Tami Simon: You’re listening to Insights at the Edge, part two of a conversation with Dr. Friedemann Schaub. Friedemann is a physician specializing in cardiology and molecular biology who has helped thousands of people with his breakthrough and empowerment program that combines his medical expertise with NLP, Time Line Therapy™, clinical hypnotherapy, and more. With Sounds True, Friedemann has created a new book called The Fear and Anxiety Solution: A Breakthrough Process for Healing and Empowerment with Your Subconscious Mind. He’s also created a four-session audio series where he leads listeners in guided practices for tapping the power of the subconscious mind. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Friedemann and I spoke about cellular memory, and a natural blueprint for wholeness that we all possess. We also talked about our essences and how we can root ourselves in our essences instead of a continual experience of low-level anxiety. Finally, we talked about the subconscious inner protector that is at the root of our negative self-talk, and Friedemann’s Parts Reintegration Process for working with the inner protector. Here’s my conversation with Dr. Friedemann Schaub.
Friedemann, I wanted to have this second conversation with you because there were some very interesting and I think, important ideas that you introduce in your new book, The Fear and Anxiety Solution, that we didn’t have a chance to talk about in our first conversation that I’d love to bring up with you now.
The first one is this whole idea of cellular memory. Do our cells actually remember from our birth experience? From early in our life? How can a cell “remember something?” I mean it’s a cell after all, it doesn’t have a brain. So talk to me a little bit about this concept of cellular memory.
Friedemann Schaub, MD, PhD: You know, cellular memory is something that in Eastern traditions is a well-accepted fact, at least from the perspective of healing. It came more into the Western forefront of the mind, of also the medical field when people had these strange phenomenons after especially heart transplants, but also liver transplants, where the people that received those transplants from people they didn’t even know, all the sudden took on certain kinds of tastes or preferences, whether all the sudden they liked a certain dish, or they had certain memories that they never recalled before.
That made them wonder: is this something that has to do with the surgery, with the transplant I received? Some of those people investigated further and wanted to know what’s behind that. There have been very interesting cases—again, this is not necessarily a study that has been really done scientifically—but there have been cases where, going back to the family of the person who was donating the organ, confirmed that what these recipients experienced was really exactly that, what the donor had a preference or what experiences this person had in their life. So it was fascinating.
The question is, is there a consciousness in the cells? Is there a consciousness in the organ the people received? That’s one of those ideas of well, maybe our cells are not only made from what we can see, but really there is a wisdom, there is a consciousness inside that can also then transcend beyond the boundaries of the cell and actually affect us, affect our nervous system, affect our awareness. The other cellular memory evidence I think many people have experienced is that the memories of past traumas come back to the surface in the course of a physical treatment. I had several clients that told me that they remembered, for example, abuse from their childhood after a massage or a chiropractic treatment [where] for decades, they had completely suppressed that memory.
Then when there was a certain touch or certain area was moved, all the sudden all these emotions and all these images can back to the surface, flashing into the mind. That’s another sign of cellular memory, and I believe that our subconscious actually uses the body to store emotions and store memories in our cells. I think we’ve all had this experience that our body reacts to certain circumstances and emotions. When we are stressed, we often feel tension and tightness, or our body responds with some, for example, gastritis when you have a lot of anxiety.
So there’s certainly a mind-body connection we are all aware of, and so the question is, do the cells actually not only react in the moment but do they actually change—in the course of a chronic emotional onset, a chronic condition—and do these then changes represent the cellular memory? These are all questions that haven’t been really answered, but I’m just fascinated by the idea that we can actually heal our emotions and our memories from both ends. So not only from the mental/emotional side, but also really making sure that we are clearing and cleansing out our physical memory and our physical sides and making sure that we truly renew ourselves on all levels of our being.
TS: So the idea that our cells store emotions, store memories—can you help me understand? I mean, here you are, you’re a physician that specializes in cardiology and molecular biology, so you may be someone who can actually help me understand this. What’s the mechanism for that?
FS: Well, until probably two decades ago, the common belief was that our cells and our thoughts and our emotions are pretty separate, that our body pretty much operates on its own, and we are just watching what it does. Then they discovered so-called neuropeptides and cytokines that are basically little tiny molecules and hormones that are released through our nervous system and associated cells. Now what these cells are doing is not only in the nervous system transferring some information, these cytokines are actually traveling through the entire body—in the bloodstream, the lymphatic system—and therefore affect pretty much every little nook and cranny of our being, depending on what the release is prompted by.
You know it’s interesting, sometimes, how I was watching something on TV the other day, and somebody had a dentist treatment and all the sudden had pain, and I could physically feel the pain of the person in the same area because I had experienced it. So there was definitely a connection from the visual to then also the physical, to the area where the person on TV was treated, that I could relate to and empathize to.
Now, what happens when these cytokines are released, they are traveling through different cells and docking on so-called “cell receptors.” Cell receptors are like a lock and key mechanism: the cytokines being the keys, the receptor being the lock. As soon as the cytokines are docking onto the appropriate receptor, certain mechanisms are starting to begin inside the cells, and those mechanisms (there are other transmitters involved) are going all the way down into the nucleus, into the core of the cells where our DNA and all the genetic information resides. Then what happens is usually that in that core, in that nucleus of the cells, certain proteins are starting to get produced in response to the cytokines. And what that production of proteins does, is not only a momentary change, [but] it can be a structural change. It can be [that] the entire cells—how they look like, how they operate, how they behave—completely changes through that cytokine that originally has been released in response to a thought or a feeling.
So what cytokines are doing, they are basically the bridge between our thoughts and emotions and the physical body—the cells, and they are then what often determines often how the cells act and [what] they look like and how they behave, and that’s certainly something that more and more is in the interest of understanding what those factors do also when it comes to health and illness.
Bruce Lipton, Dr. Bruce Lipton, you are very familiar with, his life’s work is all about those phenomenons, how our beliefs and how our emotions are shaping the morphology of the cells and the behavior of the cells.
So, once cytokines were discovered, basically there was a scientific correlate to the mind/body connection and once people or researchers could find that, the cells are actually changing according to the conditions that they are in, as cytokines release due to long ongoing stress and anxiety as an ongoing condition that the cell is in, so the cell is literally taking on the shape of an anxious cell. You could say that that is probably the memory, because it has been transformed into a cell that is basically looking like a cell that has been under a lot of stress and lot of emotional pressure for a long time.
TS: Now I’m certainly imagining people who are listening and are thinking, “God, I think my cells might be in a chronic state of anxiety from whatever memories have been imprinted on them, and I might not even be aware.” It’s kind of like a low level of anxiety that’s below the surface. Can you talk about that and how you address that in your work?
FS: Well, the good news is that the three dimensional body is not as fast and doesn’t change as rapid, and as profound, as the mind can do it. It takes longer time. It takes longer impact, which is good because often if we would just think a situation, “Oh that kills me.” Or “That’s really getting me sick.” We would literally become sick if the body would immediately take on this message and react to it. So most listeners can just relax and say “OK, my body is pretty forgiving in many ways and it takes a lot for it to change.”
The other fact is that the cells are really turning around very quickly. Every day, we are losing billions of cells in our bodies. This was actually the topic that I was interested in my research in this process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is cell suicide. It’s programmed cell death. In the philosophical way you could say it is the decision cells are making to let go for the greater good of the wholeness of the body.
That allows us to have a huge turnaround, to really know that we are basically, within two to three years, [can] renew ourselves. So even if there are cells that have been damaged or that have been under stress, they are not staying around. There’s only a few organs that don’t do this turnaround, like the heart for example, but in general our cells are really not lasting very long and turning around and new cells come in and you have literally a fresh start.
TS: OK. That’s a hopeful message but what I’m tuning into is, let’s say someone, as they are listening to this, knows that they had some kind of traumatic experience in their early childhood and they’re having this sense that their cells are storing a memory of this trauma. How in your work, are you going to help that person change and release this cell memory?
FS: First, as I said in the last interview, when we remove the emotional baggage from the past and the storage of the subconscious through the Pattern Resolution Process, that energy that was trapped not only in the subconscious, but also on a deeper level, and even a physiological level, is released by finding resolution and completion with those past events. The way you can tell is that people feel literally like a weight has been lifted off them. Their body is relaxing. Often physical symptoms they had for a long time, are disappearing.
Where does the subconscious store memories? Other than in the cells and in the nervous system? So by really finding this subconscious release process as a way to let this energy come through and then out of you, you already feel the profound changes. I also offer a very specific meditation that allows you to work with yourself to fill [yourself] more with that energy of wholeness and your essence and really direct yourself to go back to the original blueprint of wholeness, of healing.
So you have to understand that for cells and for our body to be in a stress situation, it’s not natural. It’s something that has to be pushed to be there. So if you remove the fuel of that push, if you remove that emotional charge, the cells have a natural ability then to go back into this homeostasis in that inner balance. This is often very interesting because people don’t necessarily come to me when I work in private practice because of their emotional challenges, but often because of their physical challenges—chronic allergies, or chronic pain, or even autoimmune diseases.
What happens is that we are looking for the root cause. What is not only the body trying to tell us with those symptoms—what is the metaphorical meaning of it—but also where did it start? Where did this body get out of balance and create those physical problems, possibly as a message for the client to understand, here is an issue you need to still deal with. Maybe an issue with defensiveness. Maybe an issue with being in conflict with yourself, or holding still onto to a weight of the past. Once these root causes are addressed—and not intellectually addressed, not just talking yourself out of it, but really addressed on a deeper subconscious level so that you feel, “I outgrew it. This is not anymore an issue for me.” [Then] the body is actually readjusting and the symptoms disappear, and that’s where the natural healing potential in our body really resides. It just really goes back to that state of wholeness, once that which really got it out of balance is addressed.
TS: Now this is very interesting. You’re stating that you believe there’s this original blueprint, or natural state of wholeness. You’re saying an original state of being in contact with our essence. Can you say more about that? What give you such clarity that this is some original blueprint we all have?
FS: Well, you know, when you really think about the greatest magical feat that we as human beings are able to do is, is actually starting right at the beginning where we form out of two cells from two different people, a sperm and an egg. This convolutes of little tiny cells that are somehow then, in a wisdom, that we still do not understand completely, create a whole body. And it creates it in a way that really follows a map. It knows exactly where to put an arm. You don’t have a toe coming out of your forehead. It just really sits at the right and perfect place, you know, usually.
So that wisdom inside, the wisdom to really wait and create and also utilize that [which] is given from the mother, is something that I have deep trust in that this is the blueprint of truly our wholeness and our state of well-being, and then being able to adjust and adapt to after birth to be able not only to vegetate and be dependent but to move from a constantly-lying-down place to sitting up and crawling and then walking. All of those things are happening automatically. All of those things are driving us to move forward. We are not forced to do those things. There’s just a natural desire, a natural blueprint to evolve.
TS: But, but, but, Friedemann, let’s take an example of someone whose mother was in a very stressful situation and was smoking all of the time and doing other challenging health behaviors. Wouldn’t that little fetus, pick up on all of that anxiety and wouldn’t all of that anxiety be part of the cellular makeup of the fetus, perhaps from very, very, very, very early on in its gestation?
FS: Well, it definitely is true that alcohol, smoking, is affecting the evolution of a baby in the womb, and also emotional challenges. Often when I work with clients on these subconscious root causes, [they] actually end up in experiences in the womb where the subconscious had actually picked up the stress [in the womb] and it’s sometimes quite amazing. I remember one client who in a session told me that the root causes of his anxiety and his stress really felt like drowning, and it was drowning sometime early in the womb, when he was four or five months in the womb. He had no idea about it, but he went back to his mother and she confirmed that she was actually almost drowning, swimming in the lake in the summer and was in great panic and distress but just never thought about telling him this story.
So our subconscious certainly picks things up, our cells are picking toxins up, they are picking the stressors up that the mother surrounds them with, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot actually come back to that healing. It’s the same thing that happens when we are in a stressful situation for years as adults. We are changing to that. We are basically adjusting to those pressures, but once they are removed, we are coming back to a place of balance. So the imbalance just has started already in the womb.
One of the things that I find really fascinating about genetics is that when I was actually involved in research, there was just a time when the human genetic coding was revealed and what turned out to be so amazing to the researchers was that only a very small percent of the genetic coding was actually utilized. Ninety-plus percent was just laying around and initially was called “junk DNA,” but then later on it turned out that this is actually not junk, this is more like a warehouse. It’s really more just a huge amount of information that isn’t always used, but when it needs to be used, it can be activated. It can replace genes that have been maybe wrongfully activated through, for example, stressors or toxins. Once those are removed, those genes can be turned off and other genes that are doing a much better job to take over can be turned on.
So we literally have, even on the genetic level, an unlimited potential. The question is just, are we allowing this potential to unfold? Are we giving it the space to unfold? This is where not only the environmental circumstances, like smoking, alcohol, and so on, play a role, but really also how our emotions play a huge role, and this is what I mean with removing those pressures and those influences will automatically activate then those more natural instincts inside of us to replace that [which] was not working with what is working.
Here’s an example from research when a colleague of mine worked on the—basically it was about gene treatment. The idea was always, we are basically just taking some virus, infusing the information of the virus in the cells and this way allow the cells to produce anything we wanted, and also to heal cancer and all these kind of things. It all worked wonderful in the dish, so when they had these single cells, everything was wonderful, but as soon as the theory was put into the body, it didn’t work anymore.
The reason was just that the body had a natural understanding that this is something that is manipulating my original genetic coding. It’s manipulating my original state of wholeness, my original blueprint and what the researchers tried to infuse in the cells was always rejected. So there is a wisdom inside that says, “This is my blueprint, and you cannot mess with it.”
TS: Now you used an interesting term when talking about this blueprint of wholeness. You used the word essence. And I wonder if you can explain that a little more and your use of that word.
FS: You know the essence goes really beyond that what we call the conscious mind or the subconscious mind. The essence of a person is for me, the core energy, the signature energy, of who we are. I became very fascinated with that when people went into a deep trance and connected to their heart. Basically in that exercise, what I asked them to do was to really transcend the layers of not only emotions that they had buried inside of them, but also the layers of personality and imprints and beliefs about themselves. And go deeper and deeper inside to find that [which] seemed to be more eternal or unlimited.
Throughout all the clients I have worked with, [what] they’ve found was this energy, this light energy at the core of them, and this light energy has the emotional correlate of all the goodness that we are expressing in a very selfless way. We all have the ability of being compassionate and loving and forgiving and often doing those things even though they don’t make sense, even though we could intellectually say, “Well, you know, these people don’t really deserve it.” The fact that people jump into the river and try to save their beloved animal, the fact that people in situations like in Japan at the earthquake, sacrificed themselves for others—there’s something inside of us that even supersedes the natural survival instincts and it wants to do good and support others even if it means that you may lose your own life.
That’s an essence that is just within the core of our being, and if we can connect to that essence, there is an incredible potential. There’s an incredible healing potential that resides with that, and I think the potential resides in that because it gets us into the ideal healing state. It really activates our parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our autonomic nervous system that’s about relaxation and healing and digestion and rejuvenation. When you really connect to your essence, all of your system is in that really beautiful, relaxed, healing state and really creates that environment and the space for the natural healing abilities to unfold.
TS: Now, one of the things that I think is really interesting about your work, is that when you’re helping people resolve their fear and anxiety—now, correct me if I’m wrong—but my understanding is that your view is that it’s not enough to release the negative imprints but that we actually then have to take this further step where we connect with our essence. My question about that is, why do we have to take a further step? Wouldn’t simply letting go of these negative patterns reveal our essence? We don’t have to do anything more than that. That’s what’s there underneath, yes?
FS: Yes. And well, the problem with the fear and anxiety, especially if it’s been a fear and anxiety for a longer time, is that it really becomes our identity. And so many people can probably relate to that. You believe that you are anxious. You believe that you are insecure. You believe that you are not good enough, [and] that brings up more anxiety. So by simply saying, “I release all of that anxiety now, and I release all of this insecurity now,” the question automatically arises, “Who am I? What’s left of me?”
I heard this quite often that people really were scared, “I’m afraid of when I let go of all of this, I am nothing. I have nothing to hold onto.” So just for that reason, it’s important to go further than just the release and understand more that your truth is actually much than that little tiny part of you which is the anxiety, but you just have been so literally focused and engrossed in focusing on that that you couldn’t see beyond that. What the connection to your essence gives you is basically this blank canvas, this fertile ground on which you can then also decide later on—and this is part of the process in this book—what you really what to grow into.
The essence basically give you this understanding, “I do have unlimited potential. I have an enormous variety of wonderful traits and powers inside of me, and how [do] I express them, how [do] I want to, in this moment of time, in this chapter of my life, embody those, what beliefs I want to basically grow into?” That’s then the step after. And that’s then what basically the essence gives you is this fertile ground to grow further into this new identity.
[There’s always] the person who doesn’t believe that we can really answer the question, “Who am I?” So whenever we are trying to contemplate this and have an affirmation, or have a certain kind of belief, this is who I am, we are certainly overlooking over 99.9 percent of what else we are. And so, just having an understanding that yes, right now, I may see myself as a father, or as a successful business person, but that there is really so much more inside that I can tap into and draw from, that there is really a multi-dimensionality of a person, that’s what the essence and the connection to the essence really gives you.
TS: Now Friedemann, I’m curious what you think of approaches that just focus on connecting with our essence, and the goodness and healing that comes from that, and there’s no attention given to going back and uncovering anxious patterns. It just says, “Let’s just go directly for the essence, start and end there, and that’s it!” Because that’s the most important thing.
FS: Well I think for some people, it may be exactly the path they need to go. I don’t believe that there is certainly one way that is right for everyone, and so the processes that I developed and offer are maybe not really ideal for everyone because some people may not want to go back into the past. Now, the big advantage, though, is that you’re really are not seeing the past only as the old garbage can that needs to be emptied, but you see the past actually as the library of life. You see the past as “This is rich. I can actually really learn from it.”
As I may have said before in the first interview, our emotions and the emotional attachments to the past are not here for us to torture us or to weigh us down or torment us in our dreams. These emotional attachments to the past are really the nudges, the little red flags that are telling a person, “Go back, this is really where the lessons are for you.” We have to learn in life—evolutionarily it’s very clear that unless we are growing and evolving, we don’t have a chance in this life on the earth. So it was very normal right from the beginning, probably even the Stone Age to have this desire to further learn from mistakes and from experiences—basically learning from the past.
Now, the only way we really learn from the past is if we are interested in going back into it. And the best way to stir our interest is through emotions. If we wouldn’t have these emotional attachments to the past, we would probably just ignore it and we wouldn’t even think about it—we’d just move on forward and never look back and never really understand, “Hey you know, this is actually a pattern that you have been repeating. This is a strategy that’s not working. You need to literally heal that and become more whole as you are reflecting on the past, and then you’re letting it go.”
This is what the subconscious does for us. It really wants us through those emotions, through this baggage in the past, it wants us to go back and grow further and become more of who we are meant to be. So this is why I think it’s a crucial step in growing and evolving, and shouldn’t be ignored.
TS: Friedemann I want to circle back as we come to the end of our conversation, back specifically to the topic of the fear/anxiety solution and working with our subconscious to resolve fear and anxiety. There’s one thing that you talk about that I didn’t really understand fully, and it’s this idea of an inner protector—that we have this subconscious inner protector that’s actually at the root of our anxious negative self-talk and I wonder if you can help me understand this inner protector a little bit more.
FS: Well, the inner protector basically is the part of our subconscious mind that has developed itself in response to circumstances that didn’t seem very safe or not very supportive. The inner protector is part of the subconscious that has learned that certain strategies are necessary for us to survive, to be safe, to get what we need, and these strategies can look very different.
So for example, if you know that the way you respond to anxiety is usually to hide out, or you know that the way you feel more safe is to please others, or to be hyper-vigilant, or to be a perfectionist, or to be a person who always has to out-perform themselves, or some people feel the most safe when they are in control—micromanaging every aspect of their life. When you really trace it back, it goes to an early learning that taught you that this is the way for you to go through life and to really have the need of a safety net. On a subconscious level, it’s almost like a persona—a personality in itself, which is quite interesting because when you really observe your anxiety, you’ll probably find out that sometimes you are reacting to situation or to people that is very immature, in a way that feels [like], “I have done this when I was a teenager. Why do I do this again?” Or when you listen to your inner self talk, you may hear a voice, a little scared voice that says ”No you can’t do this, this is not safe. Oh, you should just stay home. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.”
These kind of [things] —often interpreted as self-sabotaging messages—that are bubbling up from somewhere deep inside, those messages are coming from that subconscious part, that inner protector and have only one goal in mind, which is to hold you back so that you don’t get hurt. Even though it may feel sometimes that it’s actually counterproductive, and it doesn’t really serve you anymore, unless you’re really working with that inner protector, and you’re convincing that part of your subconscious that literally, that strategy is no longer working and is no longer necessary, it will faithfully just continue to do its job and try to keep you safe.
This is where people often don’t like themselves. They feel often feel that they really struggle with themselves, and wonder, “Why do I have such an anxious side of me. Why is that I have also an inner critic, this part of me that always want to put me down and always says it’s not good enough?” Well, you know, the inner critic is also a protective strategy which basically criticizes you before you get you criticized by somebody else. Or it makes you smaller so that you don’t become a target for others, because it has learned, “Hey, being invisible and just hiding out is just way better than being out there and then potentially falling prey to judgment.” So, one of the processes in the book, which is called “the part three integration,” works with the two sides that are —often there’s a conflict of the fear and anxiety. One side is the side that feels like “Hey, I want to move forward, I want to have success, I want to be happy and really have a fulfilled life” and there seems to be another part that seems to always pull you back and always make you feel anxious and insecure or small or criticized.
Again, this is the inner protector that needs to be directly addressed and worked with, and made understood that there is actually a higher purpose to life and to you as a person, a higher purpose than just protecting you and keeping you alive. And this process helps that part actually to aim for this higher purpose and to literally be able to work together with the “positive side of you.” And what people experience is really an enormous sense of congruency. All the sudden, their mind is much calmer. All the sudden they feel much more decisive and able to move forward without feeling like something is pulling them back.
Even more importantly, what people experience is that they have actually a deeper appreciation for what this inner protector has to offer besides these old protective strategies. There’s a lot of potential and wisdom in the inner protector that you will discover as you go through the process.
TS: So Friedemann, we don’t have time here to have you guide us through the Parts Reintegration Process, but I do think this is so important and something that is really challenging for people is making peace with this inner critic and working with this inner protector inside. So I’m wondering if you could summarize for us how this parts integration process works.
FS: Yes, so basically the first step is to recognize that there is a part of you that actually tries to protect you. And just understand that the strategies, the protective mechanism it has been using. There are all these different ways that we have learned to keep ourselves safe. Just being aware of, OK, this is the one side of me, and then also having the awareness of the opposite side—that side that just pulls more into the forward motions towards our goals. Once you have that awareness, you’re basically sitting in a chair, and you have your hands, like little platforms for these inner parts of you to come out. You go in to a relaxed state, you breathe, you close your eyes, and you go into the emotion of the anxiety and the insecurity to begin with, and really start an inner communication.
You can literally in that relaxed state, in that alpha state, talk to the inner protector and ask if it’s willing to come out, like a little person, and stand on one of the hands and which hand it would choose. What’s fascinating [is] when you do this, you can actually feel how the hand and the feeling on the hand is changing. Often people feel like, wow, there’s a huge weight now on my hand. It feels like it gets pulled down. After you have that part out, you ask the other opposing side also to come out and then you literally have an ability to have this little conference, this meeting between two sides that haven’t been getting along with each other in the past.
Once you have that, you start to talk to the inner protector and really ask for why it is doing what it has been doing. Now, what’s so fascinating about the connection to the inner protector is that at the beginning, you may look at it, and you may see it more as a little monster. Some people say it’s like a dark blob. Some people say it looks like a little devil. When you really trace back in your mind—and you can actually do this in that state—to when you actually felt these emotions and when you actually did this protective strategy for the first time, you can see well, it was probably when I was five years old, or seven years old, and all the sudden, whatever this image was on your hand, it’s changing and shifting into a much younger self. What changes with it is your relationship with it, from feeling rejecting and “This is nothing I want to have inside of me,” to, “Oh my god, I feel so much openness and compassion. There’s a huge shift happening right away.” Then you talk with that part of you and listen to the answer and ask so why are you doing what you are doing? What’s the purpose? In the end, what you realize is that that part has a higher purpose. A purpose that goes way beyond the protection. That purpose is exactly the same purpose that you’re gonna also hear when you’re communicating with the opposite side.
Why do they have the same purpose? Well, obviously because they’ve come from the same place. And that highest purpose, once they are agreeing on that this is so much more important that pursuing this old way of being, you then identify what are actually your individual gifts, the side that is more positive and confident, and certainly [has] more strength and maybe more extrovert. The side that has this inner protective strategy is often the more sensitive sides. And sensitivity is a gift. Sensitivity leads to insides and deeper understanding and connection and compassion and intuition. So by understanding that that side is actually much more valuable than just creating anxiety or having some kind of protective strategy that is just annoying, there is so much more that this side has to offer. It literally changes its job description.
The ending of this process is asking whether these two sides want to work together, whether they want to share their gifts for the higher purpose. What happens in the moment when you ask[that question], people often describe as magic, because what happens is that your hands that have been resting in midair because you’re holding them out there for these two parts as platforms, are automatically moving together. There is a magnetic energy that is emerging that brings those hands together and you’re not even aware of it. You just feel that at some point that the hands are touching.
What that shows is that that energy that was used to keep those parts apart, has now changed its polarity and brings them together. This is an automatic process, and as soon as your hands are touching, you know that you have reconnected these two sides and that that split, that fragmentation had been mended. It’s quite powerful, and afterwards you bring them back into your heart and there are certainly some exercises you want to do afterwards to really solidify the process, but usually after this integration, you won’t find this conflict anymore.
TS: Friedemann, I’m wondering if you’d be willing, just to make this really grounded for people, to share in your own life a way that you worked with an inner protector figure and how that transformed for you.
FS: Well, my inner protector was definitely the hyper-vigilant perfectionist, and it came from that deep seated belief that started on a beautiful beach in Southern France that I am not smart enough. From feeling very unconditionally loved and accepted by everyone—I was truly one of those little blond, you know, happy-go-lucky kids that didn’t see anything bad or evil in the world—to all the sudden when I came to the gymnasium, which is the equivalent of Jr. High School in America, and my parents panicked, and really looked at my grades for the first time and said, “Oops, that doesn’t sound good. He will never be a doctor.” That’s what they wanted me to be because they were doctors themselves.
So all the sudden, I felt their pressure, and their distrust, and their comment of, you may struggle, you’re probably a late bloomer, we want to make sure that you can measure up—and that really changed me. Obviously, I was pretty sensitive, but it really made impact on me. So I developed this inner protector of having to always have all the ducks the in the row, and be a perfectionist and also definitely be a person who always has to prove himself constantly. What I found is that this inner protector was a part of me that could never really find peace because it never found that what it was really looking for, which was a feeling of being safe and really having trust that I am enough.
When I worked with these processes that I described, I also learned to appreciate that this inner protector was the part of me that helped me to gain a deeper understanding of people. One of the things in medicine that really helped me was that there was a really deep intuition for me to know what’s wrong with people. I may not have always been clear about what the diagnosis was, but there was always a sense deep inside that, you need to check on this or that. There was an inner guidance.
That sensitivity, that awareness, that intuition, came from that most sensitive part of me that unfortunately was also part of me that was very scared and insecure at the same time. After that integration, I just felt that not only am I feeling much more safe, but now I really have access to this ability that the inner protector has that is much more free-flowing.
You know the subtitle of the book is about empowerment, and empowerment basically means not only that you feel powerful, but that you have access to your power, that you really have access to your full potential. And if you have a part like the inner protector that basically gets rejected by you, or you don’t want to deal with because you feel like “Hey this is only the anxious, insecure side,” but at the same time, that inner protector has so much potential and so much ability—once you integrate that side, that ability is yours. You can actually work with the inner protector, you can actually have a greater sense of empowerment because you have tapped into a resource that beforehand wasn’t really fully yours, wasn’t integrated with yours. And that’s really for me, it was life-changing.
TS: And do you find yourself at times coming hyper-vigilant now, and do you have a different way of working with yourself when that appears.
FS: Yes, I am still hyper-vigilant. And I’m happy to say, I’m still anxious at times. That’s simply a sign for me that I need to pay attention to, for example, that part of me—and I’m not calling it the inner protector anymore because it’s not in charge of my protection, it’s not in charge of me being safe. I have a much greater sense of me being the adult keeping that protection and safety in the forefront of my mind when necessary.
But when I’m feeling anxious or hyper-vigilant, I know I’m out of balance. And a part of me is basically falling into these old patterns to somehow be back in control or go back into balance, and in the past what I would have done is just like a snowball, became even more hyper-vigilant because it feels even more overwhelming and out of control the more you put on your plate, and the more you try to micromanage and it just literally spins into this state of panic eventually and feeling completely overwhelmed—what I do now when I feel that, I stop and do the opposite. I actually go inside and check on myself, check through this checklist that’s in the book as well, the Fear and Anxiety Checklist that gives you a very good idea of where this moment of anxiety may be coming from, what kind of triggers or buttons may have been pushed, but also visualize that inner protector that part of me that still has the ability to sometimes go into this hyper-vigilance and talk to that part of me and listen to that.
And listen to that what inside of me tells me, “You know I’m feeling right now, for example, that this situation is overwhelming or this person may be too critical,” and I’m addressing this more from a calm, centered place and understand more that this feeling of anxiety is something that I can actually control by bringing myself back into my center and back into balance. You know, one of the classic examples for me with hyper-vigilance was when I gave my power away. And giving my power away basically was when I took other people’s opinions [as] way more important that my own. Or when I had certain kinds of goals and agenda and made those goals as more critical that taking care of myself, when I work too much and didn’t really keep myself in a place of balance and also giving myself enough rest. All those kinds of old patterns can always creep back in, but now I know what to do, and how to listen to the early signs of imbalance and bring myself back into that centered state.
TS: I just have one final question for you Friedemann. You know, part of what I love about your work and your approach is that there’s a tremendous depth to it. And it’s clear to me that if someone’s interested in really following the method that you lay in The Fear and Anxiety Solution, you know they’re going to have to dig deep; they’re going to have to do some real inner work. And at the same time, you really promise and stand by pretty remarkable results. So I love that balance!
OK so here’s my question. What commitment do you think is necessary for people to have? What commitment to oneself is necessary to follow the program that you lay out in the fear and anxiety solution.
FS: You know, I love this question, because I think one of the intentions that I had with The Fear and Anxiety Solution, with the book, was to really provide people with all they need, all the tools and all the insights and everything they need to totally change their course away from that fear and anxiety and that life in fear and anxiety to living more from the wholeness. And it’s not something that is difficult to pursue because it’s so nicely laid out, step by step. What the investment is, is certainly patience. And [with] patience what I mean is, I know many people who went through these processes in private sessions like a roadrunner—very quickly, very committed, very determined, —and then there are other people that just take three times as long, and they just need longer to really come off the fence and make up their minds and let go of distrust.
Everyone has their own speed and their own rhythm and there is no judgment [and] there is no right and wrong with it. You just need to know that when you start reading this book, you want to finish it. When you start the process, you want to finish it, because as you do, with every page and every chapter, you will grow. And maybe there is a chapter like negative self-talk that you can chew on for two weeks. And you really say, “I’m going to put the book aside, and that’s what I’m going to focus on.” But when you overcome that, and when you understand more deeply what this is about, you have paved the road for these other chapters to go much easier and much faster.
So you will notice, where is your specific challenge? Where are the hurdles the highest for you? Spend some time with it. Really just practice the tools and don’t rush through the process, but really see it more as a companion that may be with you for a month, for a year, for several years. It really is something that I feel can always provide you then with that next stepping stone, but before you go to the next stepping stone, just try to master the one previously.
The other thing that I find besides patience and this commitment is also the willingness to take a leap of faith. You know, yesterday I worked with a client and it was such a wonderful example of how she was a very successful but incredibly anxious lawyer and how she came in in her first session and basically all in her head, and all with very doubting eyes, telling me she doesn’t believe that she can ever live without anxiety and that she will ever be in a place where she doesn’t literally freak herself out. But the nice thing about her is that she let herself very quickly fall in to the process and simply told herself, “You know what, I have nothing to lose! I’m just gonna go with it. I’m going to jump off the fence and have that faith that it’s going to work.”
And within four months, her whole life has been changing—everything that she had been really believing about herself in terms of limitations and insecurities was completely gone and she was laughing yesterday how she was remembering the first session and how really what she was seeing at that time feels so unreal and so far away. So your mind is incredibly flexible and incredibly able to change, you just have to give it permission to do that. So I recommend, once you open the book, really allow yourself to fall into the processes. Don’t over-think it, don’t over-question it. Just go with that and let your subconscious do the work and at the end of it, you’re going to be a changed person.
TS: Wonderful. Thank you so much. I’ve been speaking with Dr. Friedemann Schaub, he’s the author of a new book called The Fear and Anxiety Solution: A Breakthrough Process for Healing and Empowerment with Your Subconscious Mind and also a four-session audio series that takes you through the guided practices of The Fear and Anxiety Solution. Friedemann, thank you so much. Thanks for your work, thanks for your straight-ahead delivery and really your commitment here to bringing this out and having lots of people be able to access the good work you’ve been doing. Thank you so much.
FS: Thank you very much.
TS: From SoundsTrue.com. Many voices. One Journey. Thanks for listening.