Tami Simon: You're listening to Insights at the Edge. Today I speak with Dr. Henry Grayson. Henry Grayson is a leading psychologist who has spent decades studying the connecting between psychology, physics, and the spiritual traditions of the world. After receiving his PhD in psychology from Boston University, he founded and served as chairman emeritus at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York. He advises professional associations and fields ranging from marital therapy to transpersonal psychology. He has worked as resident psychologist on a weekly television series and currently hosts the weekly radio show Mindful Living on the Progressive Radio Network. With Sounds True, Henry Grayson has released The New Physics of Love: The Power of Mind and Spirit in Relationships, a nine-hour audio training course.
In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Henry and I spoke about the emerging field of energy psychology and the possibility of "deleting undesirable and obsolete core beliefs in the twinkling of an eye." We also spoke about the role that our thoughts play in our relationships, especially when we understand the non-local nature of the universe. Here's my very intriguing conversation with Henry Grayson.
Henry, what can quantum physics teach us about love and relationships? What are the key ideas from quantum physics that we can apply to our love life.
Henry Grayson:What a wonderful question, Tami! Quantum physics gives us a whole new worldview from the one that we mostly live in. The worldview that we live in—from the world of Isaac Newton and that physics—is much more linear, it is dualistic, it is cause and effect, it is all really quite visible and right here in front of us. But it's a very mechanistic world. It's one we are locked in because the past has occurred and something else is now going to happen as a result. It's locked in for the future and you can predict the future based on it.
In the quantum worldview, there is infinite potentiality, and consciousness plays a very, very powerful role in that. When we think of this in terms of relationships, we can take one simple thing, for example, if we had as children painful experiences in our developmental years and we know that those get etched into our personalities. All the personality theories talk about our personalities being formed by the age of four, five, or six. But they didn't really talk about or understand how that happened.
Now from the world of neuropsychology and quantum physics, we have a whole other understanding. We know that first of all, when those brainwaves are so slow in those first years of life, the beta, delta brainwaves for a couple of years and theta brainwaves—it's like we're in a deep, hypnotic trance. And then alpha brainwaves through grammar school until we hit puberty—it's like we're in a mild hypnotic trance. You know, if you hypnotize somebody to get rid of the desire for cigarettes, you want to plant a suggestion. So you get them to the slower brainwaves so you can plant the suggestion that tobacco smoke will taste horrible to them or something. We've got the same thing as little children. All this stuff was programmed in. And according to the whole theory, once that's locked in, it's pretty difficult to change. You're pretty much doomed to keep repeating the past and the present. And most of our therapy systems have not really dealt with that quite adequately. They've assumed that talking about it would make the changes, and sometimes it does to a certain degree. But it does not deal with our release, for the most part, of those early infantile traumas or those childhood traumas or even intrauterine traumas. In the first year of life, where we have more new experiences than any other year in our lives, and at that level, those experiences are programmed into our personalities. Then they get locked into belief systems about ourselves and then we play them out in our relationships.
So what happens in that early bonding or lack of it, the traumas or the lack of it, the nurturance or the lack of it, the dependability and consistency or the lack of it. The judgements, or the criticisms, or the models of the parents interacting lovingly and productively, or the models of them acting or fighting physically or verbally, or being critical or protecting. All of that gets taken in very early and determines a lot of what happens in our relationships.
For example, most of us have had the experience of sitting in a restaurant with a mate or a good friend even, and we're having a perfectly good conversation and then somebody says something that is very innocuous and the other person just loses it and goes off the wall. Most of us have had that kind of experience, either in our cells or in the other person. That means that something got activated from these very, very early years. Normally we've hoped that talking about it would change it but often it doesn't. Now we know that we have to go back and actually delete that encoded information much like deleting information on a computer. But we have to delete that information from the hypothalamus and the limbic system of the brain so we don't keep repeating that and reacting to the little buttons that get pushed here and there, which bring enormous responses.
So in the quantum worldview, nothing is really locked in and nothing is really etched into stone, so to speak. And the quantum worldview is similar to the spiritual worldview where there is an infinite potentiality and where consciousness is the part that rules. We know that at the quanta level, for example, matter and energy are virtually indistinguishable. And at a quanta level, a quanta is 10 thousand to 10, 20 or 30 million times smaller than the smallest atom, which is quite small. And we know that the vibrational level of the quanta when it slows down, it becomes what we call "matter," which in physics is just a reason to exist. And if it doesn't slow down, it remains as energy.
So if that's happening, the physicists say that this consciousness determines whether or not that becomes matter or it remains as energy. We actually also know too that consciousness also effects every cell in the body, which effects our moods, our attitudes—which of course effects our relationships. And we know that the physical environment affects every cell but we also know that the other environment of consciousness and energy effects it anywhere from 50 to 100 times more powerfully. That's getting out of the old linear worldview into a world where our consciousness reins. And our consciousness and energy is connected with it can have enormous effects. So we can use consciousness and energy to go back and delete those old programs, delete that information that has to do with the past traumas. We can delete the negative belief systems that grew out of that. We can actually literally install new software, so to speak, new belief systems that open up new neuropathways to support that. All of which can have an enormous effect on a change in relationships.
It's really quite remarkable to me when I see things that I would call miraculous some years ago but now can be done in a more commonplace way. And what an effect that has on relationships. So all of this comes, I would say, from a new worldview, that the quantum world—which is similar to the spiritual world—has a different possibility for us, where we are not locked into this old determinism and the powerlessness that seems to go along with it.
TS: Now Henry, you've said so many things in response to this first question of mine, I'm going to have to slow you down a little bit because there are a couple of things that you've said that are very intriguing to me. It's wonderful, but I don't think I've heard anybody say that, in our early years of life, there are different brainwave patterns. That the theta and delta brainwave patterns are more present and that's why we can be more easily imprinted in our early years. Can you unpack that a little bit? I've never heard that before.
HG: Well, it's the first two years of life that we are in delta brainwaves. And those are the very slowest ones. It's like just barely above being asleep. And then by the third year, we'll go into theta brainwaves, which is a little bit faster and a little bit more active. And we can begin to assimilate more from the outside world. And then we get into grammar school, it shifts into alpha brainwaves, which would be equivalent to a light hypnotic trance. And then only when we hit puberty do our brainwaves change into beta brainwaves. So this helps us understand why those earlier years are so important because we are just taking in whatever is there.
Now that is good news and bad news. The good news is that is how we learn to walk, to talk, the way we learn to do a whole variety of things. We downloaded that. We don't have to think about that. It's like if you're driving a car, most of the time that's unconscious and you don't think about it and that's good. But if you were a 16 year old driving a car for the first time and somebody pulls out in front of you, you have to think it through so much that there's no automatic response that will save their necks. They will likely have an accident.
So that's the positive side. We incorporate a lot of things that are positive. But the bad news is that we also incorporate all those negative things that are happening around us. In addition to that, we know in our child development, it's not just nature and nurture that forms our personality. There's a third component that is equally important and that's how each of us as a child interprets everything in our environment—what our parents say and do or don't do. Our interpretation plays a critical role too, and that interpretation helps us form a belief system. That's why it's so important that we have a way to get back to those traumas, those painful experiences, those negative downloads, we might even say. We can use consciousness and work with subtle energies with intentionality to clear that out. And we can clear out those negative programmings and those beliefs that get repeated and replayed and confirmed over and over again. That's the value of our understanding this—it takes us out of this old deterministic view where we're locked into the past.
TS: And an infant—a one year old let's say—don't they have access to beta brainwave states, alpha brainwave states?
HG: Not nearly as much. It's bare minimum. Well, you know, a lot of their time is spent sleeping anyway. And as they get a little bit older, they sleep less. So that's a part of what keeps them there. But no, it's more predominant that there are those slower brainwaves. That's the key part.
TS: Okay, very good. Thank you. I think I understand this point. Moving on, the idea of neuroplasticity is something that has come into the collective understanding, I think, now. People understand that our brains change. But you're drawing a very interesting parallel here now—that if we understand quantum physics, then of course, neuroplasticity has to be the fact. I don't think I've ever really heard that stated so clearly either. And I wonder if you can just draw that connection for us?
HG: Well, from a spiritual or quantum world view, there's not much that exists as a physical universe. If you think, for example, that you crush an atom—you know, when we were at school we were taught, for example, you look at an atom and you break it down inside there is an electron, proton, and neutron. And we thought of that as matter, some kind of matter. Now, as they crush the atom, they find that there's nothing there but little sparks of energy. If everything that exists is comprised of atoms, that means that there is not much here that is actually tangible. So my body, therefore, is 99.999 percent empty space, primarily. As physicists would put it, things don't really exist. Molecules don't exist—there is just a tendency to exist. They almost pop into existence, then they disappear, and then another molecule almost pops into existence. When that occurs, that's when consciousness intervenes again. That's why we can direct our bodies about what to do to change our programming from sickness to health.
On the other hand, in terms of our brain plasticity you're talking about, that means what we thought before was fixed in the brain, in the material matter of our brain, is not fixed matter. It's not stone, as we've talked about. But even stone is not fixed matter anymore because nothing in the physical universe is fixed. It is always in constant change and it is highly affected by consciousness or our collective consciousness. Like physicist John Wheeler, a notable physicist when he was at Princeton said, "Could it be that we bring the whole universe into existence through our consciousness?" That's quite an amazing statement to make, isn't it?
TS: It is. Could you help me understand that?
HG: What they're saying is that whatever it is that is called "consciousness"—and the physicists are having one great time trying to define what they mean by it and I think that the spiritual teachers have had trouble defining it too. Whether you call it the "unified field," whether you call it "higher consciousness," whether you call it "divine nature" that we're a part of, whether we call it the "energy field of the universe." I don't know what name we can use because I think the names all don't quite say it. Just like in the Jewish tradition, you can't really name God because you're limiting it. I think the same thing applies here that any words we use limit this phenomenon, this field of energy and intelligence that we've given different names to. If that's really what's permeating the Universe and we're a part of that—whatever it is that we're calling "consciousness" has the power to affect it—then that means that we're not limited, we're not boxed in. The brain is not locked because it is matter, but there is nothing there that's in that matter either. That's just energy and information. It's just a tendency to exist.
If we think of it that way, then obviously the brain does have a lot of plasticity but it's not just the brain: it's everything in our bodies, everything in our lives, and everything in our relationships, too.
TS: Now we'll get to this point you were making, that sometimes these difficult core beliefs that we have formed in early childhood, that it's possible to "delete" them. This is what you're saying. And so yes, it makes sense that everything is changing and yet most of us have quite a bit of difficulty with core beliefs that seem to stay around and stay around—despite how much money we spend on therapy, despite how much meditation practice we do. So what's the secret here, Henry?
HG: Well, I've found that using some methods that maybe are a little strange or a little different...
TS: Bring 'em on!
HG: Using one of those, I think it helps us give a very heightened focus of conscious intent, more than something that is familiar or old, repetitive from the past. We know rituals, for example, are very important in almost all traditions, whether it's an educational ritual, whether it's a political ritual, or a religious or business ritual. If you think about it, they're all for the purpose of giving more focus of consciousness, right? So if a ritual does that, why not have one that's going to bring a more intense focus?
I find one that's quite helpful is meridian point stimulation on the body. Because, then you have, drawing from the Chinese Acupuncture tradition, you don't use needles but you know that those Acupuncture meridians, those energy meridians that run through the body, each one is attached to different organs. And each one of those organs is associated with certain emotions. There is a set of negative emotions and if those are stimulated in that meridian, then naturally those go away and the positive ones replace it. That's part of the whole system of acupuncture. But they don't use consciousness much in traditional acupuncture practice. That's more in the qi gong work, where you have consciousness to focus the energy. But in acupuncture they just use the needles and twirl them around to stimulate them electronically but they don't use a consciousness. So they have a certain amount of value but I don't think nearly the amount that you have when you add consciousness to it.
If you take a certain issue, say, "I believe that I don't deserve to have a happy relationship," or "I believe that I'm not worthy," or "I believe that I'll always be rejected," "I believe that nobody will love me," or "I'm not lovable," or something like that. If that belief stays in place, it's going to work like software in our computer. It will only keep printing out exactly what's in that software. It will just keep replaying itself, and further, for some strange reason—I think it's because of what I call the "ego mind" that likes to repeat the past and keep the pain alive. But it will cause us to even seek out confirmation of that old belief system. So we're going to get confirmation of it come hell or high water! We're going to find some way to prove that "my belief is right, that it's the truth."
So we'll pick people in our lives to be in relationship who will confirm the belief that "I'm not lovable," or "I'll be rejected," or "I'll be abandoned," or "I'll be abused" or something like that. Then if that doesn't work, we'll act in such a way and send out the energy in our energy field to that person to get them to behave in such a way that will confirm it. And if that doesn't work, we have a third back-up means that we can always use and we human beings are masters of it—we'll see it as happening even if it's not. We'll project that onto the other person.
Studies show now that's one thing we human beings are just doing all the time. We're projecting our meaning and interpretation onto everything and everyone. In fact, even so much of what we see is only because we have the neuropathways and receptors to even see that. There might be whole universes existing around us within the same field that don't exist. We just don't have the receptors to make it an image in our sensory system.
If we think of all that, then we realize that what we need to do is to break into that system. I like the model of thinking of the brain—because that was a model for the computer anyway—so we look at the computer and we can see a little bit about the way the brain works though it's far more complex. I mean, your brain or my brain processes more information than the largest mainframe on earth. But if we think of it the same way, like our computer, it doesn't take time to delete an old program. It just means that we have to consciously type in a few commands. We press the "delete" button and it's gone! So if we can recognize that all of these things in our brain are just encodings of information, too. But they aren't locked into something that's fixed. They are locked into this changing energy system, the energy-consciousness field that we're a part of. We're locked into that.
So if we're sending—doing the equivalent of a wireless web search, instructing our minds to go to the place where that information is encoded and doing one of this procedures, touching or tapping on this acupressure point with statements of intentions about what we're releasing, I find that I'm so amazed at how it works and for many people, works in just a very few minutes to do that. Occasionally, I've found that it works even faster than that for some persons.
One woman I was with just a couple days ago. We were about to do one of these processes that would take 5-7 minutes to do, I had a feeling as we were setting it up and talking about, I could see in her face and her eyes some shift in energy that happened. I like to use muscle testing from applied kinesiology to ascertain whether or not my hunches are accurate or not or where a trauma disturbance comes from or not. If you extend the arm and ask the person to resist pushing it down, if this inner wisdom knows the statement to be true, the arm becomes very strong. If they know it to be false, then it goes weak. That way you can ascertain even if there was a trauma in the uterus, or a trauma in the first year of life that's not really conscious. And the muscle testing will reveal whether it's there or not. Well, we can do that with any place along the way.
We can take one of these negative beliefs or a trauma that a person has had, any kind of painful experience. We go through this process, having them touch on some acupressure points, make the statement of what emotion they are releasing that's connected with that meridian. I'll find sometimes that they will go along and they will touch one on the eyebrow and release all fear related to this problem and take a deep breath or two, which kind of keeps one down into a kind of alpha state for associative connections. Then come to the outside edge of the eye and hold their fingers there and say, "I release all anger, resentment, and rage related to this belief or this trauma or this download" or whatever it is that we're releasing. And to breathe.
As one goes along, and I won't go through all of these different emotions for each place now, but as one goes along, often when they touch that spot, they may suddenly feel emotions that they did not know they had connected to that event or that belief. Like when they touch the first place, "I release all fear" and they're releasing it, they are very comfortable. Then they touch the one on the outside of the eye and "I release all anger, resentment and rage," and suddenly they are aware of anger they did not know was there. They are connecting with what was there from that original trauma or original belief. Or it might take the shape of shame or guilt or fear or worry at some other acupressure point. But as they do that and move through those places and go around toward the end, I have them place a hand on the chest for the healing part at the end. I tell them to breath loud into the heart and exhale fear down into the solar plexus, bringing the highest force of energy to bear on whatever it is they've been carrying.
Then we ask them one of several things. We ask them what they're feeling now. And they will often report right then, "Boy, I feel so much calmer when I focus on this. When I focus on that scene or that memory or that event or the scenes that represent that belief, I just don't have the same emotional charge on it." And then you will keep processing it until the muscle testing says that they've brought it down, say, that it was at the strength of a 10 on a 10-point scale, and we make sure that we've brought it all the way down to a zero. And then a person, you know, is aware at the same time, "I just don't feel the same thing. I just feel so much peace now when I think about it and I didn't feel it before." What people are doing now, I find, they come back the next week and report to me that "Gee, I just didn't have the same charge/reaction to this person or that situation where it was reactivating that old belief or playing out the old trauma."
I would just say that one thing that occurs to me is there's a phrase from the Christian Bible in the Book of Revelation that I like. I think it has often been misconstrued by a lot of the conservative Christians who call it John's vision on the Isle of Patmos in that book that is some sort of escapade that is going to happen after we die or how the world comes to an end. But I think it's a vision, actually, of how the battle that takes place, the Battle of Armageddon, is one that takes place inside of us all the time between the ego and higher consciousness. But anyway, what he says, the phrase I like is, "You shall all be transformed in the twinkling of an eye." And what that says to me is that's our potentiality. And the world of quantum physics tells us that that is also possible.
Now, I've occasionally been able to do something like that even with a physical symptom myself in the twinkling of an eye. But most of the time, it's taken a little bit more of a process. I think that what we're gradually coming to is that we're changing our world view. Much more is there that we can do more quickly and deeper and in a much shorter time in a twinkling of an eye than we ever believed possible. And the more we believe that, the more it will be so.
TS: Well, I want to understand for a moment what you think is happening during this twinkling of an eye moment. I mean, I was with you in terms of somebody's tapping on their meridians, they're bringing an intent to shift some type of core belief. And then, in a twinkling of an eye, it's done. What happened?
HG: I think it's the same thing that happens when you press a delete button on a program in your computer. If you think about it, do we know what happens there? How do we explain it?
TS: We don't.
HG: We know it's just encoding your information. And somehow we have a way to instruct that information to be stricken from it and to not be there and affect our computers anymore. If our computer is overloaded with too many programs and old programs and distorted programs, it gums up our computer. I think the same thing happens for us in our personalities and in our bodies. If we can delete this old programming that is no longer effective, that is no longer necessary—maybe it never was really necessary but it's just part of the pollution, we might say, that we took in emotionally and physically. If we can instruct our minds...
In a sense, it's like doing the equivalent of a wireless web search. We instruct our computer or iPad or whatever it is to go to some place where there's information and before you know it, it appears right there on our screen. We can put it on the screen or we can keep it or we can delete it. And this worldview, in the quantum worldview and this digital world view, there's a whole realm of possibility that we've not seen before.
TS: Can you tell me, Henry, how this has worked in your own life?
HG: Oh there is so many ways, my goodness! Where would I even start? I've seen it work in my life with physical symptoms. I've seen it work in my life with old beliefs that I've carried.
TS: Give me one example that I might think is dramatic.
HG: One example is when I was a child, about eight years of age, we lived in a house in Florida where they had cattle gaps. People these days wouldn't know what they are but it's a pit that has railroad ties over it that you can drive your car over it but it keeps cattle from coming along and getting into your yard. They won't walk across that because there's space in between. And there was an opening our cattle gap in the middle where, as kids it was fun to crawl down in there and a place to hide. Well, one of my cousins was visiting who was six years older, so he was considerably bigger than me. And we were playing hide and seek and I was down there in that pit. He comes up over me, finds me but then he won't let me out of that pit. He starts throwing sand and gravel in on my head. And I'm just really petrified and I can't get out. He won't let me out. I'm screaming and crying. Finally the adults hear and call him off. After that time, I was quite claustrophobic. Every time I would get into a tight space, I would really have to work to not be panicked. When I came to New York and I would get into the subway and it would be very crowded and the train would get stuck for a while in between stops, I would have to close my eyes and breathe deeply and picture myself on a mountain top or something in order not to panic. Or in college, if I would get into a car and—you know how a bunch of kids will all pile into a back seat and people are on top of each other? If I was back there, I would have to scream and get them to let me out of the car because I would go into panic.
I did one of these processes on myself after I learned them and it took me about four to five minutes to do it. I've not experienced that kind of panic ever since. Crowded seats in airplanes, crowded subways, boxed in someplace else, it just does not occur. It just does not push that old button of the old trauma.
TS: And tell me exactly in this four-to-five minutes, what the process was that you went through.
HG: Well, what I went through was placing my fingers on my forehead to focus, because you know through the centuries, people have often done this. Even Rodin recognized that in his portrayal in his sculpture, The Thinker. We've learned that we stimulate the frontal lobes of the brain through subtle energies and it helps us focus. So I have people focus there with some deep breaths.
I focused on my trauma, memories of that scene, how I felt, where I felt that in my body. And then I brought my fingers to the eyebrows and I said, "I release all fear related to this trauma" and I took a deep breath. And then I brought my fingers to the outside edge of the eye and said, "I release all anger, resentment and rage related to this trauma," and I took a deep breath or two or three. Then under the eye, I said, "I release all anxiety related to this trauma" and I took a deep breath or two to reflect on it. And I did the same thing under my nose. All these are acupressure points. I said, "I release all embarrassment related to this trauma" and the deep breath again. Under the bottom lip, "and I release all shame and guilt related to this trauma" and a deep breath. And with my fingers under the arm, "and I release all worry and excessive concern related to this trauma" and then deep breathing again. And then fingers of both hands to the bottom of the rib cage in the front, "and I release all hurt and sadness related to this trauma" and a deep breath. And then I bring my hand up over the heart and take six, eight or ten slow deep breaths breathing in love and exhaling fear.
And then just touching the collarbone on one side or the other and take a couple of deep breaths. This is collarbone where it has to do with fear again. And I would assess afterwards what came up, how much disturbance remained for me on a scale of zero to ten where it had been a ten when I started and after doing one round, it came down to I think to about a six. I repeated it again and it came down to about a three. And I repeated it a third time and it came down to a zero. And so with that afterward, it was just gone.
Another way something I've had has happened quickly. Once, some years ago when my younger son was about eight, nine years of age, we lived in a place that had a stream that ran through the property here in Connecticut. I wanted to built a little Japanese-type bridge over that stream. And I thought it would be a fun thing to do with him. He was big enough to hammer nails and we could have a fun project together.
We were building that little bridge and it came time to put the flooring in and it had the posts up on the side and then it was time to put the upper railing in. And I soaked the two-by-fours for the railing so they would bend without braking and I was trying to put in strong, deep screws in there to hold the railing down so they would lock into that bent position like you have in Japanese bridges. I looked down, and my screw wasn't going in with a power drill and I saw that the threads were stripped, so I started to... I thought, "Well okay, I'll just pluck that one out and put a new one in." Not knowing how hot that screw was, I picked it out with my hands and it seared my finger and thumb like a piece of chicken in the frying pan. I could hear it. I could see the smoke. I could see the discoloration of my skin, like the chicken in a frying pan. Of course, I felt the pain. I could see it and my son saw it.
The weirdest thing happened. I say weird because it is unusual. It's why physicists use the word weird for—for something that is out of the ordinary. Normally if I would have a burn like that I would run to the house to get First Aid measures. Some ice or something. A little voice in my head just quickly said, "No, it'll be all right." I totally believed it for some reason, more than I ever have before or since. And I totally believed it and went right back to work. I looked back at my fingers after about 15 or 20 minutes, and they were totally healed. I witnessed it and my son witnessed it.
I thought, "The universe is trying to teach me that there's that total belief in this quantum world, or in this spiritual world. Then it affects what we call matter, but it can change so quickly because it's only an instruction to something that is intended to exist. It's just in my worldview, I've not been able to believe that so fully the rest of the time in my life. Hopefully I can come to believe it more and more. And I have in certain ways about certain things. But I'm still locked into the world or the culture around me, for the most part. But I'm seeing glimpses of this other world.
TS: Henry, it's good you're testing me here. It's good! You're stretching me!
TS: Yeah! You are. Meaning there's a ...
HG: You're stretching me too! With these things, I'm stretching me.
TS: What do you mean by that?
HG: Well, we're all locked into the system that we grew up with and the worldview that we're a part of and we think that's the true world. We think that's reality. But it may not be. Sort of like that thing in Magellan's diary, you know when he was sailing around the tip of South America and he stopped for water and supplies. They anchored the boat, the Galleon Ship, and rowed into shore. The Indians saw them as they started to emerge and they thought that they were gods that dropped from the sky. They could not even see the Galleon Ship because it was not even a part of their consciousness or their receptors to see anything there. Only after they had some talks with them and somehow through sign language, managed to get them on the little boat to row them out toward the Galleon ship. Only as they began to approach it, as they got closer and closer, could they finally see in a filmy way and then finally more clearly, that there was a ship with all these big masts and sails and everything there. They didn't have the receptors even to see that.
That, to me, is a wonderful example about what's true for all of us. There are plenty of dimensions of reality around us that we're not even aware of and we try to make what we see around us real. It's like the farce of all this whole thing on television now, all these "reality" shows. That's not what reality is. It's what we've made up. It's what we've made up that we call reality. But remember physicist John Wheeler's words, "could it be that we bring the whole world and whole universe into existence through our consciousness?"
TS: I think part of what the stretch is for me is that when we get into the territory of something that we could call "miracle healing," I think of all of the people who have physical challenges and who have wanted so much for there to be a healing. They have brought all of their intent, all of their openness and capacity into the situation and it hasn't changed for them. They've remained ill. And so when I hear your story about the fingers burning and your belief, I think, well … how do we understand all of the people who aren't healing?
HG: I think that's a wonderful question, Tami. It's one that inspired the book I just finished writing, actually.
What I discovered—I was giving a seminar in Boston a couple of years ago, maybe three years ago and I had the inspiration to start it off by saying, "How many people here want to have a totally happy and healthy life?" Of course everybody's hand went up. And of course my asking this question was inspired by what I experienced clinically and with myself in other dimensions but I thought I'd ask this larger audience. Everybody's hand went up and I said, "With your permission, I'd like to come around and do this muscle testing on everybody very quickly and to see if you believe you deserve to have a totally healthy and happy life or if it's safe for you to have a totally healthy and happy life." I thought that maybe 25-30 percent would have some of those.
The results blew my mind, literally. Everybody agreed to participate in it. And in this workshop there were probably 75 people who were there and I quickly went around and did this. Eighty-two percent of the people had both of those barriers as beliefs. They don't deserve it and it's not safe to have a totally healthy and happy life. The other 18 percent had one or the other. And these are only two of many barriers we could have.
I thought, "Well, let's check this out further. Is it just New Englanders?" I was doing a seminar in New York a few weeks later and got the same results. Raleigh, North Carolina? Same results. Chicago—same results. San Francisco, Austin, Texas, all across the country, I got the same results. Almost identical. There was just a point or two off. And these were only two, as I say, of many different barriers that could be beliefs or traumas or world views or secondary gains or whatever it might be. Most of those are not conscious to us. And all of these people in all of these audiences were mostly people who had done a lot of work in different kinds of self reflection—spiritually or psychologically—and still were not conscious of it.
We can't blame ourselves for it because that's what the ego mind always wants us to do: to blame ourselves for making ourselves sick or whatever. No, we can't blame ourselves. We've just had those downloads. We had those conclusions from childhood. It is part of the human condition that we carry that. You can't sail a boat if we've got anchors holding it back. And maybe the anchors aren't visible to us. We've taken sailing lessons. We've learned how to hoist the sails, how to set the rudder, how to set the sail. The wind is there but the boat's not moving. We've not been taught how to look for all of those anchors. It might be hidden, holding the boat back.
And I think the same thing is true for us, that when we don't get the results that we want there are other hidden anchors. If 90-95 percent of all of our behaviors are not conscious, it's very likely that we have a bunch there that are just not conscious to us. One reason I do the muscle testing is because it helps us access that quite quickly as to what they are and where they are and what it would take to cut loose those anchors.
So I think that that is a role that keeps a lot of things from working. And then the other thing is that sometimes we just have a need, for some reason, whether it's conscious or unconscious, but we have some strong gains for keeping or having the sickness. We haven't dealt with it otherwise. And if we've not dealt with it, whether it's in a relationship or in the body, or whatever it is, we're not ready to let it go. And so we have to be ready to do that. And that's why I like these other methods too because it helps open up that dimension. That's when I say that whether you want to have a healthy and happy relationship or whether you want to have a healthy and happy body or mind, or business success, or money, or whatever it might be, the same thing applies.
TS: You're saying that these other methods help open up the 99 percent of what's running our system that's in our unconscious?
HG: Yes, it helps us access that and it helps us use some of these tools to actually change that software, that encoding of information.
TS: Okay, now I have to ask you a question, Henry, which is: is there any evidence that muscle testing is an accurate tool for assessing a situation?
HG: Well, when you say "accurate" I guess the most research was done by David Hawkins, MD, PhD who was a close associate of mine and he talks primarily about that in his book, Power vs. Force. And he has done hundreds of thousands of experiments around the world with it and found it to be pretty consistent. I found it to be true in my clinical practice. I've not tabulated it, but I consistently find that a person—"Oh, that trauma that I had back when I was age six, I talked about that in therapy for five years. I'm sure that's all gone." But they've been telling me how the things in their lives are not working that seem connected to it. But they think it's all gone because they've talked about it.
I'll do the muscle testing and I'll find the strength of that disturbance is still an 8, 9, or 10. Then I'll do the clearing (like I just talked about or like one of the ones I did on myself that I spoke of a moment ago) and we'll bring it down to a zero. Then they will come back reporting to me the big change in their lives: that they aren't having that same kind of problem being manifested in their lives once it is cleared.
I find that there is a clinical corroboration for it. What I have found is that when people try to use it, and they have some ulterior motive in using it, it doesn't work. That's why I find that self-testing doesn't work very much or to test your teenage kid, "did you go to John's house like you said you would or were you at somebody else's house last night?" because we have an ulterior motive. The ego wish or the fear invades. But I find that if I have the purative consciousness, which is what I teach other therapists when I'm training them in this, we need to have the purative intent that "I only want to know the deeper truth that would be of help to this person and their healing."
I find that when we commit ourselves to that, not trying to influence the outcome, not fearing an outcome, not wanting an outcome of some kind from my ego level, that's when I find that it's most likely to be quite accurate.
TS: This conversation is really all about, I think, an emerging field that we could call "energy psychology." Is that the accurate term?
HG: That's been a label applied to it.
TS: And could you define that field just to help me understand it?
HG: Well, the field of energy psychology is just one that recognizes that everything is comprised of cell energies and that consciousness plays a role in it. And so the field of energy psychology recognizes both the dealing with the energy meridians that we're talking about; dealing with the field of energy that surrounds a body; dealing with the "non-local mind" that it has been called in physics—that our mind is not contained in the brain and the skull but in fact reaches out to countless others around us because it's all a part of "one mind," as physicist Erwin Schrödinger put it. Whether it's the subtle energies of the Eastern tradition of energy—not just meridians but the chakras. And so the broad field of energy psychology has people that work with various ones of these dimensions or all of them. Or just how consciousness seems to affect it without using any specific focus on any of those. That would be the broader field of energy psychology, I would say.
TS: Thank you. That's helpful. Now, I want to circle back to how we began our conversation, which is what we can understand from physics that might help us in our relationships, and specifically in the audio series, The New Physics of Love. You talk about how we can work with our thoughts in relationships and how powerful this is in terms of changing what's going on in our relationships. I wonder if you can share that view with us?
HG: Well, that fits right within what we've been talking about in this new worldview because, as I just mentioned before, the concept in physics of the non-local mind applies here and it works in a couple of different ways.
One is if I think a thought, it instantly affects all the cells in my body. It affects my mood and everything else. It also governs my perceptions, how I interpret and see somebody else and what they're doing—what meaning I give to it. So whatever I think about, I think of it as always creating a reality for us. I think there's no such thing as an innocuous thought. I think there's no such thing as a private thought. I think all of our thoughts are always having an effect on our bodies and our moods and our perceptions and on people around us.
From a non-local mind standpoint, what happens here is if I'm thinking a thought, we have a lot of research now that says, "Yes, it can affect people countless distances away." Astronaut Edger Mitchell did an experiment on this when he was out in the spaceship, after he had gone to the moon, by sending messages—telepathy, we'll call it—to a woman in Australia. And it was higher than a chance element by far, the communication and accuracy of it!
So what that tells us is the same thing that many spiritual systems will tell us—that our thoughts are having an effect. Or one system called A Course in Miracles says "Every thought is affecting." We change our minds—I'm affecting countless numbers of people around me every time I change my own mind about something. So if I'm thinking angry, resentful thoughts, hurt thoughts, deprived thoughts, rejection thoughts: 1) is that I'm going to instantly make myself feel bad, I'm going to make all my cells unhappy. But also, 2) I'm going to send out a message to the world to attract more of that very thing I'm thinking about: more of the rejection, more of the withholding of love, more of the mistreatment, or whatever it might be.
But if I change my thoughts, then I'm going to send forth an entirely different message, first of all to myself and my body. I'm going to affect the body chemistry that I have and keep myself in a happy mode and stabilize instead of being depressed or anxious. But also, I'm going send forth a different electromagnetic invitation out to the world and people around me to respond differently.
I've seen so many people, say people—I've given several examples I think on this audio series—who single-handedly transformed their marriages just by changing their own thoughts. In one I think I gave, there was one man who came to me because he said that he was so miserable. He needed help because he lived, what he said, with "the world's biggest shrew." I've heard everything and I'm not sure what that is but I asked him to tell me more. He described that he'd be anxious after lunch at work—he worked in Lower Manhattan in the Wall Street area and he lived in the Upper West Side—and he said, "After lunch, I start thinking about going home, I start almost having a panic in dread of what's going to happen when I get home to my wife." And so I say, "Tell me more. What happens?" And he says, "Well, sometimes I walk in the door and she'll just start screaming at me. Other times, she's run up and grabbed me and spit in my face. Other times, she's thrown a cup of coffee in my face across the table. Other times, she has pounded on me with her fists. I've just been dreading not knowing what it's going to be."
And I suggested to him that—I asked him if he was willing to do an experiment. And he said, "I don't know what it is, doc, but I'm desperate so tell me." And I said, "Will you just think about some time when you've had a memory of a good experience with her?" And he thought for a minute and was silent for a bit and finally he said, "I can only come up with two or three memories and they were way back in the beginning of our relationship, sixteen years ago!" And I said, "Well, that's enough. When you start having those anxious thoughts about going home, take several deep breaths to relax yourself and just start focusing on the memory of those nice, loving experiences with her, even though they were years ago. Just do that. And if the fear thought comes in again, take another deep breath, focus on those memories of those good experiences and take a few more deep breaths as you do it and then go about your work." He said, "It's the silliest thing I've ever heard of but because I'm desperate, I'll do it."
Well, he did it and he came back the next week saying that he couldn't attribute it to what he was doing at first but he said, "I don't know what happened. I think my wife might have had a mild case of the flu going around or something because she's not behaving as much as she used to be. I think she must be sick—a little under the weather." I let him stay with that and he came back the next time and he was clear that she wasn't sick but he began to say again, "You know, I don't know what's going on. She's still doing some of it, but it's way down to less than half of what it used to be. Could it be this exercise that I'm doing?" With that I said, "Well, I think it probably could be." And he said, "Can I keep doing it?" And I said, "Let's do it and see what happens."
So I approached it as an experiment. Within several weeks, he felt like it had totally transformed his relationship. He said, "Occasionally she still has these but I can live with that. It's maybe three or five percent of the time. But the other change is so dramatic that I can live with that. I can still be happy with that. And the only thing that has changed ..." At one point he said, "I wonder if she went to see another therapist and didn't tell me." And then he found that she hadn't because no checks had been written to a therapist and weren't charged to a credit card. And so he had to finally come to see that it was his thoughts that did that.
There's a wonderful line from the same psycho-spiritual work I quoted before that says, "My thoughts alone cause my pain." But then add a caveat, "I can elect to change any of the thoughts that hurt me." And that fits so much with the Buddhist teachings, or Jesus of Nazareth teachings, or any of the great masters throughout the centuries, or even cognitive therapy today. All of these are saying the same truths—that our thoughts are immensely powerful.
TS: In the process of shifting our thoughts, holding these positive thoughts of our partners, is there a way that we can just be doing this on the surface? How do we make sure that we're really getting to the roots of whatever is going on?
HG: Very good question, Tami, because sometimes people have great difficulty monitoring the thoughts this way. And I find when that's true, it's because they have a lot of traumas that are uncleared and a lot of negative beliefs that are not cleared that are supporting it. It's much like trying to put the brakes on a train going 70 miles per hour while at the same time you have four diesel engines behind pushing as hard as they can.
Sometimes in order to monitor our thoughts, we may have to do this earlier work of clearing our traumas, our painful experiences, our earlier downloads, and our negative beliefs. Then we can have more success with our thought monitoring. Other times, we may even have to retrain our brain if our limbic system is overactive and constantly pouring out stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline. So we may have to do some retraining of the brain to calm that part down enough that they can even begin to do this kind of thought monitoring.
But then there are certain areas that we can do it without that. Of course, meditation is a practice of being able to do that because you observe your thoughts and come back to your focal point, whether it's your breath or a mantra or a word or a candle flame or whatever it might be. That's a way of retraining the brain. There are many ways that we can do that but yeah, it is sometimes difficult and sometimes it's hard to stay with it. But we need to go back upstream to take care of the problems of the anchor that is holding us back that would keep us from doing it because ultimately, the only way we can ever find real happiness is to be in charge of our thoughts.
A wonderful phrase from part of Paramahansa Yogananda and his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, he says, "I never allow any thought to linger in my mind without my expressed permission." And I thought, "Wow, that's what I aspire to!" I would love to have that much control of my thoughts. So for my own personal growth, it has been using all these tools to help support my being able to do that more. And I make more progress with it every year and I would expect to make more progress next year because all these tools help support that.
TS: Now, it's one thing to not let a thought linger but we can't really control what thoughts appear in our mind, can we?
HG: That's true. We can preempt some of them if we have cleared the traumas that are being reactivated over and over again. Yes, having done that would mean that they won't appear, they won't pop up quite so often. But the ego mind will always be here in all of us as long as we're here in the human body. That's what being human is. The body is the symbol of separation. The ego is the symbol of separation. It will always be jumping in with some kind of negative thought. But to keep heart is like Yogananda said: do I want to give expressed permission to it to stay?
Then we have to deal with as much consciously all our lives, but if there are some anchors holding some of it back, we just need to use those tools more to make it more and more possible.
TS: Henry, there are so many things that I could talk with you about. So many ideas that you talk about in The New Physics of Love but here at the end of our conversation on Insights at the Edge, here's the thing I'm really curious about: you've now developed and worked with so many techniques—as you say "in the twinkle of an eye" things can shift—and I'm curious, in your own life … Our program is called Insights at the Edge and I always like to know the edge that people are working on. In your own life, are there things that just seem kind of stuck for you? That don't seem to respond to these energy psychology techniques that seem just sort of stuck in the mud or is it not really working that way for you these days?
HG: I'm finding that they have worked for me immensely. But it's not just the energy psychology techniques. I've been practicing meditation twice a day for at least 25 years. I've been studying a lot of spiritual disciplines for at least as long. I was strongly influenced by physicist David Bohm years ago, and it was a transformative time for me. Most influential teacher in my life was in graduate school having Viktor Frankl with me to understand the power of our thoughts, like even in a concentration camp.
So I've been working on this stuff for many, many years so it's the mixture of the spiritual, the psychological, the energy work, the consciousness—all of that together that I use repeatedly all the time in my life. It doesn't mean that I don't have things pop up that disturb me, but what it does mean is that I deal with it much more quickly. I'll go meditate. I'll go do an energy process on myself. I'll do some breath work. I'll surrender something to my higher consciousness. Not a "sky god" out there, but to a higher consciousness and letting go of my masterminding from my ego level. Yes, all these will still appear to be but I deal with them so much more quickly now. Far more quickly than I did five years ago, 10 years ago, and especially 20 years ago.
I'm still in the process and I expect I'll be using them the rest of my life but also expect that I'll need to. I can have more success more and more quickly, is what I'm imagining from it. Whether it's in the area of my own health, whether it's in the area of relationships, whether it's the most intimate or with friendships or work relationships, whether it's to do with money or my career, I find the more that I just keep myself at peace and surrender the outcome—and trust the flow—I find that they just work miraculously. Things just come from wherever. I don't even know where they are coming from, but I just find that it's just joyful to receive them.
TS: Wonderful. Thank you for speaking with us today on Insights at the Edge. I'm very grateful.
HG: It's been wonderful to talk with you, Tami.
TS: I've been talking with Dr. Henry Grayson. He has created a nine-hour audio course with Sounds True on The New Physics of Love.
SoundsTrue.com: Many Voices. One Journey.