce the amount of anesthesia needed, and thus it also reduces the time needed in recovery and the severity of related side effects like nausea. It can reduce stress related hypertension. In fact, virtually all of the symptoms related to stress can be successfully mitigated in susceptible patients.

Many of us wonder about the common usages we hear about in psychotherapy, like stopping smoking, weight loss, or recovering lost memories. These are generally overblown. We like to think that we can go to a hypnotherapist who will make us no longer desire cigarettes or food, and snap like magic, the problem is solved. This is completely fictitious, as are most magically easy solutions in life. Whether hypnotherapy is effective at all in long-term behaviour modification is something of an open question. Weight loss has shown good promise, but studies of using hypnosis to stop addictive behaviour such as smoking or drug abuse have been much less successful. The difference is probably that weight loss is a matter of willpower alone, whereas addictions such as nicotine have additional physiological factors. Regardless, virtually all authorities agree that hypnosis should only be used to supplement conventional psychotherapy, and should not be the only tool relied upon.

The idea of recovering lost memories is highly controversial, and is no longer accepted as reliable. Hypnotherapists would lead the patient through age regression, to have them relive and re-experience a traumatic event. It is true that the focused, relaxed state does enable very strong and realistic recollections, but what we've learned is that these recalled experiences, though vivid, are no more accurate than any other memories. Similarly a dream can be extremely realistic, but as we know, dreams don't necessarily reflect reality in the slightest. It's essentially the same imaginative mechanism in your brain that creates dramatic and lucid dreams that creates the perception of a relived moment in age regression hypnosis. The prevailing view is that the subject is not actually reliving what happened, but rather is realistically imagining what it was probably like way back when, based in part on whatever recollections remain. Today, in many jurisdictions, hypnotically recovered memories are no longer admissible in court as evidence, since they've been proven to be too unreliable.
The biggest irony is that stage hypnosis, as practiced by showmen in front of audiences, is sometimes more real than these popular notions about clinical hypnosis. (We're discounting the stage hypnotists who use plants in the audience, or who whisper secret instructions to the subjects, or who employ other chicanery not related to hypnotism.) Stage hypnosis generally is real hypnosis, just an extremely glib example of its most basic function. Think back to the show that James Braid witnessed, where a subject found himself unable to open his eyes. In all probability, that performance was the same exact thing that showmen do today. The basic program is to take a group of people, and hypnotize them through a basic induction phase, much like Braid described. The hypnotist selects a few people from this group, and administers something akin to an abbreviated Stanford scale, selects those who respond best, and dismisses the rest. A weakness with stage hypnotism is that there are always some subjects who are only pretending to go along, and perform according to audience expectations. However, as with the Scientific American staffers, plenty of stage hypnotism subjects report actually losing simple abilities during the show (forgetting their name, being unable to move, or experiencing hallucinations such as seeing people naked), but only so long as they were consciously willing to go along.

A lot of these shows end with the hypnotist laying a subject between two chairs and standing on her like a bridge, making it appear that hypnotism has given her super strength. The facts are that no such superpower becomes available during hypnosis, and he's simply positioning the body and the chairs in a way that would make it possible anyway. But it's unfair, and factually inaccurate, to dismiss all stage hypnotism as fake.

So live a little. Get hypnotized. See where you fall on the Stanford scale. Don't shy away from an opportunity with a good stage hypnotist. You just might experience something that you never imagined your brain could do to you. You can't lose control. And you might well discover a new tool available to you should you fall into the need for pain management, stress management, or psychotherapy. Walk the wilder side of neuroscience; it might turn into a thrill ride.


Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is aimed at enhancing the healing process by changing the conscious and subconscious beliefs of patients about themselves, their illnesses, and the world. These limiting beliefs are "reprogrammed" using a variety of techniques drawn from other disciplines including hypnotherapy and psychotherapy.

NLP was originally developed during the early 1970s by linguistics professor John Grinder and psychology and mathematics student Richard Bandler, both of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Studying the well-known psychotherapist Virginia Satir, the hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, the anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and others whom they considered "charismatic superstars" in their fields, Grinder and Bandler identified psychological, linguistic and behavioral characteristics that they said contributed to the greatness of these individuals. On the other hand, they found that persons experiencing emotional difficulties could be similarly identified by posture, breathing pattern, choice of words, voice tone, eye movements, body language, and other characteristics.

Grinder and Bandler then focused on using these indicators to analyze and alter patterns of thought and behavior. After publishing their findings in two books in 1975, Grinder and Bandler parted company with themselves, with a number of other collaborators, and with the University of California, continuing their work on NLP outside the formal world of academia. As a result, NLP split into a number of competing schools.

Popularized by television "infomercial" personality Anthony Robbins and others, NLP was quickly adopted in management and self-improvement circles. During the 1990s, there was growing interest in NLP's healing potential.

Neurolinguistic programming has been used to change the limiting beliefs of patients about their prospects of recovery from a wide variety of medical conditions including Parkinson's disease, AIDS, migraines, arthritis, and cancer. Practitioners claim to be able to cure most phobias in less than one hour, and to help in making lifestyle changes regarding exercise, diet, smoking, etc. NLP has also been used to treat allergies. In other fields, claimed benefits include improved relationships, communication, motivation, and business performance.

In a health-care context, practitioners of neurolinguistic programming first seek to identify the negative attitudes and beliefs with which a client has been "programmed" since birth. This is accomplished by asking questions and observing physical responses such as changes in skin color, muscle tension, etc. Then, a wide variety of techniques is employed to "reprogram" limiting beliefs. For example, clients with chronic illness such as AIDS or cancer might be asked to displace the despair and loss of identity caused by the disease by visualizing themselves in vigorous health. Treatment by NLP practitioners is often of shorter duration than that of other alternative practitioners, but NLP self-help seminars and courses can be quite expensive.

For those who wish to try self-treatment with NLP, a wide variety of books, audio tapes, and videos are available.

NLP is particularly popular in the self-improvement and career-development fields, and some trainers and practitioners have little experience in its use for healing. Practitioners should be specifically asked about this.

Because NLP is intended to enhance the healing process, it should not be used independently of other healing methods. In all cases of serious illness, a physician should be consulted.

Side effects
NLP is believed to be generally free of harmful side effects.

Research & general acceptance
Although some physicians and mental health practitioners employ principles of neurolinguistic programming, the field is generally considered outside of mainstream medical practice and academic thinking.

Training & certification
Since the originators of NLP parted company more than 20 years ago, a number of schools have been established to offer training and certification. Consumers should be aware that, in some cases, there has been considerable competition and even litigation among individuals and institutions involved in NLP. At the time of publication, there was no umbrella organization covering these institutions or offering uniform standards of training and certification.

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