How to Shift Negative Thought Patterns
Recently my 16-year-old son bought a bunch of new music on i-tunes and because we share the same account, all of his new music ended up automatically downloading onto my phone. Next day when I jumped into the car and hit play, instead of acoustic surf grooves I got heavy UK rap. I quite enjoyed it for the morning, but got to thinking how he would feel if I loaded his phone up with all my music. Imagine if 95% of the songs on your player were actually downloaded from other people’s playlists without you even knowing it? And what if the vast majority of those came from your parents? Would they match the music you want to hear and create in life?
In a recent conversation with cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, he drew this same comparison when speaking about the subconscious programs that each of us take on during the first seven years of our life – how these patterns and beliefs shape (and in most cases limit) our reality and how we can shift, change and re-write these programs to become more powerfully conscious co-creators of our life.
Conventional belief was that your life to a large degree was determined by your heredity. The new science of epigenetics (“above the genes”) says, no, your life is a result of your participation and your mind’s influence on what’s going on. – Bruce Lipton
Imagine if the songs on your player were downloaded from other people’s playlists.
The Human Petri Dish and Our Mind as the Master Chemist
The stem cell science Bruce worked on in the 1960s revealed that the ‘environment’ the cells were in shaped the genetics and behaviour of the cell. Put identical cells into three different petri dishes, and by changing the chemistry in the culture medium they are sitting in, you change the actual genetics and behaviour of cells (for example, one becomes muscle, one bone, one fat cells).
According to Bruce, the human is like a giant skin-covered petri dish of 50 trillion cells. The culture medium in our body is the blood and the “chemist” who controls the composition of the blood, by adding and taking things away, is our mind. The cells receive their information about whether to grow, contract, live or die, based our mind’s perception and interpretation of reality.
The challenge is that each of us see and perceive the world in a different way. If two people are watching the same sunset, one looks out and says, “This is a friendly wonderful place that supports me and I am a healthy happy human. The other one sitting right next to him says, “This is a scary place and I have no idea what my future holds. I’m afraid.” They’re both in the same environment but their liver cells are receiving totally different messages – ultimately affecting the behaviour and genetic activity of the cells!
“Whatever I am perceiving out there I will manifest a physical complement to it in here. So if I have a healthy vision, my mind’s chemistry converts my body into health. If I live in fear… Fear causes 90% of the illness on the planet. And it’s all generated by the perceptions of the mind. The picture you hold in your mind creates the behaviour and biology you express in life.” – Bruce Lipton
The challenge is that each of us see and perceive the world in a different way.
So Who Controls the Mind?
In simple terms, according to Bruce the mind is divided into two main aspects – the conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is made up of our surface thoughts, wishes, desires and aspirations. The subconscious mind is the realm of our automatic and habitual thought patterns and beliefs – the stuff we do when we don’t even know we’re doing it.
“Right behind your forehead is the pre-frontal cortex – the centre of consciousness. Your identity versus anyone else’s identity. This is your conscious mind. The other 90% of the brain was there before the conscious part evolved, that’s the subconscious. In the subconscious, things happen below your awareness, below (or “sub”) consciousness.”
If we’re driving along the highway talking to a friend in the passenger seat, our conscious mind is the one engaged in the conversation. Our subconscious mind is the one who keeps automatically doing everything needed to drive the car. While your conscious mind is reading this article, your subconscious mind is taking care of everything else – breathing, blinking, taking a sip of tea without burning your lips.
The pre-frontal cortex – the centre of consciousness.
According to Bruce, when we are fully present, focused on what we are doing in the moment, the conscious mind is driving the bus. But as soon as we start thinking about something other than this moment right here, our subconscious programs kick in to keep things moving and keep us safe.
Now here’s the crazy part. Because of how much time we spend thinking about something other than the moment we are in, science suggests we are running our default programs about 95% of our waking life. And while some of these programs are positive, empowered and helpful, psychologists believe that majority of the default programs most people run are disempowering, self-sabotaging and limiting.
We are running our default programs about 95% of our waking life.
Where do these subconscious thoughts and patterns come from?
Most of our subconscious programming comes from the first seven years of our life. From the last trimester of pregnancy to age seven, we exist mostly in Theta brain wave space (a.k.a. hypnosis), which is the most receptive space for our subconscious mind. We are essentially sponges.
Our model of the world is formed by how we experience our reality, and how we see our parents and other key influences respond to life. We learn subconsciously how to act when we’re happy or angry, what it takes to make money, how best to express love, when it’s safe to laugh, to sing, to shine… and when it’s not. We take these messages in from our surroundings and they become our automatic, under-the-surface view of reality.
We will continue to form new subconscious patterns as we grow in age (think of any habitual movement or skill you have mastered) but the undercurrent of these patterns and beliefs are mostly set when we are young.
The best way to identify what subconscious programs you’re running is simply to look at your life, because, as Bruce explains, it is made up of ‘the program’ 95% of the time. Your life is a printout of the program. The things you have in your life that you love are because you have a program that allows you to accept those things into your life. Anything you work hard at, struggle over, have to put a lot of effort into and it’s difficult, is because your programs don’t support that in your life. Your conscious mind is reaching for it, but something in your program is holding it at bay. The effort and struggle you feel is in trying to override a program. You’re working hard because you want it, but the undercurrent of belief says, “It’s not going to happen.”
Most of our subconscious programming comes from the first seven years of our life.
So how do we change the programs we’ve been given to create more of what we really want?
Bruce shares four specific methods and one overriding principle:
- Hypnosis – We can recreate our Theta state of receptivity and use it to re-program our mind in a more conscious way. And the cool thing is that each of us have access to this state of being two times every day where we can effectively ‘hypnotise’ ourselves – just before falling asleep and just as we are waking up. As we are drifting off, the mind moves from its active Beta state into Alpha and then Theta before eventually dropping into Delta as we sleep. The Theta window is our most receptive state and responds well to the visions and suggestions we hold in this space. Listening to subliminal tapes at this time is one way to begin overwriting limiting programs with the new beliefs and behaviours we want to experience.
- Repetition – Here’s an interesting fact: the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s vividly imagined and what’s real. The second method for reprogramming our subconscious towards positive change is to practice new thoughts and actions, with feeling, and to repeat this throughout the day as though you are learning a new skill or building a new muscle. As Bruce says, “This can’t just be sticky notes on the mirror. This must be felt and experienced. This can be difficult if we are experiencing great contrast to the thing we want (i.e. a cancer patient saying, “I am healthy.”). But even if it looks very different than your current life, repetition works if we can harness the ability to bring ourselves into a feeling space connected to the end result of what we really want. “Motion creates emotion”, and weaving movement and feeling together is one of the best ways to build the energy of a vision.
Try hypnosis or repetition
- Energy Psychology – “Human civilization on this planet has the necessity to rapidly change our behaviour because our current behaviour is leading to mass extinction. Energy psychology is a form of belief change that provokes ‘super learning’ – the ability to synchronize the hemispheres of our brain and download something into the subconscious rapidly.” Bruce shares information about many forms of energy psychology on his website (Psych-K, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Theta Healing, Holosync to name a few) and suggests that different modalities and approaches work for different people so it’s important to find what works best for you. He says that while many of these approaches were initially passed off as “new age”, science is now revealing rapid, measureable and lasting results.
- High Impact Events – every once in a while something happens that completely pierces the bubble of our subconscious mind and creates a powerful window for holistic change. These events can come in the form of apparent crisis (a critical illness, loss of a loved one, major emergency) or even a blessing (the birth a new child, meeting a soul mate), and the impact of these moments are so profound that they call forth a completely radical departure from our normal programs and ways of being. I remember being utterly propelled to quit my unhappy job about one month after my son Josh was born. A totally irrational decision, but one which completely shifted the path I was on and ignited a massive wave of new creative opportunity in my life. The power to create a “spontaneous remission” of any sort is available to each of us when we tap into the power of our subconscious mind.
“Globally we are at this moment of diagnosis on the planet. We are standing in front of the doctor and he is telling us we are entering the sixth mass extinction. The shock of this has the potential to have humanity dig deeper than imagined and write a completely new program, unleashing a rapid healing response across the globe.”
Some things can completely pierce the bubble of our subconscious mind.
The Golden Key – Being Fully Present
Bruce’s book the Honeymoon Effect shares a compelling argument that there is one time each of us consistently step out of the program and into full conscious co-creation of our life – the moment we fall in love. The reason is that when we are first in love we are completely, undeniably, undividedly present. This pure focus on this moment merges with a deep desire to bring forth our very best and for a time we are fully expressive of our highest self.
When we look at children immersed in play, athletes or artists completely in the flow of what they are doing/creating, we can see that all of these moments are expressions of being fully present in the moment. When we are completely here in this moment, we are consciously creating our life. We can each cultivate this magic and train ourselves to develop these muscles.
We are not victims of anything other than the programs we are operating from. Change the programs you are operating from. If your subconscious programs match the wishes and desires of the conscious mind, your life will be one continuous honeymoon experience for as long as you live on this planet. – Bruce Lipton