October 11, 2015
Sunday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #404: Talking to Myself
As part of my ongoing process of personal growth, education, and internal development, I do a fair amount of reading. (Now I’m second-guessing the use of the term “fair”, as if it were possible for me to do an “unfair amount of reading.” Let me assure you that the amount of instructional and educational reading I do is not at all unfair. Not to me nor the men around me.) Besides the litany of business magazines I read every month (litany means four), I read Christian development books and most recently a book on personal achievement.
The latest book, by a noted motivational speaker, delves into the science of the mind and behavior. When searching for ways to achieve more out of life and accomplish his goals more effectively, the author read extensively from the works of two top scientists in linguistics and mathematics who had developed behavioral-intervention techniques they called Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
NLP studies how people communicate to themselves, both verbally and non-verbally, to set themselves up for the greatest number of positive behavioral choices. Much like a coach who speaks to his losing team at half-time and reminds them of all the teams who have overcome similar and greater odds, these people put themselves in the right frame of mind, the best physiological state, and controlled emotions in order that they could have a maximum number of positive behavioral options available to them.
Well, it all sounded interesting, to be sure, but I’m not one who will blindly read anything that is popular or makes sense and ingest it without taking it through a framework of my beliefs. True, I’m forging my own path of “rehabilitation,” since California’s penal system has no mandated nor optional programs for such positive necessary growth. However, in my quest for internal development, I cannot afford to sit and wait for authorities to take action, though they freely admit the overwhelming benefits of rehabilitative programs. Instead, my own beliefs and personal understanding of my needs must help drive my determination to do something about it. Thus, I make the best choices possible with what limited resources I have in order to affect change internally. I am grateful for those of you who have sent me books and other materials to assist me in the endeavor. I have ready every one and passed them along to others who can benefit from them as well.
So, what of this latest book? I could immediately sense that the techniques and practices it espoused might have a positive impact on me if applied properly and consistently. And, I realized that I had learned these concepts much earlier in my life from a well-recognized authoritative source: The Bible. Cliché? Perhaps. But before you dismiss this as over-spiritualizing a scientific study, or as attempting to add a Bible verse to a secular topic, let me be frank. (Or, let me be Christopher pretending to be someone known as Frank who speaks rather bluntly about topics he is not very well-versed in.)
I believe quite firmly that not only does the Bible not contradict the laws of science, but that it reveals God’s framework for science. In fact, for hundreds of years, so-called modern science has played catch-up with Biblical science, from the shape of the earth to instantaneous creation. This relatively new science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming is no exception.
The more I read about it, the more that NLP sounded familiar, just truths I’ve known for years repackaged into a secular format. The incredible fact is that God’s principles work, no matter what you call them, similar to the principle of sowing and reaping that is widely mislabeled as “Karma” by Hindus and even most secularists. Put into practice, anyone can benefit by adhering to Biblical principles, just as they will reap the negative consequences by ignoring those same principles. Like the laws of nature, God’s laws provide a framework for our lives. Choosing to follow them brings God-ordained blessings.
See, this whole NLP thing is repackaged Faith. The Bible explains faith as being the evidence of things we cannot see. It assures of the veracity of something when our physical senses are silent or even screaming the contrary. Faith enables me to tell myself that healing is not only possible, but that it is inevitable. Faith enables me to tell myself that the crazy-big “dreams” I have should be re-labeled “goals,” seeing them not just as things hoped for, but as things that should be anticipated and planned for. The Bible says in Proverbs 10:24 that the hopes of the godly will be granted.
Now, whether I choose to “talk myself up,” “psych myself into it,” or some other such technique is irrelevant. What is needed is that I believe who God says I am and what that means, that I convince myself of the fact that God being in control is my best scenario, and that I remain actively pursuing what He lays on my heart to do.
This truth-speech that I use internally sets me up for the maximum number of positive behavioral options available to me because my life is in alignment with my Heavenly Father’s will for me, which is always for my best. I don’t need to understand how it all works, but I can benefit from the active practice of faith, my hope in God, who is way more “well-versed” in rehabilitation than me.