The Garden Of The Mind
When I lived in England I had a beautiful garden; at least that’s the way I saw it. My passion was to grow conifers and in our London home, I had over 30 of them in 11 different varieties. Our Kent home was no different in variety only less in number. Apart from conifers, we had a large variety of other plants, shrubs and grasses. And without doubt, whenever we planted anything it got bigger but never multiplied in number. Despite all the tender loving care and nurturing, our fuchsia remained a fuchsia! It’s as if there is a single-mindedness to the positive forces of nature! On the other hand, we somehow always had a collection of weeds, I never bought or planted a single one of them in all the time I worked in my garden, nevertheless, they found a way in, not just into my garden planted area, they also found their way into the lawn, even paved areas too! Their determination to infect everything was relentless. And over the past 21 years, I've noticed that life follows nature's path in an uncanny way!
So the parallel between a garden, nature and our brain/mind is like that too. The analogy is, that plants represent our positive thoughts and the weeds the negative. It's almost a universal truth, that most clients I meet have a greater tendency to gravitate toward negative feelings, thoughts and behaviours than they do towards positive ones. And with the momentous rise in cases of anxiety, stress and depression, this is becoming an increasing area of concern for governments as well as the medical profession. Essentially, these conditions have a large impact on human functionality and performance. Also, there is the probability, that they are major contributors to many major illnesses and diseases!
Anxiety, as a disorder, is perhaps the most insidious of these negative experiences. This is because it is primarily about the anticipation of fear or danger, not necessarily the presence of it! If you are on an aeroplane and it starts to bounce all over the sky, that will produce a fear response (fight or flight). However, if you're sitting at home the day before and start to think about the plane bouncing around, that's anxiety! Despite knowing, logically and rationally, that it is not a real experience, your brain actually believes it's real. So, in both of these scenarios, your body's response will be almost identical. Anxiety is all about the possibility of something happening, be it in a minute, an hour, a week, a month or more in the future.
For the most part, this is a consequence of the world we live in. Negative, fake or alternative news is being thrown at us morning, noon and night and this just didn't happen overnight, it's been going on for years. However, the difference between now and yesteryear is, that now we get to hear about it so much more quickly than ever before!. It’s on your mobile device, PC, TV, newspapers, the corner shop and even at the bus stop if you’re there too long! When we watch the evening news channel we get it in words and pictures and just in case you miss anything there is often the continual newsreel running along the bottom! And please remember, we absorb things we don't consciously see or acknowledge; believing is not always about our conscious level of awareness?
On the other hand, a little positive news is just so much harder to come by, despite there being so much of it! Because of this, we become deficient in the beneficial effects of good news. However, whether the news is bad or good is not really the issue, the issue is how we respond to the news and science has proven, that if you are in a negative mindset, bad news proliferates our emotional responses! In the same way, that money goes to the monied; neurosis goes to the neurotic!
Why does it work this way? It's simply because whatever we experience in our world (via our senses), evokes a network of neurochemical responses from within us and what we feel, emotionally, is the result of the neurochemical transmission that ensues. While we can, and often do, refer to these as good or bad chemicals; they mostly have a positive intent. However, these chemical messengers are not good or bad per se; they are only good or bad relative to how they make us feel. Because of the way our neural circuitry works, the more connections we make the stronger they become, as Donald Hebb said: "cells that fire together, wire together" (Hebbian plasticity). And when we talk about cells firing together, we are talking in terms of thousands, millions, even billions of connections for every thought we have. The more we have any particular thought or feeling, the more chance there is that some new connections will be made or, alternatively, existing circuits will be updated/strengthened.
It is estimated that the human brain is capable of something in excess of 1,000,000,000,000,000 (one thousand trillion) connections! Apparently, that's more seconds than have passed since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth 65 million years ago, a number that's difficult to comprehend! The point though, is, that if you set yourself on a course of seeking a positive mindset, with positive self-talk; your brain will deliver a more positive experience of life and that's what true living is all about? However, developing a positive mindset is not as easy as just saying "think positive!" The reason for that is because, empirically I have noticed that almost every client I see, has a language pattern that is predicated on vague, ambiguous or negative tendencies. Ask a client with an anxiety disorder, "what do you want" and they'll likely say "I don't want to have this anxiety!" However, that is not what they want, it's what they don't want? Another common response to a question is, " think." bla bla bla. Generally, when we say "I think." we are often saying, "I don't know." Of course, it's OK if you don't know, the problem I find is that in most cases, when a client says "I think," they tend to say it in the context that they do know. Sometimes they actually do know but still say I think. This can create varying levels of mental confusion, at least at the level of deep structure language. Basically, we talk in riddles and somehow expect our brain to make sense, or non-sense of what we are saying!
So, during hypnosis, I often use the parallel of the garden of the mind and the processes of the brain itself, to those of the universe; after all, that's where everything, known and unknown, came from? Consequently, life itself is part of this parallel process. The concept of the garden of the mind is simply because people have been planting ideas in our minds since the day we were born. In hypnotherapy, I use that same universal logic, I just plant ideas and suggestions that will help you to get what you want. Of course, the process of therapy often plays a large part in the creation of "what you want!" Being as specific as possible is necessary because the brain works best with clarity and certainty!
Conclusion: Truth be known, we have immense powers that emanate from deep inside of each of us. What we each achieve in life has more to do with how we think, talk and behave than where we come from! So, if you want to feel and function better and get more out of life . . . be careful what you plant in your Garden!
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