Saturday, February 19, 2011


PHIL: There’s no question there’s a lot going on in the world to give us pause. The fourth insight is The Struggle for Power. “Too often humans cut themselves off from the greater source of this energy, and so feel weak and insecure. To gain energy we tend to manipulate or force others to give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened but often fight back. Competition for scarce human energy is the cause of all conflict between people.” Can you explain that a little?

JAMES: The more inwardly connected we are spiritually, the more security we feel. The less connected we are the more insecure we feel. So if you take the world right now, the majority of it is filled with the relatively insecure, because there’s only one security and that’s spiritual security. That’s the nirvana within that can be felt, the bliss within that can be found. So right now, what happens is that people too often want to feel stronger by acquiring someone else’s energy, rather than build their own from within. And, if you look at every argument, every conflict around the world, between governments and families and work places, its all around people wanting to control others, and dominate others from a kind of “I’m the smartest one, I’m the one you should pay attention too, I’ll lead you in the right way, listen to what I say, I don’t want to have to listen to what you say.” These are just all experiences about the competition of energy, every argument every competition is a power trip for energy. Now the fourth insight is one that everybody can see, all you have to do is open your eyes and have a clue. And you see people vying for power. And what that really means is, they don’t have enough of their own, and they would like to be the smartest one in the crowd so everybody will give them some attention and thus energy. And the only reason conflicts aren’t immediately resolved is because someone’s holding on to the need to be dominant in the situation. And, you know, that sort of corrupts all of the truth telling interaction that could be happening within humans around the world. It’s just corrupted by the need for security, energy that they can grab from other people.

PHIL: When one person takes the power away, he dominates somebody else. He who lost it, or he or she who lost their power, isn’t that really just a perception? If we live in a universe of unlimited power then technically, I can’t take anything away from you that you can’t immediately replenish, if you so desired to do so.

JAMES: Yeah, but that’s the hard part, desiring to do so and having an inner experience of being filled with an unlimited amount of energy. That’s not something that we are trained to do in school. Your trained just the opposite. In school you’re trained how to win arguments and control and dominate people in school. And you know, the reason that we are all discovering this spiritual journey, and the reason that we know that it is something we want for our lives, is we have this, this inner connection. It’s one that all the mystics of every religion and every tradition have all talked about, but it’s always been too mental. It’s always been, we can talk about the Yogis and give you there history and theories and that’s the same as being enlightened. Well its not, we’ve got to have that inner breakthrough ourselves, personally and its something that feels intentional, it feels better than anything else. It comes, and all we have to do is set that intention and no matter where we are on the scale of being able to open up and feel secure within, we can find that magic moment that fills people. That’s why everybody is on the spiritual search out there. But they don’t want any more talk about spirituality. What they want is the real juice, so when I talk about integrating all the spiritual quests and this awakening that we’re having out there, we are seeking it for ourselves, not to talk about, not to understand mentally but to really have it. That is the challenge has great urgency out there, and great ramifications should we not make it in time. Enough of us have to find this spiritual flow within in order to then be able to resolve these fourth insight conflicts that we still see out there. It’s one thing to see them happening, it’s another thing to be able to deal with them in a way that we stay above the power struggles in our live and we, we rely on this inner connection for security. So we can’t be insulted, be drained of energy, because as you say, then we are tapping into that connection where you can’t steal my energy because I’ll give it to you first; I have an unlimited amount to give to you.

PHIL: Yeah, have all you want, take it, it doesn’t matter I have unlimited energy in me. If you need it you know, go for it.
JAMES: That’s right and so you know the models, there are people out there, that can do that and we see them. And those are the models that attract our attention. It has to be a spiritual breakthrough that we have and that’s why, that’s why more and more people are going, are settling into a real individualized search for an inner experience of spirituality. And you know back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, there were probably more people talking about it, but now there are a lot more people actually doing it and they’re doing it within. They may not know all the names, and they may not know who Arbindo or any of the other Indian gurus are, or Abraham Maslow or anybody else, they don’t know those names, but in their little church somewhere they are finding those moments, and that’s what counts.

PHIL: Absolutely. The fifth insight, “the message of the mystic,- insecurities and violence ends when we experience an inner connection with divine energy within. A connection described by mystics of all traditions, lightness, buoyancy, along with the constant sensation of love that are measures this connection.” If these measures are present, the connection is real. If not, it is only pretended. I mean there is no question, if you’re going through life feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders you’re not feeling particularly light and buoyant.

JAMES: That’s right, and the thing about it, this awakening is beneficial no matter where you are, no matter how many problems you have, no matter whether you have an education or you don’t. That’s the important thing that we all understand. We aren’t talking about something that only the elite who operate in an ivory tower can do, we’re talking about something everybody can do. We’re talking about every level of affluence, every level of education, and it’s something that can happen anywhere and it always makes life better. You’ve got to feel the energy that lifts your consciousness. And it lifts your energy, you feel lighter on your feet, you know?

PHIL: Oh absolutely.

JAMES: You’ve got to move you get to feel the energy. That’s why fitness is such a big deal right now, and so many people are addicted to fitness, because you can do nothing but just start right and exercising and you’ll start to feel that kind of lightness that’s transpersonal. I mean, its that spiritual juice that we are talking about, you can go, you can find it through that avenue of fitness, you can go and find it through any other way too, music, love, you can just practice love, Nothing but just practice love. You know, in the east they have all the yoga’s and yoga is a path, a way, you can meditate on any attribute of this consciousness and get in the higher consciousness that way, and suddenly get the whole thing. And so the fifth insight is knowing that that’s available, but believing it enough to set the intention for it, and watch for the fruits. And that’s the sixth insight. The things that start to happen once we really start to focus on forming our life with this influx of spiritual energy.

PHIL: The sixth insight is called “clearing the path.” The sixth insight; “the more we stay connected, the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection, usually when we are under stress, we can see our own particular ways of stealing energy from others. Once manipulations are bought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more constant and we discover our own growth path in life, and our spiritual mission - the personal way we can contribute to the world.

JAMES: Well the sixth insight is so important because you know if you’re working on your own spiritual life, and you realize if you ask for divine energy to come into you and if you want to feel that connection with the world and that purpose of the world, it starts to come in. The energy brings a sense of well being no matter what’s happening in your life. But it also brings in an intuition about who you really are, if you’re not this biographical person, if you’re not just that, living in a material world pretending that you don’t like it, if you’re not that then who are you? And we’re souls are awakening, and what we are awakening to is a truth that we came here to tell. And that could be anything, a breakthrough computer program, a new cool procedure, a way to teach other people.


Thursday, February 17, 2011


How to “Unlearn Your Pain”
Howard Schubiner, MD

There are literally millions of people currently suffering with chronic pain. My work with people with chronic pain has shown me what a devastating impact pain can have on one’s life. Every day, someone tells me that pain has “ruined their life,” or that they have become a “professional pain patient.” Since I started the Unlearn Your Pain program in 2003, I have learned a great deal about pain and I am thrilled to report that we have seen amazing results in the majority of people who enter this program. In fact, a recent follow up study showed that people who entered the 4-week program at Providence Hospital in Southfield, MI had the following results. 67% had at least a 30% reduction in pain at a 6 month follow up evaluation and 54% had at least a 50% reduction in pain. These are remarkable results, given that the average duration of pain was about 9 years!

There are several steps to Unlearning Your Pain and the complete program for healing can be found in my book. In this article, I will offer a synopsis of the steps that I have found helpful in reversing chronic pain.

First, it is critical to understand what is causing the pain. This might seem easy, but often it is more difficult than one might imagine. Those with chronic pain that is caused by cancer often require strong pain medications. I do not work with pain caused by cancer, fractures, or infections/inflammation. However, the majority of people with chronic pain have pain that is diagnosed as fibromyalgia, migraine or tension headaches, or irritable bowel syndrome. The pain in those disorders is just as real as the pain caused by cancer, fractures or infections. However, that pain is not caused by a structural disease process in the body. It is caused by learned nerve pathways. Learned nerve pathways are simply connections between the brain and body that produce actions in the body. If you learned to ride a bicycle as a child, that develops a learned nerve pathway. That pathway will always exist and you’ll be able to ride a bike later in life. Signing a name, eating, walking, and reacting to every day events are all caused by learned nerve pathways. Cutting edge neuroscience has shown that pain pathways can be learned and can persist for year in the absence of a disease process in the body. This is the cause of most chronic pain, including most back and neck pain. (Please see my website or my book for a detailed description of how back and neck pains are typically caused by these pathways.)

Once you have determined that your pain is caused by learned nerve pathways (this is also known as Tension Myositis Syndrome, a term coined by Dr. John Sarno in The Mindbody Prescription, or Mind Body Syndrome, as described in Unlearn Your Pain), the next step is to figure out what has led to the development of these pain pathways. There is a detailed process for doing this in Unlearn Your Pain. Briefly, a careful review of life events is usually sufficient to find connections between stressful life events and the onset of these pain syndromes. Here are a couple of examples that illustrate how stressful life events can trigger severe and chronic pain.

A 45 year old woman was abused both physically and sexually for much of her childhood. She developed anxiety in childhood which was manifest by fear of being alone and the need to connect as much as possible to the people in her life, including her abusers. This is a common reaction to abuse; with the other common reaction being fear and inability to connect to anyone and the inability to feel emotions. She also blamed herself for the abuse and develop the belief that she was unworthy of love and self-esteem. As she grew up, she experienced other events which caused fear and anxiety, such as the loss of a boyfriend (who spread false rumors about her), the death of a parent, a divorce after her husband “cheated” on her and the loss of a job (after being harassed by a boss). Each of these stressors in later life caused the onset of a new symptom. Initially irritable bowel syndrome, then severe headaches, then TMJ pain, then pelvic pain, and finally widespread pain, diagnosed as fibromyalgia.

A 47 year old woman presented with head pain for 17 years. She had seen over 20 physicians, including several headache clinics and had even had facial surgery to try to alleviate the pain. She had also been on over 20 different medications without relief. Her mother was described as “being in her own world” and her father was described as being “bipolar.” When her father was in a bad mood, he would grab her by her collar and scream at her: “You idiot; you jerk; what’s wrong with you?; can’t you do anything right?” These events recurred on a regular basis during her childhood. She developed no symptoms until she was 30 years old. One day, she obtained a new pair of glasses and immediately upon putting them on, she developed pain on the left side of her head which lasted for 17 years. When asked about the stressors in her life when she got her new glasses, she realized that she has just gotten a new boss, who was a “mean and nasty woman” who used to yell and scream at her.

The third step in the process of healing is to recognize that the pain is caused by learned nerve pathways, that there is no serious physical or structural problem in your body, and that you can actually get better! This is a powerful and important step that activates healing and serves to reduce pain.

Finally, I suggest a process to reverse the pain. In the program I’ve developed, it consists of a 4-week course of exercises designed to better understand and cope with stress and emotional distress. The program is contained in Unlearn Your Pain and consists of therapeutic writing exercises, meditative exercises, sets of affirmations, and learning to make necessary changes to promote contentment and well-being. It is truly amazing to see people take on the challenge of changing their lives in order to reverse their pain. Some people get better quite quickly as they learn to let go of anger, guilt, or fear from prior stressful events. Others need to make significant changes in their lives in order to free themselves from stressful situations that are ongoing. Some people gradually work on taking control and stopping their pain over time. The key to resolving chronic pain is understanding what is causing it. If you suffer from chronic pain and haven’t been helped by the traditional medical or alternative health methods, you might be suffering from a condition (learned nerve pathways) that can be reversed. And it might not be that difficult to accomplish.

The story behind Unlearn Your Pain
Howard Schubiner, MD

Unlearn Your Pain began with a single patient who was referred to me about 8 years ago. This woman had severe pain in her back and hip. Despite two surgeries, pain medications, injections, and physical therapy, she continued to have pain and walked with a cane. She contacted me after reading a book by Dr. John Sarno entitled The Mindbody Prescription. This book gave her a completely new and different view of her pain and after reading it and applying its principles, she began to feel better. Her pain resolved within a matter of weeks.

Her story led me on a path of seeking to understand this phenomenon and I met with Dr. Sarno, did a great deal of reading, developed a program that used the principles espoused by Dr. Sarno, and started doing scientific research to document the value of these interventions. The result of all this work over the past 8 years is Unlearn Your Pain.

People who suffer chronic pain have real pain, Doctor’s treat the part of the body that’s feeling the pain, but that is rarely the true source of the pain. If medical tests do not reveal any serious structural problem then chronic pain is due to overly sensitized connections between the brain and the body. Overtime they become wired into the brain’s circuitry. The nervous system learns to create chronic pain.

This book is divided into three parts. The first part (consisting of the first four chapters) describes a new and revolutionary understanding of the causes of most chronic pain. Most people with chronic pain do not have a structural, disease process in the area where the pain is being felt. This is surprising, as most doctors would think that if you have a pain in the arm, there must be something wrong with the arm. Although tumors, fractures, infections and inflammation can cause pain, often the cause of chronic pain is learned nerve pathways.

The second part of the Unlearn Your Pain is a chapter that guides the reader through an exploration of their life and helps them to understand what events led to the development of their pain syndrome. Early life stressors commonly set up learned nerve pathways that can be triggered later in life. For example, a young girl who grows up with a very critical, and emotionally abusive father develops pathways of fear, self-doubt, and self-criticism. If she marries a man who treats her in a similar way, those old pathways are easily activated and her body may react to the internal pressures that result. New pain pathways can develop that are her body’s way to alerting her to the “danger” her husband poses to her. The pain is caused by nerve pathways in the absence of a physical disease process.

The third part of the book is a comprehensive guide to healing chronic pain. There is a 4-week program designed to help people fix their lives and stop their pain. Therapeutic writing exercises form a powerful tool to uncover stressful situations and cope with them better. A meditation CD is included and guides the reader towards changing the pain pathways.
Two research studies have now been conducted demonstrating that this program is effective in promoting reductions in pain, even in people who have had pain for many years. The power of the program is that it gives readers the clear message that their pain is real, but curable, and that they have the power to accomplish this goal.

Unlearn Your Pain is available from or from

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Several years ago I conducted a fairly lengthy inter with author James Redfield of Celestine Prophecy fame. Our discussion went through each of his INSIGHTS as they led up to his soon to be released book, THE TWELFTH INSIGHT. Our conversation borders on prophecy, when you consider that the interview was conducted in 2008. I will post the interview in parts as it was fairly lengthy.

PHIL: The Celestine Prophecy, I remember reading it a number of years back, and a number of the follow ups, jeez what do you have now, twelve, fifteen books? You’ve got the Celestine Prophecy, you have Ten of Insights, Shambala, Celestine Vision, you have a book out with Murphy, God’s Evolving Universe.
JAMES: Well, there are three books in the Celestine series, I’m working on the fourth and last book there so, you know that’s what’s occupying my time now, and it’s very exciting. I’m chronicling what I call insights, but I really think of them as sort of grand “ahahs,” big steps in a kind of archetypal awakening of humanity, and I believe there are twelve of them, and the twelfth one is out there now so. And it’s as you might imagine, the integration fully, of all the insights in to something we can live everyday.
PHIL: Oh absolutely, and anybody who wants to check this out, go to What I want to do is to go through the insights. I mean we could probably talk all evening and into the night, just on one alone, but I’d like to try to go through the eleven, at least to refresh people’s memories as to what they are. I’m sure since you first wrote them, even in your own mind, there’s been a little bit of an evolution between the first book and where you are now. The first insight is called A Critical Mass, “a new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture. An awakening brought about by a critical math of individuals who’ve experienced their lives as a spiritual unfolding. A journey in which we are led forward but mysterious coincidences.” Why do you feel at this point that we are at the height of a spiritual awakening, for humanity as a whole?
JAMES: If you look at all the polls, forget the news headlines and if you look at all the polls what you see is in greater and greater numbers are people awakening to a spirituality that’s personal. That’s what they say they’re discovering in polls and it’s crossing all religious persuasions. It’s happening everywhere. You know, there’s a kind of very negative news chatter right now about this war and big polarizations we’re having in terms of religion that are seeking to impose themselves on everybody. But you know that’s just a hurdle, one of the hurdles. And that’s really what the twelfth insight is about, getting over, getting past that challenge, as we proceed with our spiritual evolution.
PHIL: Do you think there is any kind of correlation between the number of people who are leaving the church and the rise in a more personal spiritual endeavor?
JAMES: You know, I don’t, I don’t really think so, I mean there are movements everywhere now, it used to be everybody leaving organized religion, then there’s big waves, some years, and people going back to the more structured spiritual path within one of the religious traditions. But I mean, I believe it’s just happening everywhere, it’s not what you might classify as new age thoughts, but if you look for general expression, a positive expression of the search for an individual and experiential spirituality. That’s continuing to occur out there. And you know, it’s inevitable, and the reason the first insight is such a great reminder is it’s a place where it all began. Because once you realize, once you tune in to the fact that there is a mechanism in the world that brings opportunities to us, brings great adventures to us; once you see and experience that, then your mind can’t get afraid and go back to those mysterious and meaningful coincidences and say they aren’t real. Once that kernel pops, there’s no way you go back to thinking that life is about a kind of materialistic routine that you thought before. And yeah we’ve had that critical mass, the first insight’s critical mass has already happened. Even the people that swear to be materialists, and atheists, and see no meaning to the universe, even they know there is something missing in their lives, and they keep trying to fill it with you know, games and toys, but it just doesn’t work. Until you really start to acknowledge the flow fully, and start to get into the journey of it you know you’re not satisfied in life.
PHIL: I think there’s no doubt that there’s a lot more questioning going on than there has been in a while. And until we start asking questions and demanding answers, it’s hard to put a lid on that, it takes on a life of its own.
JAMES: Absolutely, and that’s been going on for some time now and you know, forget politics, forget the trends that the news and media talk about, that’s not the important trend that’s happening out there.
PHIL: The second insight is The Longer Now. “This awakening represents the creation of a new, more complete world view, which replaces a 500 year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort”. Now interestingly enough, I’m sure detractors out there would be saying whoa, whoa wait a minute, people taking a larger world view? Everything that’s happening and all these little hot spots around the world, everybody is just getting more selfish, nationalism is on the rise, look at the Balkans, Tibet, the Middle East and everybody wants a little piece of the pie. How do you figure that, there’s a growing world view out there?
JAMES: Well because what you just described is the result of the need for something more. People are becoming more selfish because they can’t accept the ordinary life any more. People are wanting to find meaning in nationalism because they are seeking something new and energized and you know, these trends go back and forth, and round and round. But what’s important is that more and more people understand that there is a deeper spiritual consciousness available and if, if you really look at it, and you really get the second insight, you realize that it’s a matter of historical inevitability. In other words, we are evolving our consciousness, we realize we have been asleep in some kind of scientific materialism, and we are now breaking through to something more complete. You know, there’s nothing the rational life was important and we had to establish that. We had to train our minds to think more rationally, but now that rationality is not grounded anymore, because what we really want to rationalize is how to live the spiritual life more fully.
We are turning those powers on so we are investigating scientifically, and thinking logically about how to live this greater spiritual flow, this synchronistic flow that is inevitable. The second insight is important to keep in mind because it’s one of the steps to staying conscious; you have to realize where we are in long term history, in the history of thought. We’re breaking through a very confined rationality, and now we are looking at deeper phenomena out there, the spiritual life that we can apply, this sort of consensus building, and rational consensus so that we can institute it in the world, which is where we are now.
PHIL: What is phenomenal, is, with respect to the age of technology and communication we have going on, is that I can sit here in Summerville, Maine and be talking to a person in China as to what’s going on in their life and what they’re doing. So the ability to become aware of what is occurring around the world is almost instantaneous. It’s incredible.
JAMES: No doubt about that. And you know, it’s contagious, the whole thing, consciousness, a higher consciousness is contagious. And you can kind of stay half asleep until you run in to some who’s not. Then what you see is this greater consciousness that becomes a model of exactly what it is you know in your heart is missing. So you know nothing can be better than that that sort of intermingling consciousness in the world.
PHIL: The third insight deals with matter and energy. “We are now experiencing that we live not in a material universe, but in a universe of dynamic energy. Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing our attention in the desired direction... where attention goes, energy flow… influencing other energy systems, and increasing the case of coincidences in our lives.” I would have to say, James that there is no question what is happening in the field of physics; all those people that say, “Well prove it, prove it, prove it,” and in a way it’s all coming out now. There is a basis, there is a scientific basis to all of this that’s going on and the whole quantum physics thing to me is just mind blowing.
JAMES: Well I think it is and you know, what it really feels like, and the way we’re experiencing it, is that we are tuned in to this universe that we are in. What we think is material is beautiful, if we look at the tree it’s beautiful, and it’s hard when we touch it but it’s really just an energy field. And the more energy that we can find within ourselves, the more energy that we can apply in this world, and give into this universe, the more we give in, more we get back. You know what I mean? That is the law of attraction. You know the more we give energy and attention, the more we get back from the universe in the direction that we’re trying to unhitch from its point.
PHIL: You constantly see new reports and new studies saying hey you know it’s what you think that counts.
JAMES: I was just going to say that that’s the third insight phenomena, when we see all these books on physics and how the universe really does respond, that’s part of the working out of this insight’s awakening that’s still churning out there.
PHIL: Absolutely, and like I said, it’s absolutely phenomenal what is being discovered. Science is getting so close to coming up with their unified theory, and I think they’re almost afraid to make the next quantum leap. Where they will have to go with some of this information is hard to say, but I guess they will have to wrestle with their own consciousness to see where they take all this.
JAMES: Yeah, well at the end of the show we can talk about science. You know unfortunately, parts of science and parts of the news media and politicians in general are going to be the last to get it, they are going to wait until the people have instituted it in their mind. And, once we get it, then the politicians and the news people, and the scientists will start to study it and talk about it.
PHIL: Oh there’s no question that the institutions, whether it be the medical associations, or religious organizations, they are so entrenched and they are so concerned with maintaining their own validity in the world that they will certainly resist. But, what I like in the world is the voices that are cropping up with the direction. And you know, I think you’re seeing more and more people, more books and things like that from people who have the credentials and they are saying, “Hey, this whole energy thing, there’s really something to it, the universe is all energy we are all interconnected, the mind does have power, there is power behind thought, the way you feel, your health and so forth, is effected by this.” I mean it’s becoming main stream, and it’s just nice to see that.
JAMES: I think so but it’s certainly not main stream. I mean it’s in the process of becoming main stream now; the twelfth insight is integrating in to everything. And you know, this kind of constriction of economics you see around the world, beginning around the world right now, is just kind of going to give us enough pause so that that institutionalization can happen, you know?