Your mind is so powerful that your thoughts can make your sick.

Now, when I say sick I don’t mean they can make you so upset that you throw-up (although that can happen also).

But I mean that swimming around in your head you may have thoughts that make you sick enough to cause a real, physical illness.

In 1992 I got an invitation to attend a 5-day seminar at a holiday camp-site in Norfolk in the east of England with the meditation teacher, Roy Masters.

I’d been to his seminars before so I knew what to expect.

I signed up immediately as did my 2 brothers.

Roy didn’t come to the UK often so I didn’t want to miss it.

But not long after I signed up, a strange thing started happening to me.

About 2 weeks before the event, I got a sore throat.

Now, a weak point of mine was my throat and if I got sick it would usually affect my throat first.

The closer it got to the event, the worse my throat got.

And about 2 days before the event I said to myself, “I can’t go I’m too sick.”

But I had no other symptoms, no headache, no sneezing or coughing, no runny nose, no aches and pains – nothing but this sore throat.

On the day I was due to leave I was still saying to myself, “I can’t go, I’m too sick.”

Apart from the sore throat I felt completely fine.

In my mind it was if there were two sides of a conversation going on:

“I’d better go to this seminar.”

“I can’t go with this sore throat.”

“If I don’t go I’ll regret it.”

“If I do go I may get sicker.”

“I should go; I even persuaded one of my brothers to go.”

Around and around this went in my head.

Eventually I got in my car and started the 2.5 hour drive to Norfolk.

And all the way there the thoughts were still buzzing around my brain.

Of course these were all excuses. But they were more than simple excuses as I got real, physical symptoms.

So I went to the seminar. And, although not easy, I was glad I went.

This wasn’t simply a relaxing meditation retreat but, for me, it was a transformative experience.

A friend of mine attending the event also got physical symptoms.

He got boils in his ears – both ears! It was if his body was trying to stop him from hearing something.

In my case it was if my body was trying to stop me speaking – because there’s something very powerful about speaking up.

We all do things that are bad, irritating, annoying or stupid. But we don’t see them – other people do!

And there are things we see in other people that they don’t.

Now, if we’re prepared to confront someone about their faults, but not with aggression or anger or any negative emotion but just because it is the right thing to do, we may experience fear.

Because when you criticize someone, it’s as if you give them permission to criticize you back.

So they may pick-up on your faults that you’re unaware of.

In daily life if you criticize or correct someone for some minor thing you may get a torrent of abuse back.

But in a seminar, where most people go because they want to improve themselves you’ll probably get a more meaningful criticism back.

That’s not to say it won’t hurt – it probably will in some cases, but you may need to hear it from a stranger.

If your wife or husband, father or mother, sister or brother has moaned at you for years about some annoying thing you do, by now you probably ignore it.

But when you hear those same words from someone who doesn’t know you well, but still sees the same fault in you and isn’t using the energy of anger to say it – it can have an amazing effect – if you’re open enough to hear it without resentment.

After the seminar was over and everyone was preparing to go home, I said my goodbyes and got in my car to drive back to London.

As soon as I drove out of the camp, guess what happened?

Yes, the sore throat that I’d had for nearly 3 weeks completely vanished.

My thoughts had made me sick.

But what was in charge of my thoughts? It wasn’t me.

The answer will have to wait for another article.


how to meditate in bed and sleep like a baby(my son Nicholas in 2010)

When I was about 8 or 9 years old I can clearly remember meditating on my bed. And I didn’t even know what meditation was.

It was a sunny day and I was lying on my back, looking up at a clear blue sky through the window next to my bed.

I was totally relaxed but aware at the same time – allowing thoughts to drift in and out.

If my parents saw me they would have probably said, “Why don’t you ride around the block on your bike, instead of wasting your time daydreaming.”

Daydreaming was frowned on in those days.

I can remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday but I can only recall doing it that one single time.

Perhaps that was the only time I did it.

Back then in the UK most people hadn’t even heard of the practice of meditation until the Beatles got into it a couple of years later.

So the experience was mostly forgotten – only to be remembered briefly.

And it wasn’t until I was much older that I realised what it was.

I now meditate regularly in bed in the morning.

It’s easier than sitting in a chair in a cold room, especially in the winter months.

But if I listen to the “voice” in my head that says, “Don’t meditate today, it’s too cold – stay in bed in the warm and sleep for another half hour,” I know my day won’t go as well.

So I’d rather meditate in bed to centre myself before I go out and face the stress and strain of life.

If you develop the habit of meditating in bed in the morning the annoying, frustrating and stressful things that you’ll face will run off you like water off a duck’s back.

But, if you get annoyed frustrated upset or angry, it could ruin your whole day.

And if you get really angry it might ruin your whole month.

A Chinese proverb says, “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

But it’s even more serious because if you get angry in the wrong place at the wrong time at the wrong person, it could ruin your whole life.

How to meditate in bed: Here’s how I do it

When the alarm on my phone goes off, I get out of bed, walk over and silence it.

I then set the timer for 20 minutes, get back into bed and sit upright without my head being supported and with my legs straight out in front of me.

Don’t lie back down as you’ll probably drift off to sleep again.

Warning: Meditatiing in bed if you have a bad back

If you have a bad back you may not be able to sit in this position.

But you can try this instead:

Put a pillow under your knees which will take the pressure off your lower back.

And, instead of sitting upright, lean back slightly with your head resting on the head-board or a pillow.

But if you can’t sit up at all, due to illness for example, you can meditate lying on your back.

Although it’s not normally a good idea to meditate lying down as it’s too easy to fall asleep, in this case it’s ok.

So lie on your back, place your hands on your stomach and touch your fingers together so that the tip of the first finger of the left hand touches the tip of the first finger of the right hand, the tip of the second finger on the left hand touches the tip of the second finger on the right hand.

And do the same for all fingers.

You may not be able to touch all four fingers and the thumbs together easily, but it’s ok if you only manage to join 3.

Then, become aware of each pair of fingers in turn by concentrating on the pressure at the point where the fingers touch.

Also, if you’re lying on your back, you can draw your legs up so that your feet are flat on the bed. You may find this more comfortable as it’ll take the pressure off your lower back. You can also try putting a pillow under your knees.

Now, you’re lying on your back, your hands are resting on your stomach with your fingers touching and you’re concentrating on the tips of your fingers – at the point where they meet.

When you get the hang of that, concentrate on the middle of your forehead at the same time. (I go into more detail on this method in How to Meditate Deeply).

If you find it tiring with the soles of your feet on the bed and your knees in the air, you can slowly push one leg forward so that it’s now flat on the bed.

You now have one leg flat on the bed and the other one with the knee in the air.

You can also change which leg is flat and which leg is raised but try to have at least one leg is raised at all times to take the pressure of your lower back.

If you have insomnia and have trouble getting to sleep you can try this method whilst lying down, and drift off to sleep directly from your meditation.

When you go to sleep from meditation you’ll find the quality of your sleep is much better.

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