What can an ancient comedian teach us about self help? Surprisingly – a lot. In the 16th century there was a humanist named Erasmus of Rotterdam who wrote a comedic piece about the tension that exists between the human emotion and human reason. In his writing he used the ratio of 24:1 to describe the power of emotion over reason. Of course, in the 16th century they didn’t use the term, self help! The exactness of this ratio may or may not be accurate, but it is a powerful visual to show us just how much the emotional side of our being rules us.
If you think that this is ridiculous, then try to remember if you have ever:
A) Dated someone you knew wasn’t good for you, but did it anyway.
B) Eaten something on impulse that wasn’t on your diet.
C) Spent money that you didn’t actually have at the time.
D) Said something in anger that you later regretted (or tried to hurt someone for hurting you).
E) Taken a long time to get over an emotional hurt or wound.
F) SOBBED uncontrollably because of grief.
G) Experienced anxiety or difficulty breathing.
Everyone, at some time, has experienced some of the things listed above. There are even times when the emotion to rationality ratio is greater than 24:1, specifically Addictions and Uncontrollable Fears (such as a phobia). And at these times there is nothing at all that thoughts or decisions can do to help the situation. This is why they are uncontrollable. can we self help ourselves towards overcoming them? Let’s see.
We can call the rational mind the left-brain and the emotional side the right-brain. We can call it a conflict between the ID (emotion) versus the Superego (rationalism), but the words matter less than the content of this idea. The reality is that if there is something that your emotions are holding onto, desiring, fighting against, or intensely attached to, or running away from; then you are emotionally programmed by it.
This programming can be pleasant and give you enjoyable results; such as if you have an imbedded emotional need and desire to achieve and accomplish goals – with a subsequent feeling of elation. This is an example of emotional programming working in your favor. But usually, most of us have some emotional programming that is standing in our way; such as anger at someone who hurt us, or anxiety or fear of making a mistake. These unconscious emotional blocks stand in our way, unless we find a way to confront and overcome them. The problem is that we usually don’t know what they are. They are often the result of early childhood programming or experiences that we can no longer remember. We might even read a self help book on the subject. And even if we can remember them, we are still attached to the emotion they provoke. What do we do?
There is hope however. The entire field of therapy; and every self help book every written, are devoted to uncovering and resolving these conflicts, albeit very slowly. There are much faster methods to get to the roots of such emotional blockages, which are just as effective in much less time. Specifically Hypnotherapy and guided meditation work. These techniques work because they work with the language of image – the native language of your emotional self. In hypnotherapy you have a trained and experienced therapist who first discusses what your specific concerns are or what habit you are trying to break. Then the hypno-therapist guides you through relevant images and visuals that allow you to break the negative emotional cycle; and therefore break the habit that you want to break. This really works. But there is one limitation, you can really only work on one area of concern at a time – that is all that the unconscious can handle at once.
Guided Meditation works in much the same way, but it is you who are guiding yourself – the best form of self help. It is not quite as efficient as Hypnotherapy and can take longer to work, but the advantage is that it is you who are in control. This may be preferable for people who have trust issues or are unsure of the effectiveness of actual Hypnotherapy. The biggest drawback with guided meditation is that to quote Einstein: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Therefore, in order to actually solve a problem, you would either need to enlist the assistance of a professional (like a Hypno-therapist) or change your own level of consciousness. So how do you help yourself when your self help efforts are limited by your own point of view?
There are only two ways to change your own level of consciousness that I know of, they are to 1) develop a relationship with a higher power, or God, and 2) enlist the assistance of a teacher who has experience with what you are working on. In my experience both are required for a person to move forward with any great success. In other words, you can change your own emotional programming if you are in relationship with your sense of God and if you are getting assistance from a book, person or other type of authentic teacher. Many people make the mistake of thinking they can do it alone, but Einstein would argue otherwise. Einstein was a man who also said that all his work with science proved to him the existence of God.
Change is an alchemical process, and all the elements must be together in the proper proportion before the transformation occurs. For any self help program to be effective, you must have both spirituality (God) and guidance from an experienced self help teacher. Neglect either and there is no magic “Bang!”