Do you ever wish you could access a natural state of vitality any time you want? What if there was process to do just that, and it only involved 4 simple practices? Would you want to know more? Me, too!
That's why I was delighted to be asked to review Code to Joy: The Four-Step Solution to Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness by Drs. George Pratt and Peter Lambrou.
Psychologists Pratt and Lambrou open their book with a great story of a young truth-seeker who visited a wise monk and asked if the old man would tell him the path to peace and perfect joy.
The monk invited him in to have a cup of tea. As they sat the young man began telling about his studies, his many years questing for knowledge and all of his travels. As the young man talked the old man just nodded and smiled.
After a while the monk brought out a teapot and two cups. He began pouring the tea into the seeker's cup and continued pouring, pouring, and pouring.
Finally the young man realized the tea was spilling all over the table and onto the floor. He leaped to his feet and cried out, "Old man, are you nuts?! My cup is already full – it won't take any more!"
Without uttering a word the old man had pointed out that his visitor was already so full of his own ideas and thoughts it would have been pointless to tell him anything new about life.
Pratt and Lambrou contend this is exactly why our efforts to fill ourselves with positive new beliefs and good habits, or to resolve to change old patterns of thought and behavior are so often frustrating: there is no room for the new beliefs until we empty out the old ones.
This was a huge aha for me in understanding why popular approaches, such as affirmations, are so rarely effective in and of themselves. They need to be paired with approaches that address the deep-seated beliefs that can undermine the new practices.
Pratt and Lambrou talk a lot about the subconscious vs. the conscious, and they reminded me of the best metaphor I've heard for the relationship between those two parts of our mind: The subconscious mind is like an elephant and the conscious mind is like a human riding on that elephant. Which do you think is more powerful?
And so we must connect deeply with the subconscious in order to create change that will lead to authentic and lasting happiness.
The authors of Code to Joy offer a variety of exercises for cleaning out the old thoughts and focusing on our desired state of mind. In setting up these exercises, they've drawn from meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and Meridian Taping (EFT or Tapping for short) — practices you've heard me wax enthusiastically about many times before!
One exercise I absolutely love and am incorporating into my daily routine is the Pledge of Acceptance.
What is the Pledge? First you find an affirmation that resonates for you (what they call your Personal Code to Joy), like "I deeply and completely accept myself. I am worthy of MASSIVE success." (That's mine.)
Then place your right hand over your heart, as if you were saying the Pledge of Allegiance. There is a nerve bundle located here, lying just beneath your fingertips. If you press or rub the spot, it will feel a little tender.
They call this the repattering spot: rubbing this spot triggers a neurolymphatic response that functions something like a major acupoint (where energy tends to get blocked).
Don't worry if you're not sure whether you've located the exact right spot. Firm pressure in this general area above your heart will activate the nerve bundle and produce the desired effect.
Rub this repatterning spot in a clockwise motion with the flats of your fingertips of your right hand.
As you rub the area, repeat your personal code to joy, either aloud or silently to yourself, five times.
Rubbing the nerve bundle opens a gateway to the biofield, allowing your statement to enter you and sink in on a far deeper level than the affirmation alone.
It is a deeply soothing and grounding process.
I really would encourage you to read the book. But if you take away nothing else, I recommend you incorporate the following practice into your daily routine:
The Daily Refresher
- Two minutes of Crosshand Breathing . (In a seated position, cross your left ankle over your right. Place your left hand across your chest, so that the fingers rest over the right side of your collarbone. Then cross your right hand over your left, so that the fingers of your right hand rest over the left side of your collarbone. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you breathe in, let your tongue touch the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. As you breathe out again, let your tongue rest behind your lower front teeth.)
- Pledge of Acceptance with the Personal Code to Joy statement (see above), aloud or silent (five times).
- One minute of Anchor Hold (simply place one hand on your forehead, as if you were feeling for a fever, and the other hand in the opposite position, cupping the back of your head) while visualizing positive outcomes to circumstances that are currently challenging you.
For the next thirty days, do this three times a day: for example, first thing in the morning, at noon, and last thing at night.
So here's the major takeaway from Code to Joy: We are hardwired to connect to bliss, but negative thoughts and beliefs can derail our happiness. To be happy and successful you need to work on the conscious and subconscious realms of your psyche.
When you do this you will literally change your biochemistry, change your biofield, change your moods and thoughts and beliefs, and create authentic happiness and true success.
Do you plan to read the book or incorporate some of the practices I outlined in this article into your daily life? And what are you already doing that helps you feel fully alive?