By rewiring our thoughts, we could achieve the goals we had set ourselves. NLP was invented in California during the 1970s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people had attended NLP training. In the UK alone, there were over 30,000 licensed NLP practitioners. While I had met people who were evangelical about the powerful tools offered by NLP, I also knew that anthropologists had studied NLP and described it as folk magic. Realize this distinction: calm is something you must go after, whereas stress comes after you. True, you may drift into calm while gazing at a turquoise sea or listening to the song of doves, but in our manic world, you must learn to deliberately cultivate such peacefulness. It's a mistake to think it'll just descend on you. The biology of emotional freedom depends on getting your endorphins flowing and turning off your stress hormones. How do you achieve this? Laughter, exercise, meditation, and doing anything that makes you feel loved, including making love. Set out to experience a little bit more calm each day. Here's how to get started. Meditate to Experience Emotional Freedom Feelings of freedom begin to percolate in us when we calm down. Do you get anxious? Montgomery asks. Nah, not really, says DeJuan. She leans forward onto the counter. How are you on the Fourth of July?

Oh, man. He chuckles softly. I get jumpy, I'm not gonna lie. I'm watching Montgomery carefully with her rapid-fire assessment, and this is a deft maneuver. She's seen enough consistency in this environment to know which specific questions are more apt to get accurate answers. Pam told me, I thought I was connected. I had lunch three times a week with girl-friends. My husband and I had a full social calendar. I just didn't know you were supposed to talk to people about your insides! Having social friends is important. But those friends don't necessarily meet our needs for intimate connecting with the unknown part of us. We must find people who want to connect with us for the purpose of connection itself. These can be from many areas of life: present family, redemptive friends, support groups, church, and therapists. Research indicates that the more healthy relationships we have, the better our prognosis for healing. But the important thing to understand is that you need these people to help you learn how to connect. Yet in our increasingly anxious, accelerated and uncertain world, it's only by discerning the legitimate fears that are serving us from the imagined and sensationalised ones that aren't that we can forge the deeply authentic, meaningful and truthful lives we yearn to live. Only then can we live powerfully, consciously choosing to move towards the aspirations that inspire us, rather than away from the fears that stifle and diminish us. Just as the way you fold your arms -- right over left or left over right -- is something you do without any thought (go on, try it now), so too is how you engage in the world around you. The more often you act a certain way, the more habitual that behaviour becomes, until it's second nature and hard to do any other way. And so it is with living bravely.

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The class taught these students to use mindfulness to manage stress, enhance their communication skills and cultivate empathy. In its west wing are the fiery feelings that race through us when even casual acquaintances fail to fulfill our expectations. And, to enlarge the metaphor, in these very same dwellings that are made up of our demands, living on the floor just beneath them we find their neighbors. These are the negative emotions that not only blind us to the consequence of our own heated reactions, but whose roommates quickly step into the fray, telling us to blame others for the troubles that always follow when we cling to our own mistaken assumptions! As long as we live within the darkened mansion of these lower-level thoughts and feelings, unconsciously deriving our sense of self from identification with the stuff of our little lives, we must remain captives of their imperfect perspective. But there are other places in our hearts and minds, higher realms in this same interior kingdom, where we are free to live without such self-compromising limitations.

For instance, we can live in the castle of noble ideas about our own higher consciousness. Such enlightening concepts, along with the higher emotions they impart, shed helpful light on the nature of those self-defeating thoughts that trick us into entering their dark domain. These same liberating insights are the front-runner of new and expansive energies that pour into us whenever we are living in some littler world of ourselves and then step out of it into the wide-open spaces of our True Nature--a step that brings us to our next lesson in letting go and living in the Now. As we look into the invisible realm of thoughts and feelings within us, we see a world of many different levels within levels, like one house with three different floors where each level in that house tells its own story. In this instance we might think of the upstairs rooms in a house, with windows that let in lots of light, as being similar to bright, uplifting thoughts; Nevertheless, I was intrigued, so I signed up for a weekend seminar led by two well-known NLP experts. One of those experts came up on stage. He looked like a senior executive about to present a refresher course on a marketing strategy. His belly swelled under his gray suit. I knew his face. Wasn't he a television hypnotist? Let's try to develop a better you, he said. Close your eyes and start stroking your arms. Imagine the best you. Yes, that's right. Meditation is the gold standard of calming techniques. For millennia, it's been used by traditions from Zen to Judaism to attain inner stillness. I was overjoyed to see a Time magazine cover story, The Science of Meditation, a tribute to how Eastern mysticism and Western medicine are finally merging their truths. It's useable in the here and now, not on some rarefied plane. I swear by meditation, practice it daily, and teach it to my patients.