Nature has given us a special freedom. We are not bound to simply respond to immediate life situations, as are the lower animals. Freed of these patterns, we can transcend time and respond to events as they occur, to events that have already occurred, or to those that have not. For example, a soldier may reproduce feelings experienced in last weeks battle or may experience feelings related to what he imagines will happen when he is shipped home next week. In the first case he will likely feel fear and anguish and, in the second, he will likely feel happiness. Either reaction could take place as he lies in his sleeping bag at three in the morning. Similarly, we may take the knowledge we possess at this moment and project onto a future situation, thereby planning our response, a procedure well known to any good quarterback. Furthermore, we can project into
the past, recall how we handled a given situation, and make a decision to handle similar situations in the future in the same or in c different way. In other words, we can use conscious feedback to help us make decisions.
In the following chapters we will focus on the aspect of conscious imagination that I call Selective Awareness-the process of focusing on certain thoughts and taking the focus away from others, temporarily, in order to use the brain and nervous system more effectively. The techniques for accomplishing this grew out of the synthesis of many objective scientific disciplines, including mathematics and computer theory, cybernetics, psychiatry, behavioral psychology, and many subfields of Western medicine. The findings and conclusions of these objective sciences are used to bring the mind-body complex into internal harmony through the use of subjective self-observation and self-regulation methods derived from medical hypnosis, autogenic training, biofeedback, and meditation techniques.
The ultimate goal of this work is to place you in control of your self to the degree that you choose and are motivated to achieve I hope that in learning to eliminate maladaptive symptoms, emotions, and habits, my readers, students, clients, patients, and friend' will further develop access to that internal guidance system that through guiding the evolution of life, has transformed a harsh terrestrial wasteland into a planet of luxuriant greenery, supporting an almost limitless variety of flying, walking, and swimming creatures. But for the belief that such an internal guidance system still remains beneath the confusion in each of us, this book would never have been written. Perhaps it will, in some small way, help to create an inner awareness commensurate with the achievements oftwentieth-century technological science; an awareness that might stem humanity's blind, headlong, inhuman rush toward an unthinkable nothingness.