"As a man thinketh, so he shall be."

If you want to change your life you must first learn to change your thoughts. Did you know that in the past few hours you may have had a negative thought or attitude that, if entertained, may weaken your immune system and cause you to develop an unwanted health problem? It may even affect you mentally and emotionally and cause depression. But did you also know that in the past few hours you may have had a positive thought or attitude, that if entertained, could strengthen your immune system and protect you from illness and disease and give you peace of mind and happiness?
Thoughts come into your mind constantly. While you are reading this book, watching television, before you fall asleep or at any time throughout the day, a thought may come into your mind. It could be a good thought, a bad thought or even an evil thought. You have to understand that it is OK to have that thought, because you had no control over where that thought came from. However, once the thought is in your mind, then you have control over it. You can accept it or reject it. Entertain it or dismiss it. That's called free will. Our free will is probably one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us. It is so powerful that even God himself does not interfere with it. By your free will, you choose how the thought will affect you. Many times when people pray, they ask God to take away their hurt or their anger or their pain. God doesn't take away what you are not willing to give up. You must be willing to let it go.
Next time you begin to feel upset, angry, overwhelmed, depressed or uncomfortable, stop and look at your thought process. What are you thinking at that moment? If what you are thinking is negative, you will produce negative results.
When I was young, I had an old phonograph. I would sit for hours playing those old records and listening to my favorite songs. But after so long, some of the records would develop a scratch. Every time I would play them, when it reached that certain point, the record would skip and repeat the same phrase over and over again. Listening to the same thing over and over again was nerve wracking. It would keep going on and on until I had enough and would bump the phonograph to make it stop. Many times when we have a negative thought, it becomes just like that old record. We play it over and over again in our mind until finally we just can't seem to take it anymore. It literally begins to affect every aspect of our lives. That's exactly what happened to me. I played those negative thoughts over and over again in my mind until, finally, it created a chemical imbalance and depression. My mind was able to do that because I was not aware of what was happening.
I can assure you, after reading this book, you will have a protective shield around you. Once you learn about the mind and how it functions, and understand the power of perceptions and thoughts, you will achieve a new awareness. This awareness will become your protective shield. You may want to call it your "awareness shield".
Many times, we are surrounded by negative energy. Maybe it's from negative thoughts or false perceptions or perhaps it's from something that someone said to you. It may even be caused by something from your past. It doesn't matter. From now on, whenever you are bombarded with this negative energy, instead of it affecting you and causing you to lose control and respond spontaneously, it will hit your awareness shield. You will see it for what it is. You will know that if you continue to entertain this negative thought, you will experience the negative results it will bring you. It's going to make you feel angry, depressed, bitter, deprived, inadequate or ill. Once you have this awareness, you can say to that thought, "NO! I refuse to accept you anymore. You have controlled my way of life long enough!" And as you do this, that negative thought or energy will vanish because it is only an illusion. It only has the power that you give it.
Most things in our lives are not life and death situations, but through the process of our thoughts and imagination, we blow them way out of proportion. Shakespeare once said, "There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." If you think the world is caving in on you, it's certainly going to feel that way.
Our thoughts are very powerful. If you take a thought, good or bad, you can manifest it into reality. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When our thoughts are negative and in confusion, we create an unreal world. If you have thoughts of how unfair you've been treated, you will perceive a world full of unfairness. If you have thoughts of suspicion, you will perceive a suspicious world. If your thoughts are fearful, you will perceive a fearful world. How can you expect your spirit to soar when it's weighted down by suspicions, resentment, self pity, anger and unfairness? But if your thoughts are positive, you will look out on a world full of mercy and love. Your spirit will soar with joy and your life will be peaceful.
It's a law of the universe. Some call it karma. In the Bible, it states, "As you sow, so shall you reap." What type of seeds have you been planting in the rich, fertile soil of your mind? If you plant a seed of corn, it won't sprout a cucumber. It's a law of nature. And so it is with your thoughts. You can't expect harmony in your life and health in your body if you fill your mind with toxic thoughts.
Picture a vial that is filled with toxic poisons. At the base of the vial, there is a valve that is closed. From the bottom of the valve is an I.V. tube that is inserted into your bloodstream. I am absolutely certain that you would check that valve many times throughout the day, making sure that none of the poison would enter your body. Do you realize that negative thoughts and emotions, such as unresolved anger, hatred, bitterness, jealousy and revenge are means of opening that valve, allowing that toxic poison to go into your system? Do you also realize that positive thoughts and emotions, such as love, forgiveness and acceptance are means of locking that valve in the closed position forever, causing you to live a healthier and more peaceful life?
Many times people go through life like ships at sea. Sails opens, they go whichever way the wind blows. They are not in control. But when you realize that you have a choice in how those thoughts affect you, it's like putting a rudder in your hand so, that when the wind blows, you can tack into the wind and use it to get to your destination. It puts you in control, not the thought.
In many cases, physical symptoms are merely the result of negative, angry, fearful or unhealthy thoughts. When we experience a headache, stomachache or other physical symptom, we need to stop and examine what might be causing this physical response.
About ten years ago, my daughter and her family endured one of those years besieged with problems. In a ten month period they experienced two automobile accidents, as well as the death of her grandmother, her husband's father, two family friends and the family dog. Her father-in-law became ill in the first week of June and he remained in the hospital for three months before his death. The doctors expected him to go at any time, so my daughter and her husband kept a constant vigil at his bedside, taking shifts so that her husband could go to work during the day and she could spend the nights with their two small children, ages eight and four.
It was emotionally draining for them and as they returned home from their fourth funeral that year, her husband said he didn't think he could take much more. But within six weeks, they experienced another setback, a house fire that gutted their home. They moved in with us while their home was being rebuilt.
It was during that time that my eight year old grandson began experiencing severe stomach pains. He would be laying in bed and suddenly double over, crying pitifully, because it hurt him so bad. School had started back and he began to call home because he felt nauseous. They took him to the doctor, hoping to find out what was causing the pain. The doctor ran a whole barrage of tests -- blood work up, stool specimens, urine tests, even an upper G.I. to check for an intestinal blockage. When all was said and done, the doctor said she could not find anything medically wrong with him. She believed the pain was psychologically induced, due to the traumas he had experienced the previous year.
I began to work with him, helping him to recognize the pain and notice what he was thinking at the moment it started. He soon realized that the pain (how did I help him do that or give an example)seemed to come when he was worried about something, and he learned that he had control over it. The pain soon subsided. It wasn't long after that their home was finished. When they were ready to return home, my grandson became nervous about leaving. I brought him in my office and asked him how he felt. He said, "Grandpa, I'm kinda scared. I don't feel good about going back to my room." I looked around my office and asked, "Well, how do you feel about this room?" "Oh, I like it a lot, Grandpa. I feel good here." "Well, do you know why? It has a good atmosphere. Do you know what that is? It's the things around you. You can create a good atmosphere in your new room, too, by putting things around you that make you feel good, things that make you comfortable. If you could have one thing in this office that would make you feel comfortable, what would it be?" He looked around the room and said, "That picture." It was a Norman Rockwell print called Outward Bound. "Then take it. It's yours. That's the beginning of your nice atmosphere." To this day, he has not suffered with the pain again and the picture, Outward Bound, still hangs above his bed.
His story is a perfect example of how our physical body responds to our thought process.
When our thoughts are negative, we go into a self-destructive mode. Many times the symptoms we experience, such as the tightness in the neck or shoulders, the knots in your stomach, the headaches, that feeling of pressure, are ways of our physical body telling us that we need to make a correction or change in something that we are doing or thinking. It's like a warning signal going off. When you experience these negative responses in your body, you need to stop and ask yourself, "What am I thinking?"
It reminds me of a trip my wife and I took to the Ozark Mountains. We were really excited about this trip because we had been planning it for a long time. We even bought a new car. It was a Chrysler New Yorker and it was all computerized. We had just driven high up in the mountains when this cute little bell sounded and on the computer screen, a nice little light lit up that read BRAKES. Immediately my wife said, "You better stop as soon as we can and have the brakes checked." I tested my brakes and they seemed to work fine. I assumed it was a short circuit in the computer system and since the car was running well and seemed to be working, I continued driving it with that nice, little, green light on all that day in the mountains. The next day, my brakes began to grind and in a short time they began to sound terrible. Finally, when I took my car to a garage in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I was informed that the brakes had worn the metal drum down so much that it was going to be a major job to do the repairs. It cost me two hundred and eighty five dollars. If I had taken care of the problem when the light first came on, it would only have cost me about thirty or forty dollars. But by waiting so long, it kept getting worse and required much more work to repair the brakes. Now, I couldn't blame the car. I couldn't blame the mechanic. I couldn't blame the light. And I couldn't blame God. I tried to blame my wife but she said, "I told you so!" Don't you just love it when they tell you "I told you so!"?
If I had read the owners manual, to see what the light was all about, I would have been aware that it was a warning of things to come. And it could have saved me a great deal of money and "I told you so's". It was an expensive lesson, but a good one.
Many people take the same approach to sickness. It's so much easier to take a pill for a headache than to stop and see what is causing the headache. Find the cause and solve it, and the symptoms will heal themselves.
I remember a story that Dr. Art Winkler used to tell that illustrates the way many people try to solve a problem. The co-pilot of a large airliner, approached the pilot and said, "Bill, I just saw the red warning light under the landing gear, flashing on and off." "What did you do?" asked the pilot. "I unscrewed the light bulb." Many times, we'd rather avoid the problem than make the effort to find out what caused it.
I've worked with many people who came to me suffering with stomach ulcers who experienced relief after they learned to control their thought process. Although many in the medical profession believe that ulcers are caused by bacteria and not stress, I believe that stress can weaken the immune system, allowing this bacteria to flourish. Ulcers aren't caused by what you eat, they're caused by what's eating you!
I want you to understand that I'm not knocking doctors or medication. I believe that when you marry good medicine with positive thoughts and attitudes, you strengthen your body's natural healing process and increase your overall well-being.
Scientists are becoming more aware of the mind/body connection. They can detect chemical changes in the body due to thoughts. An example is people stressed out about a work deadline having difficulty sleeping. This is evidence of altered neurotransmitters.
Negative thoughts and attitudes can weaken the immune system and slow down or stop the healing process. At the International Conference of the Psychology of Health, Immunity and Disease, a speaker shared with us research done involving the mind/ body connection. They took one group of people and had them watch a violent movie. After viewing the movie, blood samples were taken from each person in the group and their immune systems registered very low. The next day, they had the same group watch a movie about Mother Theresa. They took more blood samples and this time their immune systems registered extremely high. Their thoughts, their mental process, had a direct effect on their body, in this case, their immune system.
This connection between the mind, body and spirit is not just a modern day theory. Ancient people realized this connection, which is evident in their writings. In the Bible, Romans 12:2 it states, "Do not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." An ancient Chinese proverb reads, "The mind is the emperor of the body." In the Hindu Bhagavad Gita (400 B.C), it says, "A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well."
Just think about the statement, "Do not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." How can you live in this world and not conform to it? It's a world bombarded with negativity, hatred, jealousy and greed. The only way to not allow these things to affect you is to function on a higher level of consciousness. You must use your awareness shield and not allow these negative things to penetrate and control you, and you must change the way you perceive things. By doing this you will not conform to the world, but rise above it. You will be in the world but not of the world. By this renewal of the mind, you can be transformed. Webster's definition of transform is, "to change, to transfigure. To change into another form." It's a metamorphosis, like the caterpillar into the butterfly. It’s no mere change in appearance. Biology tells us that it is a complete change. The tissues of the caterpillar literally dissolve and are re-formed into a new creature. Isn't it beautiful? If God created such a miraculous ability in insects, don’t you think He would create the same ability for change within us, His children?
You can be transformed by the renewal of your mind. That means that you can change whatever you want to change just by renewing this thought process, causing you to feel better, not only physically but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the immense power of a thought. Remember, "as a man thinketh, so he shall be."
This article is taken from Chapter #4 of Dr. Bauer's Book, "A Journey to Inner Healing" Understanding the Mind,Body,Spirit Connection.

Author's Bio: 

· Louis P. Bauer, Ph.D. is a Christian Clinical Hypnotherapist.
· He is the author of the book, “A Journey to Inner Healing: Understanding the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection”.
· Past Member of the Board of Directors of the St. Tammany Parish Unit of the American Cancer Society, 1993-1994.
· Dr. Bauer has a private practice in Slidell and has been a resident of Slidell, La. for twenty seven years.
· He is a parishioner of St. Margaret Mary Church.
· Dr. Bauer was approved by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing for CEU credits.
· Conducts a one day workshop that is therapeutically designed to help a person to relieve stress, eliminate anxiety, overcome depression and build self confidence.
· December 4th 1995, he has started a television show on Channel l0. It ran for several months.
· He was on the David Elliot talk show on WLOX TV
· Recently he appeared on the morning news show on WWL-TV
· He appeared as a guest a number of times on Mary’s Helpers Radio talk show
· Dr Bauer is working with the St. Tammany Parish Jail in helping the woman to rehabilitate
· Dr. Bauer conducts speaking engagements for businesses, groups, churches, schools, hospitals, and professionals, as well as seminars open to the general public.
· He also does a one day retreat to help people to make positive changes in there lives.
· Dr. Bauer is available for speaking engagements through appointment only. Should you, or anyone you know be interested in Dr. Bauer speaking to your business, group, church, school or organization you may contact him at the address on the left.