What To Do When The Past Gets In The Way Of Peace And Happiness

Something happens, it doesn’t really matter what it is – it could be an argument, betrayal, disappointment, rejection, something you did that you shouldn’t, something you didn’t do that you should… but it generated negative emotion within you and continues to play on your mind.

The problem lies, not in the happening, but in the continual mental replay, and the constant analysis. This is where you attempt to figure out what you should have done differently. In other words, you want the past to be different from the way it was and if you could only figure out how to make that happen, then you’d be okay. If you can’t figure out how to make that happen then your life is effectively over. Yes, I know I’m exaggerating a little, but that is frequently how it feels while the intensity of the ThoughtStorm is still being played out in your mind.

So you are looking for a solution to make everything ok. What you really want (change the past) is impossible – so would you accept a solution that simply makes the past irrelevant?

You see what most people really want is peace and/or happiness. But they always want these things from a place where they have neither and so have a tendency to place conditions upon them. When you actually arrive at an experience of peace or happiness what you realise is that nothing matters. Nothing matters because you realise that peace and happiness arise from within. They are a state of mind, not a state of circumstances.

The first step you need to take is one of looking at what is actually going on. What is going on is that your mind is filled with an unpleasant memory and that memory is surrounded by, and fuels, a barrage of thoughts… and analyses… and what ifs… and should’ves… and shouldn’ts… and maybes.

A memory is itself just thoughts about something that happened and when you access those thoughts you have associated pictures, feelings and sounds. The thoughts themselves are sounds. Just as if someone was taking to you. So the Hell you are experiencing is just pictures, feelings and sounds. All of which are going on in your present.

If you could find a way to stop these feelings, pictures, and sounds then you wouldn’t have a problem. It wouldn’t matter what had happened, you just wouldn’t have a problem.

A clock ticking is just a sound in your mind.

How much importance do you give to that sound?

A bird singing is just a sound in your mind.

Do you let a bird run your life?

Your mind is filled with sounds from your external world, yet very little of it is remembered or even noticed.

When you get caught in a ThoughtStorm remind yourself that it is just sounds and sensations.

Become aware of the activities that engage you fully: a hobby, or a book, or a videogame, or craftwork, a puzzle…

Then use your favourite activity to distract you. In time you will train yourself to shift your attention away from that memory.

The problem of course is when you are convinced that what happened shouldn’t have happened, or that life has been really unfair to you – but that’s another story.




Meditation – How It Can Open the Door to a New Life.

It’s a Saturday morning here, it’s been raining all night, and the sky is grey. I was sitting enjoying my cup of green tea after breakfast and wondering what I would write about today. My mind was drawn to illusion. Then I checked my email and received a wonderful message from Alex who’d been using my Chakra Meditation CD and finding it powerfully beneficial. Alex’s email lifted my spirits. It’s always so nice to hear how my work is benefiting other people. So, following the flow as it were, I started thinking about meditation and how it connects to the idea of illusion.

I’ve recently joined a group where we get together once a week and listen to a guided meditation, and then talk about matters spiritual. I use spiritual in a very broad sense to encompass life-purpose and how to make life work for you so that life becomes a pleasurable, satisfying, and fulfilling adventure rather than the drudgery of a daily visit to a place of employment you can’t wait to get home from. Anyway we chat about this and that and something weird happens. When I’m driving home I’m sort of buzzing. My ‘energy’ (I don’t know what else to call it) seems to have been increased and I just feel really good – and it’s a very nice feeling.

I’m not sure it’s the actual meditation that does it because I don’t feel any different when it ends. I think it’s being in the presence of people who understand some of the same things about life that I do. We share our thoughts and find them accepted rather than disagreed with. We hug hello and we hug goodbye and it feels so natural and normal. But this group, and the reason I mention them, understands ‘illusion’.

Let me move over to a more scientific standpoint. This is much easier because the evidence is there and undeniable.

Matter doesn’t exist.

By that I mean that no one has ever found anything solid that everything is made of. Most of us know about atoms and how they are the tiny particles that join together to make up all of the stuff we see around us. We know intellectually that everything is made of atoms. But what are atoms made of? When I was at school they were just made of protons, neutrons and electrons. Now it seems that the protons and neutrons are made up of all sorts of squirrelly little bits and pieces like quarks and muons, and leptons and god knows what else. It seems that as the scientists keep looking they find another weird behaviour that doesn’t fit in with their sums, then they invent a particle that makes the maths work out, then they build a big machine to look for the particle, then they find it, and then it starts all over again with the next particle. Talk about creating a job for yourself.

But what they’ve also discovered is that all these particles are just energy. They are not anything solid. In fact those well-known ones – the electrons – don’t even seem to be in our Universe all of the time. They are here and they are somewhere else. The best the physicists can do is offer probabilities that something will be somewhere often enough to pretend it’s real.

The upshot of all this is that nothing really exists in solid physical form, it’s all an illusion.

Yes I know it hurts when you walk into a wall, but the energy is there and that’s what you feel when you hit the wall. Your energy meets the walls energy and ouch!

Now let’s go inside your head. Consider that at this moment you are reading these words. You experience these words on some sort of electronic screen outside of you. If you close your eyelids the screen disappears. But if you reach out to where you remember the screen to be you will feel something that matches what you were seeing when your eyes were open. If you tap it with your fingernail you will also hear a sound consistent with your vision and your touch.

But what’s actually going on.

Photons (pure energy) of light move from the screen, interact with your cornea (atoms), your eye lens (more atoms), wander through some jelly (yet more atoms) in your eye, hit the squidgy cells at the back of your eye (retina) cause some chemical stuff to happen and then some more chemical stuff happens all the way along your optic nerve until that nerve terminates in some neurons which then nudge some chemicals across the synapses in tiny squidgy brain cells filled with chromosomes and other stuff. But what’s really happening is that the energy of the photon is causing energetic changes in other atoms from the cornea right through to the neuron.

The ‘seeing’ doesn’t take place until the neurons get involved. But the neurons can’t see! They are just grey electrochemical tiny little bits of stuff. They don’t project an image of these words onto a screen in the back of your skull. There is no image in your head – you make it all up out of some chemistry that takes place in the dark of your skull.

It’s just the same with all of your other senses. You make all of that up too.

That doesn’t mean that what you see, hear and feel isn’t real. It just means that you can never be sure.

It’s all very Matrix-like.

But the truth is that if you were dreaming a very real dream, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that and reality.

Your world exists only in your mind.

So what’s all this got to do with meditation?

Well, when you listen to a guided meditation then you are generally taken by the hand and encouraged to use your imagination to create images that cause you to feel deeply relaxed and maybe view your future self living in improved circumstances. They may be focused on healing so that you focus your imagination on greater health. This activity separates you from your physical world and allows your body some space to heal.

When you do this on a regular basis (and by regular I mean daily or twice daily) you will begin to notice that it causes change to take place. It can bring about physical changes. There is plenty of research around to show that regular meditation lowers stress and blood pressure as well as lengthening life. Life becomes more peaceful. Not only that but it has an impact on the world outside of you too.

Research has shown that the presence of Transcendental Meditation centres in towns causes a significant lowering of the crime rate.

Now if you consider that meditating with a group of other people on a regular basis can improve the way that people relate to each other then you have something occurring where there is no connection between cause and effect. This is the nature of dreams, not reality. This is the nature of illusion.

Groups of people working with single-minded intent have brought about miraculous healing.

Again this is the stuff of dreams, not of a solid physical cause causes effect reality.

If you read The Field by Lynne McTaggart you will find details of a scientific experiment conducted by a professor at an American University where focused thought caused a change to take place in the past!!!!

The evidence for illusion is all around. If you just open your mind, you will begin to see how apparently random, predictive thoughts, insignificant wishes that manifest within hours, & strange coincidences, are all clues so that you can begin to unpick the true nature of reality and see it for very real illusion that it appears to be.



Keys to Happiness – Love

I was raised as a Roman Catholic and so I heard a lot about love in Church. The Gospels were full of the stuff. But I never really got the hang of it. I think I got a sense of what it was, but I was totally puzzled because the behaviour of the people who were teaching this to me and supposedly demonstrating it (like my Catholic school teachers) didn’t behave the way the gospels and the sermons said they were supposed to be behaving.

In my very first year at secondary school the children were split in to four ability streams. I was in the top stream and my classroom was back to back with the room that contained the bottom stream. There was a connecting door alongside our blackboard that opened into the back of the other classroom. Our teacher, Mrs Griffiths I recall, was a lovely gentle woman. But as we would go about our lessons it was not an uncommon occurrence to hear the board duster hit the back wall of the class next door as it missed the student it was aimed at. We knew what the bang was because it was always preceded by shouting in a manner that, as an adult, I would say indicated a total loss of control. The board duster, by the way was primarily a 6” x 2” x 1” block of wood.

In a school whose raison d’etre was the promotion of Love!

I’m sure you can understand the confusion of an 11 year old, who had led a relatively sheltered life up to that point, when he was trying to make sense of what love was by noticing what his religion taught and how the practitioners of that religion behaved.

In my adult life, after moving away from the religious programming of childhood I discovered an interesting fact when researching the truth about the times of the gospels. The version of the gospels that we used in church had been translated from Greek. It appears that Greek has four words for love: agape, eros, philia, and storge.

Agape – affection, the feelings you have for your children.

Eros – passion, sensual desire and longing.

Philia – friendship and loyalty to family and community.

Storge – acceptance of things the way they are.

They all turn into the word ‘love’ in English.

No wonder nothing made sense, and you might be wondering by now what it’s got to do with happiness anyway?

Let’s consider another definition of love that brings us much closer to happiness.

What isn’t fear is love.

I’m using fear here in a very broad sense to describe any negative emotion or feeling. You might put it this way, when you are unhappy you are in a state of fear; when you are happy you are in a state of love. Love in this case being nothing more than a sense of well-being and good feeling. You know, one of those mornings when you wake up and the world seems like a wonderful place to be. If that’s an unfamiliar experience to you, then let me tell you that it is possible for you to achieve that state from time to time with nothing more than a shift in your thinking – a shift in the way you look at the world.

For instance…

You set off to work. You are driving along quite happily when someone cuts right in front of you. Immediately you feel a flood of negative emotion because this person was driving with no concern for your safety, and without an ounce of respect for you. You know that you deserve respect and you want to get to work, and home again, without having an emergency visit to the hospital in between.

Nothing wrong with any of that but it ain’t love and it ain’t happiness.

With a little effort you can forgive the other driver. Be aware that they may have had things on their mind. They may well be inconsiderate of others, but you can’t change that, and if they are generally inconsiderate of others then the only one suffering as a result of their bad behaviour is you. They are unaware of your ire. They are totally ignorant of your ill-feeling directed towards them – unless of course you sound your horn. Especially if you sound your horn in a repeated, angry fashion – because that will make sure they never do it again.

Except it won’t make any difference because if they are truly inconsiderate they’ll be wondering who the idiot is behind them blasting away on the horn. Some people are so insensitive…

Here’s another way of looking at this. It might have been a close call but nothing bad happened. If you had to take avoiding action then give thanks for your concentration on the traffic and the speed of your reflexes. Understand that not everyone has your empathy for others. See yourself as special. Feel good that you can rise above such trivial events. Feel good about your calmness in a crisis. Resolve to use the time in the car in future by listening to educational, or inspirational audios from your favourite speakers or authors. That way you’ll have more important things to do on your journey than sit in judgement of the driving skills of others.

There is always another way of looking at this.

Your task, if you are truly a happiness-seeker, is to seek out that other way, that more positive way, of looking at each situation that attempts to pull you into its negative mindset.

Is there something to learn here?

What else could this mean?

What does this feeling remind me of?

That last question will often reveal something from the past that has been triggered and you will discover that your negative emotion is arising out of the past not from the present. Heal that past situation in your thoughts and this kind of event will no longer be experienced by you.

Look at the world through eyes of love. Look for the good intent that was behind something that went wrong. Release judgement of others as best you can. When those judgements arise in your mind (and they will whether or not you want them to) remind yourself that you are not your thoughts. Remind yourself that just because you are thinking it, you don’t have to believe it. Remind yourself that you are not in control of, nor responsible for, the thoughts that arise in your mind. Your only responsibility is to choose whether or not to act on them.

As you do this, you will find that your reactiveness to the world decreases. You will become more peaceful. As you become more peaceful, the happiness that is your true nature will come to the fore.


Continuous Professional Development Happiness hypnosis Personal Development self-help training

The Impact of Words & Psycho-Cybernetics

The prescription for charity is three fold: (1) try to develop a genuine appreciation for people by realizing the truth about them; they are children of God, unique personalities, creative beings. (2) Take the trouble to stop and think of the other person’s feelings, viewpoints, desires, and needs. Think more of what the other fellow wants, and how he must feel. A friend of mine kids his wife by telling her, whenever she asks him, “Do you love me?” “Yes, whenever I stop and think about it.” There is a lot of truth in this. We cannot feel anything about other people unless we “stop and think” about them. (3) Act as if other people are important and treat them accordingly.

Maxwell Maltz The New Psycho-Cybernetics (2002). The original Psycho-Cybernetics (of which this is a modernised update) was published in 1960

When I started my Clinical Hypnosis training way back in 1997 one of the books on the recommended reading list was Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics. Since it didn’t seem directly related to hypnosis, and had a slightly odd title, I never bought a copy. Every now and again, since that time I come across references to it and think, I really should read it. Then just a month or so ago it came to my attention again so I had a look on Amazon and finally got hold of a copy. The only thing is the copy I got hold of is not the original, it is The New Psycho-cybernetics which is the orginal re-worked a little to bring it up to date with modern technology and stories that relate better to the modern reader.

I must admit that by the end of the first chapter I was wondering why on earth I hadn’t got hold of a copy way back in 1997, as I could see the life-changing potential of Maxwell Maltz’s ideas.

Still, I’m enjoying it and I came across this ‘Prescription’ yesterday morning. It got me thinking about how I relate to other people and about how my clients relate to other people in their worlds. As I reflected on the quote above I felt quite a deep connection with the words and their meaning and promised myself to be more present with others.

I appreciate that the mention of God might put more people off now than it would in the ’60’s when it was written, but looking beyond the mere words the keys in the message here are appreciation – which is key to our well-being; awareness that to each of us our own personal viewpoint makes total sense – even if it is at odds with the sense of everyone else; and respect for self and others – without which life is extremely difficult and with tends to flow much more smoothly.

So perhaps you could be present with a stranger today: a checkout operator at the supermarket; a waiter; a teller; taxi driver; nurse; customer; the list is endless, but it takes just a few moments of wondering perhaps what their life is like, what kind of a day they are having, whether they are stressed or at peace. As soon as you become present with them in this way you will find that they not only warm to you (whether or not you speak) but also have their lives enriched.

Michael Hadfield

Manifestation Personal Development self-help

Wishful Thinking – the Fulfilment of Desire

If there were such things as fairy godmothers and wishes that were granted magically, then maybe, just maybe, life would be different. So pretend for a minute or two that you live in a world of wishes and fairies and you have been told that you can have one wish granted – but this wish has conditions.

Your wish has to be for a change in what you do for a living. You will be given three times the income you have now (index-linked naturally), you will be given any money you need to spend in order for your new livelihood to be effective for you, so your new salary will not be reduced by business-related expenses. You cannot fail in whatever you choose to do. Any skills or knowledge you require will be yours for the asking. Any fears or anxieties – such as public speaking, or flying – will disappear. Everything in fact will be just as you wish it to be.

So what would you choose to do?

This wish is only valid for 24 hours.

I have some questions for you and if you want to gain the maximum benefit from this game it would be a good idea to write down the answers to these questions (it will only take a minute).

1. Would you take up this offer, or would you let it expire?

2. What is it that you do right now for a living?

3. What would you choose to do?

4. What stops you from doing that right now?

Now I hope you’ve answered the questions before continuing to read.

Unfortunately, it seems, we don’t live in a world of fairies and wishes. But it’s nice to dream, it’s nice to have a rich fantasy world. Did you know that the inventor of the automatic sewing machine, Elias Howe, couldn’t find a way to make a machine sew until he had a dream about being attacked by savages with spears with holes in the tip? When he awoke from this dream he realised that this was what would make his ‘dream’ work and he put the hole for the thread in the tip of the needle rather than the other end where it usually was.

He wanted to do something that others said was impossible. He wanted to do something that he couldn’t find a way to do. But his desire didn’t accept the impossibility and it communicated a solution that consciously he couldn’t see.

His solution magically arrived because he was totally focused on what he desired to achieve.

If we focus our Power things happen magically.

It’s nice to let your mind wander about all the wonderful things, and people, you’d like to have in your life, the home you desire, the family, the friends, the lover… but there’s something a little scary about fantasising and then have that fantasy realised within hours of imagining it.

Our power scares us.

Marianne Williamson, author of Return to Love, says ” Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It’s our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”

Because our Power scares us we keep it at arms length. We defend ourselves against having exactly what we want. And we do it to keep ourselves safe, and we do it to make sure other people continue to like us.

How do you feel about people who have everything they want in life and whenever they want anything new it just sort of appears? If you aren’t aware of anyone who has a life like that, seriously imagine it, then look at your life and see if you’re ok, or you feel some emotional reaction like jealousy, or dislike, or sadness, or even a feeling that good fortune is for others, but not for you.

You aren’t doing what fulfils you because you don’t believe you deserve it. And I don’t mean believe it at a superficial level, I mean believe it deep down right to the very bottom of your subconscious experience of your world. Someone somewhere will have caused you to believe that you don’t deserve, or that it isn’t ok, to have whatever your heart desires. You may have been taught that life is tough, not easy. You may have been taught that money doesn’t grow on trees. You may have been taught that to have everything you want makes you greedy or selfish or unlovable.

None of that is true.

It’s time to recognise the untruths you were taught about you and your world for what they are – the mistaken perceptions of those who were fearful of coming face to face with their own beauty; that is, the beauty of one who was born to love and to enjoy life and to feel fulfilled.

That person was YOU.

And if YOU would like things to be different then find out how easy it is to make changes.

Michael Hadfield   D.Hyp., MBSCH

Happiness self-help

Keys to Happiness: Self-Appreciation

By Michael Hadfield

Appreciation, or rather the expression of appreciation, is essential for emotional health and well-being. Appreciation is a skill that we can all learn. But it has to start at home. It has to start with appreciation for you.

Appreciation of self may not come easily. I don’t know about you but I grew up with the sense that to ‘blow my own trumpet’ was a bad thing – something I shouldn’t do because I wouldn’t be liked if I did. Being liked was important to me – so I didn’t blow my own trumpet – ever.

I also rarely felt good about myself.

In my seeking to understand me I discovered that a powerful connection exists here.

If you don’t already feel good about yourself, and you seek happiness, then learning the art of self-appreciation is the key to unlocking the good feelings you’d like to feel inside of you. With that in mind I have some exercises for you to complete. I would like you to make a chart of your life. Write down a list of numbers that represent ages from 0 to your current age – one line for each. Then just allow your mind to drift over each of those ages briefly and note down anything significant to you in the way of a success, or an achievement – something you felt good about at the time, or you feel good about now. Things like starting school; passing some exams; getting a job; getting a job you wanted; kissing someone you liked; first-time sex; riding a roller coaster; taking a picture; first pay check; growing a plant from seed; eating something you’d grown; fulfilling a dream; healing. It really doesn’t matter what it is, it definitely doesn’t matter if the rest of world would see it as insignificant, what matters is that it was important to you and made you feel good, or excited, or happy.

Now when you’ve been over the list and filled in all the major events, look at the gaps and see if you can possibly find something to put on every single line. That’s a bit of a challenge I admit, and there is certainly no failure if you have big gaps, but you will find that as you move your mind towards thinking in terms of achievements and successes that more and more memories will come up.

Now, buy an expensive frame, and frame this ‘certificate’ of achievement and hang it on your bedroom wall. If you have a computer and like to play around, type in all the information and turn it into an impressive and attractive certificate and print it on some quality notepaper. As you look at it every morning and every evening and see just what a wonderfully successful person you are, you may find that any gaps will soon be filled as your mind switches its focus from failure to success. Pick one item each day, fetch back the memory, and fully appreciate the importance of that event in your life.

One other activity I’d like you to engage in is another simple exercise. At night, just before you drift off to sleep, I’d like you to wander through your day in your mind and find between 1 and 5 things that happened that day that you appreciate. It doesn’t matter how small these items of appreciation are. There is always something good in a day. If the sun came up this morning then that’s a good thing. If you put food in your mouth, and water in your belly – that’s a good thing. If you enjoyed the food and drink – that’s even better. If you saw a flower, or enjoyed its scent, then make note, if you were lost in its beauty for a moment – then that’s a miracle. If your car started, or your bus turned up; if you have a job, or lots of free time… if you took a breath and were still alive to enjoy breathing it out again… the list of ordinary, mundane, incredible things that happen to us each day, and that we take so totally for granted, is endless. Start to notice them and continue this exercise until you feel that appreciation and sense of wonder at the time you are experiencing the event.

Make this conscious effort to agree to spend a moment or two each day to express sincere appreciation and thanks for the miracles that exist around you and within you. Learn to appreciate the wonder of you, for none of these experiences could exist without you the Experiencer to enjoy and appreciate them. Your experiences are unique to you. When you experience joy the planet has more joy in it. By the simple act of appreciating those simple, yet wonderful, things that you experience, you will change your world for the better.

Michael J. Hadfield MBSCH is a registered clinical hypnotherapist.  Visit for a help & support