The Power of the Mind

By James S. Payne

During the 1960s, for a brief period of time, I traveled as a professional magician. I was billed as the Great Payndini. As I gained experience I began to be booked in dinner theaters and nightclubs. As I performed before adult audiences I noticed that the hypnosis part of the performance received the greatest attention. Gradually the hypnosis portion grew to the point that I was billed only as a hypnotist.

As a hypnotist, I would stretch subjects between chairs and stand on them, stick pins in their skin, have them sing as small children, or recite nursery rhymes. I would use post-hypnotic suggestion and have them do something like make baby "goo goo" sounds when I tugged my right ear.

One part of the act that was interesting to me was how the subjects reacted when I suggested an ordinary pencil was getting warm and, eventually, hot. However, one evening I got carried away and suggested the pencil was a piece of metal and was turning white hot. Much to my surprise, one of the subjects refused to drop the pencil and the result was a blistered hand. I couldn't imagine the mind being so powerful that it could actually cause a physiological reaction to the degree of blistering a person's hand. This scared me because I realized I was dealing with something very powerful and could actually hurt someone. I completely stopped performing that night and returned to school to complete a degree in psychology.

When a subject is in a hypnotic trance the suggested words become true statements to him and at that time the subject behaves in accordance with the perceived beliefs. Thoughts become truths. This is scary, yet when viewed positively it becomes exciting. The idea behind controlling the activation of the brain uses many of the concepts purported in hypnosis, which bypasses the conscious mind and goes directly to the subconscious. In a sense, the uncontrolled subconscious is our master and when beliefs are consciously controlled and relayed to the subconscious, our master becomes our servant.

Instruments are available that somewhat accurately measure the activation impulses of the brain. Simply stated, electrodes are attached to the outside of the head that measure electrical current referred to as brain waves. These instruments provide information that suggests that in most people, most of the time, the activation activity in the brain is scattered. However, when a person begins to concentrate or focus on something with a high degree of intensity, the activation of the brain becomes more localized in a specific section of the brain. When the concentration or focus becomes so intense that the individual enters a high state of consciousness known as the "zone" or "flow," the activation becomes pinpointed in a relatively small area. The "zone" or "flow" activation area is always small, but varies in location from person to person: in some individuals the localization occurs predominantly on the left side, in others on the right, and in still others in the front or rear. People can be taught how to control this brain activation. In other words, they can be taught how to improve their concentration and focus which, in turn, improves their performance. This is easily demonstrated when improving one's development in a specific physical skill, like shooting a basket, putting, or kicking a ball. Furthermore, the controlling of brain activation is applicable to mental skills such as conducting a meeting, getting along socially with others, speaking before an audience, meditating, studying, or creating.

Control of the firing of the brain is the key that unlocks the door to the subconscious. Consider for a moment the two functions of the subconscious: automatic and learned. The automatic function happens without thought: heartbeat, circulation, breathing, digestion, and other bodily functions. The learned function of the subconscious takes over automatically as a habit is formed: tying shoes, walking, speaking, memorizing, driving, riding a bicycle, adding, subtracting, reading, etc.

Take catching a ball: the brain has to do a lot of complex things for a successful catch. Now complicate the matter by having the person run to get to the ball to catch it. Then distract the person by having people yell and scream. Finally, fill the subconscious with degrading comments to the point where the person believes themselves of little worth, unsuccessful, and unable to do anything right. When individuals get into the "zone," they are able to screen out all the junk and screen in only those things that are necessary for a successful catch, and they do this unconsciously. The goal is to achieve Olympian focus. Such focus doesn't just happen. It is learned by influencing the subconscious through controlling the firing of the brain.

During brain surgery, studies report that patients whose brain cells are stimulated with thin electrodes describe reliving scenes from the past. Keep in mind that they are not remembering, they are reliving the experiences. When you control the firing of the brain, you experience sensations that allow you not to relive but to "post-live" what will happen. In other words, you create the future rather than relive the past. When you "post-live," you experience the future wholeheartedly before it happens -- you "will" it to happen. People who are able to get into the "zone" hypnotize themselves to envision what the future will be and subsequently make it happen. That to me is ultimate brain power.

(From Sunrise magazine, February/March 2005; from Dr. Payne's book, PeopleWise® Brain to Brain, copyright © 2004 James. S. Payne)

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Knowing that the divine essence is everywhere, those wise ones of old time knew that through our own efforts we may lift the veil and understand the mysteries of being and the whole meaning of the conflict within ourselves, and so work out our own salvation. -- Katherine Tingley