A deranged gunman hides outside the Dakota Apartments ready to ambush a famous musician loved by all. A toxic cloud of exploded shuttle debris and rocket fuel hangs in the cold Florida air. A homeless person huddles inside a cardboard box trying to stay warm. East greets West as a long standing concrete barrier is torn down. A political prisoner is released from prison and soon will become the leader of a great African nation.
Words create visual images, and these visual images impact how we feel about our universe. Television, photographs, virtual images and vivid memories of past experiences create strong associations and emotions within us.
Spoken and inner dialogues reinforce beliefs we have about ourselves, beliefs that can be both positive and negative. These emotions, beliefs and past experiences are contained within our bodies as cellular memories.
We have all experienced a doubting and critical inner voice. The replaying of old tapes that remind us of all the "logical" reasons why we aren't worthy or able to achieve something. If we consistently listen to this voice, we may establish negative beliefs about ourselves. Beliefs that can affect us on a cellular level.
Recalling the events of an accident or trauma no matter how old, will many times create anxiety and uncomfortable physical responses such as clammy hands and feet, a racing heart and feelings of panic.
On the other hand positive memories such as falling in love, or receiving recognition or praise can create calming physical responses and overall feelings of tenderness and well being.
To demonstrate the cellular memory concept take just a moment and allow yourself to think about one of your favorite foods.
As you imagined eating your favorite food you may have salivated or felt your stomach grumble. You could have experienced feelings bordering on delight and comfort. Some of you may have gone in search of something to eat.
Your mouth watered and your stomach growled because in that instant your body couldn't tell the difference between actually eating and the memory of it.
The same process can be used to imagine or remember a healthy body and mind, to experience positive thoughts and emotions, and to set goals and reframe a negative self image. This association is one aspect of the body/mind connection, and it is very real.
We now know that a relaxed and meditative state can help us to make this transition, and enhance the growth and healing process. But if visualization doesn't work for us, then how do we get there?
Individuals who regularly practice Yoga, Tai Chi, dance, and other physical expressions will tell you that the motion creates a mindset, and the mindset allows the motion.
Simpler activities like soaking in a bath, staring at a crackling fire, walking in nature, working in the garden or just daydreaming can help to trigger the effect.
Ancient shamans, healers and religious leaders used techniques such as the rhythmic beating of drums or sticks, chanting, diet and fasting, massage, fervent prayer, storytelling and imagery to help an individual quiet self doubt and connect the body and mind.
Todays modern practitioners use Healing Touch, Hypnosis, Therapeutic Massage, Reiki and a long list of other descriptive names to help their clients access this meditative state. And still the tools they use are rhythmic beats, chanting, diet, massage, singing, fervent prayer, storytelling and imagery. These tools are all different paths to the same destination, and it's a personal choice as to which one works best.
You may choose to do the work alone, with a friend
or group or with the assistance of a professional practitioner.
When you actively participate in your own growth and healing,
your consciousness shifts and marvelous things can occur.
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