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“What entertains you, trains you.” It’s a pithy quote I’ve repeated often on this show, but there’s also hardcore scientific evidence that proves this phenomenon is true.

For example, in science, there’s what’s known as the placebo effect, and the nocebo effect. Both of these phenomenons prove that your thoughts can alter your reality—both in positive and negative ways.

Here’s what that means for you in your life:

You are in the driver’s seat. You have complete control over the experiences you want to have. And the experiences you don’t want to have. You just have to pay attention to what’s training you.

Take suffering for example. It’s not a fact of life, but it happens. And it’s an option. But most people don’t realize there are other options available too.

In this episode, we dive into the 8th chapter from my brand-new book, and reveal how much control you have over your thoughts and feelings. And how to pick more positive options instead of drowning in your suffering.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include:

  • The “Placebo/Nocebo Effect” for bending reality to your will and unlocking a deeper sense of peace (1:18)
  • The weird reason why your own name can cause your trauma to attack you (2:12)
  • How social institutions subtly brainwash you to hyperfocus on negative things instead of looking for the positive things we’re surrounded by (6:11)
  • Why your thoughts alone about a past experience can morph it from a positive one to a negative one (and vice versa) (10:44)
  • How physiological experiences can wipe out lifelong trauma in mere minutes (10:59)
  • The scientific mechanism which proves—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that your thoughts change the way your body operates (14:07)
  • The strange “religion as a technology” secret for feeling better and even living longer (17:03)

Need help unlocking mental, emotional, and physical freedom in your life? Grab my new book, Built for Freedom: Adventures Through Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, Trauma, Pain, and Our Body’s Innate Ability to Leave Them All Behind on Amazon (or Audible) here: https://www.amazon.com/Built-Freedom-Adventures-Depression-Addiction/dp/B0BS79GMYN

Or head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F word here, freedom, wheelchair straight from the trenches what we've learned from leaving our own addictions behind and coaching hundreds of others to do the same. And since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it.

(0:36) Welcome back to the alive and free podcast today, we get to jump into the human effect, which is adventure eight of the book, if you haven't purchased it already, all of these extra conversations are around what's going on in there. So if you are using it for a book club, and you want further details, and further thoughts about how what I was thinking, or what's going on into this, or other questions that have been raised, that's why we have the team here. And just to kind of like, gauge their reactions, and maybe maybe dive deeper into a few things. So go grab it on Amazon, or if you want the audio version, it's on Audible. I think it's important today to talk about labels for a second, I call it the human effect. And there's a number of places in the book and in the way I teach people that I give a new label to something this one the human effect is, there's out there in the scientific literature, two things called the placebo and the nocebo effect, the placebo effect is basically your thoughts affect your reality in a positive way. And so they use it in drug trials and stuff that you think you're getting it, the drug, and it just, it's just thinking that you're getting it is going to do things, then well, then, if the drug doesn't perform better than you believe in you, you did it, then they won't release the drug. So very useful. But a lot of people tend to only relegate that in their mind to the drug world to the pharmaceutical industry, then there's the no SIBO effect, which is the exact opposite. But it's the same mechanism. And so I just ended up calling it the human effect, mostly so that we can set aside the baggage of it. And look at a deeper mechanism going, it's on all the time, this is your thoughts affect your reality. And the name of something conjures up everything that you think about it. And in this chapter, I actually make the case for even your own name, how you learned it, what it's been associated with your whole past history, if you ask me. And one of the things we work with right at the beginning of the retreats now with people is the fact that is the biggest hurdle in their life, which is their own thoughts about themselves, their own name is very, very much associated with it. And it's the biggest label, they have to overcome more than addiction more than depression more than all the other stuff is their thoughts about themselves and so on. gustavia was another one where I'm I used a different term just to so we can pinpoint this kind of physiological tension that has both emotional and spiritual and biological After Effects, and things like that. So I brought that up in this chapter. I bring it up now just to get you guys thinking, right? How many, like for me, the word God came with all these negative connotations just because I grew up having not so great experiences with it all the time. But if we were to Dr. Jeff, he did have some, but then like things have changed for him in terms of his faith practice. And it's a very, very powerful thing for him. And it's because of the stuff that comes with the word. And so I've had to find new words, to basically talk about the things that and same things Jeff's talking about. And a lot of our conversations have come around like, are we talking about the same thing, and we just happen to be at odds with our vocabulary. And so consider that in your communications with other people. Maybe the problem is not that you disagree. Maybe the problem is you think the words they're using mean something different. You keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means. Okay. So for instance, breads a good place to start. Yeah, yeah.

(3:54) Andre the Giant, is this a tall thing now? Well, I didn't make that at all. I was looking at Jeff actually. No more Ronnie. You got to say, the human effect is it's the human effect. All the way down the line. So what what jumped out for you guys in this chapter? What is what for you feels like you want to dig deeper on. You may even said here. But in my notes, I wrote a shout out to the brain. Just an idea that our brain has gotten us into messes. And it also has the ability to get us out of out of the same mass. Yeah. And how powerful that is.

(4:34) Yeah. It's in keeping with kind of some of what we talked about last time. It's really easy. The current medical model as much good as it does and I think that needs to be noted even the therapy models that are there. They are helping people to whatever extent they are. And not everybody gets helped and maybe not even most people get helped by it, but they are helping some people so but as much good as they're both models. have this sort of diagnostic bent, which is hyper focused on finding problems, which, you know, the human brain is very good at that, because we'll have a problem might mean that it's a lion and you're gonna get killed or something. So it's good to find problems. But you know, we have a center for disease control, for instance. And which means that the whole point of that organization is to find diseases and control them. So all of their focus is, what's wrong, what's wrong, what's the threat was an attack, we don't have a center for joy, creation, you know, in the government. You know, we have the Department of Defense, which used to be called The War Department. And some people said that as soon as your your country turns its name from the War Department to the Department of Defense, you know, you're being manipulated, we can leave that for some other time. But you have a Department of Defense, there are people looking at threats, but they're not like, there are like Secretary of State and Secretary of Commerce. And they, they do go about you do have ambassadors, but there's not like a Department of International like, I don't know, what's it called when you make friends? Alliances, there's not a department of alliances, you know. And so there's, there's just a natural tendency in our social institutions and everything else right now. I don't know what it's like in other cultures, but right now in the west, to look for negative things. And so the shout out to the brain is to say, like, yeah, we can say the brain causes all these problems. But we can also look and say, and look at what else it's doing. I mean, if you look at the flowering of a lot of human art and architecture, as much as it might champion, that humans are the suffering creatures, and the human condition is one way or another. I mean, look at some of the ruins that exist on the planet and the vast amounts of humanity that have gone into and I know the people that are like, under the guise of slavery. And you know, how many people were oppressed, but like, there was a massive human operation that went on that has done some pretty remarkable things on the planet, all as a result of the fact that our brains can do some other things as well. And how many people are, I was talking with my uncle. I don't know if we talked about this on the podcast before. I mean, no disrespect. He's from Texas. And we, they came to me, and it was the first time I'd met him in my life. And it was just like, a few months ago. And they were asking me about how my book was going. And I was in the middle of writing it and a word toward the end of writing it and they were asking me about everything that was going on with it. And so I was telling him about that. And in the middle of that conversation, he he came up and in, he was like, Hey, have you seen the new stamp? And I was like, Well, no, what is it? And he says, look right here, and it was a picture of Joe Biden. And on the top, it said, zero cents. It's like that right there that forever. You know, and this was the guy that I, you know, he's like, so what do you do for a living? I was like, Well, I, I created a way or found a way to teach people how to use their bodies to finally eliminate depression and anxiety and whatnot through breath and movement and posture. And he goes, he's looked at me, he goes, That stuff doesn't work. I was like, Oh, really? He's like, Yeah, we've tried all that down in Texas, was like you? Well, I mean, I've seen a lot of stuff like that. You want to know what they do down in Texas of like? Suicide? Yup. They got shotguns you should see it on the news. It's everywhere. Every day. We see all this. And he went on for a while. And I was like, Yeah, but he's like talks about how many people were killed that day. And I said, Well, how many people were born that day? I don't know how many people laughed at a joke that day. How many rays of sunshine hit somebody's skin and they smiled, how many people like hugged somebody because they were suffering that day? You know, how many people took food to a neighbor who was struggling? How many people like helped an old lady across the street or played a game of basketball? Like that's not on the news. He's like, Well, that's not on the news. It's like, maybe you should watch a different channel. But that's just we tend to focus on the negative and the human brain is absolutely incredible. And in concert with your body really is the way out there isn't anything to fix about you. Which is what I've found in my own experience over time, through all the work I've done, there isn't anything wrong with people and declaring it's wrong ends up making you have to like fight it, but you're just fighting a part of yourself. And a house divided against itself can't stay. I heard somebody said that once. I used to think it was Abraham Lincoln until I read it in the Bible. I was like, Oh, he was actually quoting somebody. My bad. So yeah, wasn't he talking about like, demons?

(9:38) Yes, he was actually Jesus was actually talking about demons. And Abraham Lincoln was like, well, apparently the demons of the Confederate. Speaking of demons. In this story, you talk about your experience with maggots, and how monster like they are to you as a child. You want to tell us a little bit about that story and how that applies. To know how strong the mind is, yeah. So, I mean, yes, I can tell the story. I was just showing Jeff just barely all the pictures of that particular one, in case you were wondering, and you read the book, I found a picture with proof, we only got one fish. So I was a boy scout in Germany. And what part of the requirements for whatever merit badge it was, was to go and hook bait a hook with my own little maggot worm. My guess is the merit badge was fishing that you need to answer ask it in the form of a question.

(10:32) It could have been bobbing all of your merit badge. All of my merit badges were bobbing. Yes. And so I went, and we had to beta hook. Now I didn't know this at the time. It was years later when my dad and I discovered that we had radically different experience with it. What I'm talking about in this story, particularly in the book, there is how quickly the brain can edit its opinion of things and produce a different experience. So I had read a book in school, that the it's called the endless step is the title. I don't know who wrote it. It's some child's book. And all the only image that stayed with me was this like, concentration camp detention, something out on the the steps or the plateaus of somewhere, and there was like a pit that they put in dead bodies, and there were maggots growing on the flesh. And so my idea of a maggot was that flesh eating wormy things. And so, when she found out like, we didn't have worms, we have maggots. And I was like, Oh, crap. And the minute I heard that sound, the minute I heard the word, my whole body produced this, this feeling of fear. And then when my dad heard the word, he just thought slimy, because he doesn't like slime. And he was thinking of worms as a kid. So we're both walking to the edge of the puddle was a small pond, we're basically walking to the edge of this puddle. Neither of us wanted to do anything. And we ended up arguing back and forth like you do it. No, you do it, you do it. No, you do it. It's your merit badge, son, you do it for a while, and he's like, Well both do it. And so we both grab a maggot. And we put it on, and he's relieved the minute it comes on, because there's sawdust on it. And it's not as slimy as worm. So he's like, fine, but I'm still like, I gotta get this off my finger as quickly as possible, because I don't want to give it a chance to like, sink those things into me and suck my I'm like wiping my hand on my pants and all these other things. And then later on, we're leaving, and neither of us are all that concerned, I discovered that my hand did get sucked aside by maggots. And he discovered, hey, they're not as slimy as worms. So I guess maybe I can handle them a little bit more. The point being like, since that, because we had a physiological experience of something, that data enabled our brains to change the patterns that it had been operating on for so long. And so I introduced that here, particularly to to help people understand this, this key notion that I go on at length about for like a couple paragraphs trying to say as many ways as possible that whatever you entertain yourself with whatever entertains you trains you, I've said that before on the podcast, and in this case, it's very, very critical. It doesn't just train your thinking, it doesn't just train your feelings, it literally trains your body to continue to respond that way, by habit by muscle memory, until you entertain yourself with something that is different. So that's why I threw that one in there. If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F bomb of freedom in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or want some help doing it, head on over to the freedom specialists.com/feel better now and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call. So we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. You have other questions on the thing. In this chapter, we talk about the bioelectric fields of the cells. Right. So this is a chapter that we go beyond the nervous system. And we're not talking just about retraining the nervous system, we're talking about the fact that each cell has an electrical field and has a way that it interacts with its environment. And depending on how that field is each cell will function differently. This was a chapter that I had an old client reach out, he read the book, and then he's like, I gotta go back and I gotta read it again. And I'm gonna mark it up. He said this chapter alone. I've known for years that my thoughts affect my body, but I didn't. Like I've known it I've heard people say about it for a long time I believed it but I didn't have a mechanism by which it happened. And this operate this gave the mechanism because every fluctuation of thought changes your blood pH changes your your breathing patterns, changes your tension patterns, your posture, and even pressure on a sale like we talked about in the chapter on the rate of a dime, just pressure changes the function of a cell changes. Everything about posture does even at a cellular level. So many things change the environment in which those cells exist. And if you change that environment, then the function of the body changes and can become malignant in some cases and turn into cancers and propagate really quickly or can hamper organ function. And then those in turn get read by the brain and turned into emotional states and fears about the future, which then gets sent back down into the body and formed this loop of catastrophizing, which then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

(15:35) Yeah, that's, for me, it was really cool, like, thinking about things like, like prayer, or even the practice of writing or something like, I think for so much of my life, I've just thought, Oh, these are kind of thought processes that I can do anywhere, doesn't really matter what's going on around me, or what how I'm feeling. But recently, in the past few years, starting to take the time to like, make a space feel a certain way. And the things that we do on retreats with the singing bowls, and, and making there be certain vibrations in a room in a space and realizing that this has a profound effect on people's bodies, like the sort of the feeling the thoughts that are created, the things that you're focusing on, even with your with your eyes, or the sort of the sort of sounds that you're making. You could be saying the same words, but it's going to it's going to radically change the experience if you're, if it feels different. And just even seeing that on a cellular level is just it felt like really, really helpful for me to to read about that with all the Yeah, the bioelectric fields and stuff.

(16:53) Yeah. What I think is interesting is the conversation you and I had, I don't know, it's probably four or five months ago, that were maybe even longer at one of the retreats afterwards, where we were discussing the idea of religious practices as a technology instead of as a like, like a checklist item, right? Like you get the benefit later, because you have to do these things to earn the benefit. Whereas like, the process is the benefit that for instance, the number of Hail Marys that you that you had to say in in in a Catholic or an orthodox I don't know if orthodox does Hail Marys, but similar type of thing. Okay. Yeah. So the number of those things you would have to say? Like it wasn't a penance. So it wasn't a punishment. It was a it was a way out, like this might help you. Yeah, yeah, go chant this for this long and you will feel better, which is how I've pieced together all the things that I've done, which is like the process itself is testable, he has a way for you to see it. And that discussion was really kind of cool for me to have like to be like, Wow, I hadn't really considered that because I was busy in other areas, exploring other things to like, link it back to, you know, these religious processes didn't doesn't matter the religion, but the ones that, that have these really entrenched rituals, or these processes, that that came from a certain kind of wisdom, like in the Orthodox Church, which I think is, is so beautiful, you know, they're invade, they're engaging with all the senses. So you have sight and sound and you want to talk to speak. I mean, you're obviously inside of that.

(18:26) Well, yeah. So I mean, just just coming from my experience of something like prayer, where it just it felt like, oh, this purely intellectual, quote, unquote, spiritual thing, where it's just, I can do it just the same as if I'm speaking out loud. Or if I'm just thinking in my mind, or if I'm with people, it's all just, you know, talking to God, and then encounter you and this kind of like, what I would see as some kind of like hardcore materialism sometimes of being like, no, it's just about the, you know, the vibration that we're doing. So we do like ohm chanting, and, and I'm kind of like freaking out with this, like, oh, is this like, spiritual? What, you know, what are we doing spiritually here? And you're like, No, just think of it like physical therapy, like, just think of it like, like the, you know, what the vibration is doing and to the nervous system and things like that. And which was my process to have to strip away the cultural stuff, because so much of the culture stuff was an intellectual framing. And I was like, but but we're all humans. I want to know what this is doing for my body. So that came out of my exploration with like, I just need to find a way out for me.

(19:32) Yeah, what's gonna work and I found huge benefit to those practices. And then kind of I feel like in this place where I've found this marriage of the, I don't, I haven't lost the spiritual, like, I still believe in that in that kind of transcendent connection. And I think it's really important that the body is included in that and so in the Orthodox Church, which I'm in the process of joining, it's theirs Yeah, that there's the senses are incredibly important. The visuals are there's images, there's sounds, smells, all sorts of things. And it's all this feels, to me really just this like holistic way of moving people towards the good.
Yeah. And you would see that similar thing in some of the Buddhist approaches to stuff where they would invite involved sights and sounds and everything else. And they include mantras, which would be a kind of prayer. And in many of them, the mantras are not even words that mean anything, they're just which is what ohm is, it's not, it's not a word, that means anything, some in the West lot of people like it's the name of God, it's not, it's just, it's literally a vibration that people are like, No, the people who are really still really in tune, this is a vibration that's in all of these different traditions. And that's something that they engage with in terms of ritual. And so the idea that you can entertain yourself with processes that intellectually get you in a place, maybe even create a cosmology or a worldview, but the process itself is producing a result.

(21:07) That was what I had read and written in my book for when in when you said over and over again, like what entertains you trains you what is like, he's talking about ritual like these? That seems like Yeah, yeah. And so then I give some examples of people who have achieved some tremendous things. Because it's the same principle for Trump. And, like, elite athletes, and top business people, like they ritualized their day, they spend their time thinking about these things. Some of them get up and they write morning pages, and they write three pages every day, no matter what writers do this and, and artists do this. And then you have, you have the religion side of things. But then you have people like Paula Gianni in there who hasn't had food for however many years. I mean, he died in his 80s. And it was like 72 years or more, where he just didn't eat food or water. It's something that happened to him when he's a kid. And he spent most of his days in a cave, doing meditations and everything else. And I've trained with other people in that, in that regard, we've mentioned them on this podcast. And then there are like, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Joe Dispenza, with his his bike accident, and he pieced together his spine with that. And that was just focus and a kind of ritual and kind of going through the process was the process was the solution. It wasn't that the there was an end result of the process to look for it was like doing it was actually doing it. And that's the power of the human system is like, what what you focus on really does become a biological reality, how recently, I was like, if I were to define belief, for me, like what is a belief, I would say, like, it is a thought that a person has that, that their body has made into a real experience. So like, if I, if I tell somebody like Winnie the Pooh, just walked by their body, their mind doesn't tell their body to make that into a real experience. It's whatever kind of thoughts that a person has, that their body continuously and acts as real. That's what they believe. Whether or not the thing is real or not, is immaterial here, but like the belief is that their body is making a real experience out of the thought. And that is a kind of ritual. It's a kind of practice, and people who bear testimony of whatever the things that they witness, and it could be, you know, miracle cures and business models and whatnot, or it could be religious things, all of that is creating is twisting and contorting the body and squeezing glands and doing things that are creating a human experience. And I bring this up here, just so that you can see that you really are in the driver's seat, and the experiences you want to continue to have. You can be more conscious about them. And the experiences that you don't want to have, you can be like, cool, what am I entertaining with my son myself with that is leading me here? And what would I rather entertain myself with? Where do I want to be? And what can I entertain myself with along the way, rather, that will get me there. So it's not that suffering is the fact of life, it's that it happens. And it's an option. But there are other options as well. And so like, that's kind of the main gist here of that chapter with a lot of different examples in the middle of it, including, you know, we refer back to a couple of other people and some of their case studies and whatnot in the middle. So anything else that come to mind here, just so hilarious story of your dad and his pilot training?

(24:24) What your dad's is? Oh, yeah. With the G Yeah. Like? What you mean when he's playing with the students that he was teaching? Yeah. That's fun. It's a funny story.
We'll let them read it. But I'm just saying there's a lot of great that stuff in there. Yeah.
So get the book. And next week, we'll talk about the next chapter. But this week, just consider right? If you're like, okay, cool. What do I get out of this big book club? Just look around this week? What are you entertaining yourself with? That includes YouTube? I mean, if we were to talk about worship in general, since it's come up, and I think it's a valid topic, because I I don't think it I don't think it gets enough valid look from from the sort of practical standpoint, like the practicality of religion, I don't think gets enough clout. And so like, if you were to look at worship, meaning that what you spend your time, effort and energy and attention on, well, what are you worshiping? Or what are you entertaining yourself with? If you're a non religious person? How much YouTube Are you watching? How much Facebook and Netflix, food? You know, how much time are you spending and things that that are producing the life that you have? And as you're going through the week, would you like to entertain yourself differently? And might that entertainment produce a different experience of life?

And that's it for today's alive and free podcast. If you enjoyed this show, and want some more freedom bombs, landing in your earbuds, subscribe right now and wherever you get your podcasts from, and while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering the great stuff to you and plus, it's just nice to be nice.

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