Monthly Archives: May 2010



For many of us the image which is conjured up when we hear the word anchor, is the large metal thing which boats use to help stabilise them, and maintain their position.

in the fascinating world of NLP (Neuro Linguini Programming), anchors have a very similar meaning only this time it relates to our mental, emotional and physiological states.

If you imagine for a moment the thrill you felt when opening a gift which you were really looking forward to, or recall your favourite cooking smell – what images, thoughts or feelings do these recollections invoke?

Coming back to our original anchor definition, the one about boats, we can begin to see what is meant in NLP. A mind anchor is one or more associations which holds together a collection of memories. And these associations can be a collection of thoughts, emotions and body sensations.

And in many ways, much of our routine life is a collection of anchors which help to establish our life patterns. The way we sit in our chair at a computer, the way we like our coffee in the morning, our favourite tune on the radio etc.

Anchors can be a source of pleasure or pain. One of the aims of therapy is to dissolve the painful or destructive consequences of past events which have become negative anchors in our minds and bodies.

We can also have positive anchors, the aroma of certain food, a favourite movie we watch over and over again, the warm feeling of sun on our skin.

Anchors can vary a great deal in their intensity. What makes an anchor especially powerful is one with a high degree of emotion combined with a pronounced physiological component. These are the anchors which can have a profound affect on our behaviour.

We can also intentionally develop positive anchors. For instance, in meditation the way we sit, the incense we burn, the room we sit in, can all combine to create an anchor which supports our meditation. So that each time we sit in that special posture, and light that incense etc. we are invoking the memories and associations of the peacefulness of our former meditational states.


© David R. Durham

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Hypnotic Trances


Hypnotic trances are very natural mental states, and it is possible for most of us to experience them.

As for understanding what they are, it is useful to consider first of all what they are not. The stereo-typical view of hypnotic trances is that of someone lying on a couch in a deep sleep, with their eyes closed, with a hypnotist sitting next to them swinging a watch.

Whilst this image may have a certain dramatic quality, it is an extremely limited and in some ways very misleading view of trance.

In fact, a hypnotic state is a heightened sense of awareness, which can be experienced with our eyes open or closed, lying down or walking around.

What makes it a special state is that it invites us to look within, and to connect with our deeper self. And it is this connection with our deeper self which allows hypnotic suggestions to be applied through trance to a wide range of applications such as marketing, therapy, self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques, for instance.

Marketing? Yes, perhaps not what you might have thought of in connection with hypnotic states. A classic example is the use of beautiful models in advertising, or the use of certain language patterns in sales letters and presentations. Both of which are designed to introduce altered states of awareness in our consciousness.

These two examples also illustrate another feature of hypnotic trances, and that is that they do not have to be ‘deep’ to be effective.

One of the pioneers of conversational hypnosis, which allows us to experience light hypnotic states with ease is, Milton H. Erickson. His view was that the unconscious mind was always listening, and whether or not the a person is in trance, suggestions could be made which could have an hypnotic influence.

For a great home-study course in Conversational Hypnosis, click on the link below.


Conversational Hypnosis

16 Full CDs (as MP3s) +
Full Transcripts +
Manual (620+ Pages) +
Cheat Sheets


© David R. Durham

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Rituals for a fascinating part of our collective human experience, and throughout the spiritual and religious traditions of the world, rituals have taken many, many forms.

They are used in key rites of passage such as births, coming of age and death. These public celebrations present a sense of collective social experience, a codified means of social expression and a framework for continuity from generation to generation.

Virtually all known belief systems from shamanism to buddhism, christianity to paganism have all used, and still do use rituals as a key means of conveying faith and shared beliefs.

Some rituals are very simple and personal, whilst others have become large scale public celebrations. Some require little in the way of formal set up, and others require a rich preparation such as fasting, the commissioning of special costumes or the preparation of special meals.

And many rituals are rich in symbolism, and are a means of story telling and myth making, which would have been passed down verbally from generation to generation. They may tell stories of creator beings, give moral instruction or tell tales of times when the gods walked the earth. For some Australian aborigines, the land itself is a story book of such mythical times, where beings tore the earth, fought and even died.

It is also thought that the early Upanishads were encouraging people to look through external meaning of vedic rituals and experience their inner meaning, through retreats and personal meditation. And the act of ritual, however simple, can provide important mental and physical anchors for the meditative experience.

For many the music, incense and singing of rituals can create a moving experience, which allows them to transcend their limited self and experience being a part of a greater whole. Indeed, some form of sacrifice whether real or symbolic, is often a key element in many rituals.

© David R. Durham

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Parallel Worlds


I was watching a TV program last night on parallel universes, and it was is many ways quite fascinating.

Apparently, there are potentially an infinite number of these, depending on which theory you chose to follow. There may even be one identical to this one, or ones with slight variations on what we experience here. For instance, what if there was a parallel universe where Hitler won the second world war.

One of the most entertaining concepts was that of of bubble universes, here universes expand, flow and interact like our earth bound soap bubbles.

Where it seemed to get a bit strained was when the presenter was trying to get to another universe, i.e. to travel to a parallel universe. He began each scenario with ‘imagine’, which each time got to be a bigger ask of our imaginations.

The main problem, it seemed to me, was the need to drag our body along when traveling to a parallel universe. Since we are, after all, consciousness projecting through this physical body, why not just shift our consciousness and leave our body here in this universe where it belongs?

© David R. Durham

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Diet & Nutrition


Our health is significantly influenced by our diets and the nutrition we receive (or don’t receive) from them.

This is also one of the most challenging areas to find any quality information on, with new diets appearing on a regular basis, and contradictory evidence being reported in magazines and newspapers, which only adds to our general confusion.

One author with an extensive scientific background in this field, T. Colin Campbell, has fortunately written a book which cuts through the confusion surrounding diets and nutrition, and presents us with the actual scientific research data so we can clearly see what a healthily diet is, and what it can do for us.

The first part of the book introduces “The China Study”, which is the most exhaustive diet study ever carried out on real people.

Secondly the author addresses the commonest diseases found in our western culture, i.e. diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease etc., and shows their links to our modern western diet.

Thirdly, the book details what exactly a healthy diet is based on the masses of available scientific evidence.

Finally, the author asks the question, how come we don’t know this already? With some disturbing results.

This is no fad diet book endorsed by the latest hot celebrity, but a factual account of what constitutes a healthy diet from someone with four decades of research experience in the field of nutrition.

This highly recommended book is probably one of the most important you will ever have the opportunity to read.

The China Study:
The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health
by T. Colin Campbell

USA Books UK Books Canadian Books

© David R. Durham

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Who Are You?


One of the great Indian sages of the 20th century, Sri Ramana Maharishi, had a favourite meditation technique that he liked to share with his pupils.

And this was the simple enquiry ‘Who Am I?’.

In our conventional world view, we consciously and mostly unconsciously consider ourselves to be conglomeration of many things. I am my body, my name, my family, my personality, my religion and so on.

The purpose of the Who Am I enquiry, which is to be repeated silently in meditation, is to gradually strip away all of these false identifications we accumulate during our human experience.

For instance, if I lose my arm in an accident, am I any less ‘me’? Or is my identity or sense of self still intact?

Similarly, am I my car or job or spouse or ethnic group. These may all colour my sense of self, but who in all of this complexity am I?

Maybe I’m in my brain somewhere, someone or thing floating around the grey and white matter.

In the world of quantum physics, this issue was also confronted. Here it is expressed as the problem of objectivization: The world we observe is our own mental construct, i.e. we create it through our senses and our mind’s existing associations. Yet who am I who observes, creates and experiences all of this reality? And if I ignore this self-constructed aspect of reality, can I ever really know it?

The fact that we objectivize is not a problem; it is what we do. The problems arise when we become attached to false identities and exclude our true selves from our awareness. When we become the victim of false identifies, we suffer from unnecessary losses and conflict, and when we exclude our true selves from the scene, life can become a meaningless jumble of chemical reactions and atoms.

© David R. Durham

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2012 is coming!

Not just the year, but the dawn of a new era for humanity. At least this is the story according to a number of new age gurus.

Whilst new age gurus have their moments of insight, and contribute in many ways to broader understanding of our humanity, on this one I have my doubts.

The 2012 story is based on some fancy mathematics and astronomy provided by the Mayan civilisation.

The Mayans were a bunch of people in what is currently called Central America. And the question I ask is ‘What did the Mayans ever do for us?’ They are after all, not to put too fine a point on it, a failed civilisation. So why should we care about some fancy mathematics they invented? If they were so smart, how come they are not still running the show in Central America?

But then again, empires come and empires go. There is a similar question asked in England, only this one is along the lines of ‘What did the romans ever do for us?’ This is usually followed by a long list of useful stuff the romans bequeathed to their ungrateful subjects.

No doubt other sufferers of external conquest ask the same thing. I can imagine the Indians asking ‘What did the British ever do for us?’ A few thoughts: Single language, democracy, a unified legal system, railways and most important of all cricket.

The English language is a remarkably flexible tool for expressing ourselves. And whenever the 2012 phenomena rears its head, a specific word springs into my mind, and that word is ‘bollocks’.

For those readers outside of Britain, I’d better define bollocks for you. It basically means, in a rather vulgar way, rubbish or nonsense. And ideally it is said with a certain indignation and gusto.

My vision for 2013, is a number of new age gurus frantically looking around for signs that anything has changed. And by 2014, they will be hoping no one remembers their lofty predictions. And if anyone does remind them, they will reply something along the lines of the change has happened in spirit, but it has yet to manifest into form.

My prediction for 2012 and beyond is that humanity will keep on keeping on, behaving and doing pretty much what it has been doing for the last several thousand years, enthusiastically chasing after short-term selfish gains with the primary unconscious aim of producing and rearing the next generation of happy humans.

Also I’d like to create this nifty mental association for you, so as to save your mental energy for more useful activities: 2012 – Bollocks!

© David R. Durham

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Red Wine


Red wine is good for you (in moderation).

Which is good news for wine drinkers.

It can help to protect against strokes, reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammatory diseases such as sepsis, appendicitis and peritonitis.

For More Information: WDDTY – Full Articles


© David R. Durham

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Labels are very useful things.

They help us to identify and categorise things, events and people in our everyday world. And for those memory-challenged moments, the label of last resort “thingy” comes in very handy.

Where they often start to fail us is when it comes to ourselves and other people. We become defined by our labels, and often we have trouble seeing beyond them.

This happens quite regularly in the work environment, where middle managers in particular become blinded to someone’s potential beyond the boundaries of their job title. For instance, how creative would you expect an accountant to be?

During our lifetimes we acquire and go through many labels, such as muslim or hindu, girl then woman, single then married, athletic or a couch potato, good person or thief etc.

This phenomena seems to be partly due to our mental filters which we need to use to navigate the world and partly a result of simple mental laziness on our part.

Mental filters are entirely necessary to functioning efficiently (as outlined in NLP literature), as we wake up in a morning we need to know without thinking what a bed is, what to eat for breakfast, what clothes are for, who our family are etc.

The problem is that this short-hand way of thinking tends to get hard-wired and seldom updated. So we can mistakenly believe all Catholics are good, accountants can’t dance, we procrastinate too much or artists are disorganised and so on.

Fortunately, life has a habit of sending someone to us who contradicts our neat labels, and invites us to loosen them up, wake up and to begin thinking again.

© David R. Durham

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Travel Vaccinations


Since I am planning a trip to China, I thought I’d have a Hep. A virus vaccination, since it seems to be widely recommended when traveling to S. E. Asia.

I dutifully booked myself into a specialist travel clinic (MASTA) in London to have this vaccine, only to be ambushed by a nurse who insisted on giving me a full consultation.

Twenty minutes later another six vaccines I ought to have, had been sincerely recommended.

Apart from the possible shock to my immune system of having that many inoculations in such a short time and their potential side-effects, my concerns were accentuated by the fact that they advised me that where I was traveling to was a ‘High Risk’ malaria region. Which had not come up in any of my travel research to date.

I tactfully thanked the nurse for her advise, and declined.

Further research confirmed that where I plan to travel has no malaria risk.

What also concerned me is that this seems to be a classic sales ploy, one of using an authority figure (i.e. a nurse) to ‘recommend’ (i.e. sell) as many vaccinations as they can. As a non-medically qualified person – who am I to argue?

This also raises broader interesting questions on how exactly do we assess risk in our lives?

Clearly there are valid scenarios for having the appropriate vaccinations before traveling to certain parts of the world. But these need to be given where the motivation is due to a tangible risk, not just monetary gain or self-protection from being legally sued.

For an alternative view on travel vaccinations: What Doctors Don’t Tell You

© David R. Durham

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