Let me introduce you to a few simple exercises to help you create a bridge of awareness between your conscious mind and the incredible resources of your subconscious mind. Then I’ll show you how to bring that information back into your awareness so that it can be used in the everyday practical world to help you make the best decisions possible for your health and wellbeing.
Avoid judging or analysing the intuitive insights you gain during these exercises. If you engage your logical mind to ask if the information makes sense you will take yourself out of your intuitive mode immediately. There will be plenty of time to apply logic later on. You will most certainly know what it feels like if you slip into analysing mode, so if you find yourself judging or interpreting just stop. Stop trying to make sense of it, for a few moments at least.
These exercises may seem challenging at first, especially if you are not used to becoming still enough to connect with your own inner dialogue but at the end of the day there are no tests to pass and no one is going to judge you on your performance. Remember you cannot fail, so be bold and give them a go.
RELAXED BREATHING TO QUIETEN THE MIND
This simple exercise need only take a few minutes and it is a great way to help you enter a more deeply relaxed and calm state of mind. This is important because it’s from this quietness of mind that your most profound and valuable insights will emerge. I suggest taking a few minutes to run through this exercise as a prelude to the other exercises that follow, or indeed at any time you feel the need to relax. Taking the time to quieten down enough to begin to appreciate your deeper connections also has many health benefits in itself.
Focusing your awareness on your breath is one of the best practices to help you get into the ideal state of mind for raising your awareness and for giving yourself powerful self-suggestions for change. Your breath is always there for you as an object of focus and concentration. It has a constant rhythmical cycle and it’s probably one of the simplest and most rewarding meditation practices you will ever learn.
The easiest way to begin this practice is to find a time where you have ten minutes or so free. Choose somewhere that you can be comfortable and relatively undisturbed, either sitting or lying down. You may also like to close your eyes to help shut out the visual distractions of the room.
Then, simply watch your breath come and go.
Become aware of your breath coming in through your nose and flowing down and into your lungs. Then watch that same process in reverse as your breath flows out again, watching in your imagination as your breath leaves your lungs, flowing out through your mouth, and out through your nose.
Continue this level of simple observation of your breath on the next cycle and the next after that.
Let this process of gentle observation continue for the next five to ten minutes, or for as long as feels comfortable for you. Observe what else is going on in your mind as you let your thoughts come and go without comment or judgment. You may well find that you cannot concentrate for more than perhaps 20 or 30 seconds at a time before your mind starts to wander. It can take a while to get used to this level of stillness so as soon as you notice your mind wandering, just bring your attention back to watching your breath flowing in and out of your body. As you become more experienced with this, you may also want to place your attention on the feelings of your chest rising and falling as you breathe. Don’t try to alter your breath in any way, just observe it flowing in and flowing out. Some people also like to add a colour to the breath as it flows in and out. Be spontaneous with this and just observe what happens naturally.
WHAT YOUR INNER AWARENESS CAN DO FOR YOU
With practice, you will find that you can go for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, without becoming too distracted. You may even notice your breathing becomes much slower and your thoughts quieter.
This is the ideal state from which to give yourself positive suggestions for change or to use as a prelude to the other exercises in this book. So keep practising, even just a few minutes a couple of times a day will bring you real results.
HOW TO DISCOVER WHAT THE OTHER 90% OF YOUR BRAIN THINKS
Have you ever been aware that sometimes you seem to sabotage your own best interests? Or perhaps you have been trying really hard to achieve a goal but without much success. When this is the case there is often an inner ‘part’ or aspect of you, such as your inner child or adolescent that is still holding onto a negative belief that you acquired at some point in your past and which is now holding you back.
Finding out what your subconscious mind really thinks is often the key to moving forward, but getting good quality, reliable information from the ‘back of your mind’ into your conscious awareness, where you can recognise it and if needed do something about it, isn’t always easy.
So let me tell you about a very simple technique you might like to try on your own to help you access your intuition and uncover some of your subconscious beliefs. It’s called non-dominant handwriting. It’s a form of journaling and a technique that is often used by artists and writers to help uncover limiting beliefs and release their creative abilities. You can use it too, to discover what might be getting in the way of improving your wellbeing.
This technique simply involves writing down a probing question with your dominant hand (the one you usually write with) and then putting your pen into the other hand, as you give ‘permission’ to your unconscious mind to provide the answer using your non-dominant hand. Don’t worry about being neat, no one is going to judge you and no one need ever see what you have written.
This amazing technique can help you discover if the other 90% of your mind (the unconscious mind) is in agreement and harmony with the surface 10% of your conscious awareness. It can take courage to complete this exercise and work with the results, so start gently. It may be just a keyword that comes to mind at first or you may find yourself writing a few sentences. Either way, the more harmony and understanding there can be between your conscious and unconscious beliefs the happier and more successful you are likely to be.
For example, let me tell you about a client I worked with recently called Ben.
Ben was a young sales executive who was suffering from anxiety and high stress levels. His energy was continually low and he was beginning to feel ‘out of tune’ with his work. It was obvious that some inner part of him was blocking his success but he wasn’t consciously aware of the reason why. When he tried this exercise, he used his dominant hand to write down the question, “Dear younger me, what are you afraid of?”
Using his non-dominant hand to respond, he wrote down the words, “it’s not safe” and from this came the memory that as a very young child he was always warned that it was not safe to talk to strangers. Good advice when you are only five years old, but as an adult, this old unconscious belief was sabotaging his professional success as well as his mental and emotional wellbeing.
So if you are feeling blocked, fearful or stuck in any aspect of your life, try this simple exercise, you may be surprised at what you discover. It’s only when you become aware of the beliefs held in your unconscious mind you can actually choose if you want to do something about them.
Here is a similar exercise that you might like to try, especially if you are keeping a journal or log of your progress.
Begin by writing a sentence or two that encapsulates the challenge you are now facing. Then write in just one short sentence a question that summarises your concern. Make this question open-ended so that it cannot just be answered by yes or no. For example, rather than asking, should I be focusing on X or Y, ask something like, “what is the single most important thing I can do to improve my wellbeing”?
Next allow yourself to become quiet and still for a few moments, perhaps using the relaxed breathing exercise at the beginning of this chapter to help you enter a more calm and focused state of mind.
Now from that place of quietness, ask your question with the sincere intention of gaining the most truthful answer. Be willing to wait quietly whilst you just observe the thoughts and impressions that come along. The answers may come in the form of an image, symbol, a body sensation or a simple inner dialogue about what you need to do next.
Begin to write down any thoughts or impressions that come to you, even if it feels as though you are making it up.
If you feel blocked while you are doing this then close your eyes, take some deep breaths and try writing with your eyes closed to shut out the visual distractions of the room. It doesn’t matter what your handwriting looks like. You may even like to try writing a few words with your non-dominant hand as this gives you a better a link into the right side of your brain and to the information stored in the subconscious part of your mind.
Now review what you have written. What is your intuition telling you on this subject?
What action steps could you take to follow up on this information?
YOUR INNER BOARD OF HEALTH DIRECTORS
This exercise makes use of the fact that we all have inner ‘parts’ or aspects of ourselves that contribute to making us who we are overall. This can be very helpful to know because you can then use your imagination to engage with each part to ask it to help you achieve a particular task. I like to call this exercise your ‘Inner Board of Health Directors’, though you are free to change the metaphor if you wish. For example, if you don’t like the idea of a boardroom meeting, change it to having a coffee morning with invited friends, or a simple group discussion. Hypnotherapists, NLP practitioners and coaches make regular use of this technique in their work and you can benefit too with this simple introductory exercise below.
To begin, imagine that you are the chairperson and you have a 6 member board of health directors. You and your board members meet around a conference table with 7 chairs. Your board members can be people who influence your life, people whose advice you admire, your mentor, a very close friend, someone famous or some completely mythical or unknown people.
Next, assign each of these board members names and functions, such as your nutritional advisor, your inner physician, personal trainer and so on.
All of these board members are present with one purpose only and that is to assist you in achieving your goal, in finding the solution, or in taking the best possible course of action and they all bring an extraordinary level of expertise to the table.
What will you ask of them, and what advice and feedback could they provide to assist you in fulfilling your outcome?
Use the following diagram to create a mind-map of possible solutions or just make notes beside each director’s space.
DOORWAYS TO DECISIONS
In this simple exercise, you will be using the symbol of a doorway to help you gain more information about the relative value of two or more options that you have to choose from.
Begin by bringing to mind a choice or decision that you are having difficulty making. Define the situation clearly and think of two or three possible solutions.
Spend a few moments taking yourself to a place of mental quietness and close your eyes. Then visualise yourself in front of a door and know that this door represents your first choice or possible solution. Approach the door and notice what it is made of, how solid or strong is it? Is it locked, or easy to open? Take in as much information as you can about the qualities of this door.
Repeat this exercise with your second option as well.
Now, how do the doors compare? Which one was the easiest to open and the most appealing to stand in front of? This is an excellent way for your intuition to speak to you about possible solutions, or just to give you more information about each of your choices.
You might also like to try adding a further door to represent a solution or choice you have not yet thought of.
Have fun with this simple metaphor, it is a great way of gaining extra information about a person, opportunity or thing. If you like you can also change the symbol perhaps to a tree, or a house, or a car. Any symbol will do but my advice is to keep it simple and have fun with this exercise. It is after all just a way of creating a bridge of awareness from your unconscious to your conscious mind so that you can be better informed about the decisions ahead of you.
Once you have practised this a couple of times you will find it a quick and easy way to use your intuition to help enhance your decision making process. Try it out on some simple choices first. For example, if you are taking any nutritional supplements you might like to ask which brands offer you the highest quality. Then when you have had some practice consider using this technique as an extra resource for larger decisions such as who might be the best practitioner to help you with a particular problem
“Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows the only way of coming down stairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”