WORDS ARE POWERFUL. They shape thinking and change lives. And through them we influence one another. But what about unspoken words—namely, thoughts? Do they have the same kind of power?
Consider a recent study that focused on patients dealing with chronic pain. Robert Lee Hotz, "A Comforting Spouse Could Turn Out to Be a Real Pain," Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2002 . When a concerned spouse was in the same room as the patient, the pain increased up to three times. But when the spouse focused on something other than their loved one's discomfort, the pain did not increase. The psychological environment in which one lives, researchers concluded, can influence pain and the patient's experience of it.
Clearly, the subject of hidden influences or latent thoughts is an intriguing one. These influences fall under two main categories: those that exist externally in the current mental environment, such as in the study on chronic pain; and those that are internal and have become part of one's own thinking—even at the subconscious level. The undesirable effects that negative hidden beliefs and their influences can cause point to the need to detect and nullify them. But how?