Being a student of psychology for decades, I’m still reading anything I can find, old or new, to help me better understand myself and others.
Most recently I devoured Sanity, Insanity, and Common Sense, a 1987 book by Rick Suarez, Roger Mills, and Darlene Stewart.
The book describes a “Psychology of Mind” that I love.
Today you can easily find books echoing the principles in Sanity, Insanity, and Common Sense but I love the original for more or less introducing the ideas to the mental health community back in the 1980s.
In short, the four key points in the book (in my own words) are these:
1. Thought shapes reality.
2. Each person lives in a separate reality.
3. There are levels of consciousness.
4. Feelings and emotions reveal the level of consciousness.
By themselves, standing stark naked on the page, they may not seem like much.
You may have even heard of them before.
But let’s go deeper:
1. Thought shapes reality.
You know this one. You’ve heard it from me and other authors. But to bring it alive, you have to realize that your thoughts are creating your reality right now. No matter what your explanation is for your life, it is being created mostly by thought. Yes, you have behaviors and actions, but they are first triggered by thoughts. Thought comes first. Thought shapes reality. Thought is where you change reality.
2. Each person lives in a separate reality.
This was a major a-ha insight for me. The authors prove that each person lives in a perceived reality created by their unique set of thoughts. Their perception creates their version of reality. You do it. I do it. We all do it. But virtually no one is aware that they do it. Understanding that the people you deal with aren’t thinking like you, and they in fact view the world differently than you do, explains the challenge we have in communicating with and understanding each other. You are from one planet; I am from another. Now, let’s talk. See the problem?
3. There are levels of consciousness.
More recent authors, such as the late David Hawkins, have explained that there are levels of awareness or consciousness. Lower levels are where you’ll find revenge, greed, depression. Higher levels are where you experience love, compassion, understanding. Just knowing there are levels can help you understand your life in any moment. If you are feeling down, you need to think-do-be something up the ladder of consciousness. It may be as simple as taking a nap. It may be a need for a new mental frame for what you are experiencing. The idea, of course, is to live from higher states of consciousness. You’ll be happier there. And so will everyone around you.
4. Feelings and emotions reveal the level of consciousness.
I loved this insight, as well. It makes it easier to spot your own level of consciousness. If you are in a bad mood, or feeling angry or insecure, you have dropped to a lower level. If you feel happy, loving, friendly, then you went higher. In other words, your very feelings are the indicators of your current spot on the levels of consciousness. Your thought created those feelings, but you can use the feelings/emotions to hone in on the originating thought that you might now need to change.
As Sanity, Insanity, and Common Sense explained, awareness alone is a profound tool for awakening and understanding, and for greater motivation and productivity.
Because the 1987 book was written for mental health professionals, the authors used examples from management, therapy, hospitals and other organizations to show that old ways of trying to change will always fail because they usually don’t take into account the Psychology of Mind.
What’s needed at home and at work is awareness of how thought works, how it creates separate realities in different people, how our emotions reveal our place in consciousness, and more.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you (or anyone) drops into a lower level of consciousness, the key feeling you experience is insecurity.
And when you (or anyone) feel insecure, you won’t think or act clearly.
At that point, you will be unhappy (though you may call it sad, mad, or any other word to describe it).
And this is why the book is subtitled “The Groundbreaking New Approach to Happiness.”
It’s a guide to mental health, and mental health is described as a higher consciousness state of happiness.
A few gems from the book to chew on:
“The fact is that in separate realities, everyone is right and everyone is telling the truth as they see it.”
“Stress is a byproduct of thinking; it is not inherent in situations or circumstances.”
“A reality is an apparency. It is how something appears to be.”
So, your reality is different because your thoughts are different.
And you can use your feelings to reveal your thoughts.
In other words, if you feel “low” or “off,” it simply tips your place in thought.
You’ve heard the answer before: change your thinking.
Or if you are frustrated by someone performing poorly at work or school or home, your understanding of their thought and their reality, can bring you more compassion and understanding in dealing with them.
And ultimately, throughout all this dance of partners in separate realities, we have to remind ourselves that the one who needs to change is YOU.
You are entirely responsible for what you perceive.
Because what you perceive is through your mindset.
You filter objective reality through your mindset/paradigm/beliefs and what you actually see is your own version of reality.
The thing is, your neighbor is doing the same thing.
And so is your boss.
And your spouse.
It takes understanding and compassion to guide ourselves through this maze, but the authors point out that when you lift your own mindset to higher consciousness, then you will more clearly see where others are, and you will more naturally influence them lovingly and organically.
I loved the book but am not asking you to go read it. (The book is now out of print, but you can find used copies on eBay and Amazon.)
Instead, absorb the four principles of the Psychology of Mind and note how you feel throughout the day.
Just stop and take stock.
What are you feeling?
Your feeling is an indicator of your state of consciousness, and your consciousness can be changed with a thought.
What do you think?
PS – I’ve written about these concepts in numerous places. You might want to check out The Awakening Course.
I’ll be 62 years old (young) at the end of this month.
While that means I’m a member of AARP, I can get discounts at certain stores, and my remaining hair is turning gray, it doesn’t mean that I have stopped growing.
In fact, I’m aging backwards.
In the last year alone I —
— attended a strongman training and bent a horseshoe, a steel bar, and a nail, all with my bare hands, and drove a spike through a board with my fist. I was the oldest person in the room, even older than the instructor, and probably the most inexperienced when it comes to feats of strength. But I attended anyway. I learned a lot, too, including the fact that virtually “Nothing is impossible.”
— attended an advanced guitar camp with legendary player Tommy Emmanuel. I was one of the oldest in the room, was surrounded by players far more advanced than me – including a 14 year old girl who dazzled everyone with her skills – but I attended anyway.
— attended an online class to learn how to play the baritone saxophone, wrote an article about playing for a sax mag, recorded an entire album of saxophone music, hired Grammy nominated sax sensation Mindi Abair to perform for me and tutor me, and more.
— discovered a synthophone — an alto sax turned into a midi instrument — and bought one and learned how to play it, using it to help make another healing music audio with Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon, called The Enlightenment Audio.
– went into the studio with one of my favorite singers in the entire world – Grammy nominated Ruthie Foster – and producer Daniel Barrett and created an album called Stretch! with me writing lyrics, playing baritone saxophone, and singing with Ruthie. Talk about a stretch! But I did it.
— traveled to Kuwait to speak to people interested in self-improvement and curious about positive psychology, but also traveled to numerous domestic spots, as well, including to one where we discussed my having my own television show in 2016.
— despite having written more books than most people read in their entire lifetime, I released several more, including the best selling The Secret Prayer and volume 3 of The Miracles Manual. And I just signed a publishing deal for my next book, coming out April 2016.
— and even though I’m an author of books designed to help people, I’m still buying and reading other people’s self-help books, too. I’m always searching for new authors, new voices, new books, new material, to help me expand my thinking and my life.
Why do I continue to invest in courses, books, audios, coaching, classes and more?
Why am I continuing to do this as I turn 62?
Because I’m still learning, growing, improving, stretching and discovering myself.
Because I don’t know it all and am eager to discover more about myself and life.
Because as long as I keep moving forward, they won’t throw dirt on my face.
I have no idea your age, and it doesn’t really matter.
My father is 90 and still enthusiastic about life.
He gets up earlier than you or me or the sun every morning and wallops a standing dummy five hundred times.
And that’s before he does light weight lifting, walking, and other exercise – with a hernia.
Actor Dick Van Dyke is 90 and still dancing.
Turn on the right music and he’ll start free styling it without a word or a prompt but with a gigantic bright smile on his happy face.
I’m sure you are younger than 90.
I’m reminding you to think big, do big, and move forward in big ways, no matter what your age.
Or, drop the “big” and just think, do, and move.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren
It’s the end of this year.
The new one is firing up.
Ready or not, here it comes.
What would you like to accomplish in 2016?
You can begin right now by signing up for a course, or a class, or coaching.
The idea is to joyfully experience life.
It’ll keep you young, bright, happy and healthy.
“You’re never too old to become younger.” – Mae West
And isn’t that what life is all about?
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy New Year to you.
Let’s make this new one rock.
PS — Consider my father. He’s 90 years old. He still gets up every morning and works out for two hours. He also is the primary caregiver of my ailing, bedridden mother. And, at 90, my father became an author. His book, The Most Contented Man, is on Amazon. He’s starting another book. He’s ninety. I’m sixty-two. Do you really have any excuses not to stretch and grow, learn and do?
Recently on my Facebook fan page I posted this thought:
“Whenever you get upset, it’s because you went unconscious. A hidden belief was activated. Become aware of the belief, release it, and the upset vanishes. You are then able to clearly see what to do next in the moment.”
The idea is to become aware.
When something upsets you, it’s not because of the “something” but because of your internal trigger, usually an unconscious belief.
When you become aware of the belief, you can remove the trigger.
Then when “something” happens that used to upset you, you will be calm, and better able to see your choices in the moment.
In other words, when you get upset, you have to become acutely sensitive to what belief in you is being activated.
Under your emotions is a thought about how things “should” be.
Because things are suddenly not as your unconscious mind expected, a switch was thrown, a belief was activated, and you became upset.
But once you realize what the belief is, you can change it and no longer attract the experience.
As I also posted one time —
“The meaning you give an event is the belief that attracted it.”
Once you clear the belief, you no longer need situations to remind you of it.
One way to find the belief, is to ask yourself what the situation means.
All of those statements seem like accurate observations of reality by the person stating them.
On one level, they are accurate.
But in unfiltered objective reality those statements are the beliefs that are attracting the subjective reality.
Clear the belief and you won’t attract the experience, or, if you attract something akin to it, it won’t bother you.
You’ll be free.
From time to time I post nuggets like that to help you do one thing: awaken.
For example, a while back I posted this:
“If you don’t have some self doubts and fears when you pursue a dream, then you haven’t dreamed big enough.”
The idea behind that one is to get you to stretch, and realize stretching will bring up any beliefs counter to your goal, what I call counter-intentions.
In other words, going for a big dream will make you excited and uncomfortable, at least until you clear the negative beliefs.
Because you’re leaving your comfort zone.
By the very nature of the phrase “comfort zone,” you will be uncomfortable when you leave it.
But that doesn’t mean you aren’t to go for your dreams.
It simply means that when you pursue a new goal, your limiting beliefs around it will surface.
Which brings up the question, how do you clear limiting beliefs and counter-intentions?
I’ve written and recorded numerous books and audios about many different processes you can use, from ho’oponopono to The Remembering Process to Nevillizing to the Fourth Dimension Process to Miracles Coaching and more.
But today I’m excited to announce that I will be teaching a six week class on all of this.
It’s called “Expect Miracles.”
It will be my definitive course on going beyond where you might be stuck to living a life of magic and miracles.
It will take you from beginning to advanced to awakening.
It will contain processes, meditations, visualizations and more, all led by me, all designed to help you.
It will take quotes like this from me and explain them:
“You created this moment from what you thought and felt three days ago. What you are thinking and feeling right now will create your next moments.”
In other words, Expect Miracles will help you understand how your mind works, so you can actually go past the mind and merge with the energy vortex of life itself.
In that realm, miracles are the norm.
The course begins November 10, 2015.
If this is something that resonates with you, then check it out at http://mval.li/?a=5325&c=1676&p=r&s1=
Remember – Expect Miracles!
PS – For more quotes from me, one place to look is at http://addicted2success.com/quotes/36-joe-vitale-quotes-to-inspire-a-life-of-abundance/
If I handed you a horseshoe and said “Bend it,” what would you do?
Probably nothing, right?
Same thing if I offered you a metal bar.
You’d hold the cold steel and wouldn’t know where to begin.
Your mind wouldn’t have any idea how to start.
It would seem impossible.
But the other day I came home and handed Nerissa a bent horseshoe and a twisted metal bar.
“You bent these?” she asked in amazement.
“Yep,” I replied. “And I also drove a nail through a board with my hand.”
“How is that even possible?” she asked.
And that’s where I had an “aha” about how we can more easily and quickly change beliefs.
Let me explain…
I attended the Strongman University seminar with the legendary Dennis Rogers and strongman David Whitley. You may recall their names because I wrote about them on a previous blog post.
Both guys are powerfully strong, and prove it by ripping thick phone books, decks of playing cards, bending nails and spikes and steel bars and horseshoes, breaking out of chains, holding people high in the air with one hand, and more.
They come from a long history of strongmen (and women) who do feats of strength for a living.
I attended the event to find out their tricks of the trade.
Turns out, there aren’t any tricks.
These strongmen are actually doing what you see them do.
While there may be magic trick approaches to getting similar results, Dennis and David and the old school authentic strongmen don’t use tricks.
They are using intent, will power, knowledge of technique, and a tremendous amount of focused sheer strength.
I know because it took everything in my body and mind to bend a horseshoe.
My muscles ached, my breathing was hard, my face was flushed, my neck veins were popping, and I groaned and struggled as my entire body and mind were focused on bending that horseshoe.
And I did it, too.
But when I first held it, it seemed impossible.
After all, a horseshoe is hard steel and made for a horse.
It’s not designed to give.
How was I going to bend it?
But here’s what happened:
I saw David do it.
Then I saw a few other people in the event – including two petite but strong women – do it.
And then I knew it was possible for me, too.
In other words, seeing living proof of it being done convinced me – it changed my belief system – and I realized it was now possible for me, too.
This insight made me realize that when you want to change something in your life, you might need to read, see, or meet someone who has already done it.
Once your mind accepts the reality of change, it then becomes possible for you, too.
You still have to take action, of course.
The horseshoe will not bend by itself.
I have to pick it up.
I have to see it in my mind bending.
And I have to collect all the muscle and energy and focus possible within me and aim it at that horseshoe.
But because I know it can be done, I’m more inclined to give it my all.
And when the horseshoe bends, you feel like superman.
Same is true for all your goals.
Once you achieve one, the rest become doable.
You don’t have to pick up a horseshoe and bend it, but wouldn’t it be cool if you took on a daring challenge and completed it?
And if it’s a big challenge – like bending a horseshoe or steel bar was for me – then read about or watch a film about someone who already achieved the goal you want to achieve.
Their success will teach you and inspire you and let you know that what you want to do is possible.
And then, go do it.
PS – What if you try and fail? Truth is, I wasn’t able to do all the feats of strength that David and Dennis taught. I couldn’t rip a phone book, tear a deck of cards, or bend a metal spike. I tried so hard that my muscles still ache today. So, did I fail? Not at all. As long as I keep trying, and remind myself that it is possible for me to do, then I will succeed. The “failure” was simply feedback that my grip needs to be stronger. And that means my “failed” attempts were actually part of my training. Just trying to rip or tear or bend was building my muscle. You never fail as long as you keep moving forward.
The following is the cover story feature article in this month’s issue of Austin All Natural magazine, by yours truly:
“Let me make you a paper weight.”
It was Dennis Rogers speaking. Many consider him the world’s strongest man. Celebrities call on him for advice on performing and getting strong. He’s performed over 2,600 feats of strength shows. He’s a legend.
We met over lunch. He wanted to give me a gift, or rather make one for me.
He wrapped his hands in a thin leather protective covering, and then began to bend a wrench before my eyes. I couldn’t comprehend how he did it. I had felt the wrench beforehand and it was a genuine metal tool, heavy and solid. But it bent like it was warm butter.
By now the kitchen staff had seen the bent wrench and saw the small lunch crowd forming around Dennis and me.
“Would you like me to roll a frying pan for you?” Dennis asked the cook and staff. “It can be a souvenir you can hang in the kitchen.”
They all agreed, their eyes bugged out and waiting.
Dennis pulled out a frying pan, put his fingers over the edge, and began to slowly roll it like it was a tortilla. It was astonishing to see. It was surreal. Dennis was clearly focused, breathing hard, putting his life force into his efforts.
He handed the completely rolled up pan, now of no practical use, to the chef.
None of us could believe it.
I had seen strongmen and feats of strength before. When I was in Russia, a man billed as the world’s strongest man – I guess there can be more than one – bent a heavy nail before my eyes. He, like Dennis, used sheer power and intense focus to get it done.
I admired it. I could see applications in other areas of life. I wanted to know more.
The origin of strongman feats of strength goes back to prehistory, maybe even back to caveman picking up boulders and protecting their caves.
The first of the recorded characters was probably Milo of Croton, an ancient Greek wrestler, circa 558 B.C.
His training was simple: find a young calf, lift it.
Next day, find a heavier calf, lift it.
Next day, find a heavier calf or cow, lift it.
It was an early exercise routine today named progressive overload. But that’s the ancient Greeks for you. They didn’t name it. They just knew the process made them stronger.
But feats of strength were performed throughout history, right into the circus and on the vaudeville stage throughout the 1800s.
As time went on, strength displays were broken into categories, such as power lifting and bodybuilding.
I admire men and women who use intention and strength to accomplish something the rest of us might consider virtually impossible.
Some of these early strongmen, most notably Joseph Greenstein, whose stage name was the Mighty Atom, also pursued strength as a means of mental and spiritual development.
Authentic strongman and strongwomen don’t use magic tricks to get their results. They want to impress themselves as well as you.
This is one reason I’m attending Dennis Rogers and Dave Whitley’s Oldetime Strongman University Training in Austin September 19-20. http://www.dennisrogers.net/oldetime-strongman-university-seminar/
I want to learn what it takes to be a modern walking Hercules, able to bend nails, wrenches, frying pans or your car keys, but doing it as a type of meditation. Using it to stretch myself into bigger possibility thinking.
Dennis told me, “The area of strength that David Whitley and I will be teaching is the artistic display of physical strength. I say this because you must certainly build your body, particularly your core and grip, but it also requires a creative mind and artful presentation.
“It is the art of the old vaudeville and Coney Island strength stars. Men like Eugen Sandow, Siegmund Brietbart, Warren Lincoln Travis, and ‘The Mighty Atom.’ “
According to author and strength historian David Willoughby, “It was Sandow who raised feats of strength out of the grunt-and groan category and made them spectacular and entertaining.”
But it’s not about the bent item, it’s about learning to use your mind and muscle to get results. That’s priceless anywhere.
David Whitley said, “It is the bodily expression of the mind’s power.”
And that’s why I trained with the “old school” bodybuilders, like multiple Olympia winner Frank Zane, who advised me, “Watch your thoughts. Most people let their mind talk themselves out of what their muscle can do. Push past the voice.”
And Steve Reeves, the legendary early bodybuilder who played Hercules in the original movie, said he would visualize his muscles growing as he worked them. Arnold does the same thing.
It’s mind over muscle.
Dennis Rogers once told me that most people give up in trying to bend a wrench right before the wrench is going to bend. “They let their minds talk themselves out of what they can achieve,” he explained.
David Whitley said, “We tend to think of the physical first, but being strong is something that goes beyond the physical performance of feats and encompasses the entire being. It is a means of discovering, unifying and expressing the True Self.
“The essence of being an old-time strong man in my opinion is recognizing and acknowledging the infinite potential of the human mind. The ability to bend steel, rip decks of cards, etc., has its roots in the same place as every great invention or work of art we have ever seen: The Imagination.”
You can see how relevant this is to all aspects of life, not just in the gym or on stage. It’s about using your mind and body to achieve your intentions. It’s about training in a way to exceed your own “personal best” and proving to yourself and others that virtually nothing is impossible.
Now, stand back, as I’m going to break that chain around my neck on the cover of the magazine…
PS – If you are in the Austin, Texas area, you can find the current issue of Austin All Natural at places like Central Market, Whole Foods, and leading edge book stores and yoga studios. You can read it online right here.