In the last four months I have had the opportunity to peruse the minds of two young boys who developed obsessive compulsive disorder. Boy A, from the U.K is 13, boy B is 15 and from the middle east, both in boarding school and lessons have been conducted via Skype calls using the Sam Method. Two very different cultures with the same behavioural disorder which made them prisoners of their minds; tortured by their thoughts, suicidal, alone, afraid, with the inability to understand life and themselves, both on medication. For the purposes of this post I will refer to them as Lionel. The work of Jeffrey M, Schwartz, M. D, who wrote the book ‘The Mind and the Brain’ has been instrumental in enabling me to offer Lionel relief by rewiring the brain back to functionality. The Sam Method contains similar strategies to Schwartz’s method. Different tool, similar process and method. Yet the work here, has enabled me to draw very interesting and relevant comparisons between OCD’s sufferers and ‘stress sufferers’ and also those with addictions and also ourselves, and the behaviours that have become our involuntary responses, or thoughts and responses that don’t serve the functional brain, the happy, the relaxed brain and mind. A relaxed mind is a functional mind that is able to produce the sort of neurotransmitters, like serotonin which enables us to access more rational and creative, solution baring ideas. If we can, then we fee ‘able’, and not at the mercy of our circumstances and conditions. I have a saying that I use with clients, WE ARE NEVER AT THE MERCY OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS, BUT RATHER AT THE MERCY OF THE EMOTIONS THAT ARE PROVOKED WITHIN US. Our thoughts provoke the limbic brain, the emotional brain to produce and express chemicals that make as feel in accord with those thoughts.
The answer, refuse to have those thoughts and this is where we use those powerful front lobes, the most evolved part of our genius intelligence, the executive, the decision maker, to choose differently. Choose what? In the Sam Method we make involuntary the seven behaviours of peak performance that enable the mind and the brain to work differently. They inspire different responses in the autonomic nervous system. They represent empowering, non-reactive behaviours like Cool, Calm and Connected, Number 2, and No Judgement, Number 3, and Reset, Number 4 and ideology number 27, Not Interested, and 11, With Calm the Mind Works Differently, Perfectly, Creatively. When this system of thinking becomes automatic through reception, then our never cells are wiring and firing, and WORKING differently to create a different, more functional level of mind. I always say, ‘they are just behaviours, they are just thoughts we are choosing, you can choose other thoughts, other behaviours that do make you feel different.’ And it is the FEELING, that makes us behave and respond differently. Now we have cultivated a different level of functional and happy mind. Now we have a different mind set, now we are mindful and more grounded.
We can’t be content with emotional states if they do not serve our health or happiness. The OCD’s and those suffering similar debilitating events daily, are inspired to change because they are in so much pain. While others who are not happy, but still cope with what is, are not so determined to affect changes in thought processes. The OCD mind is often called a ‘sticky brain.’ There is a part of the brain, the caudate nucleus which is like the gear shift, it gets stuck on a thought that has to be repeated over and over again to give the sufferer temporary relief. And so the sufferer develops compulsions, behaviours. Yet thought alone, a plan to behave and move and think differently can provoke a change in gear and a shift from the compulsion.
Here is the relevance to us, we have thoughts and behaviours we choose daily which undermine the functionality of the brain and it’s ability to produce positive neurotransmitters. We get stuck in repeating behaviours which enable us to keep things the same, to maintain and uphold this personality. We have become use to looking for problems to solve, searching for reasons in our immediate world to find reason to criticise, judge and resent. These thought processes do not serve the desire that we have to be happy and peaceful. Judgment, anger, resentment are thinking patterns we have learned. We will find reasons to affirm them, to have them. Those ‘circumstances’ and ‘conditions’ might be a job we don’t like, a difficult partner, a problematic child, the bills, our weight, our age, the list goes on and on and can be endless. We are looking for reasons to validate an emotional state that is part of the developed personality. We created this personality and identity. We learned to think in such ways. Our chosen daily thoughts are the nuts and bolts and the electricity that constructs and conducts this personality.
I used the following analogy for Lionel. Our brain, the construct of the brain is like a house with many rooms; bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and hallway. We all have the same house with the same construct. Front Lobes, Temporal Lobes, Parietal Lobes, Limbic Brain, Cerebellum, Brain Stem, that is the Brain. We all have the same house. Yet the thoughts we have are like the electrics that run through the house, and these electrics impact the functionality of that house and how well it is running. Thoughts can result in fuses being burned, in a deterioration of the plumbing, in the walls, and all of this impacts how comfortable we are in our house. I use another analogy. In a game of football a coach will often substitute a tired or poor player with a better and fresh player whose substitution impacts the whole game. Our thoughts are like these players which impact how well we mange our lives. Thoughts which put us in a state of reactivity need to be removed, substituted or given the RED card. Or Number 27, Not Interested.
If the OCD boys could rewire their minds to a different personality and experience a different reality, a much happier more comfortable reality, what is our excuse from doing the work? It is about mind set. It is about training the mind.
We are currently looking for practitioners to join our team and to use the method that I have developed. I call it Mind Development harnessing the principles of Brain Plasticity which affirms that the brain is not immutable, it is changeable, re-wirirable, given the right stimulus, systematic process and method, belief and desire.