Sorry, I haven't updated this for sometime having just moved, begun various group meetings and other things it has moved down my list of priorities. But this is because these are only edited and refined versions of my posts on Facebook. So if you want to read my latest general thoughts and reflections just go to my Facebook page.
|Posted on August 23, 2012 at 8:10 PM||comments (0)|
It seems to me that there are two types of psychological investigations. One involves studying and working with abnormal people in the hope of making them normal. The other, far more interesting type, involves studying and working with normal people in the hope of making them extraordinary.
|Posted on August 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
Go for a walk and think of something really heavy and depressing such as violence or famine or economic collapse. Really allow this thought to take over your imagination and then observe your body.
Observe your face and jaw, your shoulders and arms. Observe if you are breathing from the top, middle or bottom of your lungs. Observe they way you move your arms and hands, legs and feet. Pay attention to as many things as can within your body and movements.
Then stop and break your state by doing something like counting backwards by 3's or figuring out what day of the week it will be ten days from now.
Then start walking again. However, this time think about something light and joyful and observe your body and the way you are moving.
Break your state again.
Finally, think about something really heavy and depressing while walking in such a light and joyful fashion and notice just how hard it is to think about something heavy and depressing while your body moves with such lightness and joy.
|Posted on August 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM||comments (0)|
I have been asked how I work on serious medical conditions with hypnosis. This is an example of how I would work with someone who has, dyshidrotic eczema, a serious skin condition (most conditions can be dealt with in four sessions, however the more serious ones can benefit from five or more).
THE FIRST SESSION
The first session usually involves the least time in hypnosis because there are forms to be filled out and a need to find out more information. (I like to talk to my clients on the phone before the first session to get information, but I invariably have more questions when they finally come in for their first session.)
This probing for information involves getting a case history of this illness, including details such as:
- what triggers an outbreak (such as specific allergens like zinc or nickel, coffee and caffeine, or even the presence of certain people);
- when is the worst/best time of day/week/month/year;
- what situations make it worse (such as sunlight);
- what situations make it better (such as vacations);
- what techniques/medications/lotions help and how do they help;
- what techniques/therapies have been tried and which ones were successful and why;
- what role does diet play (particularly if Irritable Bowel Syndrome or yeast infections are present).
This probing is designed to uncover possible triggers, the role stress and anxiety play, and to learn more about things that have really helped (one of the things that hypnosis can do is to magnify or diminish reactions - so for instance, if some particular gel brought a real soothing feeling, this memory can be recalled while in hypnosis and even increased).
It is also aimed at uncovering an emotions that might play a role in the creation and maintenance of this disease (for instance some - though not all - sufferers of eczema often have what can be described as 'mental eruptions' where antagonistic feelings against the self/others/the world/events/life etc. just seemingly erupt out of nowhere) and uncovering any other possible metaphors that can be used later (such as an inability to handle certain events, or a volcanic eruption).
This segment concludes by discussing the nature of hypnosis and some of the common myths and fears associated with it (such as: you will not lose control, you will not blank out and will hear what is said etc).
Then we get to the heart of the session.
-The development and a deepening of the trance state;
- Introduction to the control centre of the mind where the client uses their imagination to scan their body and see where there are any problems. The Control Centre is used as a central metaphor and it is used to lead to all other imaginal exercises (in both this and all other sessions);
- The Soothing, Healing, Magnetic Orange-colour Liquid: An imaginal exercise designed to reduce physical tension, unease and discomfort;
- Footprints on the Beach: An imaginal exercise designed to teach the subconscious mind how to restore the body's own internal homeostatic balance;
- Reboot: An imaginal exercise designed to help the cells in our body re-live the feeling of vibrant health;
- Palm Leaves and Flowing Honey: An imaginal exercise designed specifically to help with eczema;
- Direct suggestions to relieve pain, reduce the size of inflammation;
- Giving the subconscious as detailed as description (from a medical and scientific perspective) of the physical nature of the symptoms and the way that these symptoms can be healed. Metaphors are then developed (and which are amplified in further sessions). In the case of dyshidrotic eczema this could involve metaphors such as the emergence and eruption of a volcano which then stops spewing lava and eventually gently sinks below languid and healing waters of a tranquil lagoon;
- analog tools for controlling the condition are also introduced (such as a dial and gauge that the client can imagine);
- an introduction to quietening and cleansing various brain structures (particularly the amygdala and deep limbic system - which are the source of emotions) is also taught;
- if there is a relationship with IBS or stomach and digestive processes then an introduction to, and calming of, the vagus nerve is introduced (through the vagus nerve we have brain cells or neurons in our vocal chords, lungs, heart, liver/gall bladder, spleen, kidney's and stomach and digestive system);
- Teaching self-hypnosis (this actually begins early in the session because I am always prodding the client to become aware of how various parts of their body feel during the session). This is done by having the client emerge and then getting them to immediately take themselves back down into the hypnotic state by recalling the physical memory of being in hypnosis;
- Giving of exercise(s) which should not take more than two or three minutes to perform during self-hypnosis throughout the week.
The session concludes with a debriefing.
THE SECOND SESSION: AGE REVIVIFICATION
The session starts with a series of questions relating to the previous session and the previous week. Then we move into the trance portion where:
- the metaphor of the control centre of the mind is used again;
- some of the imaginal exercises, metaphors etc. of the first session are revisited (and new ones possibly developed based on the results of the first session), particularly those involving healing metaphors (such as the erupting volcano growing quiet and then slowly disappearing leaving smooth tranquil waters and analog controls (turn down a dial and see the needle on a gauge lowering, making the volcano stop spewing lava and ash, turn it all the way down and see the volcano slip beneath the water etc);
- this session focuses on a number of therapeutic goals and direct suggestion is employed to help reduce pain and itchiness and the size of the inflammation etc;
- however, the primary goal of the second session lies in uncovering any possible emotional causes or triggers and this is done through the use of various hypno-analytical techniques, particularly age revivification to find the event or events that helped lead to this illness (or uncovering what hypnotist call the Initial Sensitizing Event);
- these emotions are then connected to the amygdala and deep limbic system and metaphors involving the cleaning and bringing higher wisdom to bear are introduced;
- we continue describing in as exact a detail as possible the nature of an over-active immune system and encourage the immune system to dial down its response (using the image of the dial and gauge).
The session ends with the teaching of self-hypnosis. Here the client is given some short exercises to do during the week and is also taught how to perform various hypnotic pain control techniques (that were included in the first and second sessions). This is followed by a debriefing.
THE THIRD SESSION: FORGIVENESS-OF-OTHERS
The session starts with a series of questions relating to the previous session and the previous week. Then we move into the trance portion where:
- the metaphors and imaginal exercises of the first two sessions are used again as well as direct suggestions to reduce pain and itchiness and the size of the inflammation etc;
- this session follows the emotions uncovered during the previous session and attempts to uncover the individuals or situations that played a role in the development of this illness (including the emotions uncovered during the second session) with the intention of releasing any negative energy and patterns that others created and which support this illness. This is done through the process of forgiveness.
The session ends with the teaching of self-hypnosis and the giving of very short exercises to do during the week (including a continuing emphasis on pain control techniques). Followed by a debriefing.
THE FOURTH SESSION: FORGIVENESS-OF-SELF
This is similar to the third session (and includes numerous imaginal exercises, metaphors, analogs, direct suggestions etc). However, the main goal of this session is to explore the client's own role in the development of the illness (including the supporting emotions) with the intention of releasing the negative energy and patterns created by the client and forgiving yourself for your mistakes.
THE FIFTH SESSION (most problems can be dealt with in four sessions, however, the exceptional nature of this problem requires a little more work)
This is very similar to all of the previous sessions in terms of imaginal exercises, metaphors, analogs, direct suggestions etc. And while the subconscious will be asked to recall the specific event (if there is one) that triggered this condition in the first place, the main goal is to make sure that the client now has enough practice and skill with self-hypnosis, pain control techniques and enough experience with the various exercises and metaphors that they can then continue the healing process on their own.
|Posted on August 21, 2012 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
I've spent the summer experimenting with smiling. And while I have noticed that people generally respond when I smile at them with my lips, something special seems to happen when I smile at them with my eyes.
|Posted on August 21, 2012 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
Read an interesting article on coffee a while back. Apparently caffeine has a five-hour half life, so if you drink a cup of coffee, five hours later you will still have half of the caffeine flowing around inside of you.
This means that drinking a cup of coffee at 7 pm is the same as drinking half a cup at midnight.
|Posted on August 21, 2012 at 8:10 PM||comments (0)|
The understanding and practice of Mindfulness has seeped from the world of ancient mystical practices (primarily, though not exclusively, from Buddhism) into present-day psychology and psychiatry. And as with hypnosis, Mindfulness has been subject to numerous rigorous academic studies over the last 30 years that have scientifically proven it has the power to help people deal with a whole range of issues.
This research indicates that practicing Mindfulness can improve the immune system, lead to more balanced brain-wave states, and recover more easily from disturbing and challenging emotional experiences.
The growing body of research has also proven that training in Mindfulness can help people deal more effectively with pain, stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions and many other problems.
Things which hypnosis has also been clinically proven to help.
This is why I like to think that they are like two sides of the same coin, because they both involve the focusing of our awareness: one inwards and one outwards.
|Posted on August 20, 2012 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
Emotions can be contagious.
When we watch someone smile, a series of mirror-neurons are activated inside our brains. And even though we may not be aware of it, somewhere within us, a part of our brain automatically mirrors or mimics this smile.
Likewise, when we see someone frown... somewhere within, a part of our brain automatically mirrors or mimics this frown.
Maybe this explains why the easiest way to get someone to smile at you, is to just smile at them.
|Posted on August 20, 2012 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
QUESTION: I have a really deep fear of spiders. Seeing one sets me into the full panic mode. Even just thinking about it right now is making me feel a little anxious. My older sister doesn't like spiders, but she doesn't freak out like I do. When I was 14 I fell asleep and woke up with some red bites on my arm that my Dad thought were spider bites. Even then, they didn't really freak me out. That began about 6 months later. Can hypnosis help me?
ALLAN'S ANSWER: This sounds like it is a problem that is deeply rooted in your subconscious. Fortunately, hypnosis has a good track record when it comes to helping people deal with fears like this. I would recommend that you try to find a well-trained hypnotist who is very experienced in the use of Age Regression. It will probably take four or five sessions to eliminate this problem (it depends on the length of their sessions and how experienced they are).
They will look for two events in your life that could be years apart (and vary in their intensity): the Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE) and the Symptom Producing Event (SPE).
The Initial Sensitizing Event would have occurred the first time you felt frightened by spiders and it can usually be traced back to early childhood. It doesn't even have to be severe or memorable.
Our body has an amazing ability to protect itself. It is part of our evolutionary make-up. It is good to fear something that is dangerous.
Unfortunately, this mechanism can operate pretty blindly at times: we eat a peach just before we succumb to the flu and even though the peach had nothing to do with our getting the flu, our subconscious somehow links the two so that the next time we see a peach we automatically feel a tinge of nausea.
Or we see a spider and our older sister screams in terror and runs away. We are not really sure what happened, but her scream and fear triggered various neurons to fire in some deep emotional parts of our brain (particularly our amygdala).
This triggers an automatic fear-response that causes a series of cascading events to happen in our body. Our blood-pressure rises and our heart-rate spikes up. Our adrenal glands start spewing norepinephrine and cortisol. Our immune system shuts down. Millions of tiny valves open and close and blood is directed away from our brain and stomach and pumped into our large muscles so we are ready to devote everything we have to either fighting or fleeing.
And somehow our subconscious mind now links the image of a spider to this fear response. So the next time we see a spider we feel a tingling of apprehension. And this is how it should remain. Except years later something goes wrong and things go a little haywire. You fall asleep and wake up with bites. You are not even certain (because you were sleeping at the time) but you think you were attacked by spiders. This thought begins to haunt you. It seeps into your subconscious.
And because your subconscious is really stronger, faster and more powerful than your conscious mind, within a few years you have a full-blow phobia. And because your subconscious really IS stronger, faster and more powerful than your conscious mind, you cannot talk or think your way out of this problem (because thinking and talking are activities performed by your conscious mind).
This is where the hypnotist comes in, because they have been trained to communicate with the subconscious. They might invoke a specific type of memory (perhaps of remaining calm and aware), use metaphors and sensory-rich visualizations, and make direct suggestions. They might have you imagine dials and gauges that are linked to your norepinephrine and cortisol levels and then teach you how you to use the power of your imagination to turn these dials down.
Then they might use Age Regression to take you back to the initial moment you first became afraid of spiders (which in this imaginary example was when your older sister freaked out and ran away). Then they might have you see this event as if you were sitting in a large movie theatre watching it on the big screen. They might even have you imagine that you are watching these clips forwards and then in reverse. They might make the images turn black and white and then have them move further and further away as if they were being moved down a long hallway (to help you dissociate from the trigger).
They might even get you to hallucinate being that little 5-year-old boy who first developed that fear when his sister screamed and ran away. They might get you to go one step further, and hallucinate that you are having a conversation with your 5-year-old self where you explain why he doesn't really need to fear spiders. They might even get you to ask your 5-year-old self for his help. This is really designed to help you to integrate the deeper, more primal parts of your brain with the higher, more evolved parts of your brain (in particular with your pre-frontal cortex which is supposed to inhibit such overblown responses).
Please keep in mind that phobias are curable. You do not need to let them control you and effect your life in such a deep way. Certain natural processes within you (in particular the deeper, older parts of your brain) have simply run amock and gotten out of control and it is just a matter of training your subconscious to stop being such a drama queen.
Why Did My Friend Do Things He Would Never Do While on Stage with a Hypnotist? - Friday July 20, 2012
|Posted on August 20, 2012 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
QUESTION: I went to a live hypnosis show with a friend who is really shy. He volunteered to go on stage and ended up doing the silliest things and acting like a complete fool and doing things he would never do. Then when it was all over, he denied doing any of it and accused us of making it all up. Yet hypnotists claim that no one can be made to do anything they don't want to do. They also say we will remember everything that happened to us when we were in trance. Why the discrepancies?
ALLAN'S ANSWER: This is a great question. Firstly, a shy person is never shy with their closest friends. In fact, I bet that when he is alone with you, he has a wicked sense of humour, is a bit of a practical joker and loves to make you laugh and smile. In other words, beneath his shy exterior he is probably a bit of an entertainer.
So it wasn't so much that he ended up doing things that he would never do, but rather he did things he would love to do if he wasn't held back by his shyness.
Secondly, I would also be willing to bet he did remember being on stage and acting like a fool. I am also willing to guess that the stage hypnotist stated (in a very theatrical way and said as much to the audience as to your friend) that your friend would forget everything. This really gave your friend "plausible deniability" (or an excuse to pretend it never happened).
Of course, it is possible to induce amnesia with hypnosis. So while it is most likely that your friend consciously remembers what happened, it is possible that he is such a good hypnotic subject that he pushed it from his conscious awareness.
What you have to understand is that as stage show has a radically different goal from a therapeutic session. One is geared towards entertainment and the other towards healing. One wants people to act as silly as they can to get laughs, while the other is focused on healing, transformation and growth.
The first thing a stage hypnotist will do is ask for volunteers to come up onto the stage with them. Then they will do a quick suggestibility test that accomplishes two things. Firstly, it allows them to determine those individuals who are highly hypnotizable. And secondly (and far more importantly) it allows them to see who is willing to play along with them.
As someone who is interested in the therapeutic application of hypnosis, my goals are very different. I want my clients to remember everything that happens during their session. So when they come to see me (or they visit my website), I make sure to stress that they will recall what happens because this is an important element of the healing process. I want them to gain "insight" into their subconscious motivations (which is why we often refer to this type of work as Insight Work). I want them to bring those hidden impulses into the light.
I should also mention that hypnosis is remarkably effective in helping people overcome shyness and social anxiety. So if your friend ever wants to come out of his shell and be really entertaining, he should find a reputable hypnotist who is trained to help people with this problem.
|Posted on August 20, 2012 at 6:45 PM||comments (0)|
The best way I have found to step between yes and no is hidden within Mr. Gurdjieff's Aphorism # 1: "Like what “it” does not like." ["it" being the physical body].
I am perhaps far too chuffed at myself right now, because I am sitting here thoroughly enjoying a cup of coffee. It has only taken me two years because I, or more correctly, my body, used to detest the taste of coffee. Whenever I would take a sip my body would say 'no' 'this is repulsive'.
I had to lie, trick, deceive, and cajole myself. I would take a sip and inwardly feel like spitting it out; while outwardly I would force myself to smile as if I really appreciated it.
What started as a game of make-believe has really become believable.
|Posted on June 10, 2012 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
To my dear daughter Freya on her 18th birthday...
Be yourself, only more so. Much more so.
There is a truth within all of us that needs to be expressed. So find what that truth is for you and then express it. Express it always and often.
Do not try to live in the past or the future, because yesterday is only a memory, while tomorrow is an illusion. The only moment that is real, the only moment you have, is this moment right here and right now. So do not let this moment slip away.
Thoughts and feelings come and go. Beliefs change. What you hold to be self-evident one day can seem silly and irrelevant the next. So never, ever, take yourself too seriously. And always leave room for doubt and always question your own assumptions.
Rather than being concerned with how others see you, be more concerned with how you see others. Imagine your eyes are like a pair of binoculars. When you see someone being loving, kind, graceful, good, noble, luminous – make sure you look at them through the end that magnifies these traits. And when you see someone being petty, egotistical, small, selfish and dark, turn the binoculars around and see these traits as small, distant and insignificant.
Remember that people have an amazing capacity to live up or down to your expectations of them. So expect the best from them.
|Posted on June 9, 2012 at 11:50 PM||comments (0)|
The Amygdala are twin clusters of almond-shaped neurons located about two inches directly behind each of our eyes. They have been described as the emotional heart of the brain and are responsible for encoding emotional memories and activating the fight-or-flight response when they perceive or imagine danger.
Let’s say we are in a forest picking wild raspberries and a bear suddenly thrashes its way out of the bushes in front of us. Now in order for our conscious mind to respond to this threat at least six inner steps must take place.
If we just focus on the visual pathway (hearing would also play a large role), the image that enters our eyes is relayed to the Thalamus (step 1). The Thalamus then projects it to the primary visual-processing area located right at the back of our head (step 2). The primary visual processing area then sends the image to the secondary processing area (step 3) where it is matched with the forms and previous associations of a bear. This area then projects this information to our Pre-frontal Cortex (step 4) immediately behind our forehead which then projects instructions to an area near the top of our head (step 5) which then relays a message to our Hypothalamus to start us running (step 6). At which point we would probably already be dead.
Fortunately/unfortunately, the brain has evolved over millions of years and a much more ancient part of our brain can hijack this process. So the bear thrashes its way out of the bushes and this image is relayed to the Thalamus (step 1) which then sends this information both to the conscious mind (following the route outlined above) and the Amygdala (step 2). The Amygdala, or the fear-detector, alerts the Hypothalamus to start running (step 3) before the conscious mind is even aware what it is running from.
So not only does it get us running in three rather than six steps, the pathways that the information is relayed along are much closer together further reducing response time.
Now when something like this happens the Amygdala also floods the brain with chemicals that cause this memory to be imprinted in a very forceful way. So the next time we walk past that bush of raspberries the Amygdala will light up even though there is no danger. It will also continually be monitoring our environment for anything similar: perhaps the cracking of twigs or a big blurry movement and make our body respond as if it were in danger.
This is fine up to a point. However, in our world the Amygdala might light up whenever we hear a siren, or when our boss yells at us, or when we have to speak in public. It can even take a specific incident - perhaps from a time we were nearly hit by a car, or when we were yelled at by someone as a three-year-old - and generalize it so that various other things can trigger this response.
The mechanism is highly implicated in all forms of anxiety, including public speaking and even performance anxiety.
Now when the Amygdala light up they send signals to the Hypothalamus which then produces a neurohormone (CRH) which then stimulates the Pituitary Gland to produce a major anxiety producing-hormone (ACTH) which then floods into the blood stream. ACTH has various effects on the body, the most important being that it stimulate our Adrenal Glands which in turn flood the body with things such as adrenaline and cortisol and other stress-related bio-chemicals.
Collectively all of these biochemicals cause the Immune System to shut down (the body doesn’t want to waste precious resources on the Immune System when our lives are in danger), blood pressure to spike and blood and other essential nutrients to be directed away from our brains and stomachs and into our large muscles (we don’t need to engage in abstract reasoning or digest food when our life is at stake).
As a result, it hampers our ability to learn. It affects our ability to sleep. It can lead to diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and various other digestive disorders (and is the reason anxiety is often felt in the stomach). It can lead to strokes, pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks. It turns off our Immune Systems which in turn makes us more susceptible to colds, the flu, bacterial and viral infections. It can also lead to sexual problems such as an inability for a woman to have an orgasm and to premature ejaculation for a man.
And as if this wasn’t enough, the large muscles that are activated by this process are fuelled by sugar and fat, so it also dramatically increases our cravings for sweet fatty foods, which in turn can have a ripple effect in terms of making us more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.
|Posted on June 9, 2012 at 11:45 PM||comments (0)|
To simplify something that is really far more complex, it is as if there are two people living inside of us. One more-or-less known familiar and one hidden and deeply mysterious.
There is our normal (conscious) self that is thoughtful and reflective. It is centred around the words and images that flow through our minds. It is swayed by reasonable arguments and tends to work through issues in a logical fashion. It operates at a slower, more deliberate, pace. It would never get angry or fearful or anxious or depressed, and in fact, it feels quite helpless when it is overwhelmed by these feelings. This is because one of its functions is to inhibit these feelings so that they do not overwhelm us.
Then there is our other (subconscious) self which is faster and more volatile. It is the seat of our emotions and tends to be “reactive” (that is, it is the part in us that just reacts without thinking). It can flash angrily (or fearfully or despairingly) up into our awareness and ambush and overwhelm our normal self (in part because it is faster than our normal self).
Now while most people are not really aware that they have this dual nature, those suffering from problems such as anger management, anxiety and depression, and who feel they are constantly at war within themselves have some inkling of it.
This dual nature is actually a product of our evolution as a species. This is because we have an inner brain that has its own separate neural circuits, and we have an outer or higher brain (the neo-cortex, which is sometimes called the mammalian brain because it is only found in mammals). And it is the conflict between the two of these (and the structures that mediate between them) that is the cause of so many of our problems, particularly those that involve our emotions.
The mammalian brain is supposed to control and inhibit the darker impulses of our more primal brain (where our emotions really reside). However, many of us experienced traumatizing events when we were children. Events that happened when our higher brain had yet to fully develop. And unfortunately, these events often create defective neural circuits in us that we can carry around for the rest of our lives. Circuits that often impair our ability to lead the type of lives we were meant to live.
Now it is not as if this more primal part of our brain is supposed to be antagonistic and at war with the higher part. It actually wants to help and protect us. For instance, most of us who have driven for a number of years have undoubtedly been in a situation where we were driving down the street thinking whatever thoughts we were thinking (that is, we were centred in our conscious mind), when the quicker, more primal part of our brain (our subconscious) suddenly jumps to the forefront and takes over the steering wheel and we miraculously swerve to avoid a car (and it is so quick that all of this happens before our conscious mind was even aware that we were in danger). Well this part of our brain is also the source of those feelings that tend to rise up and overwhelm us.
This is in part, because within this ancient area of our brain there is a structure called the amygdala (it is actually a twin structure because we have a right and a left amygdala in either side of our brain) which is the seat of our emotions.
It is where those memories of the emotionally traumatic events we experienced as children are kept (and where all of our emotional memories are stored). And it is actually is the source of all of our emotions including anger. And it just needs to be cleansed, re-educated and its circuitry integrated back into the whole brain so that it's impulses can brought back under the control of our higher brain.
Fortunately, because this is part of our subconscious mind, hypnosis excels at helping us to do this.
|Posted on June 9, 2012 at 1:45 AM||comments (0)|
Although we are extremely complex machines, we can simplify this by saying that we have three brains: an intellectual brain in our heads; a physical brain in our cerebellum, spinal cord and body; and an emotional brain that extends from our stomach, heart, lungs, throat, mouth, face and eyes - right up to our tear ducts.
Unfortunately, our educational system is primarily geared to training our head brain, with a minor emphasis on our physical brain (through sports and physical education). There is almost no attempt to educate and develop our emotional brain. This is why we have university professors and professional athletes who act like small spoiled petulant children when things don't go their way.
True evolution and transformation must necessarily involve the balanced and harmonious development of all three brains or centres. As a result we must do lot of work on our emotions just for this part to catch up.
We have learned how to study and control our thoughts (though only to a certain extent). We have also learned to move and control our physical body (again, only to a certain extent). Yet few of us have similar control over our emotions. Our feelings just happen.
Someone cuts us off in traffic and we erupt into road-rage. Someone looks at us a little longer than is polite and we find ourselves growing more and more uncomfortable.
Anxiety and depression have become rampant in our society and these are both emotional illnesses that have taken a life of their own and slipped beyond our control. Far too many of us walk around filled with dark and gloomy emotions; subconsciously reacting to every smile or frown we encounter and reacting to rain and snow as if they were personal insults.
Part of the problem is that our emotions are much quicker and more powerful than our thoughts and they seem to arise out of nowhere as an unstoppable force; making us honk the horn or wave our fist, or curse the weather, before we are even aware of what we are doing.
Fortunately, tools such as hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programing) and other techniques can be used to help make up for this shortfall, because the subconscious brain is also the emotional brain.
I know that when I am working with a client, I always smile if I manage to provoke some kind of an emotional reaction; even if it is merely a single tear rolling down the side of the face. Because I then know that I have reached the emotional brain.
But then I believe that the future evolution of humanity must necessarily involve a transformation (and cleansing) of our emotions. We really have to learn to smile at the rain and to be placid in the face of the driver who cuts us off.
In other words to stop reacting to every little slight, hurt or inconvenience. To stop reacting and start acting. To become balanced three-brained beings.
|Posted on June 9, 2012 at 1:45 AM||comments (0)|
Physicians and scientists have been taught to take a very mechanistic approach to the body. Particularly when it involves disease and illness. Someone has a lung infection and they treat it with antibiotics. Another person has cancer and they cut it out with a scalpel and flood the body with radiation and toxic chemicals designed to kill any cancerous cells.
We are treated like a mechanic would treat a car. Fortunately, this view is slowly changing as more and more people are beginning to recognize the role our thoughts and emotions play in the development of an illness. Unfortunately, unlike a cancerous cell, a 'cancerous thought' or 'cancerous emotion' cannot simply be cut out or irradiated.
For instance, an illness such as Diabetes Type II is more than just an inability of certain cells in our body to transform or expel excess sugar/glucose. Now while there is a strong genetic component to diabetes because it clearly runs in families, if it were purely genetic then if one identical twin got it, the other would also have to come down with it. Something that doesn’t necessarily happen.
Now while there is a genetic component to this illness, environmental factors also play a big role because Diabetes Type II is also linked to diets that are high in sugar (or carbohydrates and lactose - which are converted into sugars/glucose during the digestive process) and sedentary lifestyles. This is partly why we are seeing a dramatic increase in the levels of diabetes in our society because of the poor substandard nature of the western diet and lifestyle.
However, there is also a strong emotional factor to developing this illness as well, because people who become diabetic also tend to feel that life lacks "sweetness." It is as if their illness is not just a physical disease, but a physical manifestation and even a 'metaphor' for their emotional state.
This is because people who suffer from diabetes (Type II) also have a tendency to beat themselves up emotionally; particularly when dealing with the past.
As a hypnotist I have been trained to pay particular attention to a diabetics' 'shouldve's' 'couldve's' and 'wouldve's' because a diabetic will inevitably spend a lot of time beating themselves up for the things they did or did not do in the past ('why did I let her walk away' or 'why didn't I study that subject' or 'why did I study what my parents wanted me to study rather than following my heart' etc).
So to simply take pills to lower blood glucose levels and not to work on the emotions and the 'lack of sweetness' in a diabetic's life, is to fail to work on all of the dimensions of this illness.
|Posted on June 9, 2012 at 1:40 AM||comments (0)|
I was on the subway the other night when I saw a woman who appeared to be in her late-thirties board the train and sit down across from me. She seemed confident and self-assured, though I knew this was a lie.
I felt like moving across the isle and sitting beside her and whispering: "Stop hating yourself. Stop punishing yourself. Stop beating yourself up. Stop putting yourself down. Stop being so angry with yourself." I felt like saying: "Learn to love yourself as you are right now."
This was because I saw the tell-tale small red spots just below her cheekbones. Spots that told me all I needed to know about the feelings of hatred, loathing and anger she directed towards herself.
Unfortunately, what was true for her is true for most of us.
I have met so few people who are truly comfortable in their own skin. Especially for women in today's world, because they are inundated with pictures of air-brushed models and other cultural expectations that are impossible for any woman, even if they really are a supermodel, to live up to.
Most people would be so much better off if they just learned to love themselves. And this is where it gets real interesting, because as a hypnotist, I know that one of the most important keys to inner change and healing is to unconditionally love and accept ourselves as we are right now. Somehow loving and accepting ourselves without requiring anything to change, leads to big changes.
The person who says 'I would begin to love myself if only my skin were clear', or 'I would begin to love myself if only I were fifty pounds lighter', or will never develop that clear complexion or lose that weight (and if they somehow manage to do so by starving and torturing themselves - will regain it and a little bit more).
So my advice to all my clients is: begin here in this present moment, right now, to love and accept yourself just as you are, because the more you do the more you will change. It is one of those wonderful paradoxes created by the subconscious mind.
All too often we look at ourselves as if through high-powered binoculars. We magnify our flaws well out of proportion. I know this because I've been there, I've done it to myself. I hated myself until I was in my late forties. I continually put myself down and got angry at that extra weight and those spots in the mirror. I certainly never felt comfortable in my own skin. And it was only when I finally turned those binoculars around that my perspective changed.
And the interesting thing was that when I first starting saying 'I love myself' it sounded so false and hollow. It sounded like such a lie. Fortunately, I knew in my gut that I was poisoning myself with my thoughts and feelings about myself and so I just pushed on.
I also knew that those propagandist's were right and that a lie told often enough becomes accepted as the truth. So I lied and lied and then lied some more to myself. I even made a recording of this lie and listened to it whenever I was on public transit.
And just like I had been promised, what started out sounding hollow and untruthful slowly became the truth (and should have been the truth all along).
Every now and again I relapse into my old ways and spend a brief moment in that state self-hatred and have come to realize that not only does that thought/feeling/belief lack any true reality, but it is also the most toxic thought/feeling/belief we can have.
It 'is' the distortion. It is the big lie and lacks any kind of objective truth and is more like a subjective wallowing in a topsy-turvy land filled with subjective perceptions.
So take a moment (and if you can say this while looking into your eyes in a mirror even better):
"I love and accept myself AS I AM RIGHT NOW."
Then say it again.
Repeat it to yourself as often as you can.
Repeat it whenever and wherever you have the presence of mind to do so and watch it change your life as it seeps down into your being and becomes a subconscious truth.
|Posted on June 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
When I was a small boy my father told me about a tribe of monkeys that was causing problems for local villagers by stealing food and acting... well... like mischievous monkeys.
He said that this was not quite as bad as it seemed because it was really easy to trap these monkeys. All the villagers needed was a nice delectable treat, perhaps a large piece of sweet fruit and a large clear glass jar that narrowed to a small funnel-like opening that was barely wide enough for a monkey to squeeze its hand through. They would chain the jar to a tree and put the delectable treat inside.
Then at night when the villagers slept, a monkey would come along, see the treat in the jar, squeeze their hand through the tight opening and grab hold of the treat. Of course, now that their hand was grasping the treat they couldn't pull it back out through the narrow opening. And since they wouldn't let go of the treat, they trapped themselves. Even the presence of the villagers coming for them the next morning wasn't enough to make them let go.
I recently thought about this when I read the section in "In Search of the Miraculous" where Mr. Gurdjieff is quoted as saying that in our normal state we are really in "prison" and that we need to "tunnel under a wall" and find ways to get "tools, files, or whatever may be necessary" to break free. These metaphors, at least for me, call forth associations of prison walls and bars and look-out towers and barbed wire.
However as metaphor this has its limitations because sometimes the biggest impediment to inner and outer freedom has nothing to do with our being imprisoned in waking-sleep and caught up in the dreams and illusions wrought by the circumstances and choices we have made.
Sometimes our biggest impediment to freedom comes because we are like those monkeys and are simply unable to let go of our grip. Desperately holding onto things we should just release.
We are trapped in a web of our own making and the real battle is not between us and something else, but between us and ourselves; between us and our ability to let go of our weaknesses and free ourselves.
|Posted on June 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
I was always enchanted by Einstein riding a beam of light in his imagination and figuring out the Theory of Relativity. A question was posed to me, a sort of thought-game, and I realized if you are going to play a game you might as well ‘include the postage’.
> If you have three men in a room, a man # 1; a man # 2 and a man # 3,
> have you even one real three centered man? Of course not.
Let’s stretch this a little further.
Let’s pretend there are three troubled youths with alcoholic fathers somewhere in South-East Asia; the son of a physically abusive farm-labourer, the son of an emotionally abusive designer, and the son of a intellectually abusive professor. They were all rounded up in the red-light district and have been brought together in a room by the local authorities where they are given the choice of going to jail for ten-days or going on a Vipassana retreat where they will spent ten-days in Mindful silence.
They all choose the monastery where they were ushered into the presence of the Abbot who reads the Buddha’s ‘Great Discourse on Mindfulness’. Then he tells them they will only focus on the first part of the first part and would spend the first three days practicing step one of this discourse and focus on self-sensing their breath. The next seven, following the Buddha’s second step, would then focus on broadening their ability to self-sense.
This retreat had a remarkable effect on all three and it changed each one of their lives. Though it had a particular resonance, focusing as it did on self-sensing, on the farm-labourer’s son. But then he was already more aware of his body having known cold and hunger; and the aches and pains that come from working sunrise to sunset when they have to harvest the crop before the weather changed.
At the end the Abbot came and talked to them about the monastic life. He talked about the peace and tranquility. He talked about the sacrifices and renunciation. He made it sound both highly appealing and like a nightmare. His words really affected the youthful Man # 1, they reflected on impressions that had been previously impressed on him and he asked if he could join the monastery and become a novice.
Now according to Mr. Gurdjieff it is possible to transform or recrystallize at higher level by following the monastic path (working along the food octave) He also warns it is riskier.
This is because in the monastic tradition: “work on the second 'shock' begins before work on the first 'shock,' but as mi 12' is created only as a result of the first 'shock,' work, in the absence of other material, has of necessity to be concentrated on si 12, and it very often gives quite, wrong results.” G. I. Gurdjieff as quoted in ISOTM
Fortunately, Buddhism, at least as outlined in the Buddha’s sermons and discourses, can lead to real results by working on ‘si 12’. If you study the Buddha’s teachings you can get a clearer understanding of what the misuse of sexual energy, ‘si 12’, entails; because his system is an antidote to the misuse of ‘si 12’
Unfortunately, to do this you need to become a monk; you need to be celibate; you need to live the life of a renunciate in a monastery. You have to say goodbye to your family and friends and severe all worldly connections. You have to avoid meat, intoxicants and contact with the opposite sex. You have to be prepared to spend much of your day engaged in Mindfulness and meditation.
Your impressions will be carefully controlled and orchestrated. There won’t be any Fridays or Mondays, no weekends, no weekdays. But an ever-present focus on this moment and this day.
Now it is important to comprehend the nature of 'impressions' to recognize how you can change the level of your Being.
Everything you see, hear, smell and taste; everything you sense; everything you feel; everything you think, dream and imagine; all leave traces or impressions behind within you. What you think now will become what you thought yesterday, then what you thought last week, then what you thought last year. However, this doesn’t mean it will disappear because we are more like lakes.
Every impression leaves behind a trace, an impression, on the surface. However, since each new moment creates a new layer, over time impressions naturally sink down as layer upon layer is added. Now mechanical impressions, those sights, sounds and smells that enter without our being aware of them, have a certain energy; ‘hydrogen 48’. While Mindful impressions are one step up or ‘hydrogen 24’ This means a Mindful impressions should, by definition, have twice the intelligence and vibration of mechanical impressions.
So everyday he wakes up in the monastery, he chants, he meditates, he engages in contemplation and all of the different forms of one-brained Mindfulness. Adding layer upon layer of these higher impressions whenever he has the presence of mind to do so. There are no distractions. None of the petty dramas of a householder with parents, siblings, spouses and children.
He does this day after day, week after week, year after year. Leaving behind layers of Mindful impressions that grow deeper and pervasive.
Eventually any fissures from his physically abusive childhood were buried so far below the surface that they no longer have any effect on him. Like repeatedly papering over fissures and cracks until the wallpaper becomes so formidable it ends up supporting the wall.
The inner wounds and wounded-memories were still there deep within him. The impressions he received as a child; the cold, hunger and abuse. But they been covered over for so long by layer after layer ,year after year of higher impressions, that they became like nothing.
Now let’s suppose this Man # 1 did transform and recrystalize at a higher level.
And he did it the Buddha’s way by working on ‘si 12’. So it lacked the harmony and balance required in the fourth way of Mr. Gurdjieff.
And thirty years later he winds up in a room with the other two who have now lived exemplary lives.
So let’s now go back to where we started.
If you had the ideal Man # 2 and the ideal Man # 3 and a transformed Man # 1, you still wouldn’t have a “three-centred” man in that room. Though you would have a luminous and radiant being. Someone extraordinary. But not quite three-centred. Because he didn’t develop harmoniously, because he papered over his fissures with a lifetime of monastic impressions, because he didn’t delve into these fissures and heal them.
He would have, so-to-speak, cheated. Because the proper way is to begin working on ‘mi 12.’ And the easiest way to do this is to self-remember by learning to ‘look, listen and smell, while sensing your body.’ Mr. Gurdjieff even said the transformation of ‘mi 12’ should lead the way for the transformation of ‘si 12’. Of course, he said as much on his chapter on ‘form and sequence’.
This simple yet complex inner exercise actually does that, because it requires an infusion of both ‘mi 12’ and ‘si 12’.
Every time you transform ‘do 48’ from the Octave of Impressions into ‘re 24’ you need a tiny amount of ‘mi 12’. A little higher energy must be present whenever you extract intermediate energy from a lower energy. So every time you Mindfully look, listen and smell, you require some ‘mi 12’.
So just become aware of what you can see, hear and smell.
Try to do this now.
Become conscious of this screen, become conscious of the white space between the paragraphs, lines, words and letters.
Become aware of what you can hear, perhaps even become aware of the background or ambient sounds around you. Then become aware of what you can smell.
And understand these acts all require a tiny amount of ‘mi 12’. If you did not already have access to any ‘mi 12’ you would not be able to Mindfully look, listen and smell.
Now Mindfully sense your arms, hands and fingers, legs, feet and toes, head, neck and torso. Even try to sense that place you first sense the air as you breath in and last sense the air as you breath out. Sense that area just on the outside edge of your breath. And recognize that any act of Mindful self-sensing, even if it is only sensing the tips of your fingers, requires a tiny amount of ‘si 12’ in order to take place.
|Posted on June 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Three weeks ago my mother stopped eating all solid foods. My brother and sister approached me and made sure we were all in agreement and that we would not torture her by putting a tube down her nose or force a needle into her arm (things she would pull out unless restrained).
The doctor gave her three to four weeks to live. The nurses suddenly became brusk and professional and studiously avoided developing any kind of a relationship with my mother. And I watched her grow weaker and weaker until last weekend when I noticed she seemed to be gaining weight and colour.
I thought someone must have convinced my mother to eat and so when they brought her lunch I talked her into trying some food and as soon as it went in her mouth she spat it out in disgust. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get her to eat without any luck.
It took me a while to figure out they had an 'obyvatel' on the ward in the form of a tall Jamaican orderly. This 'obyvatel' was the lowest person on the ladder. She was merely in 'inhabitant' and her job was to clean up spills, change diapers/nappies, and in this case try to feed the lady in Room 458 who was refusing to eat. She didn't have a fancy education or any of the degrees and diplomas that those higher up had.
Of course, this meant that her head wasn't filled with any pretentious nonsense.
My mother was refusing to eat, but still taking liquids. So what this 'obyvatel' did was to simply stop giving my mother anything to drink.
Now it takes a lot longer and is much easier to starve to death then it does to die of thirst. If you don't eat eventually any hunger pains disappear and you just gently fade away (at least according to the doctor who assured us it was a good way to die) whereas it is excruciating to die of thirst.
So this 'obyvatel' waited until my mother was begging for water and then just poured some liquid meal replacements down my mother's throat; demonstrating the difference between being wise and being intelligent.
* According to Mr. Gurdjieff an 'obyvatel' is "the healthy kernel of life" and someone who is looked down on by the intelligensia. They are a "good householder" and to use an English phrase, are people who are the "salt of the earth".
|Posted on June 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Milton Erickson, who was a medical doctor and psychiatrist, is probably the most famous and innovative hypnotist of the 20th century. He never counted down from ten or seemed to do any type of formal induction. Yet his results were remarkable.
He developed what is now called Conversational Hypnosis. People would be talking to him, having what they thoughts was a normal conversation and then notice that their arm was floating in the air, or they couldn't move or feel any pain.
He was studied by two men who went on to use much of what they learned to create NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programing. One of these men, John Grinder, had a Ph.D. in Linguistics and was able to analyse the linguistic patterns Erickson used.
The Milton Model and involves using:
1. Mind Reading
2. Lost Performatives
3. Cause and Effect
4. Complex Equivalents
6. Universal Quantifiers
7. Modal Operators
9. Unspecified Verbs
11. Lack of Referential Index
12. Comparative Deletions
14. Double Binds
15. Conversational Postulate
16. Extend Quotes
17. Selection Restriction Violation
18. Embedded Commands
19. Embedded Questions
20. Covering All Ranges of Possibilities
22. Context and Meaning Reframing
23. Building Excitement and Expectations
24. Truisms About Sensations and Time
25. Open Ended Suggestions
26. Single Binds
27. I'm Not Going to Tell You ...
28. Compound Suggestions
29. Phonological Ambiguity
30. Syntactic Ambiguity
31. Scope Ambiguity
32. Punctuation Ambiguity
Here are examples of these in action;
So as you look at these words on your screen [pacing current experience], I know that you are wondering what I am going to say [mind reading].
Some [lost performative - because it doesn't state who these people are] say that this is an extremely important element of communication [nominalization, because the verb 'to communicate' - has been turned into the noun - 'communication' which strips it of some of it's meaning and this makes the word more open and pliable].
In fact, when we engage in the complex Linguistic processes of deletion, distortion and generalization, the subconscious is forced to fill in the blanks [cause and effect].
Of course, practising these patterns by writing them out is like practising juggling with scrunched-up paper towels [complex equivalent] because it slows the process down and makes it easier.
However, just by reading this far, you are obviously interested in this topic [presupposition]. In fact, as someone who likes to communicate, you must be fascinated by this whole topic [presupposition].
And every time [universal quantifier] you are [unspecified verb], you will learn more and more [cause and effect]. And we all [universal quantifier] know how important this is.
Now you must [modal operator] realize by reading this far [pacing your current experience] how important it is for everyone [universal quantifier] to learn how to communicate better because communication [nominalization] is vital in today's world. As a result, you should [modal operator] really be interested in this because mastering these patterns will increase your effectiveness at work [cause and effect]. In fact, you can learn how to change [unspecified verb - because the verb - 'to change' - is not linked to any specific action].
Now as someone who likes to communicate, this would be a good skill to have, wouldn't it [tag question]? You could probably see some [universal quantifier] uses, couldn't you [tag question]? In fact, it [lost performative] seems really useful, doesn't it [tag question]?
One [lack of referential index] can learn these techniques so that they become automatic.
In fact, this would make you better than a lot of others [comparative deletion because who these others are is not specified].
The best communicators in the world [comparative deletion] use these patterns automatically. Some [lost performative] even have no training and do it automatically.
Can you grasp the importance of what I am saying, or will you need a little more time [double bind - because even though it seems like I am offering you choice, the end result is the same - this is merely the illusion of choice]? Now are you going to try to digest this right away, or will you prefer to take your time [double bind]? Would you like to think about that [lost performative] now or later [double bind].
Can you make sure that you tell me what you think of this topic [conversational postulate - because even though this is phrased like a question, it is really a command - this is especially noticeable when spoken]?
I once attended a seminar where a lady told me that her father taught her it was important to always speak very precisely. Of course, they later changed when they realized that there were major exceptions to this rule [extended quotes - because I quote a lady quoting her father - but I don't specify who this last 'they' refers to: it could be the lady or it could be her father].
These patterns can even sense when things are not quite right [selectional restriction violation because patterns can't sense things - this is more noticeable when written down]. Just like when the clock tells me I am running out of time [selectional restriction violation because clocks don't speak].
Now some people think it is a good idea when staring at the computer screen to TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND RELAX A LITTLE [embedded command - which work better when spoken because you change the tone slightly]. You might even BECOME AWARE OF ANY TENSION IN YOUR BODY [embedded command]. Of course, when working on the computer [lost performative because I don't specify who] it is always a good idea to TAKE A MOMENT AND SENSE THE WHOLE BODY AS ONE ORGANIC WHOLE [a Gurjieffian flavoured embedded command].
I wonder when you are going to NOTICE YOUR POSTURE AS YOU SIT THERE [embedded question]? I would also like to know when YOU WILL REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT THESE PATTERNS ARE FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU [embedded question]?
Perhaps you will realize how important this is now, or maybe you will realize this tomorrow, or next year, or maybe it'll take a long, long time [covering all of the range of possibilities - so you cannot negate what I say because one of them will be right].
Because as you sit there reading these words on the screen [pacing your current experience] you might [modal operator] notice the colour of these words [utilization] and how this plays a role in what you are learning [cause and effect]. Now even though you can look at this screen and see the words and whatnot, it is really quite surprising when you pull your gaze back and realize that there is far more light than dark lines on this screen. Just like you can stop and realize that there are moments of silence embedded within the spoken word. So look for this light and listen for that silence if you really want to learn [context and meaning reframing].
In fact, I know you'll be delighted to learn [mind reading] that you already know how to do much of this [presupposition]. You might even be surprised how often and how effectively you use these patterns when you are at work. So when you STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT, wouldn't it be wonderful if you learned how to wield your words more consciously so that you will be even more effective at work [building excitement and expectation].
Of course, if you thought that you could naturally absorb the tools you needed to communicate better, you would not have to take the time to read this far [a truism about time], would you [tag question]?
Now, in some very specific ways you are beginning to realize just how powerful your thoughts and feelings are, and you are beginning to get a sense of just how much you will change [open-ended suggestion because the nature of the changes is not defined] and that is pretty darn exciting [building excitement], isn't it [tag question].
Of course, you also know [mind reading] that the more self-hypnosis you do and the more work you do on yourself, the more you will change [a single bind].
Now I am not going to tell you, just how much you have already changed in your life [I'm not going to tell you... a statement used to indirectly make a claim].
I wonder just how surprised and delighted you will be when you realize just how much you have changed, as you watch the clock approaching midnight on New Year's Eve [compound suggestion - the first suggestion is covered up by a statement fact].
You do, of course, know that if you write the right words you can certainly right some wrongs. And while we can't right every wrong when we write, we can right some of them. To relax as you pretend to see a bee flying in the air, or maybe to look in a book and to see a b in a book of... a... b... see... how easy it is to change when you have the right tools [phonological ambiguity - best if heard rather than read].
Last week I 'officially' hypnotized a friend for the first time, while they returned the favour and hypnotized me. Of course they realized that hypnotizing hypnotists can be tricky [syntacic ambiguity - did he find it tricky hypnotizing a hypnotist, or did he find that this hypnotist (me) got tricky when hypnotizing him].
Sometimes I find it very easy to allow my jaw to relax even deeper as you read to these words [punctuation ambiguity - again more effective when spoken because you just can't go back and re-listen to it].