The Message Bill Heard

Voice: Bill!

Bill: I thought I heard a voice.

Voice: Bill! This is a Message from Heaven.

Bill: I don't believe this. Is Heaven on speaking terms with the world?

Voice: Not often.

Bill: Why me?

Silence

Bill: Speak, Lord. I listen.

Voice: We created all things in the universe ? the vast reaches of galaxies and the magnificent life on earth. Among all life forms, We endowed man with a superior intelligence, to recognize events around him and to fashion an immense host of feelings. Feelings warn him of danger, drive him to work and make him love and protect his children.

Bill: But, Lord, feelings drive us mad. We cry in sadness and weep in shame. We are burdened by guilt and goaded by ambition. Feelings torture us in our waking hours and chase us in our nightmares. Could you kindly take back this gift of feelings? Not wanting to hurt Your feelings...

Voice: When you were a young civilisation, you needed feelings.

Bill: Nobody could ever need all that pain.

Voice: Aeons ago, feelings guided men. Fear made him run away from the roar of the lion. And love prevented him from eating his young. But, across millenniums, you have grown and accumulated wisdom. Now, you really don't need the crutch of painful feelings. You can walk free!

Bill: Save me from jests, Lord. How can mankind ever be rid of pain and fear, anger and jealousy? Those emotions take hold, even before we realise it.

Voice: Yes. That is the order of things ? the way the system works. Your purpose in life is to live it fully against its immense odds. Left unsolved, those difficulties caused you pain, anger, or frustration. Emotions were the supreme gift, which forced you to solve those problems. But, across centuries, you have accumulated wisdom. That wisdom resides within you.

Bill: But, Lord, where does such wisdom reside within me?

Voice: Within your nerve cells. We gifted you with more than a hundred billion. Each cell perceives, remembers, recalls and recognizes. You see and remember the sunset to recognize the approach of night.

Bill: But, Lord, I feel anger and hatred, pain and disgust. Where do these reside?

Voice: Nerve cells fire to stir your emotions. If one fires, you feel dread. If another fires, you feel pleasure. Your own scientists discovered these age old secrets. The nerve cells of your limbic system lie at the core of your joy and delight, pain and anger. Their patterns of firing decide your feelings and emotions.

Bill: But, Lord, that limbic system drives us out of our minds.

Voice: The memories of your limbic system carry the experiences of all of living history. It recognizes the pattern of events in your environment and responds with fitting feelings. Those feelings drive you to action. It is called pattern recognition.

Bill: You mean pattern recognition moves us? One region recognizes events from the patterns in the environment. The limbic system recognizes events and triggers feelings. And the motor system recognizes the pattern of feelings and triggers actions?

Voice: Exactly. Pattern recognition. Most of your scientists still believe nerve cells compute. Actually, they don't compute. They fire when they recognize patterns. But the views of science will change. Understanding and peace of mind will follow.

Bill: But, Lord, if the nerve cells merely recognize patterns and respond automatically, are we just automatons? Did you not grant us a free will?

Voice: Of course you have a free will, residing in your pre-frontal regions. Those regions recognize the whole picture. It is just that you are ruled by your limbic system, rather than the free and measured will expressed by your pre-frontal regions. Raw emotions, rather than dispassionate views of the whole guide you.

Bill: You mean this gift of wisdom is available only if my limbic system is switched off?

Voice: The limbic system can never be switched off. It is the final switching point for action. It is designed for your protection, to prevent your will from doing anything foolish. Many feelings compete there. But, the most powerful feeling rules. Pattern recognition again.

Bill: I don't understand, Lord.

Voice: Will yourself to nudge your neighbour while standing in a crowded lift. Your will failed. Your elbow remained frozen in space. Why? Because it was improper. Opposed to the norms of your herd. Your limbic system decided and over ruled your will.

Bill: So, I really don't have a free will! I am just an automaton, driven by my animal memories! This is unfair!

Voice: Cherish the love that protects you from harm. We gave you a guardian angel in your limbic system. But, that region is but a safety valve. You still have the broad road to wisdom in your pre-frontal regions.

Bill: But, Lord, fear and anger, shame and jealousy still torture us.

Voice: Your emotions give you partisan views of your environment. That is how intuition, the algorithm that controls your neural system, works. Intuition identifies a pattern by eliminating every other pattern, which does not fit the context. When you are angry, you cannot feel love for your opponent. Emotions blind you.

Bill: How can I control those emotions?

Voice: Wisdom. You have expanded your knowledge across millenniums. Thunder frightens you no more, because you know its true cause and effect. Your civilisation has expanded the boundaries of your knowledge and stilled your primitive fears and anxieties.

Bill: But that same civilisation has created new pressures and tensions. We fear earthquakes and typhoons, wars and nuclear bombs. Threatening patterns constantly surround us. Angry bosses and traffic hazards.

Voice: Your limbic system constantly triggers bodily responses to threatening events. Those adrenaline responses make you feel bad. But, you can cope. Just pump your stomach. The released adrenaline will be dissipated in minutes. Remember to pump your stomach, when you feel uneasy about something. Minor irritations will soon fail to bother you.

Bill: I tried that and it works. It makes me feel much calmer. But, Lord, stomach pumping only stills minor emotions. When I am faced with real problems, emotions still torture me. I am going to lose my job and that fills me with dread.

Voice: You can still even those emotions. They occur with distinct physical symptoms, which dramatize the emotions. When you become aware of the physical symptom of your emotion, you break the link. You weaken the emotion and destroy its power to dominate. Identify the tightness in your chest and the dread will fade away. You will see the event without the painful patina of the emotion. The loss of a job will not fill you with dread. You will see it as merely another problem to be solved by your wisdom.

Bill: But, how can I identify the physical symptom, when I am filled with dread?

Voice: That is why, across centuries, your sages have praised the benefits of prayer and meditation. Become still and aware of the workings of your mind. Explore the vast territories of your mind even as you explore the world. You will then become aware of emotions and their towering effects. You will learn to still them. Go forth and tell this to the world. That way lies your freedom from the primitive systems you inherited. That way lies peace on earth.

Bill: Peace has been in short supply on earth.

Voice: This Message will bring peace.

Bill: Will anybody listen?

Voice: Probably not.

Bill: Do you mind repeating the Message?

Abraham Thomas is the author of The Intuitive Algorithm, a book, which suggests that intuition is a pattern recognition algorithm. This leads to an understanding of the powerful forces that control your mind. The ebook version is available at http://www.intuition.co.in. The book may be purchased only in India. The website, provides a free movie and a walk through to explain the ideas.

In The News:

It’s exam time, turn the volume up  The New Indian Express
Manage stress  The Nation
Monday Motivation: Stress Relief  BVU The Tack Online
Could you be at risk from burnout?  People Management Magazine
Manage your stress before it manages you  The Lion's Roar Newspaper

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