by Jack Elias (Today’s PRIZE GIVEAWAY is a Copy of Finding True Magic. Simply leave a COMMENT to enter. See details below)
Andrew Cort’s Mini-Review:
According to many great spiritual teachers and traditions, we are “asleep” – and the primary task before us is to recognize this and then to “awaken”.
Plato, for example, weaves a wonderful parable about the sorry state we are in in his celebrated Allegory of the Cave. Christ tells us directly, over and over again, that we are asleep and must awaken. But waking up is very difficult, for like Bacchus in the old Greek myth, and like Eve in her conversation with the serpent, we have been mesmerized by the material world and have retreated from self-consciousness to external-consciousness. Reality thereafter is limited to whatever we have been told it consists of, and we rarely even remember to notice that our own consciousness is present in the midst of it.
In modern terminology, this same sad fact of human existence is often-times referred to as being “Hypnotized”. What we need, therefore, is to be de-hypnotized.
In Finding True Magic, Jack Elias weaves together unique perspectives on depth hypnosis, regression therapy, past life therapy, inner child healing, archetypal transformation, NLP, Ericksonian hypnosis, meditation and prayer, to help de-hypnotize us and transform our inner consciousness. He expands the art and discipline of hypnotherapy, making personal transformation and rapid healing – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – possible. He blends the sacred and the scientific in this excellent book about real awakening.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis has been given many definitions over the years, and many authors have debated whether it even exists. These debates and definitions themselves are evidence of what I consider to be the most basic and profound form of hypnosis. My definition identifies the discursive thinking mind (what most of us identify with as our ordinary sense of self) as an ongoing hypnotic process. From this perspective, the ordinary conscious mind contains all the process elements of what traditionally have been called “trance phenomena.” And although the conscious mind approximates reality and makes its constructs seem workable, the mind itself is never accurately in touch with reality. More and more people are now beginning to subscribe to this view, as quantum physics continues to bear out scientific evidence that the nature of reality as described by spiritual masters throughout the ages is not merely metaphor, but actual truth. In fact, this approach to hypnotherapy could as appropriately be called “quantum hypnotherapy” as well as “transpersonal hypnotherapy.”
The transpersonal definition of hypnotherapy assumes that:
1) We are not who we “think” we are. Who we think we are is our deepest trance state (actually a “bundle” of trance states).
2) To the degree that our awareness is absorbed in and identified with our thoughts, we are in a hypnotic state—a defined state rather than a spontaneous, “real” state, an “awake” state.
3) All communication, both intrapersonal and interpersonal, to the degree that it is a sharing of thoughts about reality rather than a direct experience of reality, is a sharing of hypnotic states, “dream” states, even deluded states.
The Hypnotic Trance of Self
Not being who we think we are is the root of our dilemmas. (Or, more accurately, believing that we are who we think we are, and not noticing that we are not, is the root.) We are selectively attending to our ideas about ourselves in order to make choices which define and determine our lives. If the root idea of who we are is a mistake, then our whole accustomed process of strategizing to improve our lives is a “mishap” having varying degrees of painful and pleasurable consequences.
The most profound aspects of the hypnotic trance of self (or the bundle of trances of self) are established in childhood prior to our development of a discriminating perspective. As children, we accepted the overwhelming vividness and prestige, good and/or bad, of the stimuli and messages acting upon us as “truth.” Learning to identify our sensory functions and our bodily delineation happens quite naturally, but extending that to the healthy expression of our mind/body in interpersonal relationships is rare. The degree to which our first relationships were unhealthy, i.e. shaming, confusing, or threatening, determines how profoundly we develop the trance of false, hypnotic self. This trance of self refers to a fixed idea of a rigidly defined self, rather than the spontaneous sense of wellbeing of a self that flows on effortlessly through changes, one that does not need ideas to help it remember who it is. In other words, when you are fully involved in being who you are, you don’t waste time keeping track of who you are. It isn’t necessary to do this if there is no sense of shame or threat to ward off. And the de-hypnotized, free-flowing self—not perceiving anything as separate—is simply blissfully existent and awake, without a need to ward off anything that comes its way.
The hypnotic self is a powerful set of trance phenomena. Growing up from infancy to early adulthood means being in the cultural and familial hypnotist’s arena 24 hours a day! Everyone is hypnotizing you—telling you what everything means, telling you what you are, and what your actions mean regarding your worthiness—by delivering suggestions to you with repetition and emotional force.
Children learn by modeling; they are master mimics. Thus begins the process of self-hypnosis (or self-talk, if you like). Have you ever had the opportunity to eavesdrop on a young child playing with toys while he is repeating the judgments he has heard about himself in an innocent, singsong voice? We master these skills of hypnosis very early in life.
In this way we quickly develop the veils of perception—we are no longer able to see a tree, hear a bird, taste a hamburger, or experience anything (including ourselves) simply and directly, without a running commentary going on inside. The stimulus of a tree, a bird, or a hamburger, or the spontaneous movement of our own mind, body or emotion, triggers an instantaneous, uninterrupted barrage of associations, judgments, and memories, filling our mind with sights, sounds, and sensations. This onslaught of associated responses refers to the past and projects into the future with such speed and force that, not only do we not notice we have missed the experience of the tree (its mounds of soft leaves, its mottled trunk, its gnarled mass of roots sinking deep into the earth who knows how deeply) but we also don’t notice that we have been distracted from seeing the tree. We are anesthetized to the pain of our severed relationship to the tree. How many of us are already habitually numbed to the pain of being disconnected from the natural world? Does it seem a strange notion that it could be painful not to really see and experience a tree that was right in our midst?
Distraction by association, forgetfulness, spontaneous anesthesia, positive hallucination (seeing something that isn’t there), negative hallucination (not seeing something that is there), time distortion and time displacement, spontaneous regression—all these are signs and qualities that traditionally indicate a deep state of hypnosis, And yet all of these take place in our ordinary waking consciousness.
We will examine the signs and qualities of hypnotic depth from the traditional standpoint, and then explore how they blend into what is usually considered the non-hypnotic or “conscious” state. In this way we will begin to understand why it has become so difficult for us simply to see a tree.
Therapeutic Hypnosis Defined
Conscious, subconscious, unconscious: these concepts pervade our culture, and we freely use them in talking about ourselves. To the degree that we do this without having contemplated the meaning of these terms in the context of personal experience, or to the degree that we haven’t determined the usefulness of labeling various kinds of experience with these terms, we really don’t know what we are talking about. We are merely engaged in hypnotizing ourselves by the very familiar process of sloganeering.
For example, the political slogan, “America! Home of the free!” has no specific, tangible meaning, but it can trigger strong emotional responses of varying kinds depending on the audience. Likewise, a phrase such as, “I know this problem is in my subconscious but I can’t get at it,” gives a person a false sense of knowledge that is really a state of confusion (i.e., a hypnotic state). The idea itself creates the dilemma.
Here’s one we all can identify with: “I know that intellectually, but I can’t stop….” The phrase, “I know intellectually,” is one of the most common supports of ongoing trance. Its most important characteristic is that it short-circuits the possibility of accessing or maintaining an inquisitive state of openness to acquire genuine insight and power. Instead it creates a bit of numbing comfort in seemingly knowing something. What “I know intellectually” usually means is not that we know something at all. (Knowing it would mean that it is alive within us – an actively available resource capable of facilitating change.) Rather, saying “I know it intellectually” indicates nothing more than our ability to pronounce the words, saying them over and over in our head like a lullaby, with little or no effect on our awareness.
I define therapeutic hypnosis as taking hold of the mental functions we use every day to contract our focus and numb our sense of being (or to maintain the status quo of an already acceptable contracted state) and using those same functions to expand our awareness of being organically alive. Therapeutic hypnosis releases this mental contraction, the nature of which is fear, into an expansiveness, the nature of which is love. As with natural medicine, we distill the very poison that causes an illness in such a way that we produce its antidote.
Using this as our working definition of hypnotherapy, there is no real or solid boundary between the conscious and the unconscious to get in the way. No borderline exists to stop our own mental processes, skillfully used, from destroying the hypnotic state that keeps us boxed up in the world of our words that prevents us from truly seeing the tree. If one understands this definition of therapeutic hypnosis, not as a label, but as a phenomenon being displayed by the mind, it becomes very delightful to do hypnotherapy. We do not have to be concerned about who can be hypnotized and who cannot be hypnotized. We need only develop the sensory acuity to notice how each person does it to themselves, how we do it to ourselves, and then make the necessary adjustments.
To do this kind of work, we as therapists must place primary emphasis on our own daily practice. We must cultivate greater and greater awareness of our own habitual states, of when these states are triggered and what triggers them. And we must notice these states in ourselves with a growing capacity for spacious, kind-hearted acceptance of their presence. Our daily practice must include some form of body-mind coordination through physical activity. It must also include a meditation or contemplation practice, to develop the capacity to detach from the hypnotic turmoil of subconscious thoughts and feelings—the constant “internal gossip” that we all generally accept as a given and therefore rarely challenge in ourselves.
Jack Elias, a Clinical Hypnotherapist in private practice since 1988, is founder and director of The Institute for Therapeutic Learning, a licensed Vocational School in Seattle training and certifying Transpersonal Clinical Hypnotherapists since 1988. Jack presents a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western perspectives on the nature of consciousness and communication, teaching simple yet powerful techniques for achieving one’s highest personal and professional goals. For 39 years Jack has studied Eastern meditation, philosophy and psychology with masters such as Shunryo Suzuki Roshi and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Jack offers dynamic experiential workshops and seminars, and his Finding True Magic courses are eligible for credit at universities and for CEUs for Registered Nurses and other clinicians.
TODAY’S PRIZE CONTEST!
Jack is offering a Free Copy of FINDING TRUE MAGIC to today’s lucky winner.
Today’s Prize Giveaway has the same rules as the other giveaways:
1.To enter to win, simply COMMENT ON THIS BLOG, leaving an email address so we can contact you if you win. All names of commenters go into the ‘hat’.
2.The giveaway period runs for ONE WEEK from posting. The winner will then be chosen by random drawing and contacted.
3. Only one entry per giveaway. (But you can enter as many different Daily Giveaway Contests as you want!)
If you don’t win this one, be sure to order a copy of Jack’s book from Amazon: