Jul 23 2009
Albert Einstein said, “I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the Universe a friendly place?’” One of the reasons that this question is so important is that scientific research has verified that how we perceive the Universe affects our stress level which in turn affects us at a cellular level, greatly impacting our health and quality of life. In other words, believing in an unfriendly Universe can literally damage our cells and make us sick, not to mention miserable.
Most of our beliefs are formed at a very early age and become deeply ingrained. By the time I was 19, I felt trapped in an unfriendly Universe, locked up in the cage of my hardwired beliefs. I began searching for a key that would free me from that cage. One of the things I did was read the book, The Power of Positive Thinking. I found that learning to think more positively did help: however, I also found that there was more to it than that. In fact, when we try to force positive thoughts that we don’t really believe, the critical part of our brain becomes activated and resistant. Our critical mind scoffs, “Nice try Pollyana, but you can’t fool me.”
I eventually learned that the best way to change a belief and shift a feeling is to first come into union with it. In the spirit of Aikido, a Japanese marshal art in which you blend with the energy of the opponent, (Aikido literally means “way of adapting the spirit”), you can be with beliefs and feelings in that same way by aligning with them, listening to them, being present and accepting them as they are. Then – here’s the key to changing it – give it a twist upwards by adding onto it a true and positive suggestion that shifts it to a whole other place. I call this Mental Aikido. To anchor this concept, just imagine…what does A Key Do? It aligns with what is there and then you give it a twist upwards and it opens the door to a whole new state of being.
For example, when I’m sitting at the dentist office in the electric chair – I mean dental chair – I have often felt terrified. I actually twitch and tremble sometimes and have even been known to cry on occasion. I feel like a big weeny. If I tell myself, “Just relax, you’re safe, this will be over soon,” it doesn’t help me. Trying to push away my fear is like trying to push a basketball down in water. It just doesn’t work.
What I’ve learned to do instead is to align with the fear and flow with the energy of it by saying to myself, “This is scary isn’t it? Someone is poking at your gums and teeth with a sharp instrument. I totally understand your feeling scared. It’s okay to feel scared. Let yourself feel it.” Then something amazing happens: I feel seen and heard, and my breath softens and my body starts to relax a bit. That creates an opening where I can give an upward twist by introducing a true and positive suggestion, telling myself, “I think you are courageous for coming here and taking care of your teeth, even though you’re so afraid. You have done a great job finding a caring and highly competent dentist and hygienist who know what they’re doing and are gentle with you. You are taking such good care of yourself. I’m proud of you.” I begin to relax even more, trusting myself, seeing myself as a courageous winner, instead of a wimpy, weepy wiener.
I’ve been using this Mental Aikido over the past several months with my experience of having uterine cancer. My fear of cancer was one of the bogeymen hiding in the shadows of my Universe. I have come face to face with this bogeyman, accepting that it is what is, allowing and fully feeling the feelings that have come up…And then turning the key and opening my mind to a friendly Universe by focusing on the great gifts that are coming from this experience, such as seeing the courage I didn’t know I had, feeling appreciation for the gift of life, and making a commitment to live my dream and do what I feel passionate about. Through the magic of Mental Aikido, the bogeyman that was cancer has been transformed into an ally in my spiritual growth, and my Universe is transformed into a friendly place.
What is your experience of the Universe? Is it a friendly place? Do you have beliefs about your world that are keeping you from feeling safe and happy and living your fullest life? I highly recommend using Mental Aikido as a key to transforming your perception and experience of the Universe. It is a powerful tool that can help us answer Einstein’s question in the affirmative: “Yes, the Universe IS a friendly place.”
P.S. I gave this newsletter as a speech this morning at Toastmasters. Click here to see the video.