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If you have a dream, protect it. Nurture it with music, poetry, stories and books that inspire, food and daily care, focus and perseverance… like a child. We wait 9 months for a child to be ready to come out in the world, 9 more years for the child to speak logically, and 9 years more to become a mature adult ready to serve the world. Dreams become ready to serve with a lot less work and a whole lot faster. But you have to give it some time… and protect it from the virus called disbelief.
The moment you have a dream and believe in it, it begins to grow. The longer you believe, the bigger it grows. The more you feed it love and action, the faster it grows. And one day, before you know it, its a real thing that is so big, so beautiful, so powerful, so amazing… that it takes your breath away!
What is life?
An endless series of disconnected moments where we are random bags of flesh and bones going bump against one another in a never ending battle of survival? Or a mind bogglingly complex and indescribably beautiful cosmic drama in which God unfolds as Unity and Multiplicity all at once?
Ready for this?
I feel that Life is a choice! In all its strange-broken ways, life is unfolding perfectly if you can look at it with enough altitude. The only reason it appears broken is because our thinking rational mind is far too ill equipped to appreciate the intelligence that gives birth to this cosmic drama. It is a choice we have made and it is a choice we make each moment: individually, collectively, globally, universally. We have chosen to be here at this time, chosen to play within these specific set of circumstances, chosen to participate… however incredible that may seem right now, however that may piss you off right now.
Life is a choice and we choose to play it one way or the other.
We can choose to be lazy, spend quarter of a life time watching the television broadcast real and fantasy fear, hatred, cruelty, drama, struggles and fight… and get brainwashed into labeling other humans into every conceivable form of stereotype imaginable, re-create what we are watching into our own personal lives and then blame our spouses, children, government, God, fate, parents for our miserable situation.
Or we can choose to say, “This is madness! Have we all gone completely out of our freakin’ minds?” And we can study and learn.
We can learn to be silent, we can learn to meditate, we can learn to forgive, we can learn to love. And we can learn to awaken that power within us that can turn our everyday lives into a constant adventure filled with magic and miracles, an adventure where the whole universe conspires to help us awaken to higher and higher states of consciousness and evolution.
In my experience, there is nothing called “fate written on stone” somewhere. Destiny is defined by the choices we make in life. And we make those choices every day, every moment of our lives. If you think there is something called no-choice, you are sadly mistaken; no-choice is a powerful choice, it is the choice to sit and not take action. There is a consequence for every choice we make, whether it is to sit and be lazy, or actively align ourselves with the force of Destiny.
God unfolds within us, but not as an actor of a story already written, but as a dynamically evolving drama which gets written throughout many universes, moment by moment, as we pick up the phone and dial a number…
(The following is taken from my diary written many years back when I had successfully managed to become penniless after wrecking my business, was running around in the streets of Singapore, being sued in court, with a huge debt on my head, and not enough money to buy food. What came out is something that didn’t make a lot of sense to me back then. But as I read it today, puts a smile on my face.)
“You… right? You are what’s up.”
“Well, I’m up and down all around. Don’t forget people of Australia. What is up for you is down for them.”
“Right… I got a question… why did you create the Universe?”
“I didn’t create the Universe, I am the Universe.”
“Ok, then why did you create me?”
“I didn’t create you either. Two of me, your mom and dad, decided to create another me, which is you! Wasn’t that a funny sentence?”
“Not sure, the joke is lost on me. Hey, let me ask you this, why is life difficult?”
“It’s not! Life evolves. Like people grow, like flowers bloom, like universes expand.”
“So why do we have to struggle so much? To be loved, to make money, to raise a family, to keep friends?”
“You shouldn’t have to. Do you know how babies grow, flowers bloom and universes expand all without struggle?”
“By being in harmony with life.”
“How do you be in harmony with life?”
“By paying attention. Pay attention dear one! The answer is all around you. There are plenty of people who already know this secret. Learn from them. Learn from the rain, the sun, the stars and the wind. Pay attention. The moment you begin to listen, the music is all around to guide you forward. The moment you stop pushing and relax yourself, you will feel the gentle flow of the Universe. Stop thrashing and start flowing. Take a deep breath and listen to the silence. Soon you will hear the soft humming from soul of the world”
“Yep… stop judging and start loving. The less you judge, the more energy you will have.”
“You mean, even if someone steals my car, I shouldn’t judge?”
“Yep, don’t judge. But don’t be an idiot either. Do what needs to be done yet never put anyone out of your heart. Our greatest misfortunes are nothing but calls for evolution. The tiger eats the deer that eats the grass which feeds on both the tiger and deer when they die. None of them judge the other. All is One.”
“Ok, last question, I’m sure you are busy…”
“Not really, I’m just having fun being all of you all at once. And since I got a wicked sense of humor (have you noticed?), and also since I can see the whole story unfold beyond time and space, I’m on a joyride here. But go on, what’s your question?”
“Erm… how do I get in harmony with the Universe, at the same time do everything in this world like make money etc?”
“Study. Study like you are going to die tomorrow. The more you study, the better you understand the rules of this game, which are not so complicated, really. Study and pay attention.”
“Pay attention to what?”
“Signs, synchronicities, messages, miracles… it’s all around. Stop trying to act so logical for once and trust the child inside. Be childlike, follow the butterfly just because you like the color on its wings and see where it leads you. Stop trying to make everything go the way your ego mind wants it to go. Go with the flow and watch the miracles unfold. Go with the flow and watch the adventures begin. Go with the flow and allow me to tell you what to do next. There are so many fantastic adventures I can lead you to, if only you pay attention and keep taking the next steps forward.”
“Hmm… ok thanks God. Is there anything else I should know?”
“There are literally infinite amount of things you will know eventually, but for now here is one that will help: I love you. I am you. By your very nature you cannot fail, all you can do is learn. The more you learn, the more fun you will have in this great adventure called life. And in the end, it will all be good. If it’s not, it’s not the end.”
The following Q&A is response to the video “Songs Of Inspiration 01 – It Is Time”:
Thank you for the new inputs. but one question that has always and still intrigues is “why am i here?” i did not ask to be, or at least i don’t know that i did. To be good /bad, do something or don’t do something becomes relevant when i want something. I did not. In my limited understanding i do not even want to be here. So?
The “I” who is asking the question is THOUGHT. You are the result of a 14 billion year effort of the Universe. You are the Universe, every single particle of your body. The one who is asking the question however is a quite an interesting phenomenon: thought! Thought is a entirely new development of evolution which is a little difficult to see through without a bit of training. Thought is the evolutionary ability of the Universe to become conscious of its various parts by looking at itself and wondering about it. The story of the human race is the biblical parable of the fall, of eating the symbolic apple (knowledge) and experiencing separation (forgetting our common divinity). So yes, not only did you want to be here, you also worked extremely hard for it, for BILLIONS of years! Once you remember this again, life will have entirely different meaning for you.
I know this may sound a little difficult to understand at first, but if you really look deeply into it, it is the simplest truth around: the discovery of our own deepest self.
As always, your messages and questions are all inspiring and thought provoking. Yes absolutely, we need to push to higher level of consciousness to reach and awaken our inner deeper realization of the nature and I… for higher peace and happiness of oneself first before we can help others..
If life is a continuation, beyond our present birth and death… this would be a very serious matter to consider on how we should live and practice to higher level of consciousness. Living a noble way in this present life and preparing and welcoming our next existence. Otherwise, we might risk landing our next existence in the “hottest places” according to Dante Alighieri and many others.
Now…the big question is how to walk this noble path and awaken to a higher realization of consciousness?
The path is simple, as always: be impeccable every moment of your life. This means following the deepest truth of your heart, what ever it maybe, no matter how formidable the obstacles may be. Your truth is your truth, and you will be only held responsible for that which is your truth, not anything else. The question is are you following your truth, or are you following your ego, or are you indulging in convenient ignorance? Everyone knows right from wrong, some choose to follow it some don’t, but the truth is always there at the deepest depths of your heart and anyone can choose to hear it whenever they want, if they really want.
It is my understanding that the highest crime is not murder, or violent behavior, or anything else… but betraying the deepest truth of your heart. Once again, there is a ocean of a difference between what is your true hearts inspiration and what is the convenient concoction of the ego. If we are truly honest, if we are capable of true self reflection on the mirror, we always know what is right from wrong. And when you follow that noble right path, the deepest truth of your heart… in the end you always win, if you don’t its not the end.
Thank you for your email. It has come at a very low point in my life. I have lost my way and my health is very poor as I am suffering from a nervous condition and have some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. I am awaiting an appointment to see a neurologist to be have some tests done.
I had so many negative things happening to me, some at the same time, and others in quick succession. I deemed it to be spiritual but did not have a clue as to how to cope. The numerous stresses finally got to me as I responded in the wrong way.
I am trying desperately to hold on to my faith in God and to seek deliverance from the position I find my self in at this time. I have thought about one on one lessons with you and will be in touch about these in the next few days.
Shafin, my brother and friend, your emails have always reached at the most opportune times in my life. I am sure there is a good reason for that, although right now I am confused because of wrong thinking, and lack of confidence and my present state of mind.
Thanks for all the information and access to websites that you have sent me at this time.
I pray for your continued success in spreading love and unity to everyone.
We all lose our way, we all do despicable things at some point or the other, we all make mistakes… especially if we play the game of life fully, directly, with intensity and passion. We are humans and humans are warriors of light, whether or not we can accept it, and that means, more than anything else, we evolve to higher and more mature levels of consciousness, continuously. We awaken to deeper realms of truth, we redefine our reality, we stretch our boundaries all the way to infinity.
This means what was truth for us last year is no more than an embarrassing stupidity today. And what is true for us today will probably transform into something far deeper and higher a year from now. On this journey of awakening, more than anything else, we need humility to accept our own limitations and abilities.
So how do we choose if we realise that truth has many layers and what is true in one framework and circumstance is entirely unacceptable on another plane? We choose by following the deepest truths of our soul moment by moment, today, here, now. In my understanding, in the end that is what counts. In the end you will be held responsible for that which you do know, not that which you do not.
And what do we do about all the mistakes we made, the unfairness, the unkindness, the voluntary ignorance and convenient cruelty? We do what we can do in the only moment that ever makes any difference at all: NOW. We choose to take responsibility now, the moment of our awakening. We choose to give our full effort now. We choose to change the world now. We choose to say I love you, I forgive, I am sorry… I will do whatever it takes, no matter what to make it up to you… now.
Remember, the same intelligence and inspiration that fuelled the big bang, that evolved from elementary particles to stars and galaxies to reptiles and fishes to YOU… is the same intelligence that stirs the deepest depths of your heart, moves you to choose this road or that road, whispers as the soul. From this perspective, even our mistakes are perfect pieces of the puzzle that are parts of the infinite tapestry of the breathtaking perfection that we call life. Every snowflake falls in its perfect place… yet we are humans, which means we have to take responsibility. Such a mindbogglingly beautiful paradox, such divine mystery.
So in the end, do what you can do now, that is what will ever make a difference. Follow your deepest truth now. Take action now. Commit to your heart now. Be love now. And if you do, the magic of life, the miracle of life is that… when we take action based on love… in the end its always good, if its not, its not the end.
There is a primary mistake that most spiritual seekers make on their journey towards enlightenment, growth or evolution.
Not being aware of this basic mistake can result in a life time of going in circles, hitting against walls… without ever tasting that moment of rapture that is known as awakening.
This mistake is the simple assumption that when that moment of awakening comes, it will be something of a personal achievement.
In reality it is the exact opposite.
Spiritual awakening is not the awakening of some kind of “Super Me” but awakening from the dream of “me… and my story”.
It is the awakening of the primordial intelligence of life that is within you and everything else in this universe.
It is the opposite of “me”.
It is the awake awareness of the ground of being that is simultaneously the Source of this universe as well as the driving intelligence of evolution.
It is awakening of that which is beyond thought, emotions, desire and personal ambition. It is the awakening of That, God, It…
And it is your innermost, deepest, most authentic self.
Thought is important, very important, it is the crowning jewel of the evolution of consciousness thus far, but it is only important when you realize there is a King wearing the crowning jewel called thought… the jewel is not the King. The King is you, thought is your evolutionary achievement, crowning jewel, but not who you are.
You can use this fantastic tool in extremely powerful ways, but only if you truly understand how to handle thought, when you are not lost in the realm of thought, which is to say when you don’t mistake yourself as thought.
The King and the jewel maybe together most of the time, when it is practical and necessary, but if the King has no awareness of his being beyond the jewel, then he is insane and dangerous, and his jewel may very well be his terminal curse.
Similarly, if you have no awareness of your being beyond thought, you are insane too, dangerous when you perceive imagined threat to your jewels in the head, and a threat to yourself primarily and others secondarily.
This is the story of human evolution thus far: extremely powerful tool at hand, so powerful that it has taken over the host itself.
Realize this deeply and you have taken the first step towards awakening.
~Shafin de Zane
Here is something I believe you will find useful… an overview of the journey towards spiritual awakening and what lies beyond.
Leave your questions and comments below.
Being in a positive and inspired state of mind most of the time is a skill. It requires focus, determination, work, persistence and above all the willingness to do whatever it takes no matter what.
Being inspired is a choice. Being unhappy is a choice. Being productive is a choice. Being miserable is a choice. If you do nothing, you get what most people get: a mixed bag of daily experience filled with inspiration, unhappiness, productivity and misery.
If you make a decision to be consistently inspired, consistently productive, consistently happy… and take it like any skill you have learned in life like driving, or cooking, or playing guitar… you can be a master of it. You don’t become a skilled guitar player by admiring Mark Knopfler once in a while, you don’t become a star employee by just hanging about in office, and you don’t achieve mental emotional mastery by just doing random things in life. You decide, make plans, work towards it each day, and eliminate all obstacles on the way.
Being happy is not complicated. But you have to realize the mind boggling obvious: it’s something you have to commit to. Happiness is not a state of mind that we catch from the ether, nor is it a lottery some people are born with. It is something we either earn through realization of our worthy goals, or something we feel when we focus on the right stimuli (a sunset, a laughing baby, great music), or something we experience when we are in presence of the right people. Being happy is not complicated but being consistently happy is what requires work and planning.
Plan your happiness. Do what needs to be done. Remember, only a happy person can make someone else happy. Don’t be so lazy that you can’t even be happy. You owe it to your friends, family, loved ones and above all else: yourself.
Question From A Reader:
I have found your website a few months ago and read a lot of your articles, which are quite amazing.
I never did have the time to write about a specific problem of mine and i would appreciate your opinion about this. I heard actually so many different opinions about a lot of people and i guess i poisoned my mind.
I am involved for two years with a kind of on and off and on and off relationship, and i feel i cannot leave from this situation. This person has now idea of what he wants and the truth is a lot of things have gone beyond any boundaries. It’s a situation where i got lost and feel i lose my self and there are times i cannot recognize me. The other day i texted him and said “listen, i think it’s best for both of us to sit down and talk, in order to find a healthy track” and his answer was “it’s a good idea but i can’t this week, maybe sometime next week”. I think i have postponed things for a very long time, and the truth is i have been very patient for so long.
I sat down and thought about everything:
The fact that we are not right for each other because there is a bad vibe between us, he is very negative sometimes, does not know what he wants and cannot make a decision. Unfortunately there i one thing that keeps me going back, and i am ashamed to say it, and i don’t know why i keep doing it. It’s the “sexual part” that i really do like but that’s just it, nothing else!
I really want to move on, i don’t have regrets about the two years i have been with this person but i think that this story has reached to an end.
But how, it’s like i need something to shake me, cause i want to stop thinking about him most of the time. It’s like he has this power over me. Many times i tried to leave from this situation, but it was he would come back or i would go back.
I have my own house, a really good job that pleases me, i have no problem of my looks or the person i am in, i love my family and friends and i am always there for them when needed. But i also like my privacy sometimes, to read my books, make a nice meal and enjoy the moment, etc…
I would so much like to hear from you,
Answer From Shafin:
Let me try to give you a simple explanation to your situation:
1. You are right you do need a shake up for you to move forward. We humans are like that. As long as we can remain in the realm of understandable (our comfort zone) we keep doing what’s NOT working over and over and expect different results. Crazy, I know. But that’s how we are. I’ve been there too; sometimes I catch myself even these days!
2. Here is the biology behind your situation (bear with me here, it will make sense):
When we are in love with someone and we are having sex with them, here is what happens in your brain…
First, the part called Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) lights up and releases dopamine (the feel good neuro-transmitter for motivation and reward). Dopamine is addictive and intoxicating. Its presence makes us giddy with pleasure, which is why the lack of it also makes us irritable.
Now it doesn’t stop there. From VTA, the next area that activates is the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc), the area for intense pleasure and also anticipation of pleasure. Over here men get a huge shot of testosterone and Vasopressin (I’ll tell you what happens with those in a bit) and women get flooded with estrogen and oxytocin.
Testosterone makes men aggressive. Vasopressin makes them territorial and protective of their mate and turf. Estrogen on the other hand makes women all feminine and loving, and oxytocin is the bliss chemical that makes them float in pleasure and bliss.
Now here is where the magic happens… (pay attention here)
After NAc, the next section that activates is the Caudate Nucleus (CN), which is the area of the brain that memorizes the look, feel and identity of the person who is giving the pleasure. The more pleasure you get from this person, the more regularly you get the pleasure, the more chiseled he gets in your long term memory.
What does that mean? It means you will not only seek this person over and over for giving you your shot of dopamine + oxytocin but also you will reject others from coming close to you. Why? Because your brain has memorized the identity of the one specific person from whom it wants its drugs from. It’s nature’s way of increasing our fidelity.
So what is the solution? To solve any problem you need to understand it first. Understanding a problem is 50% solving it. So now you know that your body is addicted to the happy drugs that it believes it can get only from this one person. You need to change that. It’s not going to be easy but at least now you know why it’s happening.
1. Start dating other people, even though you will probably not like it first. Remember the brain is stuck on this one guy. Let it be. Ignore it like a pebble in your shoe. Its there, nothing you can do for now, so just dance.
2. Remember when you’ll try to stay away from him you will feel a tremendous pull. Normally you’d think its love for him or you miss him. Now you know you are actually missing the dopamine. Your brain is craving the happy drug to feel good. Distract yourself in times of this withdrawal syndrome. Go watch a fun movie. Go out with friends. Eat some chocolates, they cause dopamine release in the brain. Eat almonds, same thing, not as quick as chocolate, but same effect.
3. Go for a vacation somewhere far away if you can. And DO NOT talk to him on the phone while you are out there. Meet new people.
4. Be creative and figure out your own solution, now that you understand the problem a bit better.
Finally, before I end today, here’s a bit of good news for everyone: in a week or two I will be launching a totally free video course called “The Psychology of Attraction”. It will be a crash course on attraction, seduction, evolution and much more. Look out for my email that should reach your inbox sometime in the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed) :) Also if you want to ask any specific questions on this topic, write it in the comment below, I will take the top questions and answer it in the upcoming video course.
Till then, spread the love and make this world a little better today!
Shafin de Zane, CHT, MH, MNLP
Hypnotherapist, Author, Spiritual Coach
Question From A Reader:
Dear Mr Shafin
I am H***, this my second email to you. This time i just want to ask some question to you. I hope you are willing to answer my question.
I once read an article that says to change the sub-conscious mind we have to master meditation, affirmation, visualization and emotional anchor. And my question is about those things.
Since you have provided guidance on meditation so I’ll ask about affirmation, visualization, and emotional anchor.
My first question about the affirmation. How to make affirmations work?
The second question about visualization. What exercises should I do to master the creative visualization?
The third question about the emotional anchor. What exactly is emotional anchor and how to do it?
Those are the things I wanted to ask, I am waiting for a reply from you.
Answer From Shafin:
Good questions, all of them relate to the power of positive thinking. Let me get straight to it:
First, how to make affirmations work?
Simply put, affirmations are repeating a given sentence or an idea over and over in your mind or out loud. One of the most famous affirmations in history being: “Everyday in every way I am getting better and better” by the French psychologist Emile Coué.
The idea behind affirmations is based on the principle that any idea exclusively occupying the mind turns into reality, as long as the idea is within the realms of possibility. For example the father of affirmations himself (or at least the father of the most popular affirmation) Coué used to say that “curing our troubles require a change in our unconscious thought, which can only be achieved by using our imagination”.
I am personally not a big fan of how affirmations are done traditionally. Why? Because I like using leverage. Leverage means doing more and more with less and less. Saying over and over “I am rich! I am abundant! I am healthy!” seems to me like a waste of time; especially for people who are not rich, abundant and wealthy. It creates an emotional incongruence that has every chance of backfiring. I don’t believe in unrealistic positive thinking. And saying something over and over that you actually don’t believe to be true will only diminish all your faith on yourself and on the affirmations you are using.
So what do I do? I usually spend about 1 hour each day meditating and mind programming and I rely upon a combination of tools like hypnosis, meditation and yes also affirmation but in a different way. I use affirmations that are universally true and not just hopeful thoughts. My affirmations read like this:
“I now think about success, future goals and contribution to this world most of the time. Whenever I find myself indulging in negative thought patterns, I consciously decide to focus on what is good and exciting.”
Here is another one…
“I know the very first step for attaining success is being totally clear about what I want. Happiness is not a random event; happiness is the step by step realization of my chosen goals in life. I choose to be happy. I choose to know what I want from life. And I choose to gradually work towards attaining my goals everyday.”
(By the way, both of the above affirmations are from my Dream Manifestor program that is probably one of the most powerful mind programming tools ever released to public.)
So how to make the power of positive thinking work for you? Focus on a positive thought, but don’t try to fool your brain. Your conscious mind is way too weak to fool the entire psychosomatic system into something that is not even close to truth.
If you are sick and wish to be healthy, focus on universal health affirmations. An example could be: “as I exercise and eat healthy each day, my body heals faster and faster every day”.
If you are poor and wish to improve your financial status, focus on affirmations that are both true and goal oriented (as opposed fantastic hopes).
See the affirmations above? They are not just nice thoughts but embedded within them are real actions that can actually help you do things differently. That’s where the power of positive thinking comes from. Not saying happy words till the cows come home, but actually doing things differently as a result of having those positive thoughts. No matter how many “self help” products tell you your thoughts alone can change your reality, take this from me… unless you DO things differently, nothing ever will change.
The universe does not grow by thinking happy thoughts alone. It grows by evolution through constant adaptation and growth of its constituents. “Think happy thoughts inside but keep doing the same things over and over outside” is like “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare said that by the way, not me). It’s a clever little marketing message that sells. Suddenly all lazy people around the world have new ideology to hold on to: think positive thoughts and that will solve all your problems. Of course positive thoughts are essential but it’s not sufficient. If you keep DOING what your have always DONE, you will keep getting the same results you have always gotten. You need to change your thoughts but more importantly you need to change your habits and actions.
If you are already nodding your head in agreement, do yourself a favor and read every word on the page below (even if you have read it before). What I am saying will make more sense then.
Okay next question…
What exercises should I do to master the creative visualization?
Visualize long term future, that’s the most valuable advice I can give you. The more you can look into the future while maintaining your grounding in the present, the more mature and intelligent your decision making will be.
Once again, I do not suggest you visualize unrealistic dreams coming true. I know, I know, they said in The Secret that if you visualize cheques, you will keep getting more cheques. Ermmm… here is a bigger secret: it works in the beginning, gets your hopes up, then stops working altogether and gets you supremely confused. Why it happens that way is a much more complex topic that I cannot accommodate here right now. But it does and therefore the whole wealth built with pure mind power remains exactly there: in the mind!
To put it simply: visualize realistic goals you can actually achieve within a reasonable amount of time. In other words, never visualize anything that you are not in control of.
Don’t visualize becoming a billionaire if you are a struggling poet; visualize getting your first poetry book published first.
Don’t visualize winning a lottery, ever, because there is nothing in the world you can do to raise your chances of winning (unless you have cracked the formula of course, in that case please let me know about it too… just kidding!).
Don’t visualize winning a marathon if you are overweight by 50kg and never ran a mile in your life; visualize instead reducing your weight by 20kg and jogging everyday for the next one month.
You get the drift right? Visualize what you can achieve. Don’t visualize anything that’s so big that you are pretty sure to fail. Never visualize anything that’s left to pure chance.
The third question about the emotional anchor. What exactly is emotional anchor and how to do it?
Emotions are the most addictive drugs known to man. Remember that. If you can anchor a positive emotion to an action, you will keep repeating that action automatically. Here’s what that means:
Emotions are nothing but release of hormones and other “neuro chemicals” in your brain and feelings are what your body feels due to the presence of those chemicals. If you have cortesol released, you feel stressed. If you have adrenaline, you feel the rush of flight or fight response. If you have dopamine, you feel the happiness of reward and achievement. If you have vasopressin, you feel territorial. Got it?
Now if you can anchor, that is to say connect a given action with a given emotion, and if that emotion is positive, you will keep repeating that action to experience that emotion over and over.
Let’s say you watch the TV and it’s your habit to also eat some chocolates when you watch the tele. Eating the chocolates releases dopamine in your brain and thereby anchors that state with watching television. If you repeat this a few times you actually literally get addicted. Why? Because, I told you, these happy brain drugs are highly addictive.
Usually we get a huge surge of dopamine release when we are close to someone we are in love with. Which explains why we get so “addicted” to them! When we have an orgasm, our brains are flooded with oxytocin, the bliss chemical, which is why we are so blissfully happy right after an orgasm.
Anyway, the bottom line being, if you can anchor a happy emotion with a productive action, you can very quickly turn it into a habit. How to do that?
First choose an action that you want to turn into a habit. Let’s say its jogging everyday. Now make sure right after you jog, or when you are jogging, you reward yourself with something highly pleasurable to you. This will anchor jogging with that pleasurable experience (if you do it right). The key here is to be consistent. If you reward yourself one day and stop for the next 1 week, then your anchor will break, remember that.
On the flip side, if you can keep repeating that action and rewarding yourself for 21-28 days consistently, it will very likely turn into a habit and you will be able to feel that happy emotion (that originally was triggered by the pleasurable reward) just by doing the productive action itself.
This in essence is the idea behind emotional anchoring (very close to classical conditioning).
That’s it for today. I hope you understand a bit more on the power of positive thinking and how to use it more effectively in your life. Do keep writing you guys! While I can’t answer everyone, as you can see, I do try
Have fun and keep smiling!
Shafin de Zane, CHT, MH, MNLP
Hypnotherapist, Author, Spiritual Coach
Question from a reader:
I am a little confused about something. I am an alcoholic/addict in recovery for 2 years now. I am doing the twelve step program. I have been working to my very best to deal with all my old stuff and letting go and allowing healing.
I come from a family of alcoholics and addicts and DEPRESSION. I have been suffering from this most of my life (now I know where it comes from!). I have always trusted God to help me heal. When I came into recovery, I stopped my anti-depressants (mood-altering stuff). I feel that I need to work through all this on a clean truth level. But it has been VERY very hard for me and even with my recovery I eventually ended up after the two years in a fetus position on my bed not able to deal with the depression any longer and the suffering that goes with it. I weighed 42kg with pains all over my body – sick and wounded.
I have been prescribed ant-depressants again after I decided that I cannot accept that I have to carry on suffering like this-life has just been hard enough for me. BUT I DO NOT WANT TO USE THE PILLS!!! I just feel that maybe I am addicted to this suffering and pain and I just want to stop it.
Please give me some suggestions on your thoughts.
Thank you so much also for the inspirational info from you always.
Before I say anything on this topic, here is a little legal disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor so you should not listen to anything I have to say
Now let’s down to business:
If you want to understand why and how people get depressed and what to do about it, you have to understand exactly what depression is and how people get there. Depression is NOT an illness that is caused by a viral attack or something, it is an advanced stage of a spiraling journey that you only reach after crossing a few other stations first. The key to dealing with depression naturally and in a holistic way is ensuring that you don’t begin the journey, of if you already started, don’t cross the stations, or if you have reached “depression city” already, to get on the train and start going back to where you started. Alien speak? Don’t get depressed (pun intended), I’ll make everything clear soon.
Depression is an emotion. What is an emotion? Emotions are our body’s way of storing pain and pleasure in our mind. Reptiles and birds (as far as we understand) do not feel emotions. Why not? Because the part of the brain that feels emotion only developed in the mammals. They (reptiles and other lower level animals on the evolutionary scale) respond to the world by instinctive reactions to physical pain and pleasure. We humans on the other hand have developed an emotional brain that feels not only physical sensations but happiness, sadness, anger, fear, loneliness etc in our minds. These are called emotions.
Why did we evolve to feel emotions? Because they are our bodies guiding mechanism to help us take the right steps in the right direction. Got that? This is very very important: emotions are our body’s way of motivating us to take the right steps in the right direction towards a healthy happy life. Remember that as we move forward.
Now there are 3 levels of emotions we feel:
Primary emotions: Happiness, anger, sadness, loniless, fear, guilt etc.
Secondary emotion: Frustration
Tertiary emotion: Depression
Now here is how we are designed:
Our primary emotions are all messages that guide us in a specific way to carry out some specific actions. I’ll give you one example: anger is the message to seek fairness. That’s it! It’s very simple message that is biologically hardwired into us so we can seek equity.
People say anger is bad. I say anger is neither good nor bad. It’s simply a message. A message to seek fairness. At any given circumstance, the only reason a person will feel anger is when he or she perceives unfairness being done to either himself or someone he cares about or something he cares about. (Of course there are other pent up convoluted forms of anger that has nothing to do with the present moment but coming from somewhere in the past, but essentially it is still a call for fairness).
(If you want to learn all about emotions and how to interpret each of them and use them in your life to live a healthy, wealthy and prosperous life, I suggest you get my book Redefine Your Reality where I cover this topic in much more detail.)
The key point to understand here is that anger is an emotion and emotions are messages. Messages designed to help you take some specific action in specific circumstances.
Here is another one: loneliness. Loneliness is a specific message that motivates you to seek quality human company. Getting a goldfish does not work in solving the situation.
So what happens if you keep ignoring the message that your body is sending to you for a prolonged period of time? You enter the secondary level of emotion: Frustration.
What is the meaning of frustration? “What you are doing is NOT working, please change your ways.”
If you manage to ignore frustration for a significant period of time, you enter the final stage of depression. What is the message of depression? In this stage your body is saying to you… “I can’t do this anymore! I need a break, I need it NOW!” In this stage, the body stops trying, it goes into a state of rest, gives up on everything and simply sleeps.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Imagine Bob. Bob just got divorced from his wife who was everything in his life. She was his best friend, his conversation partner, his wife, his buddy.. everything. After the separation, Bob naturally began to feel loneliness. What did Bob do? Well, just like all sensible individuals, he went to the local pub and tried to drown his sorrow with alcohol (this wasn’t sorrow by the way; it was a message, a message called loneliness that had a very specific solution). This sort of behavior is called “distraction”. You can easily substitute alcohol with food, or work, or even making money.
The thing with distraction is that as long as you are distracting yourself, you are able to blot out the negative emotion you were feeling (that’s why we choose specific “distractors” that work for us) and feel happy. Unfortunately when the distracting behavior is completed, you wake up and usually feel twice the amount of negative emotion that you were originally feeling. This is the body’s way of pushing you towards a healthier lifestyle.
What does Bob do? Well, he goes out every evening and drinks even more, since he is feeling double lonely these days. As this continues Bob ends up in a rut! He feels lonely, drinks, wakes up to feel even more lonely, drinks more.
After a while, as part of our natural design, the body triggers the secondary emotion of FRUSTRATION. What’s the message again? “What you are doing is not working, do something else.” It’s a call for creativity. Typically when we are in this level, everything feels like its not working. We are somewhat irritated all the time.
So now Bob is lonely AND frustrated. What does he do? Well, he drinks more; because that’s the only way he knows how to feel better.
Now as Bob is stuck in this rut of feeling lonely-frustrated then drinking more and more to feel better, his body chemistry is going completely haywire. Also as you can imagine, if he has a job or business, how that is suffering by this time, which will compound on his feelings of anger, frustration etc. So not only now he is going to feel natural frustration and loneliness, he is also feeling other chemical induced lethargy and general lack of happiness.
If he continues this for a while, Bob will finally have abused his body so much that he will begin to feel the tertiary level of emotion: DEPRESSION. So what is the message of depression again? It is “I need a break, I need it NOW!” The general feeling associated with depression is “nothing in the world is worth it; all I want to do is sleep.”
By this time, the body has stopped trying to motivate you any further to take action in the right direction. All it wants is to stop the abuse that you’ve been inflicting upon yourself.
At this point, we usually decide to visit the divine beings in white coats amongst our midst called… doctors. They tell us we need to go on Prozac or something similar which are known as SSRI’s (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). What are these? Well, in layman’s terms, they are designed to stop you from feeling depression by allowing more serotonin (the happy drug) in your brain. In Shafin speak: these are drugs that mess up your natural bodily intelligence by chemically interfering with your brain.
What happens now? Well, Bob, who is already depressed and pretty much an alcoholic, recovers a bit with the SSRI, at which stage the body takes him back to frustration mode because it gets confused into thinking that things have become better naturally. This makes Bob start drinking again because that is the only way he knows how to handle this situation. This brings him down to becoming depressed again… and after a while he is finally left with one of the two choices:
a. Become clinically depressed, where depression spreads to all over his life and is no longer localized into the original problem of loneliness anymore (which means even if he were to get himself a great partner right now or surround himself with many great friends, it still wouldn’t work). Or,
b. He becomes totally dependant on drugs, where he basically becomes incapable of feeling natural emotions anymore and therefore severely limited in life. (Of course life goes on, but as you can imagine, this person begins to walk on thin ice where every other occasion becomes a potential reason for breakdown.)
So what is the solution? The solution is realizing:
a. Dealing with depression is not going to be easy. You should not expect it to be. Be prepared to get ask for help from everyone around you. And when they try to help you, LET THEM. Don’t chase them away by being ashamed or feeling guilty.
b. To deal with depression you will first need to allow your body to heal from all chemical poisoning that has been done on it. This may take a while. And sometimes the temptation to give in will be overwhelming. You will need help here. Make plans for getting as much professional help as you can afford. Suggestions are: go for a meditation retreat, check into a rehab, go for a prolonged mind body healing retreat etc. If those are not an option: alert your friends and family your plan of action and ask them to help you as much as possible to stay on track.
c. Dealing with depression is not a final solution; it is simply a symptom that needs to be addressed before you can go to the root cause of the problem. Go see a psychologist, the type that do not prescribe pills but work with you on your overall life situation.
d. Dealing with depression becomes EXTREMELY difficult if you are constantly eating junk food, drinking all kinds of chemically altered drinks like coke and pepsi etc, not taking care of your physical body by exercising, and one of the worst of all… if you are glued to the TV watching all kinds of bad news or action movies. Go on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Fast at least once a week. Meditate. Drink plenty of raw vegetables and vege smoothies. Exercise regularly. Run if you can. Get plenty of fresh air. Register for a yoga class if possible. Surround yourself with all kinds of motivational and positive sources of entertainment and educational materials. Do not touch even a drop of alcohol or similar mind altering substances. Oh, I almost forgot my favorite… no cigarettes.
Finally here is the good news: let me assure you, dealing with depression is EASY if you are ready to face the very uncomfortable truth that you are hiding from and refusing to take action about. That is how you got here. In the beginning there was a simple situation that required your action. Life was calling you to do something about that situation. Your body needed you to take some specific action. You may remember it, you may not. But if you keep taking the steps outlined above, very soon you’ll have enough clarity to realize what it is that you need to do.
I wish you all the strength and clarity on your journey of awakening!
Lots of love,
Shafin de Zane, CHT, MH, MNLP
Hypnotherapist, Author, Spiritual Coach