The first person you need to persuade in order to achieve and sustain self-transformation is your body. This is a very deep and, once understood, liberating concept. Describing the body as a person is simply a way of helping you conceptualize the relationship between spirit, mind and body. Far too often the healing traditions compartmentalize the self in packages that are convenient for their theories and ideologies but which bear little resemblance to the true story of the self. That is a story of fluid integration (a system where each aspect has its own particular role and whilst playing its part, intuitively understands its relationship to the whole organism). When understanding the self there are no nice neat compartments with definite beginnings and endings. What you have are various systems that cannot and do not stand alone. For example, how would the endocrine system (responsible for the production of hormones) carry out its role without the digestive system to provide a nutrient and energy basis for it to function? How would the immune system (responsible for our biological defences) function if the lymphatic (detoxifying) system were not removing waste? In fact the more you look at the whole organism, the more you see that each system is completely dependent upon what other systems of the body are doing.
The other ‘persons’ in this equation are the mind and the spirit. The primary tug of war exists between mind and body and the spirit is influenced by what takes place between the two. When mind and body are in harmony the spirit is uplifted. There is joy in the heart and the individual believes in her own talents, abilities and strides confidently towards her potential and purpose. Unfortunately this is rarely the story because the relationship between mind and body is not generally understood and therefore what you have is a mind full of hopes, ambitions, aspirations and dreams but a body that has collected the evidence, not of your intentions, but of your actions. Biological processes are driven and shaped by what we do. In modern parlance this is currently described as cell intelligence or body memory. Cell intelligence, or body memory, describes how the perfect record of what we have done influences the patterns and processes within the body. Those actions in turn unravel our genetic potential. In other words, how your genetic material will play itself out in your life is determined not by what you intended but by what you have done. As awesome as the mind is, to try and pull it in the opposite direction against the evidence that the body has collected, takes Herculean determination. It’s not that it can’t be done but the price that you pay in order to achieve it is often far too great. The task is made unquestionably easier if what you think and say is what you do. This creates a state of co-operation between mind and body. If intention consistently becomes action, the body’s processes and patterns will be like a gale force wind blowing at your back and will push you up any mountain towards your solution. Equally, when intention falls to the wayside and is simply further evidence of a mind that holds high ideals and a mouth that speaks fine words, but nothing is ever actualised, then the gale force wind of the body will continually blow you off course making that mountain climb almost impossible.
Once this subtle aspect is understood the opening statement makes perfect sense because the first ‘person’ you actually need to persuade is your body. The reason your mind falters, struggles and more often than not loses its way is because the body does not trust it. The body hears the mind thinking fine thoughts and producing wonderful promises but because nothing materialises the body is left confused. The evidence says that the mind thinks one thing, will even say that thing but doesn’t translate those ambitions into action and this is the only thing the body respects. The body only listens to (records) consequences because it doesn’t have the power to discriminate, it is unable to think, “this time you really mean it”. The body does not have conscious thoughts, it is driven by experience and until you say what you mean and mean what you say the body will continue to mistrust your intentions, which will bring the spirit to its knees. It’s time to persuade the body that you are telling the truth by making your intentions …actions.
PERSUADING THE BODY 2
Persuading the body is about winning the heart of matter. Mind over matter is not simply about imposing the power of the mind on the body, although that is a legitimate interpretation. Another way that the mind is able to manipulate matter according to its will is through the power of persuasion. As explored in the previous handout the body (matter) responds to the ‘evidence’ of our actions, ultimately that’s what it understands and respects. So if we start making our intentions visible in our actions, the mind will no longer be fighting an on-going battle with matter. By understanding how matter responds and applying your will in a different way, you can win its cooperation without intense labour. This is not to be mistaken as an easy option because it still requires structure, application and discipline.
Once the relationship between mind and body is better understood (see handouts Metaphysics 1 & 2) (Mind-Body Medicine, P.N.I. 1 & 2 on the resources page) it becomes clear that to win the trust and respect of matter is an approach well worth pursuing as it offers a life of greater harmony and contentment. The constant battling with one’s mind to fulfill one’s dreams is energy-sapping and time consuming and bears meager fruits. Therefore, doesn’t it make more sense to work with the mechanics of matter (the laws of nature) to engineer our heart’s desires?… We need to understand that our bodies do not have consciousness (the power to think and decide their own destiny) but they do have a form of intelligence. Remember, the way that this intelligence works is to simply record the evidence of our experience and that experience influences how the cells, tissues, organs etc. in our bodies behave. The main storage area for experience is the brain, unquestionably the most sophisticated part of our bodies. Advancements in science have enabled us to understand how stress, anxiety and trauma leave powerful impressions on the right hemisphere of the brain (the side associated with emotional experiences). However, the impact is not limited to that area alone, we also know the frontal lobes (which are responsible for thinking and speaking) are also impaired and the amygdala (also bound up with our instinctive emotional responses) is thrown into disarray. Once the brain absorbs our inconsistencies it’s overwhelming influence on the rest of the organism begins and the cycle of biological and psychological dysfunction is set in motion. The gut is known as the ‘second brain’ because all the emotional material that our brains process generates electro-chemical responses in this sensitive area. These responses go on to affect how the body behaves and ultimately the biological consequences will impact on our psychological position (moods, attitudes and perceptions).
So by winning the heart of matter that which may have seemed beyond your grasp can be attained simply by respecting the power of your body. Remember the body is not persuaded by the promise of your intentions but by the reality of your actions. So, start today by making pledges you can keep. Start with small realistic goals. Gather around you as many positive habits as you can and with practice, consistency and heart-felt resolve the green shoots of self-respect and self-worth will emerge. You are not going to achieve all you want immediately but with practice, patience and perseverance miracles will unfold (see handouts Focusing With Faith) & (Miracles Are Made). Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, so try not to see your endeavours as a set of chores to be endured. Understanding that the body will work with you when you have laid down consistent patterns offers you the gift of positive change. This gentle, patient, persuasive approach will, if you become consistent, win you matter’s heart, which in turn will heal your own. Please look at the Persuading The Body Diagram to deepen your understanding.
PERSUADING THE BODY 3
Set out below are ten powerful ways that you can persuade the body to work with you rather than against you. Apply them for at least 3 months (6 months would be better) and you will be surprised by the wonders you can create.
1. Nothing in the body works properly without water. Every message, process and function in the body depends on it. How can you expect the body to perform miracles if the primary fuel for optimal function is missing? It is imperative to become consistent in this area, only then will the body respond to your requests. You are a vertical river, so ensure your river never runs dry.
2. In order for the body to deliver its full potential, waste in all its guises must be removed. This is why it is essential to embark on a detoxifying way of life. This is not about following protocols for detoxification as and when the body has reached a point of crisis. This is about understanding that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, exercise regularly because the lymphatic system (which is responsible for detoxification) struggles to do its job without a cardiovascular input. Also consider as a preventative measure such activities as : colonic irrigation, feet detoxes, more sensible eating regimes etc. All of which will help the body lower the toxic loads accumulated from waste products.
3. Structure governs function. The internal organs cannot operate effectively and efficiently if the body’s structure is in any way misaligned. In the art of persuading the body it is really important to make sure that your structure is right. To this end one should seriously consider seeing an appropriately qualified and experienced Osteopath, Chiropractor or someone specializing in the Bowen Technique. These are all disciplines that can address any structural or alignment issues.
4. Develop respect for your body. This of course starts with what you put in your mouth but remember it’s not just what you eat that determines health, it’s what you absorb from what you eat. So ensure that you chew your food thoroughly, otherwise the act of absorption will be stifled before it even begins. Also avoid drinking fluids whilst eating otherwise the priceless enzyme function that ensures proper breakdown of foods and drives all bodily function will be compromised and substantial percentages of what you eat will actually pass through the system without delivering its true nutritional value.
5. The art of persuading the body would be incomplete without adequate amounts of sleep. Sleep is invaluable. About 85% of the body’s house-work (vital renewal functions, repairing and replacing of cells, ensuring the vitality and effectiveness of all the primary systems etc.) takes place whilst we are asleep. Although quantity of sleep is important, between 5-8 hours is what most people need, it is not the quantity that actually is critical in health, it’s the quality. Without the deep restorative sleep, which accounts for about 20-25% of the time you’re in bed, the critical household chores that the body undertakes simply are never completed, leaving the individual in a cycle of chronic fatigue. So, do all you can to ensure that your sleeping patterns are healthy. Nature has a wonderful pharmacy from which you can draw help e.g. Avena Sativa, Passiflora, Valerian and Tryptophan to name a few. There is also a range of essential oils that will help greatly in this area.
6. Find time to do something regularly that says to your body ‘I respect and value you’. For example, Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy etc., something you enjoy. By this we do not mean only going for treatment at a point of need but rather build into your self-care regime, maybe every 4 or 6 weeks, a time when you pamper yourself and this will deliver a strong message to your body that self-nurturing is really important. The body will internalize this message and will offer its support and respect in return. In time such pampering will not be pampering at all, it will be an essential part of your life helping you to maintain strength, poise and balance.
7. ‘Me time’ is vital. This is not a selfish activity, nor is it to be mistaken for self-indulgence. It is essential. Just as the in-breath would have no value without the out-breath, a life without ‘me time’ is no life at all. If all that you do is externally focused, with no true internal attention on your own needs, what message do you think you are giving your body? To breathe in is to draw in life, to exhale is to sustain it. To have a life rich with social contact, meaningful relationships, a feeling of purpose and satisfaction is wonderful (to breathe in), but without the balance of silence, contemplation and quiet reflection (breathing out) the demands of such a life will sap you of all that you have. So pursue a career of balance and remember not to hold your breath!
8. Create new memories. As discussed in the two previous handouts on this subject, your body collects the evidence of your actions and the biological and ultimately the emotional processes are driven/influenced by that. So start by thinking about how you are going to begin each day. Where can you find moments for reflection and appreciation? What are you going to give your body as fuel to meet the challenges of the day? Live a more mindful life where you consider what you are doing and are proactive rather than reacting to life’s events without proper forethought. There is no need for an elaborate strategy but there’s no doubt structure builds discipline, discipline generates momentum and momentum brings success. So devise a plan!
9. You will have learnt from PNI (Psychoneuroimmunology – see resources page) that how you think affects the nervous and immune systems and what are called your ‘natural killer cells’, which has helped illuminate the role and the power of thoughts in achieving well-being. Quantum physics now supports the principles long expounded by the spiritual masters that is, where the mind goes the molecule will follow! Within the ‘Persuading the Body’ series, we’ve started to understand that this relationship has in part broken down because our minds are distracted and confused, leaving our bodies unsure what instructions to follow. If we are to turn this relationship around we need to practice focused thinking. There are a number of activities that can help with this, see Positive Affirmations, Creative Visualisation, Personal Prayer, Mindfulness etc. When we consistently focus the mind in a positive direction, therefore ending the body’s confusion, the central nervous system, immune system, in fact all the body’s processes, stand in a co-operative line ready to engineer health and well-being. So with such practices we can say once again that the molecule will indeed follow the mind.
10. Think kindly thoughts. As we’ve already stated, where the mind goes the molecule will follow. When the body is challenged, and it will be, given the nature of the world we live in i.e. the pollution of the planet, it is important that you respond with appropriate systems of help. For example homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism or any other system of help that respects and supports the body’s wisdom. However, do not overlook your greatest medicine, which is the way that you think. If the mind is constantly dripping positive thoughts and feelings into the reservoir of the body, the body will be stimulated in line with those thoughts to seek out the best solution for whatever is challenging your health. It would be folly to think, given the pollution of the planet and the state of the environment, that any of us are totally immune to ill health. All we can do is adopt a preventative lifestyle, living as consciously as we can and thinking in a way that enriches our lives and the lives others. This will persuade the body to come with us.…. if we lead the body will follow.
Please watch this short video in order to get a feel for this life-changing subject. click here
PERSUADING THE BODY 4
Thank you for the countless miracles you perform each day in my name. You’re amazing. If it were not for you, I would not have the opportunity to learn, understand and grow from my experiences. I’m in awe of your infinite skills and talents. The way that you keep breathing, digesting, producing energy, detoxifying and so much more, all at the same time, you are the greatest wonder of them all. I am honoured and privileged to be in such an intimate relationship with you. Sadly, I have not always given you the love, respect and appreciation that you deserve, but from today I promise my heart will sing your praise. No longer will I overlook your greatness and wonder. Thank you!
What I have come to understand is that you never work against me. You’re always giving me the best chance of survival. Despite my neglect and complacency you use all your experience and wisdom to find the best routes for health. You are truly the most loyal friend and ally that I could have, no matter what I do, you’re always striving for the best outcomes. You’re so forgiving of my misdemeanors, great or small. How can I ever repay you? This friendship has been so one-sided in so many ways. I have not thanked you enough for the gifts that you serve up each day. Starting from today, starting from right now, I thank you. I will learn to fully appreciate you and your kind, magical ways….. Let these thoughts resonate for a while……
Now, sit comfortably away from any distraction and become the observer of yourself. Watch yourself and listen to yourself breathing. Every time you breathe in and out, thank your body for the preciousness of your life. Recite in your own words something along the lines of…. “with each breath you oxygenate my cells and that oxygen carries nutrients into the nucleus of each cell, where energy is produced for life. That energy makes everything possible, from digestion to my heart beating, to my liver cleansing and even these thoughts that I’m having right now are supported by the energy of breathing. Your skills do not end there because after the combustion of nutrients that takes place in each cell, you then, with great humility, remove all the waste via the many pathways of detoxification; the colon, the kidneys, liver, lungs and skin. All this takes place under your amazing stewardship and all you ask of me is to co-operate and co-operate I will.”
As you sit listening to and observing your breathing, and appreciating the wonderful array of activity that is supported by this one act, make a promise to your body right now, a promise you will do everything in your power to fulfill. Dear Body, I promise to give you all the raw materials you need. I will ensure you are properly hydrated, I will eat as diversely as I can to ensure you get the necessary vitamins, essential fats, amino acids and minerals that you need. I promise to be consistent with supplementation, so that any deficiencies in my diet will be bridged. I will not allow you to struggle when you constantly fight for my survival and wellbeing. I will strive for the rest of my life, not only to take on board the right foods and fluids but to generate the right thoughts. I’ve come to understand that my negative thoughts and feelings hurt you the most. For that I’m sorry. I will endeavour to keep my mind thankful, kind and forgiving because these are the thoughts you love most of all. These thoughts and feelings are natural healers that work with you, not against you.
Communicate in this way with your body on a regular basis and it will help you immensely, especially at times when you’re physically or mentally struggling. No challenge will be too great.