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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Your Work Connects Well with non-dual Eastern Wisdom


Dear AB

I read your books some 10 years ago and today I again find so much refreshment and clarity in what you say. I tried to understand and study non- dual wisdom from East. I think your work beautifully connects both. The life of a person and awareness which we all are as one source. The understanding how the brain works and how one thinks is very important and I think it is like a pre-qualifiaction if we really want to re-cognize who or what we are in the absolute sense.

I would like to ask you, if you also study or learn about the non-dual wisdom (Advaita Vedanta) or Self Knowledge?

My second question is, why are humans so attracted to self centeredness and thinking about one self-misery is so much easier than thinking a neutral thought? I know it very well for myself and it looks I am just starting again from the start. Like you say, it is a good news that our brain has endless capacities for new neural acitivities.

I want to thank you for your effort you put in through writting and speaking. The video on your website is amazing and gives us very important message.


With love from Europe,



Dear With Love from Europe

Thank you so much for your letter. I’m happy that my work has been helpful to you.

To answer your first question: I studied Vedanta under Dr. Alan Anderson of San Diego State University. This great professor is no longer there but I began to understand what an unusual teacher he was when I realized that there were three members of the class that were quantum physicists who had traveled from Los Angeles to San Diego three days a week for ten years to study under him. They helped the class understand some of the Eastern religion maxims in terms of quantum physics. Lately I have been studying the work of Deepak Chopra.

As to your second question: The reason we are all so self-centered is based upon our primitive survival instinct, our flight or fight response, which gives us increased energy in times of danger and which can also be triggered by other events than real danger. We must not forget that the mind is basically a defense mechanism and therefore as paranoid as a secret service agent looking for something that might go wrong when the President is traveling. It is our default mechanism when we are not engaged in other on- purpose thinking activities.When we allow ourselves to slip into accidental rather than on-purpose thinking we can easily trigger the fight-or-flight response because it is always turned on and ready to defend us.

 A. B. Curtiss



Friday, June 10, 2016

Difficulty Shouldn't be the Test



Whether or not you do something should not depend on how difficult it is but rather on whether it is to your good or not. Perhaps I derived this idea from the observance of how easy it is to fall into things that are not to our good.

Brainswitching is in this category. It is extraordinarily difficult to do, even though it is simple. It is difficult to do because depression and anxiety are so easy to fall into and once we fall into them it is just so much easier to stay there than to exert ourselves to get out of them, the law of enertia working against us.

So the first thing we should do is to put the law of intertia to work for us instead of against us (a body at rest tends to stay at rest). We are resting (albeit uncomfortably) in our anxiety or depression. We need to move out of it. It is difficult, yes. And anyting difficult always requires our courage.

(a body in motion tends to stay in motion)

I Need Your Help Again


QUESTION:

I needed to connect with you once again. I am down and I have your tools. Everything is helping that you so graciously guided me through. I had many years of personal empowerment from your support. But I have hit another bump in the road where I feel over whelmed and lost. I would like to connect by email or phone with you to share what I am now facing.

I am looking to re-ground myself and I need to get my footing. My home is now too big for me to manage so I am selling it. My dog has been ill. I would like to stop my suffering about his suffering. As I am writing to you he just threw up.

RESPONSE:

It is easier to connect via email.

QUESTION:

Thank you for getting back to me. I am keeping a journal and it is helping some. But each day I wake up feeling like I cannot go on. Each day it is very different, never the same fears or worries of depression. I have never felt bad in the morning before--this is new. I fear that my brain is drying up and because of that there is no hope. That might be true but me worried about that happening is only hastening the brain loss. Well there it is. Today in a nut shell. Thank you for listening.

My aging is taking my full attention. I want to get back to my earlier feeling of well-being and I know it is in me to do it but it is not happening. I am under the weather. I am either depressed or fearful and up tight. What do you think?

Warmly and appreciated,


ANSWER:
           
All of us have fearful moments. If we are worried about brain loss, we should remember that the brain has the capacity for neuroplasticity, which means that the brain can produce new neurons and neural patterns indefinitely even in old age. However we have to exercise our brain just the way we do the rest of our body. Anything new helps to renew the production of neurons in our brain. If you’ve never done crosswords before, now it the time to start doing them. If you’ve never played card games before, now is the time to start doing them.

For instance, I have just taken up the piano which is very difficult for me. When I feel discouraged that it is hard to learn something, then I remember, good then this is really going to help improve my brain.

And if I let my fear escalate into a panic attack I put on my thinking brakes immediately and turn from thoughts about how afraid I am to some nursery rhyme or some inspirational poem. I have committed many poems to memory just so I have something to think about instead of my fear. For instance those I have learned include the 23rd Psalm, the Gettysburg Address, Desiderata, IF by Rudyard Kipling, Crossing the Bar by Tennyson, Milton’s sonnet on his blindness and Invictus. The next thing I’m going to memorize is the Ten Paradoxical Commandments by Kent Keith.

And I try to remember that I am not alone. There is always someone, some human being that I can connect with in some small way, say hello to--even if it’s only the person standing next to me in the Post Office. We should not allow negative and downer thinking. As soon as we catch ourselves doing it, we can chose another thought and some more positive action, no matter how humble.

A. B. Curtiss

THANK YOU

Thank you for your leads. I will try crossword puzzles. I also do drawings. I am going to start the piano.  Staying busy also helps me. I still use
‘Green Frog.”

I have my business and a couple are moving into my house and that is bringing up my mood. I also have been listening to the 4 agreements. I want to be better but just when things are getting better for sure,then I cast my eyes on things in the far off future and loose all my feelings in my fingers and legs.

Or I notice an cut on my finger and then see my aging bringing me more and more challenges. I’ve just got to find a way to be a better person for myself in this aging process. I want to feel loved, safe and secure and that I can handle suffering like my mother did. I need a community of friends that are going through the same thing that are helping each other to stay strong.

I must admit that I have times I feel really good but I see that these times come from events outside of myself. I want to find peace and comfort from just being alive. I want my comfort to come from inside me like Eckhart Tolle 

When asked what life is; a great sage said that life is like the fragrance of jasmine carried on the spring breeze. I want that kind of awareness. Then I want to be able to handle my emotiond so I can least  retutn to a  neutral state of conciousness. I want neutral to be enough if that is all I can reach.

I do not want to need a party.  When I freak out, I want to be able to calm myself.
I do not want my fear to take me to depression because I cannot handle my fear.
I want to feel my healing growing inside of me rather than the decaying. I want to respect myself.

I have found that listing wants helps me. Thank you for giving me things that really work. One think I know it is that it is... dealing with it works better than not.

FINAL COMMENT:

Sounds like you are headed down the right track. Just remember that when you are going in the wrong direction the smallest positive thing you can do turns you 180 degrees in the right direction. A small positive action or thought has great power. It’s not the greatness of the thought or action that matters. A simple acknowledgment of your intent to do better is enough.

 “I’m doing my very best today, even though it seems I haven’t accomplished much. I have taken a step in the right direction. Tomorrow I may take two steps forward or even backward. No matter, right now I am intending to be better. And I I will concentrate on my intention, not my fear.”




A.B. Curtiss

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I'd like to Become a Therapist


QUESTION
;

I have been suffering from anxiety and depression. And reading your book is really helping me understand the whole thinking pattern. And with me I need to understand something before I can change it. If that makes sense. I am in my 30s with 2 young kids. I work but it's not my passion. I want to do something I love rather than something I know. A few years ago I was thinking about becoming a therapist. But I put it off and dealt with life’s events.

And recently I've been doing a lot of reading and reflecting, realizing that becoming a therapist feels like my calling. It's something I would love doing rather than just to have a job. Ever since I can remember I've enjoyed helping others. I'm not sure what kind of therapist I want to become. How did you come to choose to become a psychotherapy?

ANSWER:

Thanks for your letter. My becoming a therapist was totally coincidental. I was taking a friend to SDSU trying to get her interested in some course of study to get her mind off her recent divorce. I was behind her in line and looking at the list of courses when I realized the woman at the counter was asking me what course I was interested in. Thinking this was merely idle conversation I answered I was kind of interested in the counseling education course. “Oh, that’s closed,” she said. “Oh that’s okay,” I said.

And I thought of my best friend in high school who became a biofeedback counselor and realized I had been slightly envious but never before had given a  thought that I myself could aspire to such a lofty calling. The clerk said to me then “But you could take it on an at-risk basis and hope to get into the program after the semester ends. “Fine,” said I, “I’ve been at risk all my life.” So, on a whim I just signed up then and there. And that’s how I became a therapist. To become an MFT (marriage family counselor) is time intensive. You need at least 1000  hours of practice (usually unpaid) before you can even take the license exam. (You’ll have to check on that figure it may be as much as 3,000 hours. I don’t remember for sure.

And there are many different kinds of therapists. Hypnotherapists,  and Spiritual therapists besides the marriage family (MFT). You can get a degree on line. Of if you belong to a church you could become a “lay counselor.”  On the other hand, some people simply develop a helpful expertise, write a book and give lectures without any official designation. Read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Make Friends and Influence People. He started out by doing small free talks at the YWCA and his course in now known throughout the world. Some people just start by writing a helpful blog and reach out to help people that way. Some people begin by doing Tarot readings for people in some kind of psychic community like Elfin Forest. Good luck on your path.

You might find Deepak Chopra’s book The Essential Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire helpful in finding out what your next step might be. It’s less than 150 pages. A. B. Curtiss


Friday, April 1, 2016

Fear I am Losing Control


QUESTION:

Hi Curtiss, 

Hope you keeping well, 

These days losing control of my thinking, and seeking to raise the level of positiveness biased to sexual thoughts and behave through face expressions and eye gestures because of the repressed fear causing losing control. 

Need to get out from this fall. I have been trying to get out from this from the last few days. 

is Unbalanced brain chemistry causes these symptoms. since deep fear was holding me for few weeks  Thanks Curtiss 

ANSWER:

Remember that will is destiny, biology is not destiny.

There is nothing more powerful than the human will to do better and we can always think a better thought. A better thought will change our brain chemistry for the better. Just say to yourself, I’m doing better and better. Then choose some mantra and meditate on that to keep the more destructive thoughts from bothering you. When fear comes, acknowledge it, accept it and then the fear will diminish and you can move beyond it.

As for fear of losing control you can use cognitive behavioral thinking for this.      Here’s how I cured myself of claustrophobia which appears in my book Depression is a Choice.  Ask yourself what, exactly are you afraid you will do physically with your body. Once you decide what that is, you can, at the same time, commit to the decision that you will not do that. Then what is left is just the fear again which you can accept, let it finish and move on.

Here’s the excerpt from my book:

I recently took a trip during which my regular method of handling claustrophobia utterly failed. I have been successful with short trips, but this was a six-hour flight to Hawaii and I was stuck in the center of five seats on a fully loaded plane. At first I concentrated on my book, but little doubts kept creeping into my concentration until I started to panic. Every atom of my body was screaming, I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!! I forced myself to check that the seat-belt sign had been turned off, I excused myself by the other two passengers, and I BOLTED into the aisle. SAVED!
I walked up and down for a while and did not have the courage to return to my seat. They served breakfast and though I was hungry, I still couldn’t sit down. I was miserable. My back started to hurt and so I sat down on the floor in the only available space I could find, which was near the lavatories. But the smell was terrible and people started giving me odd and annoyed looks for which I could hardly blame them. There were dozens of people perfectly fine in their seats. I was the only nut-case sitting down on the dirty floor where people were having to step over me. I began to be ashamed to behave so ignominiously.
When the aisles were cleared from breakfast, I walked up and down for a while longer and then I tried to sit in the pull-down stewardess seat but I was told it was against regulations. My back was starting to hurt again from standing and I started to think about my situation.
I guessed I could stand up for another three hours. But what kind of a fake was I that I was writing a book about brainswitching and I couldn’t even control my own claustrophobia?
I began to study my situation, earnestly, in terms of what was the fear about. Not why was I afraid but what, exactly, was I afraid of? I thought that I could control myself long enough to belt myself in for a landing, but I wanted to do better than that if I could. I didn’t want to be a phony. Was I going to put my money where my mouth was or what?
I didn’t try to search for anything rational. I knew that my terror was totally irrational. My former success with claustrophobia, I now realized, was limited. I could handle short flights in a three-seat flying situation. In a crowded auto I learned that I could control my panic if I could sit on the very edge of the seat or someone’s lap, where my arms and legs were not confined, and lean into the space between the two front seats.
Luckily I am not a large person, so I could usually maneuver a workable position. But this was the middle seat of five, in a totally full airplane and I was terrified. Over the years I had just naturally avoided situations which were this uncomfortable. I was able to get aisle seats in airplanes. But not this time. I had received my comeuppance.
I was thinking about all these things while I was studying my situation on the plane. What exactly was I afraid would happen if I sat back down in the middle of those crowded seats?  That I would flail my arms around and scream!
Well, I thought, that is just behavior, isn’t it, and I’m sure I can control my behavior so that I do not do that. Yes, I decided, I could depend upon my earnest commitment to not flail my arms around or scream. So what did that leave?  The terror. Yes, I could do nothing to prevent the terror. I would  feel like I was dying. I would feel like I couldn’t breathe. Well, I thought, that is all just feeling, isn’t it? I just have to stand the physical pain of that terror. I have to control my behavior and just feel the terror, just sit there quietly, even if I pass out, or die if that is my fate. I decided I could do that.
I sat back down, buckled myself in and prepared to feel the most absolute terror of my life. I opened myself up to whatever pain would come. I was absolutely determined to bear the most unimaginably painful feelings, whatever they were. The most amazing thing happened. No terror came. Not even the smallest tinge of it. I completed the rest of the flight in complete comfort. Now and then I invited the pain and terror if it wanted to come. But it never did.
I think the whole key was to separate the gestalt of panic into its plain, more user-friendly concomitants of behavior and feeling. Looking at the separate parts of my panic gave me a clue as to how to proceed. I saw the panic in terms of tasks to accomplish, rather than fear to succumb to. I could see that, although it might be difficult and painful, it was possible for me to control my behavior and keep myself from screaming or flailing my arms around.
And it was possible to bear any pain that my feelings were going to inflict upon me. After all, they were my feelings, weren’t they? What could my own feelings do to me, really. In two weeks, I would have to return from Hawaii. I determined to seek out the terror again and see what more work I had to do, or what new tortures my terror would teach me.         
On my return trip, I found I had been given an aisle seat and I was tempted to let it go at that. But because I felt obligated to finish this story for my book, however it turned out.  I told the clerk I was working on my claustrophobia so would she please give me the worst crowded-up inside seat she could. Again I settled down quite prepared to feel the terror NO MATTER WHAT!
In the beginning I got just a few tendrils of panic and again I opened myself up to whatever horror would be visited upon me. The tendrils of panic just faded out to nothing. I felt perfectly comfortable the whole trip. We can all make our life into something immensely satisfying regardless of the circumstances of it. With the earnest desire to do so. Anybody can do it with a little practice.

A. B. Curtiss



Monday, March 21, 2016

I'm Always Going Back to Square One


QUERY:

It seems I have to go back to the basic tools which I learnt to get out for sometimes which I started from yesterday. 

RESPONSE:

It’s true for all of us. We need to start all over every day. Start with meditation, gratitude that we are alive and get up and do our best each moment. When we fail one moment, we regroup, gather our wits and begin again with the next moment. This is the great gift of life. Every moment can be a new beginning.

A. B. Curtiss


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I am Fearful at Work


QUESTION:

Two months before I noticed one of the work mates was acting unethical practices to myself, caused me to have deep fear for some days since it was first time I see such actions. I went to complain to my boss about this guy and my needs from him to support me to transfer the work mate to another place which did happen by the boss.

I started to fear the boss might one day tell about this story since me and the work mate are from same country and he might take this advantages.

I am trying to strengthen myself and I am on Vacation for few days just to relax.

My fear affects my work day and family as well. Really have hard time controlling my fear.

ANSWER:

Meditation would help you in this situation. When you feel the fear, decide to look at the fearful situation in a different way. Not through the eyes of fear but in a more meditative way, as if you are simply the observer rather than the sufferer. It takes a lot of courage but it makes you a stronger person.

Here is a helpful visualization you can use. Remember that fear is always about the future, which could really be all right. You can decide to put the fear in a mental box and close it so it doesn’t bother you.


You must avoid making yourself sick over something in the future. Decide that you are “all right in this moment”. Say to yourself “at this present moment I am safe.” Always pull back from negative thoughts about the future to the present moment where we are always safe. A. B. Curtiss