I first came across Dr. Joe Dispenza in 2004 when I was watching the movie What the Bleep Do We Know!? Dr. Joe was one of thirteen scientists, researchers and teachers featured in this award-winning movie.
In the film they discuss life’s big questions – What is our purpose? Where do we come from? What is reality? They explore consciousness; quantum physics and the latest scientific findings which support this theory; the inner-workings of the human brain and it’s connection with the body; and how thoughts and emotions effect our reality.
This film fascinated me. It provided me with answers as to why we keep creating the same reality (why we attract the same types of relationships, work situations and family dynamics). It opened me up to the notion that we live in a world of infinite possibilities and that we have the power to choose.
To this day I vividly recall Dr. Joe describing how every morning he goes through the process of consciously creating his day. I found this concept exciting. I too wanted to be able to master my thoughts so that I could consciously design my destiny. Unfortunately, at that point in time I didn’t have all the information and tools I needed to be able to apply his philosophy.
A decade later, I was participating in the Start the New You Now Ultimate Webinar, produced by Hay House. It featured over 50 hours of conversations with inspiring authors and experts skilled at helping people transform their lives. Dr. Joe was one of the experts being interviewed. The topic was ‘Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself’.
During this interview Dr. Joe (whose areas of study include neurology, brain function and chemistry, and memory formation) explained the science behind why most people find it so difficult to change. Inspired, I immediately went out and purchased his books Evolve your Brain and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
A few months later I attended his Progressive and Advanced Workshops, and had the opportunity to partake in the scientific testing he was conducting to determine the effects of meditation upon the body and the environment. I was fortunate to be selected to have my brain mapped using electroencephalograph (EEG) technology and my heart-brain coherence measured using a heart rate variability (HRV) recording device, before, during and after the workshop.
Dr Joe. Dispenza’s work provided me with a practical and effective way to overcome my life’s circumstances and elicit real and lasting change in my life. He has influenced Chapter’s 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 of My Story.
I was beginning to understand that setting a clear intention is a critical step for achieving your goals or manifesting your desires. I’d learnt that setting an intention initiates the unseen creative forces of the universe to conspire on your behalf, and that it is the feeling and emotion behind the intention that activates these forces. When activated, opportunities and circumstances towards fulfilling your desires begin opening up.
Although I had first hand experiences of this happening in my life, deep down I was still a skeptic. I had come from a scientific background (I studied applied science, and my father was a science teacher and a self confessed atheist) and I needed tangible proof that there was something behind the theory of intention setting.
Dr. Joe Dispenza believes that one of the biggest problems is that most people try to create a new reality as the same personality. He asserts that if we want to change our experience of life, ‘we’ need to change.
The most practical and effective way of eliciting personal change, he says, is through the use of mental rehearsal (which means thinking over and over about doing something without physically involving the body).
In effect, when we get really focused and truly pay attention to what it feels like to achieve our desire, the thought becomes more and more ‘real’, or as Dr. Joe describes it, ‘the thought becomes the experience’. In other words, mental rehearsal gives the body a taste of the event before it is made manifest. He believes that by ‘practicing’ the type of person and qualities that we wish to become, we create new neural connections and pathways in our brain that match our intentions.
Daily repetition, he says, reinforces, sustains and wires the new neural connections so that our desired way of being becomes part of who we are neurologically. This diligent mental rehearsal is the key.
Dr. Joe’s process results in what he describes as a biological breakdown of the circuits in the brain that are connected to an old way of being, and the creation of a neurological network that reflects the person we want to become. In other words we neurologically become the person that we desire to be through mental rehearsal; we begin to think, act and feel that new persona.
Dr. Joe Dispenza played a crucial role in my efforts to re-shape my life.
Following my realisation about where my true values lay, I was determined to make new choices that would transform my current situation. I made a commitment to let go of old habits that weren’t in alignment with this new vision of my life. I discarded or gave away material possessions that didn’t reflect me or harboured bad memories. I stopped saying yes to things I didn’t enjoy. I intentionally spent less time with people who didn’t make me feel good about myself.
I felt liberated at first. But as I created more ‘space’ for new things to enter my life I began to feel lost. Now that I was leaving my old life and protective habits behind, deep seated fears and anxieties surfaced.
At the time my Spiritual Teacher, Alana Fairchild, assured me that feeling this way was a normal part of the process of change. She explained that I was going through the ‘death’ of my old self in order to make way for a new, more expanded version. Rather than suppress these emotions, she recommended that I work with them, and listen to what they were telling me.
Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work gave me further insight and understanding into the mechanics of what I was going through. According to his theory, my habits and patterns of behaviour gave me a sense of predictability and control over my day-to-day life, which in turn made me feel safe.
I learnt that whenever we try to break a habit we interrupt the chemical continuity that the body has become so familiar with, and we begin to feel uncomfortable. Dr. Joe says that when this happens, the body starts sending signals back to the brain saying things like – ‘just one more won’t hurt’ or ‘why don’t you start tomorrow’.
He explained that if we pay attention to those thoughts, we make the choices we have always made. The same behaviours, he says, produce the same experiences. The same experiences create the ‘familiar’ emotions. Feeling ‘familiar’ emotions makes us feel comfortable again. But this results in no change at all!
I was determined to live a life centred around the things that were meaningful to me. However, I found that every time I had a thought about doing things I loved just for pleasure, my learned feeling-response was guilt and anxiety. Despite my desire and effort to change I couldn’t move past these feelings (regardless of the amount of emotional release work I was doing), leaving me depressed and frustrated.
Dr. Joe believes that the reason we find it so difficult to change is that we get stuck in what he calls a ‘thinking-feeling, feeling-thinking’ cycle. It works like this.The brain records every new experience neurologically and releases specific chemicals which trigger feelings that reflect our experience of the event. Whenever we recall the event we re-activate (and strengthen) the neural connections and trigger the corresponding chemical response, causing us to relive the experience emotionally. These feelings then cause us to think the same types of thoughts, which then trigger a similar type of neurochemical response.
I knew this self perpetuating cycle all too well. I found that my environment and the objects in it were significant triggers. The moment I walked into my house after being outside on a sunny winter day my mood instantly changed. Just being in the space activated thoughts about how much work and money it would take to transform my house into a habitable environment that I loved. It only took one thought to set the ball rolling and once it had gained momentum it was difficult to stop. Feelings of frustration would lead to overwhelm, then to discouragement, until I ended up feelings powerless and depressed.
Dr. Joe help my understand why it is difficult to break negative thought patterns using self discipline alone. According to his theory it is much easier and more effective to create new experiences. New experiences, he says, create new emotions. New emotions, which we can create and recreate until they become our very nature, evolve us beyond our primitive chemical response programs.
His technique of mentally rehearsing a desired outcome was very effective for me. By repeatedly imagining myself living the type of life I desired, I was virtually digging myself out of the emotional rut I was in. He says that when we emotionally condition our bodies to experience the outcome before it takes place we create the neural connections and pathways in our brain that match our intentions. Incorporating this practise into my day-to-day routine allowed me to create a bridge between circumstances I’d found myself trapped in and the life I’d always dreamed of living, so that I could become the type of person I aspired to be.
Although it extremely useful to develop skills that allowed me to be able to quickly and effectively shift my emotional state using my imagination, I found that it was also essential to create new positive experiences in my day-to-day life. That meant discovering and regularly engaging in activities that made me feel emotionally buoyant (for details on the process I undertook refer to Chapter 4 of My Story).
The more I practised ‘reliving’ the vision for my life that excited me, and filled my days with working on creative projects that I loved and listening to inspirational lectures I found on YouTube, the more my spirits soared. I was no longer triggered by my environment. I was content to just to be, rather than being compelled to ‘do’. I found joy.
I was beginning to comprehend that my day-to-day reality was simply a reflection of my consciousness – a ‘story’ I’d created and I ‘believed’ to be true. I found this new information inspiring, but I still found the notion challenging. I wanted more concrete information about the mechanics so that I could consistently and successfully apply this concept to my life.
I had read Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book Evolve Your Brain which develops specific definitions for the brain and the mind, and describes their interplay. I had already come across the idea that there are two aspects of our mind – the conscious and the subconscious. However, his work provided more depth, describing the specific parts of the brain responsible for our conscious awareness (neocortex) and subconscious control (midbrain, the cerebellum, and the brainstem).
The brain, he say, is the physical apparatus through which the mind is produced; it is the brain in action. The mind is the result of a brain that is coordinating thought impulses through its various regions and structures.
According to Dr. Joe we are born ‘pre-programmed’ to act in specific ways in reaction to our environment. The overall shape and structure of the brain and its generalised function, he says, has resulted from long-term traits that our species developed over millions of years – based on what we had learned and experienced from interaction with our environment, how we stored that information, and how the brain has adapted (for eg our ‘fight or flight’ response).
On top of that, are the more immediate genetic and behavioural traits from our parents and their parents (our genetic line), which gives each person their individuality. These, he says, are responsible for how we perceive the world, what we believe, what subjects interest us, our desires and goals, our emotional states, and how we respond to stress.
Dr. Joe believes we begin life with this pre-wiring as a foundation, and have the capacity to make new connections (giving us the power to become the type of person that we aspire to be). He describes this as nature’s way of generously giving each individual a true beginning on which to build.
Science has recently discovered that the human brain is neuroplastic (it has the ability to change both functionally and structurally). It is this trait, he says, that allows us to add new synaptic connections and build new neural nets, as well as prune away nerve cells and synaptic connections that are unnecessary for our survival and development.
He believes that it’s up to use as individuals to add our own synaptic connections, through conscious interactions in our environment. We do this, he says, by learning from our experiences and changing our actions to produce outcomes that are more desirable. In other words, we can personalise our ‘computer’, by developing new programs and archiving others.
Dr. Joe says that the way we are neurologically wired, our biochemistry and the genes we express, is literally a reflection of our consciousness. The habits we develop, what we learn, how we think and what we experience, creates and modifies the neural tissue. Essentially, he says, who we are in terms of the ‘self’ is the accumulation of our total synaptic connections.
His catch-phase is ‘your personality (how you think, act and feel every single day) creates your personal reality’. Following this argument, if we want to create a new personal reality, we have got to change how we think, act and feel.
Dr. Joe believes that most people fail at making changes in their life because they try to create a new personal reality with the same ‘personality’ (or ‘pre-programming’). He says that for real change to occur we effectively have to become a new person. This requires examining our thoughts, behaviours and habits and changing them.
Dr. Joe says that the moment you begin to become conscious of your ‘unconscious’ self you are tapping into the ‘operating’ system. This, he says, is where true change begins. You alter the brains typical firing pattern and create new synaptic connections. You begin to see the world and ourselves differently. Through repetition, you refine your neural architecture. You strengthen the new connections and eventually the neurones that “fire together, wire together”, and who you are changes.
The next step in Dr. Joe Dispenza‘s theory and techniques for creating a new life is learning how to let go.
According to Dr. Joe, you do the work (mentally rehearsing the type of person and qualities you wish to become), then you relax. Your work is done. The event will find you, and it will come in a way that you least expect.
Sounds simple enough but I really struggled with this concept. I was in the habit of trying to make what I wanted happen. I understood that I needed to ‘detach from the outcome’. But I didn’t know how to. I didn’t even know how to truly relax, let alone detach.
Marilyn Jenett (whom I had studied under and been coached by), had suggested that whenever I found myself thinking (or in my case obsessing) about how I could make what I desired happen, I should instead engage in an activity that was fund and made me feel happy. Her personal favourite was an uplifting movie and chocolate.
I’d put Marilyn’s strategy into practise and finally found the right things that allowed me to fully let go, fully relax, be fully absorbed. I found that when I reached this state of being invariably something would shift and the next piece of my life puzzle would present itself.
Dr. Joe Dispenza’s science, and Marilyn Jenett’s techniques and philosophy combined, really worked to let me learn this vital component of developing and evolving into the type of person I wished to become.
Dr. Joe explained that when we are truly in a creative state, there is a shift in the brain, that acts like a volume control, quieting the mind, intensifying an awareness of the body, and of the environment and time. We become present. We forget about our problems and stop trying to control the future.
To reach this state, I listened to inspirational lectures and explored creative activities that I could do with my my hands. I found this process had a twofold effect.
Firstly, I was finally able to ‘let go’. I forgot about my problems. I stopped ‘strategising’ about how I could control future events, or manipulate the life I wanted to live. I lost all concept of time. Hours flew by like minutes. I was so absorbed in what I was doing, I often forgot to eat.
Secondly, without intentionally planning to, I realised that I had begun adopting patterns of behaviour and was experiencing emotions that reflected what I had been mentally rehearsing.
For example, by incorporating creative activities into my life as a way of ‘letting go’ I felt joyous, confident and capable. I was doing something that I loved and I was drawing on skills I had mastered. As I began to see the results of my creative endeavours, I felt satisfaction and accomplishment. The lectures I listened to as I worked with my hands, made me feel inspired and uplifted. As a result I found myself prioritising these activities, rather than working incessantly, purely for the pleasure they gave me. I began to see beauty in the smallest things.
Dr. Joe was right, once I learnt to let go, the solutions to my problems found me. Meaningful coincidences and synchronicities began to occur. Opportunities and circumstances towards fulfilling my desires (that I could never have orchestrated as efficiently), started to open up.