TREATING THE SYMPTOMS, NOT THE SOURCE
Okay, let’s start with a little survey.
Would you like to change your life in any of the following ways:
- Have more energy
- Make more money
- Experience less anxiety and more peace
- Feel more joyful
- Feel more passionate and excited about life
- Have better work- life balance
- Break an addiction
- Feel less trapped and experience more freedom
- Be more successful at work, or change careers
- Get better sleep
- Have more “me” time
- Have more conﬁdence or a higher sense of self- worth
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
- Improve your diet
- Heal a health issue
- Have a closer relationship with your spouse or signiﬁcant other
- Spend more time with your friends or make new ones
- Get along better with your family
- Find clarity about your life purpose
- Leave a legacy of signiﬁcance
- Help a loved one with a signiﬁcant need
I have worked with hundreds of people over the years who had a problem but didn’t have the ﬁrst clue where it was coming from. They would eventually blame it on something in their current circumstances, which was almost never the true cause, and doing so eventually led to a vicious cycle or addiction.
For instance, Pete had an anger problem. He would typically get angry three or four times a day, out of nowhere. It was about to break up his marriage, and he was at his wits’ end. He had received a little counseling, tried some drugs for anxiety, and in his words “tried really hard” to control it— but he couldn’t. He would get mad at work, at home, on the way home in trafﬁc— you name it. Whenever something didn’t go his way, he got irritated or angry. He believed the problem was in his circumstances, and the solution was to somehow control his reaction to his circumstances.
But as we worked through the process you’ll learn in this book, Pete discovered that the real source of his anger was not being able to live up to his dad’s expectations and feeling rejected by him. Pete had even become a medical doctor to try to impress his dad, but nothing ever seemed to work. After about six weeks, he healed his memory of his dad’s rejection, his anger problem immediately became a non-issue, and he was also able to heal his relationship with his wife. The cycle was broken.
If you’re struggling to make permanent, positive change in any area of your life, it might be because you’re treating the symptoms, not the source. This book is going to help you diagnose the real source of your problem— and likely ﬁx it for good.
Now let me ask you a quick question, one I might ask if you came to my ofﬁce. Let’s say you’re at home, and water starts ﬂooding your kitchen ﬂoor. You don’t live anywhere close to water, and it’s not raining outside. What would you do ﬁrst: start cleaning up the water on the ﬂoor or would you turn off the water to the house?
This is a much more important question than you might think. Most people, perhaps after a minute, would go turn off the water to the house and then start wiping up the ﬂoor. Wiping up the ﬂoor without stopping the water would be crazy, right?
Over the past eighty years or so, the psychological, self-help, spiritual, and medical worlds have offered a variety of theories on ﬁxing the source of our problems. At certain times, some have been more popular than others, but you can still ﬁnd books and experts claiming any one of these as the true source even today:
- Circumstances. Think of SMART goals (Speciﬁc, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based), vision boards, and the advice to “just do it.” Change your circumstances, change your life.
- Behavior. Act “as if.” Do the right thing, and the feelings will follow. Change your behavior, change your life.
- Physiology and brain chemistry. If you can ﬁnd the right drug or supplement, follow the optimal diet, or meditate long or often enough, you’ll start feeling good about yourself. Change your brain chemistry, change your life.
- Conscious thoughts. Understand the truth and think the right way about it. If you just realize how fortunate you are compared to your neighbor, you’ll start feeling better. Substitute positive thoughts for negative ones. Change your thoughts, change your life.
- Conscious beliefs. Your beliefs are an even stronger, deeper combination of thoughts and feelings that deﬁne what is most important about you. Change your beliefs, change your life.
- Emotions. Emotional mastery is a hot topic today with a variety of techniques. Change your emotions, change your life.
All of these solutions provide wonderful insight about the way we work as humans and often do make us feel better . . . for a while. The problem is that after eighty years of personal development solutions, people are hungrier for solutions than ever. How can that be?
Because all of these solutions are just different ways of wiping the water off the ﬂoor. If you work hard enough and constantly enough, you might actually get ahead of the leak. Every once in a while, you might look around, enjoy your dry ﬂoor, and think the solution worked.
But you still haven’t ﬁxed the leak in your kitchen. That’s why you’re so tired all the time! You’re using all your energy to clean up without stopping the ﬂood at its source! Of course, any of these solutions can still be better than nothing, but even if you could follow them all at once, and follow them perfectly, you still wouldn’t stop the water from coming in.
That’s exactly what this book will show you how to do. Only recently have we discovered a deeper cause for our feelings, beyond our circumstances, behavior, brain chemistry, thoughts, emotions, and even beliefs.
MEMORIES MAKE US WHO WE ARE
You may be skeptical. I understand. Let me explain what I mean.
First of all, I’m not talking about your ability to remember, to consciously recall facts you’ve learned or events that happened to you. I’m also not referring to “process memories,” such as learning to ride a bike, walk, or play Ping-Pong. When people say, “It’s like riding a bike,” they’re referring to something you’ll never forget. Process memories rarely degrade or develop errors over time.
I’m talking about what I call your source memories, created from your life experience, your imagination, and even the subconscious experiences and impressions inherited from many generations of ancestors and passed down to you.
Source memories are a different animal. They are the lens through which you see yourself and everything in the world. Everything that happens to you runs through the source memories of your life and ancestry to deter-mine your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, actions, and even the hormones and physiology of your body. Unfortunately, they’re also prone to errors, as you’ll discover in Part One.
However, process and source memories have one thing in common: each new related memory builds on the previous one. When a baby learns to walk, does she just stand up and start walking? No, she tries and falls about ﬁve thou-sand times ﬁrst! Each of those falls creates a memory that eventually leads to the ability to walk—the feel of balancing of using her leg muscles, etc. Every new memory builds on the previous one until the baby ﬁnally has all the memories needed to successfully stand up and then to walk. Walking requires the whole sequence of standing-and-walking–related memories, which may be in the hundreds or even thousands. If any memories in the chain were deleted, skipped, or altered incorrectly, the baby may never learn.
Neuroscientist and professor Antonio Damasio has shown that at the root of every thought, belief, feeling, and action is an image. These images are what I’m talking about when I use the term “source memories” and, from now on, simply memories. These images, or memories, come from:
- Events in our own lives, including both those we consciously remember (like our high school prom, our ﬁrst day at our job, or what we ate for lunch yesterday) and those we don’t consciously remember (like being born, or how our parents spoke to us when we were infants and toddlers).
- Our imagination, such as when we daydream about our upcoming vacation or worry that our loved one will get into a car accident.
- Previous generations, such as trauma experienced by a parent or grandparent, or by their parents or grandparents—like what I was exposed to in the womb.
The truth is that our memories make us who we are in virtually every way—and new studies are revealing this more and more every day, as you’ll see in Part One.
We come into this world with a set of inherited memories, and from the time we’re born, we’re interpreting everything through the lens of those memories and making new ones that build on top of one another, so that we learn and develop strategies to stay safe.
When we make our memories, we’re making our life— or, in some cases, our death.
THE MEMORY MALFUNCTION
Here’s the problem. Memories that trigger our “this is going to kill me” interpretation and response (otherwise known as the stress response or fear response) are prioritized above all other memories or beliefs, whether these memories are from our personal experience, from our imagination, or inherited. When anything even remotely related to this memory occurs, we have a “this is going to kill me” response, whether it’s related to our physical safety, or our identity, security, and relationships.
Why is that a problem? Don’t we want our memories to keep us safe? Well, it’s not a problem—if our memories always tell us the truth about what could truly kill us. But what if they don’t?
We tend to think our memories are like audio and visual recordings of what actually happens to us, but they’re not. As we’ll discuss in Part One, our real-life experiences are ﬁltered through the lens of our danger memories ﬁrst— and we’ve seen what can happen when those memories are wrong. For so many of my clients, one single negative memory “screwed them for life”; their words, not mine— although I know how they feel.
For example, one guy I worked with felt like he could never live up to his dad. When he was fourteen, he was running for class president, and because his dad had experience successfully running for ofﬁce, he was asking his son some questions to help him prepare. At some point, after one of his answers, his dad chuckled and said, “You must think you’re me. Let me tell you something: you’re not me, and that’s not going to work.”
Those words changed the course of his life. For twenty years, he was haunted by the sense that he would never be as good as his father. He saw everything even remotely related to that situation through the lens of that memory, which would create a new negative memory, which created a new one, and so on. And of course, all those related memories were sending off unconscious stress signals 24/7.
Later, when my client asked his father about it, he discovered that his father meant his son was better than he was. That memory had crucial errors in it— the comment was meant as a compliment, but he received it as criticism, telling him, “I’m not good enough to do anything.” It was a memory that shaped almost everything in his life, and it was all based on a misunderstanding.
Other times, there is no misunderstanding. Growing up, my dad and I had a very close, loving relationship. But when I was about twelve years old, he was diagnosed with heart disease, which was almost like a death sentence back then. Out of the blue, my dad started hitting me over and over again, yelling, “You’re never going to amount to anything!”
That event actually happened— my dad really did beat me that day, and he really did say I would never amount to anything. My memory of that event— and all the subsequent memories seen through that lens— would negatively shape me for the next ﬁfteen years.
My daily mood and even my personality shifted after that day. I talked less, felt worse about myself as a per-son, did worse in school, and started getting into trouble in ways I never had before. The biggest change was my anger. Before, I had never really had any anger issues at all, but all of a sudden I had a hair-trigger temper. I had always sung out loud around home a lot, and I completely quit singing. It was like the joy was sucked out of my heart and replaced with anger.
I didn’t consciously connect the incident with my dad to the changes in how I felt about myself. I didn’t know why I felt these things or felt compelled to act in different, dark ways. I realize now that I had largely suppressed that memory because of its pain, so I didn’t know why I was helpless to do and feel what I wanted to do and feel. I was confused, in pain, and helpless to treat the root of what had started me down this path. This pattern basically continued until my wife kicked me out of the house at age twenty-seven, which led to the biggest spiritual transformation of my life (more about that later).
In these situations, the problems began when we connected an event with our identity—that because x happened, we’re bad and not good. Or that z happened, we will never be successful.
Conclusions like these are never true. Even the worst abuse in your past has nothing to do with your ability to be safe, secure, or have relationships now, or your value ever (assuming you are not currently in a life-or-death or abusive situation). But these memories create illusions for us that limit or even prevent us from being able to move past them.
When we accept these wrong conclusions as truth and continue in life thinking, feeling, and acting according to them, we are living a lie! And we will be for as long as we accept as true that which is not true.
This is the extraordinary power of the mind. In the German language, the word imagination has two meanings. One is to daydream, while the other is to create.
We have all daydreamed. As a child, I used to imagine winning Wimbledon and the US Open every year. While those particular daydreams never came true, later in my life I discovered that my imagination had the power to release me from the shackles of my pain and fear. We all have the tools that we need to change our lives forever, to create our absolute best life using the tool of our image maker. Using it to create memories of success, health, great relationships, and love can transform your internal life beyond your imagination.
REMEMBERING THE REAL WORLD
I hope by this time you’re wondering if errors in your memories—from your own life, from your imagination or from past generations—are holding you back. If so, here are two simple diagnostics.
- Do you generally wake up each morning feeling like you just need to get through the day? Do you spend most days battling stress, anxiety, and “have tos,” and feeling like something’s missing in your life?
- Do you get angry sometimes (or experience any emotion or feeling in the anger family, such as irritation, frustration, etc.)? When you look back, are you ever embarrassed about or unsure why you had the reaction that you did?
If either of these ﬁt you, you’re not alone. The vast majority of people today fall into these categories. Unless you’re currently in profound physical or emotional danger right now, these everyday struggles are a sign that you have memories negatively inﬂuencing your life and wrongly making you feel bad. You don’t have to keep feeling this way, and maybe you never should have in the ﬁrst place.
The rest of this book will explain how our memory has evolved, or in this case devolved, and how you can travel back in time to change your past—if not in minutes, then typically in a matter of days or a few weeks.
My ﬁrst book, The Healing Code, showed you how to heal the source of your health problems, and The Love Code showed you how to heal the source of your success blockages. The Memory Code will show you how to heal the source of any problem, based on cutting-edge research and a brand new six-step, ten-minute process. You’ll learn how to turn off the water rather than become an expert in cleaning it up, so you can use all that extra energy to live and feel the best life you can—for yourself, your loved ones, and for the world.
But ﬁrst, you have to make a choice.
In my experience (which is now supported by research we’ll examine later in the book), well over 90 percent of all people carry a belief that is negatively affecting their life experience. More speciﬁcally, they have come to the wrong conclusions about critical aspects of their life and circumstances that have created these devastating beliefs. I believe memory engineering is part of a new frontier of medicine and psychology. So if you want to live your best life, with full access to your energy and potential and talent, it’s time to make your choice: Are you going to keep doing what you’ve always done and just endure the rest of your life? Or will you take the plunge for something better?
I work with people who want to go for it, or else I don’t work with them! I assist people who, when they reach that moment of crisis, don’t resign themselves to a life of survival. They want to reach that higher vista so badly that they’re willing to leave behind everything they thought they knew. Because they want the whole truth and their very best life, not just what’s easy. They want to go for it.
Do you want to go for it? If so, meet me in the next chapter, and we’ll start this journey together.