Back in the Middle Ages alchemists sought to transform base metal into gold. They searched for an elusive substance, the philosopher’s stone, which would bring about this conversion, known as alchemy. But to initiates of the ancient mystery schools, alchemy was primarily an allegory for the real work of spiritual and mental alchemy.
Spiritual alchemy is the process of transforming a less evolved soul personality into a more refined one. The founders of all major religions have attempted to expedite this transformation by providing rules to help people achieve this goal and also lead happier and more productive lives. Enlightenment, illumination, the perfection of the soul all point to this ultimate goal. Mystics from all religions have studied the universal laws to speed up this process, which they believe occurs over many lifetimes.
Mental alchemy is the process of transmuting your thoughts to improve your life and expand your mind. The good news is that this discipline can produce immediate, beneficial results in your current life, in some cases instantly.
Mental alchemy involves the replacement of beliefs that are hindering your development with positive ones that will help you. You might say that sounds straightforward—why would this be so difficult?
It turns out it’s extremely difficult to change beliefs. There are three reasons for this:
1) Most people mistake their beliefs for the truth. Even if it’s not in their best interest, some people resign themselves to their fate because they mistakenly accept a belief as true.
2) Beliefs operate at the subconscious level. Most people are unaware of their subconscious beliefs, which are often in conflict with their conscious thoughts. For example, a woman may consciously be seeking love, but subconsciously she may feel she’s unworthy. Unless her belief is made conscious and transmuted, it will continue to sabotage her efforts. Here’s how to identify unconscious beliefs.
3) You see what you believe. Less than 100 years ago physicists were trying to determine whether light was a wave or a particle. The answer depended on what you believed you would find. If you believed light was made of particles, then you could design an experiment that proved it. Conversely, if you believed light consisted of waves then you could design another experiment to prove that.
The placebo effect provides another example. In drug trials required to gain FDA approval, 40% of patients, on average, will obtain relief from placebos. They get better simply because they believe they will get better. Placebos have actually helped people with Parkinson’s disease.
The mystic principle behind these results is called the Law of Attraction or “like attracts like.” In the mystic world, and now in the world of quantum physics, we know that everything is energy. Everything has its own vibration, including a belief. People attract to themselves those experiences that match their existing belief system. They get to see what they believe.
So how does Mental Alchemy work?
Neurologists tell us the brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s actually experienced and what’s imagined to be experienced. The same electrical patterns are fired between the neurons in the brain. The electrical patterns in the brain reflect how we store and process information, including beliefs.
The ramification of this is profound: you can change your beliefs using your imagination. It doesn’t matter whether the belief is true or not.
Let’s take an example of a basketball player who misses the final shot of the state championship game and his team ends up losing by one point. This experience can be traumatic and will often reinforce negative beliefs that he’s a choker or a loser. Had he made the shot, he would be a hero and filled with the confidence of a winner.
Let’s say you are the basketball player.
What should you do?
First, go to a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for 10–15 minutes. Make sure that none of your objective senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste) is being stimulated. Take a few deep breaths. Your goal is to relax and get into an alpha state. Scientists have shown that you can learn new skills much more readily while in this state. Meditation is ideal for this.
At this point, you should replay the end of the game in your mind. Only this time, when you take the final shot, do it with confidence and watch it go in. Visualize all the fans going wild as the buzzer sounds and your teammates carry you off the court. Involve all your senses and imagine how it feels to be the hero!
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, but he probably missed just as many shots at the end of the game as he made. But you can be quite certain he didn’t dwell on the missed shots, but simply remembered the game-winning shots. You can do the same. Use the technique of Mental Alchemy and change your life.