Gaining Conscious Control over Involuntary Reactions

In this post we will begin to share what have been considered esoteric secrets by hidden schools for thousands of years. Today they would be classified as methods of applied cognitive psychology.

For thousands of years, mystery schools have existed at the core of each religion, where the religion at large is a diluted, simplified form of the core schooling, consisting mostly of rituals without retaining the full explanation of the entire system of thought. Over time, in response to the rise of religious tolerance and freedom, some of these occult (meaning “hidden”) schools have come out into the open at least to the extent of admitting their existence.

All of these schools taught (1) ethics (2) what today would be called applied cognitive psychology – the subject of today’s post, and (3) a cosmology centered around the idea of a unified identity of all things. These were never taught as three separate “courses” but as an organic whole in which the ethical and psychological portions were logical outgrowths of the cosmology. In other words, “Since you are part of a whole, treat the other parts fairly (ethics), and gain control of your involuntary reactions, which cause friction with the other parts and with your relationship to the whole (applied cognitive psychology).”

Teaching took many forms including a kind of immersive theater in which the teachers were actors and the student was not aware that they were performing. This was exemplified during the Classical Age in Greece by the Eleusinian Mysteries, and carried forth to this day by Freemasonry. The underlying principle being the now-scientifically proven fact that a person cannot change merely by intellectual understanding; instead it is pivotal that emotion/intuition/perception must also be engaged in order to make a profound and lasting psychological shift.

These “initiations” as they are called provide the types of feelings called “numinous” (magical) and what they do to the intellect – when theatrically effective – is to jar the belief in an accidental/”meaning”-less/materialistic-only universe, by seeming to provide contrary and compelling sensory evidence, i.e. a miracle or magical event. Today’s illusionists are an entertaining derivative of such practices but operate in a context where the adult audiences are fully aware that these miracles are simulated and because every adult knows the senses are being artfully tricked, hence these maneuvers are called “tricks”.

This is not to rule out that in some of these performances, something magical might actually occur – magical not in the sense of unscientific, but in the sense of not yet understood by science.

Science has now caught up to and verified that the cosmology being taught down through the ages by these hidden schools is correct. There is connectivity among all the constituent parts of the universe, matter is made of energy, space and time are one thing, particles are waves and waves are particles, and these “wavicles” remember their connection so that when apart and one changes, so does the other (as proven by the innumerable replicated experiments testing Bell’s Theorem). The information transfer from one wavicle to the other is supraluminal, i.e. faster than the speed of light, suggesting either that Einstein’s theories are at least partially incorrect, or that distance itself is an illusion, or both.

How did these relatively primitive people thousands of years ago know things that are only today being realized by our top scientists? My hypothesis is that the founders of these schools which radiated outward into far simplified dilutions called religions, were in the highest levels of Flow state when they had moments of enlightenment and realized these facts about the universe directly, through the faculty of cognition called “intuition”.

I’ve written here about Flow state many times. It is the state where the brain noise across the corpus callosum between left and right hemisphere disappears (Master Marvin Chun, Yale), and there is activity across all levels of brain rhythm as measured by EEG (delta, theta, alpha and beta waves) that appears as highly regular and synchronous between the brain hemispheres – in other words, organized rather than chaotic brain patterns. Experientially the Flow state manifests as perfect action, inspired ideation, joy, automaticity (everything is doing itself and you are along for the enjoyable ride) — and in its highest form (for there are sub-levels within this state) clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, and ultimately a spiritual dawning (conviction of universal connectivity, liberation from fear through intuitive trust in the ultimate benevolence of the universe) which if articulable (sometimes these experiences cannot be translated into words) would be what caused  the emergence of mystery schools and later religions themselves.

Latest science proves the existence of connectivity in physics (Bell’s Theory experiments among others) and in psychology (odds against chance being in the millions to one for the existence of clairvoyance, precognition and telepathy, per meta-analyses reported by Dean Radin and Charles Tart). The Theory of the Conscious Universe (my cosmology) posits that the basic stuff of which everything is composed is information and all of this exists within a single consciousness of which everything else is a part. But what is consciousness? It is that which experiences information. To be, to exist, is to be perceived/experienced by consciousness. This would have been a radical notion at the height of materialism, which probably peaked when I was a child and is already waning today as science makes strict materialism untenable. It’s pretty obvious to all of us that we are privileged to be living at an extraordinary time of change for the human race on Earth. One key aspect of this profound change is the proof that we are all connected and the true universe we live in is as miraculous as the ancients sensed.

Smooth and striated muscle tissue in the body generally have separate functions, the striated muscles being subject to voluntary control, and the smooth muscles being those that function without conscious will being involved – such as breathing. The mind and its four functions (Jung) of intellect, intuition, feelings and perception also has voluntary and involuntary aspects. We can use willpower and practice to extend the range of control we can exert over what is generally involuntary. For example, belly dancers can so control their stomach muscles as to make a quarter flip over and over while lying on their back, and advanced yogis can slow their heart rate down to reach a point approximating suspended animation. The term they use is “yogic control”, meaning the extension of the ability to control things in their formerly uncontrollable body-mind.

This yogic control concept comes into play in everyone’s life with regard to the phenomena of negative emotions including depression, dis-courage-ment, fear, anger, and other non-helpful manifestations in the domain of feeling. When such feelings arise they tend to curtail the ability of the intellect and the intuition to see solutions to the problems that have caused these negative internal states, and even the perceptions are changed, as we subtly begin to see more ugliness and less beauty in the world around us.

The ancient mystery schools still teach methods of making these involuntary feelings – which nobody likes to have, so they must be involuntary – something that can be controlled and stopped by the voluntary will. This involves the same principle of yogic control – extending what the individual can control within their own mind-body. These teachings were typically expressed in language that today would be regarded as unscientific. My book is an effort to provide the same teachings – which have been proven to work for thousands of years on small percentages of the population – in language that is non-mysterious, operational, actionable, simple, and hopefully therefore allows everyone to gain these extraordinary degrees of control, particularly over their own minds. Thousands of my readers have written in to say that the book worked for them, and only 11 out of approximately 35,000 readers have taken advantage of the lifetime moneyback guarantee.

Let’s take a look at anger, fear, discouragement and depression and the ways that these moods can be brought under conscious control and turned around – a small sampling of the book.

Most people assume there is nothing you can do about negative emotions – they come as they will, and you must just suffer through them. However, almost everybody knows someone who they have seen rise above these feelings at one time or another. Especially at a time such as now when the world is facing so many challenges all at once, it is vital to increase everyone’s ability to rise to the occasion and surmount negative feelings.

The common “solution” today for depression consists of drugs. These drugs often do alleviate depression temporarily but it always returns and another dose is needed. The drug approach is not bad but it is really a form of depression-maintenance program: it does not cure the problem but finds a way to live with it. The best aspect of drugs is the speed and ease of getting an effect. But this allows weakness of self-control to be carried forward often for an entire lifetime, skipping over the opportunity to use the problem as a springboard to increase the individual’s yogic control.

All of the mystery schools teach that death is not the end, that like matter-energy, consciousness also is conserved by nature, and that none of these things can ever be created nor destroyed, and some such schools explicitly teach that yogic control gained in this lifetime is carried over to subsequent lifetimes on this or other planes. Because the teaching of interconnectedness has been validated by science, this does not automatically mean that all the teachings of mystery schools are necessarily true, but it’s something to think about. The alternative is to rule out thoughts that have been associated with superstition just because of association in the mind, which is itself non-scientific. All things are unproven until they are experimentally proven. Whatever happens after death will remain very difficult to prove one way or another for us the living. Science may someday figure out the death barrier, but not today.

Regardless of such considerations, one does not have to go too far in order to justify the desirability of gaining control over defeatist feelings: regardless of any view of what the world is, it’s obvious that such feelings work against the person who has them — we see the evidence every day.

It is extremely difficult if not impossible to overcome one’s own negative feelings while remaining in the everyday state of consciousness. You can say, “I am going to put those emotions away and get down to the business at hand”, but many of us don’t really have the willpower to do it. The trick is to get out of the everyday state of consciousness. By moving into the observer state, one is able to far more easily turn off useless feelings. The active ingredient in this case is simply clarity.

The steps involved are not mysterious. The first step is to turn down all distractions which means getting into an alone space where one cannot be interrupted, where you can’t hear voices in the next room, where there isn’t a TV or something playing, where you are not under time pressure if at all possible (this is not an absolute requirement, especially after you have some practice behind you — in fact after practice there are no absolute requirements).

Once you are alone, with writing implements, task number one is to understand why you are in a negative state. The writing implements can be used for this but you really have them with you to write down notes about other things that distract you from what you are there to do – shopping lists, to-do lists, whatever. Be patient and wait. Once your mind knows you are focused on one thing, diagnosing the cause of why you feel the way you do, it will soon start to give up answers to that question. They may be obvious or they may contain non-obvious aspects as well. You may find yourself writing down non-obvious aspects or simple phrases that are suddenly more revealing and meaningful than you expected, which cast new light or which simply state things you already knew but in much sharper and more useful language than you had before.

What you are doing is called contemplation, and what you are contemplating is the causes for your current state.

It is likely that you will see the causes, at least some of them, and they may make you angry at other people for being part of the causation. This is part of everyday consciousness, and will not get you past your feelings but will in fact just keep you going round and round in those feelings. You need to reject everyday consciousness, reminding yourself that any ordinary negative feelings such as fear, anger, depression, discouragement, etc. are automatically wrong. They are just alarms going off to get you to see the real underlying causes so you can cure those causes. Some of those causes may in fact be within you. You may be the first cause that leads those other people to do what they do to make you angry, fearful, or whatever.

You are flying higher, getting above the weather, so whatever weather disturbance or turbulence you experience must be rejected, whatever is commonplace and you have been there before, put aside. Focus on this rejection of commonplace negative emotion. Say to yourself, “It must be wrong, by definition, it’s not constructive, it’s not getting me anywhere, it doesn’t lead to a solution, I need something NEW.” Strip it away as it arises and see what is underneath. Where is it coming from? Where did the whole pattern start? What did you want that led you into this negative mindset?

Get creative. Generate crazy ideas. Visualize what John Wayne or Katherine Hepburn would do – whoever you look up to – drop the boundaries on the types of thinking you will use to get closer to a good idea – something that will work. Come up with ideas that will not raise resistance – think in terms of Eastern martial arts, where you go with the flow not against it.

All mystery schools and religions teach acquiescence, trust and gratitude as three sides to the same coin – the acceptance of what is. In Islam, it is called the Will of Allah. In Taoism it is called getting into the rhythm of the Tao, linking into the underlying force of the universe. The word religion itself comes from the Latin religare, meaning to link up. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit, meaning to yoke up, like yoking an ox to a cart.

How can you feel gratitude at times that try you to the breaking point? By comparing the situation to one even worse. What if you had never existed at all? The Universe has created you — is this not justification for gratitude?

Pastor Leonard DeWitt says, “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.” The relationship you have to the whole can either be synchronous or it can be at odds. When you are angry, fearful, and so on, you are not in synchrony with what is happening, you are fighting it. This is why you need to reject these feelings as you strive to drop everyday consciousness, and get into an esoteric, spiritual mood.

Whether you call it God or the Universe, today science knows that you and I are intrinsically intermingled into it. Get with the Flow of it, don’t be at odds with it. To do this, you need to reject ordinary thinking and feeling. What is really happening? What is IT trying to teach you? How can this situation possibly be something that can make you better and stronger?

These are applied cognitive psychological interventions. The ones we have just shared skim one surface of the subject, but should give you a flavor.

Best to all,


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  1. Pingback: The Importance of Observer State in Relation to the Zone | Bill Harvey Blog

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