Think For Yourself

© RCM Sheep and a Trampoline, Combremont-le-Grand, Vaud, Switzerland

I heard that a lot at school.

“Think for yourself.”

It took me years to realize that thinking for yourself is the last thing that people want, that society as a whole wants.

In fact, it’s actively discouraged.

Even in school or at university, there are actually very strict rules in place, and you have to follow those rules if you want to get the highest grades. If you write a paper for an English class, for example, no one gives a fig for your opinion. You have to refer to every Tom, Dick or Harry’s thoughts about the novel you read, synthesise their viewpoints acceptably and then: bingo! Good grade.

Silly me. I actually thought that when people said, “Think for yourself,” they meant just that.

But what people actually mean by thinking for yourself is “observe the rules and play the game.” These are the people consistently lauded by the majority of citizens.

Not that I’m complaining. Thinking for yourself makes life at once simpler, richer and more complicated. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But I do get exasperated by the double-talk.

Example: be very careful when your boss asks you what you think at work.

Does (s)he really want to know what you think or does (s)he simply want confirmation of her/his ideas?

In my experience, there are very few people in positions of responsibility who really want to hear what you think. They can’t handle it. If your viewpoint diverges from theirs, they see it as a coup d’état.

I would go further. As long as a relationship is power-based, there can be no real communication.

I have been living in Switzerland for over thirty years now and I’m often asked if I miss England, the land of my birth.

I usually state the obvious – that if I really missed England, I would be living there and not in Switzerland.

If I’m pressed for details, I go on to explain that life in the UK is complicated on a relationship level.

Why is that?

At that point, I explain that it is impossible to have genuine communication between a person who says what he thinks and a person who says what he thinks you want to hear.

Believe me when I say that the person who truly says what he thinks is in a very tiny minority.

Most people don’t know what they think. They respond to how those around them behave. Not unlike sheep.

Take tattoos, for example. Goodness only knows why this has become such a fad in recent years, but I bet that a huge majority of people got a tattoo because someone in their entourage got one.

Beards. Another sudden craze. Did you grow one because it suits you or because everyone else started growing them?

BAAH!

So much for thinking for yourself.

“To thine own self be true,” as Polonius put it.

Difficult to do if you don’t know who you are.

So start by identifying the voices.

You know, the ones in your head.

Now which ones really belong to you?

By sorting out what belongs to you and what doesn’t: parental voices, voices of friends or not-so friends, co-workers….

Remove the clutter and then you can think for yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you got a tattoo or grew a beard or whatever crowd pleasing activity you may have indulged in, as long as you acknowledge that you were following the crowd and not yourself.

Only by checking those voices, those impulses on a regular basis can you eliminate what does not belong to you and find your way back to yourself.

If thinking for yourself is what you really want to do….

Have a great week and may your life never become an endurance test.

Love

Richard

Breakfast with a butterfly, Zakynthos.

Sounds Like Placebo

I was reading an article about grounding and the benefits of walking barefoot when I saw a comment suggesting that there was no scientific evidence for grounding and that it “sounds like placebo.”

I’m always amazed at the way people sneer as they say “placebo.” It’s a bit like those stories of doctors looking patients over and then declaring, “There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s all just in your head.”

You’re merely stupid and weak-headed, right? Ready for the loony bin.

My advice if this happens to you is to walk out of that surgery and never look back. Find someone who is capable of seeing you as a human being and not just a series of moving parts.

We underestimate the power of the mind to affect our health at our peril. Even if the doctor is right and the symptoms are entirely in your mind, that doesn’t mean you’re not ill. It just means the illness is in a different place.

There have been numerous studies which show the power of the mind in healing. A lot of people feel better just by fixing a doctor’s appointment. There have been controlled studies where patients healed better on a placebo than using the prescribed drug for the problem (not really surprising if you consider the crap that goes into patented drugs).

You’ve heard of Quantum and Newtonian physics? Well, there’s Quantum and Newtonian medicine too.

Let’s say you have a pain in your knee. You go to the doctor and he looks carefully at your knee. He might take an Xray. He might suggest an exploratory operation. He might tell you that your cartilage is worn out. But the chances are, he won’t examine the rest of your body to find out if something else is causing the problem in your knee. Essentially, he’s looking at the knee as the site and the cause of the problem. This is Newtonian medicine. You look at the result, but you don’t necessarily search for its real origin.

Quantum medicine is when you look at the person as a whole and try to understand the forces at work behind a problem. A physical problem may very well have its origin in your mind, your emotions, your experiences or in a completely different part of the body from the site of the pain. It’s important to realize this, because until you get to the root of the problem, it will never really be solved. This is where good nutrition, for example, or tools like tapping come in handy.

Last summer, I talked to a school friend that I hadn’t seen for some years. He was a GP (General Practitioner doctor) for many years after leaving school and one of his tasks these days is to go round medical surgeries in the UK and verify ‘best practices.’ I suggested that one way of tackling the soaring health costs that bug the UK – or any other developed country for that matter – might be to use more alternative medicine.

‘What about nutritional advice?,’ I said.
‘No scientific evidence that it makes any difference,’ he replied.
‘What about tapping?’
‘No scientific evidence.’

To be fair, the medical care system in the UK is so blinkered that a doctor suggesting alternative protocols can lose his right to practise. It does, however, indicate the problems that individual patients face in using conventional medicine.

‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,’ said Hippocrates (he of the Hippocratic oath).

Most doctors now practising spent approximately one morning learning about nutrition in the course of their seven years of study. Things are gradually changing, but it’s going to be a slow process.

The person in the best position to look after your health is YOU. No one else can be in your skin and no one is going to care about your health as much as you. So if you feel that your health interlocutor is not really listening to you or your concerns, take matters into your own hands. Research on internet, change your diet, do more exercise, try working on your self-limiting beliefs, your traumatic past experiences, even find another doctor who takes your problem seriously.

But don’t give up and don’t underestimate the power of your mind, both as a prime cause of illness and as an indispensable tool for healing.

Have a great week.

Love

Richard

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