The Tuesday, February 4, call-in discussion group will be discussing Chapter 30 (Visualize!) and 31 (Communicate) in Steve Ozanich's book The Great Pain Deception starting at 9 pm Eastern Time. It lasts an hour, sometimes a little longer. Phone lines will open half an hour early so you can talk to hosts and early callers. Here's how to join the discussion (for detailed instructions, visit www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Connect ) If you're connecting by phone, dial 1 201-479-4595 and when prompted enter the pin code 18311499 followed by the pound symbol. If you're connecting via your computer (Fuze Meeting), go to www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/app/48fb7aa8/18311499 and follow the instructions from there. For more information, visit www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Call-In_Peer_Discussion_Group. Steve says in Chapter 30 that visualization or “guided imagery” may be the most important tool for healing. He says it proves we have great control over our health. The trick is to learn how to allow the healing answers of imagery to come out of our unconscious mind and into our consciousness. To get a better handle on how to do this, he tells about the two separate functions of the brain. One is the part that controls conscious activities like raising your arm, standing up, turning your head, or talking. The second part of the brain governs pain and illness, but is not in direct communication with our conscious mind. Since there are no direct psychological routes to he unconscious mind, we have to find an alternative pathway to reach it. The way to do that is through visualization and guided imagery. The unconscious mind only communicates with us as what Dr. Martin Rossman calls the “Inner Adviser.” It can’t talk to us, so it communicates physically, causing us pain. The psychic and healer Edgar Case said anyone can communicate with their unconscious mind with practice. The more we can do this, the more we can become in control of our immune system, autonomic functions, and overall health. To practice visualization or guided imagery, Steve says to first relax. There are many relaxation techniques to be learned in books, CDs, on the Internet, and in the TMSWiki forums. Practice several until you find the right one for you. One of the best is called “progressive relaxation” in which you tense a part of the body, then release the tension, and move on to another body part until the entire body is relaxed. It’s best to practice guided imagery while relaxed and in bed before going to sleep. The unconscious mind is then most likely to receive your visualization. The concept of imagery healing is to increase self-awareness behind the physical problem causing pain. This comes through images that will come to you while relaxing in bed before sleep. Steve says imagery helped him heal from 27 years of pain. He accepted the TMS theory that his herniated discs and arthritis were not the cause of his back pain. But he had been thinking all those years that the pain was from structural abnormalities. He began imagining his spin as being perfect. The next day while walking, with each step he took, he imagined the discs in his back as perfectly cushioning his spine. Within days of practicing the guided imagery, the pain in his back began to lessen. It then moved to his knees and the bottom of his feet. He began to practice imaging that his feet were not pounding the ground as he walked or ran. He imagined his feet were running on cotton which was cushioning his knee and ankles, feet, and back. The pain he had felt disappeared. He had reconditioned his conscious mind to forget what he had previously thought caused his pain. I remember my chiropractor telling me years ago that no one should run or jog on hard surfaces. Steve says his guided imagery of running on cotton freed him of fear that running, lifting, and exercising is bad for the body and causes pain. “We become our persistent thoughts,” Steve says. We can think ourselves sick or in pain, and we can think ourselves well and pain-free. “Whatever we can visualize, our bodies can feel and react to,” so we need to visualize positive images. Negative guided images are fear of ill health and of pain symptoms. Persistent images of deteriorating spines, joints, digestive systems, ulcerations, cysts, etc. will bring symptoms as the image becomes organic reality. Dr. Rossman says, “The most common form of imagery that affects our health is worry.” We need to practice the success outcome visualization skills of top athletes and other successful people. Divers imagine performing the perfect dive in the moments before attempting it on a diving board over an Olympic swimming pool. Golfers imagine hitting the longest, straightest ball from tee to fairway, then the best shot to the green to sink the ball. Dancers in competition imagine performing the winning routine on the dance floor. Imagine yourself without pain and you will be without pain. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. In his chapter 31, Steve says that like we can heal by communicating with ourselves to visualize we are without pain, with can do the same by communicating with others. He cites some examples of how communication with others can be helpful or harmful. James Pennebaker wrote several examples of this in his book, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Confiding in Others. He said a man remembered that when he was a boy of nine his father said he and his wife were divorcing and that their marriage began to fail because the boy was born. Not when the boy was born, but because he was born. The boy carried the guilt and pain with him into his adult years. A woman said that when she was 10, her mother asked her to pick up her toys because the girl’s grandmother was coming for a visit and might trip over them, but didn’t do as her mother asked. That night, the grandmother tripped over the toys, broke her hip, had surgery, and died a week later. Pennebaker said, “Adults need to forgive themselves for their past. It’s gone.” People often criticize others for how they dress or walk or talk or for the views they have on politics, religion, etc. Steve says that effective communication begins with understanding that the things we hate in others are traits that we actually despise in ourselves. This is why people get angry when they are told that their pain is coming from hidden emotions. At some level of consciousness, we know it is true and must condemn it and find a physical cause to bury an unwanted image of themselves. The more fiercely they condemn TMS, the more they know it to be true. Steve says a lot of our pain can go away it we just talk to someone about what might be making us anxious or stressful. He said examples of his are in posts on the TMSWiki where a wife may (finally) open up to her husband about what is troubling her. One example of communication easing pain was woman who discussed financial problems with her husband then, before going to bed, her back pain was virtually gone. Steve ends his chapter by asking, “What does communication have to do with pain? Everything. If we could sit and talk with those who left us, and purge all the past pain, there would be less suffering. But ego, time, and circumstance don’t always allow for open communication to occur and so we are given the gift of forgiveness to fill the voids of rejection, as well as the gift of understanding.” The movie “Carousel” is a wonderful film to see about communication in relationships with those who left this world with unresolved issues that cause us guilt or other anxieties. A young man dies of a stabbing while robbing a man, and after death is given one day to return to his family on Earth to ask for forgiveness in leaving them that way. He discovers how foolish he was and leaves love for them behind in their hearts. We can do this in our own imaginations and have a talk with departed loved ones to finally bury the guilt, anger, or other emotions that cause us pain because until now we have repressed them. One night a few years ago I talked to my deceased mother about my guilt in not being able to give her more elder-care when she needed it. I was just emotionally worn out from two years of trying. That night I dreamed that she forgive me, and I forgave myself. I still feel the warmth of her smile. I felt that she was telling me that she was sorry she wasn’t the perfect mother, and I told myself I was sorry I wasn’t the perfect son. But at least we both tried and, as the saying goes, “Love conquers all.” We hope you will join the call-in on Feb. 4 and share your experiences or thoughts on these two chapters in Steve Ozanich’s very helpful TMS healing book, The Great Pain Deception.