Aren’t people who talk to themselves crazy?

Subconscious MindGrowing up as an only child I was frequently told that talking to yourself was the sign of a lunatic. I kind of figured that internal talk was okay but actually talking out loud was a little nuts. Years later when I watched Bob Dole run for President I figured that if he could talk about himself in the third person then I wasn’t doing too bad.

Talking to yourself is perfectly normal and it happens whether we want it to or not. I am not talking about the person you see on the subway having a full-blown conversation with themselves, I am talking about our ongoing internal dialogue. One of the seminal books in human potential movement is The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by the late Dr. Joseph Murphy, PhD., D.D. Being a student of Anthony Robbins work, when I read this book I believe this is where many of Robbins incantation theories were discovered.

Murphy starts out by stating that life should be an adventure, it should be fulfilling and we should be doing so much more than just existing (Murphy x). Just think about our standard greeting to most people. Many times when you ask someone how they are doing if they don’t say “fine,” it is usually something along the lines of “getting by,” or “hanging in there,” or my personal favorite “living the dream,” which is always said with the appropriate amount of sarcasm. Very rarely does someone reply “FANTASTIC!”

So what is the difference between people who were truly happy in life and enjoying the experience versus those that are “just getting by,” and realistically, just waiting to die. An even better question is why is it that many immoral and irreligious people succeed and prosper and enjoy radiant health, while others may be moral, ethical and have a spiritual foundation but are unhappy and frustrated? (Murphy xiv). Have you ever asked yourself the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” Murphy posits that maybe they are bringing it on themselves through the inadvertent application of the power of their subconscious mind.

Murphy equates the subconscious mind with prayer but he does not distinguish between religions – while he was a clergyman, he points out that the principles of the subconscious mind are not limited to any one faith or religion and are universally true (says Arthur R. Pell, PhD in writing the introduction for this edition). The law of life is the law of belief, says Murphy. Belief can be summed up briefly as a thought in your mind. As a person thinks, feels and believes, so is the condition of his or her mind, body, and circumstances. (xvii). Prayers (or intentions, if you’re having a hard time getting your mind around the term prayer) are answered when the individuals’ subconscious responds to the mental picture or thought in his or her mind (Murphy xvii). But why do people often get the opposite of what they pray for? According to Murphy, its because we don’t know how to pray or how to ask for what we want. Once we know the how, we’ll get the result we want.

I did approach this book with a bit of skepticism. I know there are people out there who pray ardently, feverishly, for someone to be healed or for them to stay out of bankruptcy, or to find a job, all to have it go entirely the other way. So what’s the trick to getting prayer and intention going your way?

  • Repetition: in the same way you learned to walk, run, dance, swim or play a musical instrument, you repeat a thought again and again and after awhile it becomes second nature (Murphy xx).
  • You must be open-minded and receptive to new thoughts and ideas which enables you to make new discoveries and create new works and inventions (Murphy 3).
  • Never finish a negative statement (Murphy 12). If you tell yourself that you can never afford an expensive item, such as a car or a house, then you will not be able to afford it.

Murphy says to imagine your subconscious mind is a bed of rich soil that will help seeds to sprout and flourish, BUT, it does this regardless of the types of seeds that are planted (Murphy 7). Plant beautiful flowers or tasty vegetables and that’s what you reap. Plant weeds and thorn bushes and that’s what you reap. And just like a garden, if you planted nothing at all, weeds will grow on their own (no not “Weed,” that’s something else entirely).

Remember the character Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoon strip? He never bathed so he was always walking around with a could of dirt and filth over his head. That is what it is like to be around people who constantly put out negative thoughts. They exude so much negativity, spewing gossip and putting people down, particularly anybody doing better than they are, that they walk around with a virtual filth cloud over their head, polluting everyone around them. However, these people are also using the powers of their subconscious mind but they either haven’t been shown how to use it effectively, or are stubbornly using it incorrectly for whatever reason.

I know some of you out there right now are already coming up with a good rationalization or justification for why all of this is BS. In fact, one of my favorite movie lines comes from the Big Chill ” as spoken by “Michael” played by Jeff Goldblum: “I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.” But remember that many of the great scientist, artists, poets, singers, actors, inventors, writers, pioneers and leaders of our time had a deep understanding of the workings of both the conscious and subconscious mind which gave them the power to accomplish their goals (Murphy 9).

So before you dismiss these principles outright ask yourself “what does the little person in your head say to you most of the time?” Is he or she constantly telling you why something cannot be done? Even when you’re telling that little voice that it can be done what is their response, is it negative or positive? If its negative, then perhaps you don’t know how to talk to it yet. The conscious mind is like Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise. He tells Scotty that he needs Warp 9 immediately. Scotty has no idea even where they are going but he follows orders nonetheless. Scotty is Kirk’s subconscious. In the same way the captain is the master of his ship, your conscious mind is the captain and master of your ship and your subconscious mind takes the orders you give it, based on what your conscious mind believes in and accepts as true (Murphy 10-11).

And let me just cross movie analogies one more time: for you to command your subconscious mind you cannot try to do it. There is no try there is only do or do not – Yoda. By the way, did you ever notice that Yoda seemed to talk to himself a lot? Maybe that’s a genius trait – or at least a Jedi Master trait.

Murphy, Joseph, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. New York: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.


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