1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Official Thread Section 1 Introduction

Discussion in 'Alan Gordon TMS Recovery Program' started by Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021), May 22, 2014.

  1. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is the official thread for Section 1 (Introduction) of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). Neither Alan nor the PPC necessarily endorses this thread or any of the viewpoints presented in it.

    Please keep these official threads on topic and put your best thoughts down, as these threads will be read by many people. All posts in this thread should all relate to section 1 of the TMS Recovery Program:

    In section 1, Alan writes the following:

    If you aren't yet familiar with the TMS approach, the following article provides a quick introduction. However, if you already know the basic concepts, you can skip to the next section.

    Miracles of Mindbody Medicine

    The Miracles of Mindbody Medicine article is terrific and provides a basic explanation of TMS, but I think it’s a mistake to suggest those who know about TMS skip reading it. I think it is a very important “short course” in TMS knowledge that is good to repeat. Even if you already know the basic concepts I strongly encourage reading the article to refresh and reinforce your TMS knowledge.

    Summary of the article:

    The Mindbody Connection. How emotions cause the mind to create pain symptoms in the body.

    The Puzzle of Pain. How doctors and psychologists have come to recognize the connection between the mind and physical pain symptoms.

    Whiplash. Studies have determined that it is psychological, not structural.

    Back Pain. Even if structural damage is diagnosed, the cause may well be psychological and not structural.

    The Physiology of Pain. The auto nervous system controls the circulation of blood in the body and reduces blood flow to certain muscles, nerves, and ligaments. This causes less oxygen to the tissues which creates pain.

    The Purpose of TMS pain. It is to distract us from discovering hidden or repressed emotions and/or personality traits such as perfectionism and “goodism,” wanting everyone to like us.

    Treatment of TMS. The need to discover the underlying psychological causes of pain and the effect of emotions on the body.

    Acceptance for TMS. Accepting and believing that repressed emotions and/or our personality traits can cause physical pain.

    Evidence for TMS. Studies prove the mindbody connection of psychological TMS and physical pain.

    Future of TMS. More doctors and psychologists are treating patients with what Dr. John E. Sarno calls “TMS knowledge penicillin,” but there is still strong resistance from the vast majority of the medical profession which seeks to perpetuate the treatment of pain by continuing to focus on medication, massage, and surgery which at best often provides only temporary relief.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    The education factor has two important elements in my healing. The first aspect is learning the basics of TMS. We need to have the facts, supported by evidence, and begin to contemplate this diagnosis, see its correctness in our lives.

    The deeper aspect of education is that the whole Sarno approach is about educating. It is about learning what is actually happening: that our symptoms are based on on our psycho-dynamics moment-to-moment. We also un-learn that there is a physical explanation. That is the core of what helped me: re-framing the cause of what I was going through, and embracing that I had TMS, not nerve damage. This level of education has to go very deep. It has to go where all remaining doubts are. “Thinking psychologically” (re-education) for me is the key to treating TMS, and it isn't easy! So education is the beginning, condensed in this article by Alan ----and it is also the ultimate end, as our education goes very deep, and undoes the need for symptoms.
    andrea, Msunn and hecate105 like this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think that this TMS program is probably on a word by word basis the best content in this wiki. However the challenge is that because it's so concise and distills so much wisdom down into a short space, that there's temptation to read it like a magazine article. I think this is especially true with this section and I'd like to talk a little about why.

    I had the pleasure of speaking for an hour last Thursday with Dr. Dave Clarke, author of They Can't Find Anything Wrong, and Dr. Eric Sherman, co-author of Pathways to Pain Relief and one of Dr. Sarno's most trusted psychologists. I asked Dr. Sherman about something that I had been wondering about for years: Dr. Sarno is clear that 80% of his patients don't need psychotherapy and they get better just by reading the books and going to his lectures. Dr. Sherman affirmed this.

    Back when I was first learning about TMS, what I will call the "reading and rereading approach" was very prominent within the online TMS community, much more prominent than it is today. I think that this approach needs to come back because it works very well for a lot of people (though everyone is different of course). Dr. Sarno describes how knowledge is the penicillin for TMS: "The most important factor in recovery is that the person must be made aware of what is going on; in other words, that the information provided is the “penicillin” for this disorder" (p. 71 in Healing Back Pain).

    Dr. Sarno described the process that he used at the Rusk Institute in all of his books. In the Divided Mind, in the treatment program section, he wrote the following:
    1. If you have not already done so, read the entire book you are using a bit at a time (Healing Back Pain or The Mind-body Prescription). After that, read the psychology or treatment chapter every day. Pay close attention to what you read, especially when you see things that remind you of yourself.
    2. Set aside time every day, possibly fifteen minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening, to review the material I am about to suggest.
    3. Unconscious painful and threatening feelings are what necessitates the pain. They are inside you; you don’t feel them.
    4. Make a list of all the things that may be contributing to those feelings.
    5. Write an essay, the longer the better, about each item on your list. This will force you to focus in depth on the emotional things of importance in your life.
    (p. 142-143 in The Divided Mind. Some text boldfaced by me for emphasis.)
    With Dr. Sarno being the consummate hospital physician, I suspect that he didn't feel comfortable telling people how to treat themselves at home. Rather, he wanted people to be under the care of highly trained physicians and therapists. While this may be frustrating to us, because we want step by step instructions, I think it is a testament to the respect that he has for medical science. The closest that he ever got to describing a home treatment program for people who weren't at Rusk was in The Mindbody Prescription. In it, rather than describing his prescription for home treatment, he reproduced a letter in which one of his patients, Jim Campobello, described what he recommended to his friends. I think that this is as close as we will ever get to Dr. Sarno of an at-home treatment protocol.

    So what did the Campobello program involve? It involved reading and rereading (and some other things). Here is his handout:

    First, you must decide that you will make a serious attempt at Dr. Sarno’s technique. The technique only works for people who make a strong effort to apply it. You must either believe that it can work for you, or you must be so desperate that you will try very hard to do it even if you don’t believe in it.
    I did not believe in it when I first read the book. My nature is very skeptical; I didn’t believe in mental powers of any kind, and I had given up on the miracles. However, I was desperate. I was in constant pain. My life consisted of standing up to do what little work I could, and lying on a mat on the floor at home the rest of the day. So even though I didn’t think it could help, my wife convinced me to try it. You can do the same thing.
    So first you must make a commitment to try the book’s approach. It costs nothing, but you must be willing to spend some time on it every day for at least a month. You might as well try—what have you got to lose?
    I don’t think there is one exact way to do it, but I will tell you what worked for me and recommend that you try it.
    1. Read about 30 pages of the book every day. Don’t just go over the words—think about them! Pay attention to what he says, and think about how it applies to you. It’s very easy to be inattentive, so force yourself to concentrate on the ideas. When you see parts that remind you of yourself, be especially attentive. Also, keep reminding yourself that the people described in the book had problems similar to yours, and they were cured. When you finish reading the book, start it again the next day. You must read it continuously for a month or more. And you must pay attention every time you read it.
    2. Set aside time every day to think about what problems might be bothering you, what might be in your life and in your mind that is causing your back trouble. Spend at least 30 minutes every day thinking about this. I used to take 15 minutes in the morning, when I first got up, and then 30 minutes in the evening. Use this time for the following:
    Think about everything that might possibly bother you—work or school pressure, family responsibility, financial matters, etc. Be as specific as possible. You cannot simply say, “I’m worried about work”—that isn’t enough. You must try to identify every specific item you can think of. I found it useful to write lists to keep track of it. (When you are very specific you can think of quite a few things.) Pay attention to all areas of your life, big and little. Consider not only the obvious problems, but try to speculate about hidden things too. Consider both the real and imagined things that might be troubling you.
    Once you have identified your problems, divide them into two categories: those that you can do something about, and those that are beyond your control. Be realistic about where each one fits. The ones you can do something about, start taking action on. Do whatever you can to correct them, or try to at least. The ones you have no control over, tell yourself that you know they bother you, but you must accept them—and most important, you will not let them cause you any more back pain. Remember, you don’t have to eliminate your problems for the cure to work, you just have to be aware of the process.
    Think about what you are like—what is it in you that lets these problems create such pain. I am a typical Sarno type—perfectionist, easily angered, highly motivated, high achiever, somewhat compulsive and impatient with other people. Those are the part of my personality that led my mind to develop back pain. However, there are other types that get it. One of my co-workers is a happy, easygoing, very pleasant woman, but she got back pain as bad as mine, and the book cured her, too. (It took her about three months, by the way, but she is perfectly healthy now.) Try to learn what is inside you that needs that distraction. What permits the pain to develop and persist? Be honest about yourself. Again, remember that you don’t have to change your personality for the cure to work—you just have to understand and fight it.
    3. All day long, keep reminding yourself of the whole process. Whenever a problem occurs, think, “Okay, I don’t like that, but I’m not going to let it go to my back and cause pain.” Whenever you feel back pain (or if you are like I was and it hurts all the time, whenever it feels especially bad), think, “My back is acting up. What is going on in my life or in my mind to make it hurt?”
    4. After you have worked on the above for three or four weeks, start to take small steps to test your progress. Don’t do too much too soon. Just look for tiny improvements, find something you can do that doesn’t hurt quite as much as it used to. Go very slowly, but after a few more weeks you will notice your back is a little better. Build on the small steps—the slightest improvement is a sign that the process is working, and that should encourage you to stick with it.
    5. Don’t give up. Believe me, I know how depressing and discouraging it is. Yet there is hope. But in order for it to work, you must put in the time and effort to make it work.
    (p. 152-155 in The Mindbody Prescription. Some text boldfaced by me for emphasis.)​

    For anyone who is curious, Jim participated in our Thank You, Dr. Sarno project. His thank-you, with photo, can be found here:

    So why is all of this reading and rereading so important? Dr. Sarno provides us with a quote from Edna St Vincent Millay: "Pity me that the heart is slow to learn / What the swift mind beholds at every turn" (p. 78 in Healing Back Pain). While we may read a book a single time and get it on a purely intellectual level, it takes a long time and a great deal of repetition for a lot of people for us to truly accept the diagnosis. It can take a great deal of repetition to deeply, deeply understand what Dr. Sarno is saying and internalize how it applies to us. Dr. David Schechter has the following to say about how to read a TMS book: "focus on how the concepts apply to you personally. It's not enough to just have a general understanding of the theory. It's crucial to reflect on the similarities to your own symptoms and personality and delve deeper...even if your problem is tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or TMJ, rather than the one described in a particular book, these books can be helpful to you if you try to apply the concepts to yourself" (p. 20 in Dr. Schechter's MindBody Workbook).

    All of the time on the forum we see people who post questions that are actually answered in books that they have already read. As I see it, in when this happens we can help them by teaching them how to read TMS books better, as described above. We can let them know about how important it is to reread and apply the material to their lives, or perhaps even point them to this post. It is natural and completely human for newcomers to need to be taught how to read a TMS book well.

    Bearing this in mind, remember how I opened this post by describing how there can be a tendency to read the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon as if it were a magazine article? My hope in having an official thread for each section of the program is to give people something to read that may help them see how various people applied the ideas in their own lives. So if you are reading these threads and are trying to heal, please take heed of the advice from Dr. Sarno, Jim Campobello, Dr. Schechter and myself about how to read TMS materials. Read these posts written by other people and think hard about how and whether they apply to you.

    And don't hesitate to reread your TMS books. Each time we reread, we get a deeper and more nuanced understanding. TMS audiobooks can help with this. See http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/TMS_Audiobooks for options. Dr. Sarno reads the abridged version of Healing Back Pain, and for some, hearing his voice can be very powerful.

    Of course the downside of all of this repetition is that while we may come to fervently believe what we read, we need to accept as when we come together on the forum may have different perspectives. This is simply part of the respectful discussion that needs to take place for us to have a healthy community.

    Note that this is how Steve Ozanich healed and how I healed. It took a huge amount of persistence, but it got the job done. We did not do deep psychological work as part of our cure. If this surprises you, remember that 80% of Dr. Sarno's success stories did not do this sort of work as well. (Some, of course, did.) Dr. Paul Gwozdz, a notable TMS doctor in New Jersey, is said to have remarked, "I've known a great number of people with very thick journals who are still in pain." To me, this suggests that journaling isn't necessarily a cure-all.

    Rather, I took a very simple healing approach, perhaps best articulated in Healing Back Pain. In that book, Dr. Sarno writes that the treatment program rests on these two pillars: 1. The acquisition of knowledge, of insight into the nature of the disorder 2. The ability to act on that knowledge and thereby change the brain’s behavior. The treatment chapter of Healing Back Pain is divided into 5 subsections. They are very simple, and they explain how knowledge therapy works:

    1. Think Psychological
    2. Talk to Your Brain
    3. Resume Physical Activity
    4. Discontinue All Physical Treatment
    5. Review the Daily Reminders​

    While it is the third-oldest of his books, Healing Back Pain is still Dr. Sarno's best-selling book, and I think that's a testament to the power of the simple and empowering steps enumerated above. It is knowledge therapy, pure and simple. I don't want to speak for Steve, but I think that he took a similar, Healing Back Pain type of "pure knowledge therapy" approach as well.

    In closing, I confess to feeling a bit apologetic for bringing all of this up. Today's zeitgeist – the fashion of the times – seems to focus heavily on journaling and I know that everyone here who is still in pain wants a nice, simple formula. However, having read many thousands of posts on the forum and written many thousands myself, one conclusion I have found to be unshakably clear is that different things work for different people and so you may have to try different things to see what works for you. See the wiki page about Be a Scientist for more on this.

    The moral of this section, and of my commentary on it, I think, is don't rule out pure knowledge therapy. Like everything else, it takes time. But for many people, it gets results.
  4. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with the repetition. I have reread Sarno and several other books that were helpful to me and I always find something pertinent to my situation that I might of missed or just didn't think about deeply enough. I do believe that we find the right info at the right time. So we could read a book or article and be very impressed with a certain facet of it, but not really 'get' another facet - until rereading it months later - suddenly the 2nd facet jumps out and hits us between the eyes! I think its because we only pick up on the info when we are ready to utilise it. This is why you cannot force others into understanding the whole TMS thing - they have to come at it in their own time. I also find listening to meditations or breathing exercises are far more worthwhile when listened to every day. At first I would be a little bored - I knew what was going to happen! But - then I started to get much deeper insights and results and have found it excellent for coping with stress.
    The Recovery Programme Intro was something I also repeated. I was particularly struck by the section on whiplash. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after suffering a (supposed) whiplash. I was in so much pain and almost unable to walk, I really believed that the crash had caused all my symptoms - so for years looked at ways/medicines/therapies that would 'heal' the damaged tissue. Obviously it didn't work - not for more than 20 years! Reading the Intro section and seeing that different countries just do NOT have whiplash as a consequence of accidents was mindblowing! The contrast hit me when I read the following section of the Intro about back pain. 'Oh yes, I thought - (having read Louise Hay's Heal Your Life many years before) back pain is just a reaction to stress- you get back pain when you are 'carrying too much' or do not have the 'support' in life, from loved ones or even financially. To me it was obvious that when I got certain back pains, or those around me did, I could see the cause and understand and therefore my back pain would go - once the emotional connection had been made. But I had not made the same connection with whiplash. It had never been 'obvious' that it too was caused by stress/emotion etc. Definitely a hit between the eyes moment!
    I think it is important to carefully read and reread all TMS-related books, articles etc. We never know just where the 'lightbulb' moment will come, or whether by continuous repetition we eventually get results that we might not of got if we hadn't persevered. I put aside time each day for TMS 'stuff'. I look at this time as essential, healing ME time. I think all TMSers probably need to do that - what is more important than getting well and keeping well?!
  5. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest, what a great post!! The good thing is that none of these methods have to be done to the exclusion of the other. Perhaps we tend to emphasize journaling as a tool to encourage thinking psychologically and certainly we can reread important texts and journal at the same time. I unfortunately, did not fall in the 80% of those able to heal with knowledge therapy alone. I have observed in myself and with others through this board, that there can be the danger of trying too hard and doing too many things all at once. We read several books at the same time, journal, try to follow advice and steps learned through various programs, participate on the TMS wiki site, dig up traumas from our past, try to pay attention to how we are feeling in the moment, juggle all our current responsibilities, focus on what truly makes us happy, and do our best to not be distracted by and ignore the pain. In reading your post, Forest, I was struck with how taking a more single minded approach, reading the same book over and over and mining it piece by piece for the significant wisdom that you can connect personally to your life and apply it, and then repeat this action until it becomes second nature, might be a very sane approach. It has almost a meditative quality to it. Many of us here have such active minds and the great challenge is, no matter how we approach it, how to connect those active minds with what is going on with us emotionally and subconsciously. The pain is a distraction but it is also a communication.
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
    Barb M., andrea, Forest and 6 others like this.
  6. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Great discussion, thanks for including me in this Forest. I haven't been the best at re-reading the Sarno material on a regular basis so that's a good reminder to me.

    In regards to Forest's great post, I also feel any one technique will probably not work equally well for all of us. I initially followed directions and did a huge amount of journaling, met with a TMS therapist online, and I did get some great insights into what causes my TMS, but I didn't have any cathartic release from the journaling, as others seem to.

    But then there is the other Sarno quote which I really relate to: "In the long run fear and preoccupation with physical restrictions are more effective as a psychological defense than pain" I've had anxiety issues off and on for quite a while so maybe in my case it's a very easy target for my subconscious.

    For me this is a big part of knowledge therapy. if I'm journaling, but am afraid of my symptoms, or restrict myself because of them the journaling itself probably won't do much.

    The present moment approach described by Forest has worked best for me. I've also used mindfulness and self compassion meditations which have helped a lot to make peace with the TMS, and not fear symptoms. It's also been key for me to just get on with my life and not make happiness depend on whether I have pain or not.

    It's not been the smoothest ride for me. I'm evidently not an average healer if 80% can just hear the information and get better. I never did make things simple:) On the other hand if I've been carrying the seeds of this around since early childhood it might not be too easy to let go of all this in a few weeks or months, much as I would like to.

    In any case I think I'll get a lot from participating here and look forward to other discussions.
    andrea, Forest, hecate105 and 4 others like this.
  7. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Msunn, I have also been a slow healer, but I also attribute that to the fact that my TMS began very early in childhood. I heartily agree that rereading the Dr. Sarno ( and others) TMS material does often help, especially with relapses. We tend to forget all the "Ahhhh" moments that we first experienced while reading the material and seeing ourselves in print. Rereading can refresh. It can also clue us in to concepts and information we may have missed the first or second time around. This also reminds me to go back to the material looking for clues whenever a relapse occurs (which does not happen to me too often anymore). As our understanding of TMS matures and becomes more profound (while moving very slowly from the brain to the heart, I might add), we may come to understand subtleties in the material that we never knew were there before. I remember once hearing Guy Finley say that if you only ever understood the material from an intellectual perspective and not from a "heart" perspective, if you never really internalize it, you are pretty much doomed to fail (in this case in the pursuit of true spirituality). When some of the basic tenants of TMS theory are known viscerally, so that you don't need to actually "think" about them anymore, I think that this can provide the body some protection from abuse by the mind. I think that mindfullness meditation and somatic experiencing can be very helpful with this, for example. I believe we must learn TMS concepts as we learn riding a bike or driving a car, it must be almost automatic because, in the time it takes to "think" about it, that part of our mind that creates the TMS experience dashes in and takes hold of our bodily functions. I am continually mystified at how easily a certain "consciousness" in our minds can do this. It is completely ephemeral, we only know it exists by our experience of it. It is so counter-intuitive to even try to imagine. It is like studying quantum physics.
    Forest, hecate105, Ellen and 2 others like this.
  8. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    That article is great Forest, and reminds me again why I quickly embraced Sarno's teachings.

    When I discovered the term TMS through a chance encounter with Forest on Youtube, I promptly ordered Dr Sarno's 'Mindbody prescription'. The foundation for my knowledge and acceptance was firstly from you Forest, as your delivery was so honest and from the heart. I got the audible version of 'Mindbody prescription' and downloaded it to my phone, so that I had Sarno with me at all times, and could close my eyes on the train to/from work and soak it up.

    It was Sarno's integrity, genuine care for his patients and long history of successfully treating chronic pain that compelled me to fully embrace TMS as my diagnosis. Excited by this discovery and backed up with seeing success stories like Forest's on youtube, I began thinking psychologically and resolved to rectify or accept issues that were giving me my pain. Within weeks I was pain-free.

    Steve Ozanich's book 'The Great Pain deception' was my next read, and this book got me running again, after about twenty four years of crippling foot pain. I read and reread Steve's book every day for about six months, as there was so much information and learning. I told him if there was ever a fire in my house I'd run back to get his book! I now felt I had all the knowledge and was cured, posting my success story on the forum and thinking my TMS was a thing of the past.

    Within weeks of posting my success story, I then to my shock suffered a relapse. Though I already had 'the TMS knowledge' this relapse challenged my belief, and anxiety resurfaced. I had ignored the warning signs of a build up of tension due to a combination of stressors. I thought I was cured after all, so ignored my growing tension levels.

    I started listening to Sarno's 'The psychology of mind body disorders' chapter on my phone daily for weeks, during which time I started journaling daily. Claire Weekes in her book: "Hope and help for you nerves" told me to face, accept, float and let time pass, and I did all this with the help of Dr Emmett Miller's CD's in the evenings to soothe my mind. With persistence, patience and self-compassion, my pain dissolved after three months.

    My TMS knowledge has been greatly enhanced by getting through this recent relapse, as it has been a timely reminder of the importance of daily mind-soothing exercises, to keep the daily stresses from snowballing again. Just like doing daily physical exercise is very important to our health, so too is daily mind-soothing exercises at keeping the TMS wolf from the door.

    Through this knowledge I am now more aware of all daily reactions through the day, and I soothe my mind before I sleep with affirmations. I think it's important to acknowledge that while TMS knowledge is essential, acting on that knowledge is what is required for recovery. It's not easy to dig deep during painful episodes when our mental strength is tested, but enlightenment and transformation take place during these testing times, if we put the effort in.

    I look at TMS with a lot less fear now, because I know it's there to remind us of an imbalance that needs to be addressed. As the Alan Gordon article says " TMS pain is unpleasant, but the intent is noble. Our bodies are trying to help us".
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
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  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Colly. Great to read your latest post. You tell such an inspiring story. Persistence is what we learn and
    practice. Persistence in believing in TMS causing our pain, then persistence practicing the healing techniques
    we learn in Sarno and Ozanich and that are in my book with Herbie, God Does Not Want You to Be in Pain.

    I sometimes think we can spend too much time thinking about repressed emotions, and they slam us back
    down into those times of trauma from our childhood. So once we tell our unconscious mind that we know
    about them, we can let them go. Alan Gordon got it right. To get through the tunnel we have to first enter it.

    But keep a lantern and club handy.

    Have a great weekend.
  10. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I defiantly agree that the knowledge is the way to the cure. I have went over all of Sarnos books many times and have learned so much that was clarified in Alan's program.
    To many Ah-ha moments to count and I still -- 2 years later get new insights when I read them.
    I was just thinking yesterday about how little we talk about feeling our feelings which is mentioned as emotional awareness in Dr. Sarnos book "The divided mind." I don't know the exact pages I just know its their.
    See feeling our feelings isn't deep psychological work less you might be dealing with ocd and it's still in the now.

    I won't say journaling hasn't helped me cause it did. But it did in the now even though some of my traits that caused the pain I was in was from the past.

    I believe for me, it was most of all "thinking self conscientious thoughts" all the time in my every waking moment. What is going to happen next? What do they think of me? sorta of thoughts and so on. All of this was in the now all of the time and I didn't even know. I hear it on the Tuesday night call ins all the time.

    Also, I think -- when we think -- were to old, that thought can be very painful itself. We're all given the gift of life and we have to enjoy it while we have it every waking moment, but if we are always "self conscientious about our age" then we will always be lacking in the recovery department cause its a repression of fear and pain.

    The Walt street mogul sees the little boy and wishes he could play in the streets again and the little boy wishes he had the car of the wall street man. The grass is greener on the other side so we can appreciate the beauty but if we reach and touch that beauty it disperses. We simply have to practice in peace -- more and more watching each thought bringing it to awareness and thus acceptance.

    That, self conscientious was the big repression that I didn't know till the knowledge penicillin sunk deep down in my heart.

    Thanks All, Bless You.
    hecate105, Msunn and cirrusnarea like this.
  11. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt I just had a vision of you in a loincloth and a club in your hand! Hope you can sing like Tarzan!

    The book "God does not want you to be in pain" by the wonderful Walt and Herbie got me through a recent period away from home while working in Perth. It was a soothing remedy to my long days at work. I had to ration myself to a chapter a night so I didn't rush through it. I need to reread it again though, to fully soak up all the advice from Herbie especially. If there was an Olympic sport for mindfulness, Herbie, you would win gold for America!

    Anne you're spot on when you say we often try too hard to heal. I was guilty of doing this, when the arrival of TMS sent me into a panic, further exacerbating my symptoms. Consistent mind-soothing exercises was the key to my recovery. Forgiving myself and others was very powerful also.
    Becca and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  12. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    I still consider myself a student when it comes to TMS and since there is so little we know about it, I suppose we all are.

    I think it would be accurate to say that while not everyone has TMS pain, everyone has some sort of mindbody symptom. I think you can sum up Sarno's teachings with: It is not necessary or even always possible for us to feel repressed emotions, what is important is that we realize they are there. Our mind wants us to focus on pain, so if we think psychologically and not physically, we can eventually retrain our brains. Once the mind realizes we have discovered the pain is a fraud, it will stop using this technique. I'm beginning to think it may not always be necessary to find the specific thing from our past that is causing the pain; perhaps just thinking about emotions we could be repressing is enough.

    If we successfully do this and the pain goes away, will this cause other mindbody symptoms to take it's place? If the majority heal without psychotherapy, what if their pain heals only for new mindbody symptoms to take it's place? Although he only briefly touches on this, Sarno says that cancer and other diseases could be linked to this mindbody process. For example, he mentioned it may not be a good idea for someone with depression/anxiety to take a medication for this as it could be replaced by a less benign condition such as cancer. Now, he is very honest that this is only conjecture on his part. Sarno praises psychotherapy in all of his books and says it should be something everyone engages in. Maybe it's a good idea for those who are cured by reading his books to have some psychotherapy as well. They could have just forced the brain to try a different technique. Anyone have thoughts on this?

    I like Forest's video on trying too hard to overcome TMS because it's message has been true for me in the past: once you stop worrying about it, the pain goes away. So this kind of creates a puzzle for me. If by putting 45 minutes a day into studying TMS, are you preoccupying yourself with it and feeding the cycle? My thoughts on this are that perhaps it is a good idea to put this time into studying and journaling, etc in the beginning, but once you've done this and have tackled the past issues that could be causing you pain, it may be for the best not to push yourself to put 45 minutes a day into it.
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  13. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    I think this is a major thing for too. I am very self-conscious and have low self esteem. What was your solution for this?
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  14. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    When I first read Healing Back Pain I noted the recommendation to keep re-reading the book. I am someone who dislikes reading books and watching films more than once so the thought of re-reading this book was off putting. I also found the book repetitive. This is TMS, that is TMS. Many self-help books follow a pattern of continually repeating a phrase or concept. This annoyed me to begin with and I don’t think I read the book too carefully as a result. My symptoms diminished nevertheless so I forgot about the book. Some time later when the pain had returned, I picked up Mindbody Prescription and at first found it a re-hash of HBP but then I twigged that what Dr Sarno was trying to say was fairly simple. I didn’t need some complex diatribe. However believing his theory on a gut level rather than just an intellectual level was something else. So I would agree with Forest. Maybe it would help more people to emphasize the “knowledge penicillin” phase and promote the re-reading of Dr Sarno’s books. On the topic of paying attention, I find it very telling that I can drift so easily while reading a book yet if I have a pain or other symptom, this grabs my attention like nothing else on this planet! It sure is an effective distraction. When I read Dr Sarno’s books my pain was at an all time high, so another reason why I didn’t pay close enough attention to what he had written.

    Low self-esteem is mentioned in both HBP and MBP. I think we could have a whole thread devoted to this one trait.
  15. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    As Cirrusnarrea says above I think we can get too 'involved' with TMS 'solving' and -especially at the beginning - spend so much time that it begins to be part of the problem, by focusing on it too much - BUT I also have found that when (after 6-7months or so) I took time out and just went with lifes flow and worked and played and didn't do any TMS work - I got pain again - insidious, creeping pain...! So how do we quantify what to do and how much of it to do? Is it just a trial and error thing?
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  16. tigerlilly

    tigerlilly Well known member

    I think that because most of us have the "perfectionist" personality trait as part of TMS, we have the tendency to want to learn everything about TMS and then master it perfectly - to execute our healing so perfectly - better than anyone else has ever done it. All to our own demise, of course, since perfectionism is part of the problem! I started falling into this trap and my husband stopped me one day and just said - "You need to get back to basics." And he was totally right. Go back to Sarno and heal. Clear the mind from 1,001 things of clutter, and go back to basics. Read/Listen to Sarno. Read Ozanich. Apply. Repeat. And heal - however long it might take.
  17. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Never agree with your own self conscientious thoughts because when you do you are just agreeing to fear. Every time you find yourself doing this habit -- use it as a time to bring yourself into the now and focus on compassion to yourself -- I say " I love you Herbie, We are stronger than that, I love you".
    Self conscientious thoughts are just the inner bully having his or her way with you, don't give it that power.
    You will have to train yourself through catching yourself doing this daily with awareness cirrusnarea. When you form the new habit of self control then the self conscientious thoughts will go. And always remember to stay in the flow.
    Bless You
    cirrusnarea and hecate105 like this.
  18. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    Thanks Herbie, my self esteem is at an all time low right now. Not good at my job, in pain/fatigue, and no luck with girls.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  19. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    irrusnarea, you might like to know this about someone else with low self-esteem.
    It might perk you up.

    "Oh, God, I struggle with low self-esteem all the time! I think everyone does. I have so much wrong with me, it’s unbelievable!"
    -- Angelina Jolie
    cirrusnarea likes this.
  20. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    Thanks, Walt, but I am grossed out by Angelina Jolie, so I'm only more depressed now. lol.

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