by Graeme Kapono Urlich
As a part my training and development as an Adventurer Shaman, I have had to become very aware of my
use of language, both consciously and sub-consciously. As a result of this, I have also become vividly
aware of how negative we can be when we describe even the most positive things, the result of which is
to program negative and potentially destructive sub-conscious patterns.
When someone asks you how you are feeling, do you reply "great", "very well thank
you" or, "not bad", "fair", "not so good"? When you have just
finished a really nice meal and someone asks you if you enjoyed it, is you reply "really
nice", "excellent", delicious meal" or, "not bad"? When you have turned out a good
piece of work or achieved something that really pleases you, do you prefer to hear "excellent
effort that", " really good work", "I am very pleased" or, "not a
The sub-conscious mind works on pure logic and does not know about context when we use language.
Unless we pay particular conscious attention to context, the sub-conscious will often pick out key
words in a sentence and use those to generate experience or feeling. If most of the words are
negatives, or have negative associations for your sub-conscious, then most of the experiences and
feelings will tend toward the negative. Using biofeedback techniques such as muscle testing, it is
possible to demonstrate the dramatically different effects that the two language patterns have on our
energy levels and emotions.
When you are talking to someone and disagree with what they are saying, do you say, "I don't
believe that", "that's rubbish" or, "I believe something else", "I have a
different opinion"? When you are feeling poorly, do you say "I don't feel well", "I am not feeling
well" or, "I am feeling a little off colour for the moment"? These similar statements are
interpreted by the conscious mind as meaning the same thing, but to the sub-conscious they are quite
different. To help the healing process you could say, "I'm feeling much better now". Even if this
is not true, the sub-conscious mind will begin to bring it about. Using the negative expression will
keep us feeling unwell for longer.
Another aspect of this is how we have learned to ask for things. It is vastly more common for people
to complain about something being wrong than for people to suggest a solution. I have trained myself
to ask for the desired result rather than to complain about something and hope for someone to
recognise this as a request - and possibly feeling disgruntled that it hasn't been recognised. I
teach my children to come and ask for a drink rather than to complain that they are thirsty - to ask
for help with something rather than to state that they can't do it themselves.
This seemingly insignificant rephrasing of descriptions and requests can have a tremendous effect on
the way we experience life. We become more positive in our outlook and people around us begin to
respond to us in more positive ways. Things tend to start working out more because we are choosing
ways for them to work out rather than hoping that they will. People like to know what you want from
them instead of hearing what they do wrong. Our own sub-conscious responds the same way - if a
solution is suggested our sub-conscious will move to bring this about quickly. If we simply state that
there is a problem then our sub-conscious will have no clear choice to move towards and is like to
choose a less than desirable solution and create a new problem.
It has taken me some time to become aware of this process and to remember to change it. I still forget
quite often but gradually more and more things in my life are working better and better. The effort to
change has been well worth it for me and I am sure that you will see the same benefits in your own
lives if you take on the challenge and stick with it.
Graeme Kapono Urlich (1993)
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism