Monthly Archives: September 2011

Socrates Meets Dr. Seuss

I’m not here to elaborate some myth of a ‘perfect’ Milton Erickson, as some have. But the man was a real genius, and where there is any understanding of him at all (which in mainstream psychology these days there is not, despite his huge continued influence and public popularity, but more of that anon) everyone knows it. Taking up hypnotherapy against the grain, at the height of the ascendance of the Freudian, and achieving incredible success with it, was just the beginning. Erickson came up with entirely new methods of working with people’s minds to go with his trancework approach, methods which still feed self-change for increasingly large numbers of people. This was a guy who knew how to get human beings to work at their best. Anyone chasing self-actualisation will be glad to make his acquaintance.

What makes him interesting is just how hard it was for people to tell what he was doing. He did not work according to any theory, preferring to have a different theory for each patient, and to have the patient contribute the lion’s share of it. “As elusive as a guru or Zen master” is how the Lanktons describe him. Steve Lankton says of his early encounters with the man:

I knew behavior modification, existential therapy, scream therapy, body therapy, psychoanalysis, TA, object relations, feeling therapy, psychosynthesis, and psychodrama, etc., and I can’t explain a damn thing he’s doing!

A lot of his interventions have a flavour of the surreal. As with so many American sages, his big, bearlike presence ran alongside a cracker-barrel eccentricity. Jay Haley titled his classic Ericksonian casebook Uncommon Therapy (1993), and mentions (p.39):

It is easier to say what Erickson does not do in therapy than to say what he does, except by offering case examples. His style of therapy is not based upon insight into unconscious processes, it does not involve helping people understand their interpersonal difficulties, he makes no transference interpretations, he does not explore a person’s motivations, nor does he simply recondition. His theory of change is more complex; it seems to be based upon the interpersonal impact of the therapist outside the patient’s awareness, it includes providing directives that cause changes of behaviour, and it emphasizes communicating in metaphor.

All of which is very sensible-sounding… a thing Erickson’s interventions mostly are not. :)

What was he up to? One way to say it, not entirely off the mark, is this: he knew how ornery, supercilious, self-regarding, contrary and weird human beings could be, and parts of the subconscious mind could be — yet also, that the subconscious mind knew its own solutions. And somehow he often managed to get that very contrary cussedness to be the solution. As a result, many Erickson cases resemble a Far Side cartoon. He had to have no theory, because the particular cussed strangeness of the person or family walking through the door had to be free to strike him as it would. It was this (the ‘neurosis’) that generated the cure. He had to see what game they were playing and alter it, enough that they themselves found the new conformation they wanted to slot into.

Ronald Havens puts it this way:

Erickson did not view people as inherently or typically perfect. On the contrary […] normal development […] would seem destined to produce a population of rather imperfect, illogical, prejudiced, and even downright strange individuals. Indeed, this appears to be exactly what Erickson saw as he looked about him.

The Wisdom of Milton H. Erickson, 2005, p.67

These manifestations of strange uniqueness delighted him, and he used them to further the patient’s own thinking. By the kind of ‘soft power’ well-known to the martial arts (a comparison drawn many times by Lankton), Erickson would deftly short-circuit the contrariness and turn people where they deeply wanted to go, rather than getting them to try and fit his theory. Negativity became positivity waiting to happen. “When you understand how man really defends his intellectual ideas and how emotional he gets about it,” says Erickson himself, “you should realize that the first thing in psychotherapy is not to try to compel him to change his ideation; rather you go along with it and change it in a gradual fashion and create situations wherein he himself willingly changes his thinking.”

To get an idea of how it works in practice (which is the only place it does work, just as some other therapies only work in theory!): How would you react if you were a therapist, and a patient came in at his allotted appointment time, sat down, and began abusing all therapists and the therapy profession, in extremely vulgar language?

Many might wish to take a stand, or at least get irritated. Erickson’s reaction to this situation, which really happened to him, reminds me instead of a line from a Glenn Morris poem: “When the opponent extends power, take it, eat it, and return it tenfold.” (1999, p.35). He said to the man, “You undoubtedly have a damn good reason for saying that and even more.” So the client continued, and with what the Lanktons describe as ‘profanity, obscenity, bitterness, resentment, contempt and hostility’ laid out a history of the uselessness of the therapeutic profession in dealing with any of his issues. Erickson simply said, “Well, you must have had a hell of a good reason to seek therapy from me.” After that, rapport between them was established and the patient co-operative.

And that’s how Erickson worked, as a hypnotist should: so subtle, it slips right by you. That torrent of compulsiveness is also creative energy, which most people can’t control in themselves. Hearing the first stream of invective, Erickson would have thought: here’s passion, frustrated and misdirected, but passion nonetheless, and we can use this. So he encouraged it, and as soon as the man began producing it at Erickson’s request, and with Erickson’s approval, he was already following Erickson’s suggestions, already seeing him as someone who ‘got it’, and already more prepared to redirect that energy to a positive pattern. The problem had already started to become the solution.

It’s a very subtle way, and a strange one. Initial encounters with the Erickson literature left me far more baffled than Lankton ever was. Then I discovered that this bafflement was in fact deliberate. Everything about Erickson’s communicative style was designed to throw your conscious mind off, and give the subconscious some air. Confusion was a perfect method.

A man came to Erickson, aged 30, unmarried, suffering from premature ejaculation which he had unfortunately come to believe was a punishment for sexual immorality. He had tried with many women and ‘really proved to himself’ that it was true. Erickson’s suggestions in trance were paradoxical, to the effect that a seemingly constant neurosis was in fact inconstant, since its meaning changed with time. This enabled him (over a long, rambling trance of two hours and more) to point out subtly that sometimes neuroses reverse, and one doesn’t know when they will, it can be as out of control as the original neurosis was. A cessation of premature ejaculation can even be as frightening and confusing as the problem itself. And so forth.

The result: just before his next attempt in lovemaking, the man suddenly ‘doubted whether he could ejaculate normally’ — even though he supposedly already knew that he could not! Confused thoughts like this continued, even while sex was going on, which it did for fifty minutes, followed by full intravaginal ejaculation. Then there was an immediate repetition of the act. He asked Erickson later, “Is there any explanation why I’ve become normal?”

The contrary weirdness has become the solution. Confused yet? “In almost all my techniques, there is confusion,” says Erickson. And why not? Zen stories and koans, Sufi teaching tales, and other wisdom-tradition teaching devices, emphasise confusion of the discursive linguistic mind, sensing it as the limiting factor in the human system. Socrates was a great adept of confusion, as illustrated in all the early Plato dialogues, which do not aim at conclusive philosophical proofs and definitions but at aporia — a state of befuddlement (from the Greek aporeô, to be at a loss), of not getting to the answer, and therefore also of potential, of creativity. Socrates also resembles Erickson in his habit of getting people to agree with him early on, hooking them into a process of saying yes.

Here are a few more examples, much abbreviated from their far more interesting tellings in Haley. I must stress that: the original studies are more involved than these very curtailed summaries. I’ve chosen these particular ones to illustrate a couple of the trance phenomena I ran over last time, but — talk about ‘crazy wisdom’!

A 23-year-old woman had become distressed and ineffectual at work, but was entirely unable to speak about it. From friends, Erickson gathered that she was blissfully in love but unable to consummate, instead getting nauseated and vomiting and declaring she ‘wasn’t fit to live’ whenever intimacy approached. In hypnosis, Erickson regressed her age, and discovered that her rigid and moralistic mother had told her at menarche that sex was nauseating and disgusting, and that nice girls didn’t do it. The mother had then died, when the girl was thirteen. Obviously the patient was still completely faithful to her mother’s memory on the subconscious level. Erickson told her in trance how valuable that memory was, and how good it was of the mother to have instructed her and prepared her. He then added as an afterthought that of course, had the mother lived, she would have had more valuable stuff to teach.

Questioning the woman afterwards, Erickson heard her say, “I wonder how Mother would have told me the things I need to know now.” This was the beginning of the cure. Since the patient had now accepted that she needed to know different things at the age of 23 than at the age of 13, it was a short step to knowing the benefits of kissing and sexual desire. She married and had a daughter. Again, the problem, the memory of the mother’s instruction, became the solution. To put it another way, the usefulness of any problem is that it has been accepted, in exactly the way the solution will be accepted. When you don’t have to worry about convincing the rational surface mind, change is deeper and more effective, its rules different.

A 17-year-old girl refused to leave the house, withdrawing from the world, because her breasts had failed to develop. Numbers of techniques had already been tried. Erickson discovered she was terribly embarrassed and becoming agoraphobic, but an impishly humorous person and an excellent hypnotic subject — able to feel hot or cold, comfortable or uncomfortable, at a thought. In trance, he repeatedly suggested that she imagine a very embarrassing situation, sensing the embarrassment with great intensity in her face, but then with relief feeling the weight of embarrassment move slowly down to her breasts. He also had her keep an assortment of ‘falsies’ in various sizes, to use underneath sweaters at college, according to her various impish moods, and gave her some suggestions that she would enjoy college.

She walked into Erickson’s office a few months later, doing well in college, with real breasts, asking him to tell them to stop growing as they were big enough now. Her subsequent career was successful. The embarrassment, which had been the problem, became the solution.

A famous early case of Erickson’s, at a time when his interventions were still taking months, was the so-called ‘February Man’. A woman came to him, saying that she was about to be married and was worried about having children. She had been the daughter of an absent father and a socialite mother who ‘could not have her child interfere with her social life’. Her miserable and lonely childhood, in which she had felt she was not much more than a pain in the neck, had left her afraid to have children of her own. She said, “I really don’t know anything good about childhood.”

Erickson’s solution was to regress her to the age of 4 or 5 and talk to her in a guided hallucination as “the February Man”, saying he was a friend of her father’s, appearing one February and talking to her, whilst waiting for a meeting with him. Thus Erickson got to know her at that age, and they grew to like each other. In further trances, the February Man re-appeared in April, in June, and at Christmas time. The patient had spontaneous amnesia for the February Man in normal consciousness, but always recognised him happily in trance, inserting the hallucination at the right point in her subconsciously recollected personal history. Over the months of real life that followed, the patient gradually met the February Man in her own personal past, many times, until the age of fourteen. Since he was so interested in her and friendly, Erickson thus put in place a definite acceptance and sharing, and she began to have the feeling of an emotionally satisfying childhood. She also began when awake to have much less worry about having children of her own. She later had three.

Joe was an old man with cancer who developed extreme pain. He couldn’t talk, and communicated only with pencil and paper. Erickson knew he was a florist, and began to talk to him about growing tomato plants, varying the intonation of his voice to stress certain phrases, in this way:

Now as I talk, and I can do so comfortably, I wish that you would listen to me comfortably as I talk about a tomato plant… It makes one curious. Why talk about a tomato plant? … You cannot see it grow, you cannot hear it grow, but grow it does… those hairs on the leaves must make the plant feel very good, very comfortable. Maybe the tomato plant does feel comfortable and peaceful as it grows. Each day it grows and grows and grows, it’s so comfortable, Joe…

And so on, the interspersed embedded suggestions always to do with feeling good, feeling comfortable. Erickson says: “Joe had no real interest in pointless remarks about a tomato plant. Joe wanted freedom from pain, he wanted comfort, sleep […] he would have a compelling need to find something of value to him in my babbling.” Joe’s toxic state lessened as Erickson talked, until he had no distressing pain. Treatment continued intermittently over the months. The malignancy was still there, but Joe began to be in better shape and to eat more. He lived far longer than expected, and eventually died quietly, without pain.

Hypnosis is like that, it works absolutely silently within, binding with that ‘compelling need’ in all of us, the same power that expressed itself in all these examples. People sometimes have no idea hypnosis has worked at all. They say, “The hypnosis didn’t do much, I wasn’t even sure I was in a trance, but then I found a way to solve the problem by myself anyhow.” This has happened to many a hypnotherapist, and s/he gets no credit — but then that’s the idea, because actually the cure does come from the patient. Who else? It’s always a question of recruiting their own inner resources and inspiration. Allen Carr made an entire career out of helping people give up smoking, but always insisted that the hypnotherapist he went to see on the day he himself quit hadn’t helped him at all!

I’ve done this, even as the result of scripts I myself have written. Having excited realisations, then discovering I’m recapitulating something that I deliberately implanted in myself — only it is now alive, lived, and it comes out in a completely different and spontaneous form, having bound with personal power. The results of trance sneak up on you, and you find yourself trying them on for size. Since the suggestions have been positive and are now accepted, the new way of being naturally becomes accepted in its turn. It is after all far more comfortable than the old. Following the process through a few times within oneself, one will become very impressed with the deep, silent power that changes all the maps and filters. There is so much in us which of which we normally have no idea at all.

Of course the examples I’ve given here are all clinical. The Lanktons mention how very rare it is for an actual healthy person to show up in search of the next pinnacle of development. Usually the hypnotist is the last-ditch recourse in a bad case of neurosis. But that inner power which hypnosis accesses is the same one that rises in kundalini. You can certainly use hypnosis more as a regular training method and in a quest-like spiritual fashion. More on that later.

Erickson knew that each of us has this power, and his complete faith in its deep workings is what makes his method so extraordinary. One person who definitely used Erickson’s methods to get ahead in self-actualisation was Erickson himself. Getting a flavour of the man shows that very clearly. Zeig (1980) describes him as very alert, alive, present, always enjoying himself, kind and considerate, laughing often. He had an attitude of amazement and awe, including at positive changes a person could make, or even at trance phenomena he had seen a thousand times. He never took credit for the changes in his patients, seeing it as their work, work which delighted him. At the same time, Erickson had an enormous amount of post-polio pain, was practically quadriplegic, had the use of only half his diaphragm, and had paralysed lips and a dislocated tongue. A man whose voice was his living! As Zeig says (p. xx):

Erickson was a genius in the practice of psychotherapy. However, his genius at practicing psychotherapy was eclipsed by his genius at living.

Afterword:

Going for and beginning to achieve something like that state of life is, one could say, the stage after all the most pressing neurotic difficulties are taken care of. It is when a person starts to be psychologically real and complete; it’s the perfect preparation for, and accompaniment to, the spiritual transformation of kundalini. The psychological umbrella term for this ‘genius at living’ is self-actualisation. The importance of that idea in Erickson’s philosophy places him in company with the ‘third wave’ humanistic psychologists — Maslow for example, who observed truly creative and actualised people in action, and decided it would be a worthwhile study to find out how they came to be that way, “almost like a different breed of human beings”.

It was to this tradition and idea that Glenn Morris gave his academic allegiance. He wrote of Maslow several times, and specifically mentions Erickson (Shadow Strategies p. 260) as an improvement on one item of Maslow’s theory. It’s a tradition which does include spiritual experience as an important focus. Placing self-actualisation alongside the traditional shamanic and kundalini-based enlightenment experiences of Glenn’s spiritual development approach, you have a vision of humanity that is both grounded and transcendent, which can take account of scientific data and spiritual experience quite happily, making both actualisers of what truly matters in us. More of that tradition next time.


Grammar of the Subconscious

Talking about the trance phenomena, the first thing to get out of the way is the names. They could be considered unfortunate. Hands up anyone who ever wanted to experience the power of the imagination to make a reality so real they could touch and smell and taste it?

Ok. Now hands up if you want to experience a hallucination?

Doesn’t sound as good, right? :)

But hallucination is normal. All ‘trance phenomena’ are actually totally normal ways in which the subconscious mind organises the human world. Anyone on a quest for a deeper experience of that mind and that world can use trance as a method of reorganising these phenomena. We can revisit those two women I used as examples a couple of posts ago, each of whom walked into stores on different occasions and behaved in ways they didn’t expect. One of them was a bulimic who went in to buy junk food. She came out without having bought any. (She had recently gone through a session of hypnosis with Steve and Carol Lankton, and her internal maps had changed quite a bit.) The second woman was grieving, and went into the store for something or other, then ‘woke up’ in the checkout queue in tears, holding a birthday card for her daughter, who had died months before.

With that second woman, a part of herself was hallucinating a world where her daughter was still alive. A totally natural process, but being used very counterproductively. She was hallucinating a world contrary to one in which she could really live and actualise. Whereas the first woman was doing what is called ‘negative hallucination’, a very common trance phenomenon in which someone can’t see something that is actually there. In this case the woman couldn’t see the junk food. And that was quite useful, because then she didn’t buy it, binge it, and throw it up. These phenomena can be used positively or negatively. People use them all the time anyhow; with a way to use them positively, a life can be actualised.

Everyone has an inner picturing faculty with which to think. It’s very important in some forms of spiritual training — Bardon’s trains you to use this faculty in all five senses, but personally I think it does so a little stiffly. Trancework is a much more fun way, and will also get rid of the blocks if a person happens to get stuck. I wrote and recorded a hypnosis script, which shucked off some bad habits and attitudes I wanted to get rid of. One part of it had me standing in a waterfall. When I listened to the recording, I went deeply into trance, and in this trance I could see the waterfall exactly. I could see the sun glinting through it exactly, I could see the wet rocks. I could hear the rush of water. I could feel the difference between the cold water and the hotter water that lay in thin puddles on the boulders. I could taste the air and feel it moving past my body. I could see the trees and smell them. It was fun!

But I wasn’t “doing” anything; it just happened naturally as I listened in trance. I realised at that moment that in writing the script I could already ‘see’ all this. I just wasn’t actually ‘looking at’ the ‘seeing place’ while I wrote. In trance, I recognised everything was just as I’d put it in.

I thought, let’s experiment with this. I lay and listened to an audiobook of Over Sea, Under Stone (of which more later), until I was mildly in trance, then looked at the seeing place. Sure enough I could see everything in the book as if it were happening. I had first read that book decades previously, and my inner pictures seemed to remind me of that earlier reading. They hadn’t changed very much. I could see all the places, pristine. Meditation makes inner picturing very strong against a background of enormously deep silence, which totally removes attention from the regular senses.

This powerful inner picturing facility also allows anyone to re-experience anything from the past, whether good (to reinforce) or bad (to get over). That’s another trance phenomenon called ‘age regression’, and everything is seen with the same crystal clarity. Again, people age-regress all the time unconsciously, but the hypnosis technique can put the experience to work in a positive manner. A mind can also be orientated to some future, putative time and see that just as clearly. A classic use of that is to see the result of some decisions taken now. Or to go ahead in time to an achieved goal, then look back at the road there. NLPers do quite a lot of that.

How about ‘dissociation’? Dissociation is a trance phenomenon of major importance, but it doesn’t exactly sound positive! It sounds like being cut off — but being cut off in a certain sense or context can be a very good thing. Dissociation can induce a feeling of separation from the body. This can be the start of an out of body experience. It can also be a way to see oneself objectively, which is extremely useful. A classic way to use dissociation is to see a replay of life events as they occur to a child, but not realising who the child is. It turns out to be actually an age-regressed version of the person in the trance, who learns they survived and are ok. Gradually trauma heals.

Again, dissociation is a natural phenomenon. Everyone has memories of spacing out, looking at the scenery as it flicks past the train window, then seeing their transparent reflection looking back. William Fezler describes getting a woman to be ok on a flight by dissociating her from her flight phobia. He also uses an additional trance phenomenon, time distortion, to make the flight seem like it took hardly any time at all. That’s another perfectly normal one. We’ve all had the experience of becoming very engrossed and then suddenly realising three hours have gone by. With hypnosis, that experience is simply used as a resource, and applied where it will do some good for the situation in hand.

But the neutrality of dissociation is far more than that, since it can function as the beginning of much spiritual experience too. Deep spiritual ‘enlightenment’ experiences are dissociated from the normal personality and from the normal sensoria. Maslow mentions that the ‘Peak Experience’ tends to perceive the world in a more detached, neutral manner, and that there is a characteristic disorientation in time and space in which a day can seem like minutes or minutes like a day. He isn’t talking about hypnotic trance, but these are the same phenomena. The subconscious can lead to the superconscious.

Hypnosis isn’t usually seen as a training discipline to develop actualisation, but certainly it can be used it that way. (More of that as we go.) Its mundane and clinical uses are great too, though, because they’re a ready-made system that works. Sorting out the life patterns and actualising a bit on the earthly level is a good preparation for kundalini. There will be less difficulty when the energy really gets strong. Besides, there are other more mundane uses that never go away. If people are in physical pain, dissociation can produce anaesthesia, and that’s pretty cool in itself. Again quite natural. Everyone has had the experience of not really noticing the sensations that happen to be going on in their foot, say; one simply harnesses that. Negative hallucination can be used too, equivalent to not experiencing the foot. Or else positive hallucination, getting the foot numb by visualising plunging it in snow for example.

One of the most important trance phenomena is simply the relaxation and comfort of trance itself. The sheer calm. Using it alone has cured fear of public speaking. It’s cured pain, because being relaxed raises the pain threshold. It’s cured stuttering and skin disorders in and of itself. Tao Semko points out that relaxation alone has awakened kundalini. It is a major part of Glenn Morris’s approach, via the all-important ‘Secret Smile’.

The subconscious mind is incredibly smart. It learns incredibly quickly from all these experiences, and it knows much more than the conscious mind realises. It’s a vast storehouse of experience and learning that perceives things the conscious mind ignores. It has a childlike brilliance and creativity, and it’s this which comes to full actualisation and fruition at kundalini. Creativity goes through the roof.

A question some might ask is: can we be absolutely sure that the trances obtained from these modern methods are as much trances as, say, shamanic dancing and drumming? The answer is they are; it’s a little like that magical rite in Terry Pratchett which uses masses of candles, octograms and thuribles, when all you actually need is three little sticks and 4cc of mouse blood. William Buhlman has included an OBE hypnosis script in Adventures Beyond the Body since 1996; trance, whether shamanic or clinical, naturally tends towards OBE.

People often begin with everyday stuff, quitting smoking etc., but will start to encroach on deeper things naturally if doing a lot of this. William Fezler’s Creative Imagery — How to Visualize in All Five Senses begins with simple self-hypnosis and works on the inner visualising faculty, clearing up everyday life problems such as pain or phobia. But as he goes on, things naturally move in the direction of spiritual phenomena and OBE, because Fezler is basically making a programme of steady experiment with trance and visualisation, and when that is done, spirituality is where it goes. His patients would have spontaneous OBEs and Extraordinary Knowings as a natural outgrowth of longstanding work and practice. I mentioned in an earlier post my own experience that ordinary clinical trancework will activate spiritual awareness and energy just fine.

I’ve experimented on combining this with ch’i kung. I recommend that; more detail another time! The methods supercharge each other, actualising at the level of ordinary life before moving beyond.

In sum, I like to remember this stuff is in everyone. We all experience all the trance phenomena constantly, because they are simply the natural grammar of the subconscious. In just the same way, we all have that sexual energy that rises at kundalini and we all have spiritual magic inside us. We all have the creativity to live closer to actualisation. We just need ways to get at it. Lots of people are on a quest; maybe everyone is. Certainly people who think there is ‘more to life’ are easy to meet. I think for many, some sort of hypnosis will turn out to be a valuable tool in the kit.

Lorna Channon surveyed the Australian Society of Hypnosis and found that a quarter of them had experienced ESP whilst using ordinary clinical hypnosis. As a skeptic herself she was rather taken aback. But these are simply the normal dance steps of the mind. For human beings the extraordinary is actually quite normal, at times, but recognising it and turning it to some advantage is a different matter.

Next week, I’ll be looking over some eye-popping results from the casebook of that genius of clinical hypnotherapy, Milton Erickson.

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EDIT: Just noticed that Glenn Morris’s long-time associate Dr. Susan Carlson, who knows plenty about kundalini energy and ch’i, is also highly qualified in a number of hypnosis fields.


Trio of Gateways to Interesting Dimensions

For this post I’ve made updates to the Reading List with some fresh volumes that represent some of the best ways in to useful stuff, in three different areas.

Hypnosis

As promised last week, a couple of good ways for everyone who wants to try Ericksonian hypnosis for and on themselves.

Some say that NLP (which derives in many ways from analyses of Erickson’s methods) is the best way in for this. Now without wanting to say NLP does nothing, I personally would make a strong distinction between it and trancework of the Ericksonian kind. I didn’t get hugely into NLP personally, although some do. (Many in the know agree that NLP has been considerably watered down from what it was 3 decades back when it first appeared, so if you do decide to check it out, be careful from whom you learn.) Stephen Lankton, whom I mentioned last week, wrote an excellent book on NLP right at the beginning of the movement, but then moved to further analysis of Erickson himself and building on the Ericksonian paradigm, because he thought there were things there which hadn’t yet been brought out. I think he was right.

I found NLP fun and useful, but it didn’t have the strong, mysterious, internal-map-changing power of Ericksonian trancework for me, nor, often, that humanistic philosophical depth, and it’s since mostly gone rather by the boards. By all means experiment with it, but don’t think it’ll necessarily do the things I’m talking about by itself.

Another option some will always recommend is of course to buy a CD. Here again though, things can be hit-and-miss. There’s a danger that the generic nature of hypnotic CDs, although it could do something, won’t do enough to really hit your personal issues, and will leave you with a feeling of having ‘tried it but ho hum’. A randomly chosen CD may not always be the easiest way to really get into trance if you’ve never had the experience before.

So what are some more reliable ways? Here’s something not always mentioned: anyone can walk into any hypnotherapist’s workplace and say, “I’d like to try entering a hypnotic trance please, to see what it’s like,” and they will be courteously obliged. The experience orientates someone to trancework much better than a generic cd, and it doesn’t have to be about ‘curing’ anything. Even more importantly, any hypnotherapist will be only too happy to teach anyone how to hypnotise him- or herself. With that experience, working alone becomes far easier. It doesn’t take long to get the idea.

I went to see Keith Bibby, an excellent Ericksonian in London, and he was amazing (I thoroughly recommend him), with skills that still knock me out when I think back, far ahead of anything I could do. Especially off the cuff. It was a delight to be in such good hands. He murmured a continuous quick stream of syllables that I couldn’t quite consciously hear, like a wizard out of Le Guin, but my subconscious heard everything and managed to bring back an interesting item or two, from a trance so deep that my arms felt practically leaden and pinned to the chair.

So that’s one way. But in addition, many will want to find a way by themselves. Luckily, these days there are options.

A great recommend here is a book called Hypnotherapy Scripts by Ronald Havens and Catherine Walters. It’s packed with scripts, including many types of direct and metaphorical (story/image-based) suggestion scripts, in what the authors call a ‘Neo-Ericksonian’ style. People tend to find that having this great variety of scripts pre-made, to choose from, takes out a lot of the difficult initial variables. There’s a variety of excellent “inductions” (sequences to bring on trance), and when it comes to the main body of the script, there’s general stuff like help for your life goals or procrastination, ability to cope with events generally, or scripts for other common issues from the minor to the devastating. In fact the book is a positive grimoire of workings for everything from pain management to smoking, to every relationship and career issue imaginable, to anything else anyone can think of plus some things I couldn’t. (It’s easy to check the table of contents in the Amazon reader for the full list).

Whatever scripts look interesting can simply be recorded to any medium, speaking slowly and gently (the layout of the scripts shows where to put in breaks), and most people interestingly find their own voice is one they respond to very well.

Choosers of this book have two other advantages. First, a CD is out there of Havens and Walters doing one script each — just inductions, but they are both excellent and provide an instinctive link to the material as well as a much better trance experience than you’ll get from most CDs. Second, and even more important, the authors have included a small, enjoyable, and highly workable set of instructions at the back of the book, for anyone who wants to write their own scripts. The steps are simple and jog the mind into creativity. With this method, anyone can get up to speed writing their own Ericksonian metaphors, and will get results. It’s a great, easy, hands-on way to learn.

I really dogged this book when I was starting because it had so much in it, yet allowed the freedom to experiment — learning by doing. I still refer to it quite a bit. It’s a good, friendly way in and I salute it.

Special Bonus: I have a copy of this book to give away! It’s completely new and unused, and I’ll be happy to send it to the first person who contacts me (using the ‘Contact Me’ button, top of the page) and asks for it. :) Yes I’m serious! EDIT: Sorry, the book’s been taken now…

However, one book of course can’t unpack the full Ericksonian toolkit. I’m including two more Ericksonian books on the Reading List, which will give a more complete journey for anyone who wants it. (The next couple of posts will illustrate some of the possibilities that open up if you try this.) A look at Erickson’s casebook, and an understanding of relevant ideas on stages of family development, is quite an education. Erickson thought about people as part of a wider system of relationships, a system either communicating and actualising well or — not so well :). On this, Jay Haley’s book Uncommon Therapy is unputdownable, with its wide-ranging selection of cases of every type imaginable, and many insights into Erickson’s methods.

I also don’t think a person could really get the most out of the book I mentioned so often last post, Steve and Carol Lankton’s The Answer Within, without having read Haley, because the Lanktons constantly reference those developmental ideas. Their book, my final recommend, really does provide the tools for lifting any Ericksonian hypnotic techniques into the stratosphere. It’s a one stop shop providing some philosophical underpinnings, an ingenious method for interweaving multiple metaphors, a complete overview of indirect language use (including double binds) and a system for using and teaching the all-important trance phenomena, amongst many other things. Anyone who’s already learned how to write scripts can start adding this material in and just watch what happens. It’s a veritable book of Gramarye.

Talking of trance phenomena — that’ll be my topic next post. It’s the umbrella term for the products of trance in consciousness, (such as time distortions, sensations, and so forth), which are a very interesting study in themselves, and getting access to them on a regular basis can have some big benefits. The post following that, we’ll take a look at Milton Erickson’s casebook to find out what the man himself was capable of. Later we’ll also be placing Erickson in context with Humanistic Psychology, which school also happens to contain one Glenn Morris.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting tidbit. Robert Becker’s remarkable book The Body Electric is probably best-known for recounting his experimental proofs that not only do living beings have an electromagnetic field associated with them, that field is absolutely vital to their health. (His work showed an amazing effect on the regenerating limbs of amphibians — real science, and very relevant to everything I discuss, it’s an enthralling read which has been on the Reading List for a while.)

However, there’s more than that in it. On pp. 238-9, Becker describes findings for hypnotic anaesthesia which confirm an electromagnetic polarity alteration takes place on people whose arm has become numb in trance (another of the standard trance phenomena). The same alteration occurs with physical anaesthesia too, but Becker had expected the effects of hypnotic trance to be more ‘psychological’:

Some doubters (including myself, I’m afraid) had believed hypno-analgesia was merely a state in which the patient still felt the pain but didn’t respond to it, but these experiments proved it was a real blockage of pain perception.

More importantly perhaps, they showed that the body’s electrical system, and therefore ch’i, alters strongly as a result of trance. This is one reason why hypnosis is so good to partner up with qigong.

Our culture is probably the most tranced in history. It was a while before I realised that many of the early experiences I valued were trance experiences, including mutual trancing such as that caused by games — good preparation for being inside another person’s imagination. The TV and the novel are powerful ways to self-trance.

But it probably hasn’t escaped many that the uses to which the trances in those systems are put doesn’t necessarily always work 100% for the wellbeing of the general public. There seem to be some trances built from TV and movies, particularly, that can only be removed with other trances, and need to be for some people. I sometimes think the polarity of the information is at odds with the everyday mind. But once the whole system is working, it’s quite hard to distract people from actualising again. Actualised people also help others to actualise by their presence alone, but more of that anon.

(Not to mention, plenty have bent the Ericksonian and NLP ideas out of shape just to use them for sales techniques. Forewarned is forearmed.)

Acupressure

Famously, Becker found evidence for the existence of acupuncture points too. (His conductivity maps of the points are fascinating.) Ingo Swann on the other hand, sitting in meditation in a copper room built by Elmer Green according to instructions found in some theosophical channelings, had amongst many other remarkable experiences a different kind of confirmation of the acupoints’ existence:

I again looked down at my hands with my eyes, and saw […] that the surface of the skin was peppered with small glowing dots. Of course, I immediately wondered what these were — at which point they somehow magnified — and I could see them composed one-half of pink light, the other of turquoise blue light. Inside each of them was a transparent lusciously green whorl […] I soon realized, with extreme amazement, what these were. I had always wondered how the ancient Chinese could make maps of the acupuncture points without having sensitive instruments which could detect their minute voltages. It was now clear to me that they almost certainly had used micro-clairvoyance to do this […] However there were many more of [the points] than are usually illustrated in the books…

– Swann, Psychic Sexuality, 1999, p. 218

No, I haven’t had this experience, although Robert Bruce seems to have had something similar. It makes sense that there are more points than we know of — the so-called ‘sen points’ of Thai massage are a similar system to the Chinese one, but with many more points, and in different places. Similarly, the nadis of yoga fulfil similar functions to the Chinese meridians but are definitely not identical with them.

However, the standard Chinese meridian system is a great way to work with the energies, and people can do so by themselves using the technique of acupressure, which costs nothing and gets excellent results. Glenn recommended doing self-shiatsu after every meditation, which uses similar points and meridians, and that’s another alternative. (He also used the same points to hurt rather than heal, a martial arts trick called Dim Mak.)

Plenty of the ch’i kung books on the Reading List have a little acupressure stuff in them, but after experimenting with a regular regimen, I think it’s worth getting to know for itself. I’ve put in a couple of books for people wanting to try it. Michael Reed Gach’s Acupressure’s Potent Points is a classic focusing mostly on physical healing — allergies, backache, insomnia, colds and flu, digestive issues, you name it; whilst the book he’s more recently written with Beth Ann Henning, Acupressure for Emotional Healing, comes at it more from that emotional angle with point combinations for anxiety, depression, fear, grief, trauma recovery, and so forth. Naturally there’s a lot of crossover between the books, and healing the physical will certainly alter the emotional and vice versa.

Acupressure is fun and easy to experiment with, and I have found it highly effective. Combining it with trancework, meditation and ch’i kung, the possibilities expand again. Glenn mentions, “Shiatsu becomes particularly interesting once you’ve developed chi kung” (Path Notes, p. 258). What he means is that when you can develop a light meditative state and pour energy into the points, plus their associated meridians, rather than just using pressure, you have a whole other thing. You can develop beautiful states from that alone, and it works fast.

Sex

I know there are a few people who want me to write more about sex (!); more detail will have to wait but I’ve just added a book to the List that I absolutely loved: Sexual Energy Ecstasy by David and Ellen Ramsdale. It seems to be out of print and you’ll get it very cheaply. I got mine for a dollar plus shipping on US Amazon.

What I love about it is that it’s very comprehensive on sacred sex techniques, but very friendly and easy and non-intimidating. It’s quite a large, thick book with a lot covered, but it never seems like you have to do it all — there’s just a lovely, big, warm menu of energy, training and attitude to choose from. This makes it ideal for the interested person who wants to try something but is not sure what the best way in is for them personally. It also has a gracious, generous vibe to it which I found really enjoyable. It’s a book about becoming a dynamic, happy human being as much as anything else. Who could disapprove? :)

The menu offered is big and varied. Quite a lot of emphasis on the Deer Exercise of Stephen Chang, and some great Taoist-style energy meditations, but also work with massage, ritual, visualisation, touch techniques, various systems for orgasm extension and so forth. Some stuff is bound to appeal, and there’s plenty in there I’ll probably never use too.

There’s also a whole section on sexual applications of acupressure, which is a great subject in itself. So much so, I’ve actually put a different book on the List covering it, North and Chia’s Taoist Foreplay, which I also really appreciated. The points chosen there have a Shiatsu vibe, and the sequences for warming up and opening energies and meridians are wonderful for creating that intimate and open feeling.

One thing the Ramsdales don’t cover is hypnotic trance. The reader may well be saying, surely there are sexual applications to hypnosis? And the answer is most decidedly yes! Any system that can induce such deep concentration and relaxation, heighten sensitivity, cause you to feel delicious sensations and alter your perceptions, help you remove inhibitions, and so on, is an absolutely gimme for use in the bedroom. ‘Time Distortion’ sounds awfully clinical, as indeed it should, but using it in sex — say, for causing an orgasm to go ten times as slowly and last ten times as long — is a lot less intellectual! Combining this with Chi Kung’s well-demonstrated ability to produce a healthy flow of sexual power (I just saw an Amazon review for Lam Kam Chuen’s Way of Power that mentioned, “although now nearing eighty, I have been somewhat embarrassed by the regeneration of my sexual energy” ^_^) and you have a rather nice recipe for happiness in this department.

However, use of hypnosis for sex isn’t really being well-covered in book form yet. There are a couple of books out there — I’ve got Masters’ Look Into My Eyes, but to be honest it’s rather ordinary stuff. The techniques are quite resolutely non-Ericksonian and the uses to which they’re put are fairly standard, fantasies etc., with no spiritual techniques or approaches. Quite a lot of other ‘sexual hypnosis’ products are mixed up with the ‘pick up artist’ community which has a predatory vibe, and sometimes comes down to using NLP for some kind of frat-boy misogynist serial seduction thing. (Besides, developing ch’i Glenn’s way makes ‘pick up’ a fairly straightforward process.)

I’ll save most of my own observations on hypnosis and sex for another time. Right now, focusing on the spiritual aspects of sex, one thing I’d observe about hypnosis is that it can clean up any sense of guilt, struggle, or tension. Another thing is, for the man particularly, spiritual sex has a lot to do with what is generally thought of as ‘self control’, especially if he is developing those oh-so-interesting non-ejaculatory skills. Hypnosis, with its deep and blissful relaxation, makes that learning a great deal simpler. It’s a fairly easy Ericksonian move to take the blissful comfort of trance and associate it to the sexual act in such a way as to make it natural to relax at the… appropriate moments. :)

Spiritual sex involves deep calm and extension of the act into something meditative, lasting, no longer about hunger, fully present and awake, enjoying the timeless depth and beauty of having arrived somewhere beautiful, in which ch’i is sensed, as in any other meditation, and spiritual light is present. It is utterly beautiful, deeply satisfying, and anyone who likes the idea or feels drawn to it could do no better than start with the Ramsdales. Personally I think people practicing in that way are helping to break down centuries of misinformation about sex and spirit in our culture, as conveyed by repressive Christianity and other forms of societal squashing of love.

Well, I hope these books have set some thoughts off in people on the path towards greater actualisation and fulfilment! Next post, as promised, we’ll have a look at the trance phenomena and their myriad fun applications.


Deep Ways

Hypnotherapy is an excellent thing. A couple of recent exchanges have made me realise there are some who aren’t aware what it can do for them. That’s no accident — by now you know that good stuff is being hidden from you all the time these days! The evidence for its benefits is even better than that for spiritual healing, discussed in the last post, but there is a similar net of silence lying over it. You might not know much about how it works, nor about how well it works, and what you do know could well be false.

Lists of the great psychologists contain many I namecheck, but they never seem to include Milton Erickson, the greatest hypnotherapist of the 20th century and a man whose cure record will astound you. Yet his influence has reached everywhere. He’s the primary source for the burgeoning field of NLP, psychology conferences organised under his banner are the largest ever convened honouring a single individual, and there are some 129 Milton Erickson Institutes worldwide, the last time anyone I know counted. A documentary about him, The Wizard of the Desert, is on its way.

As so often happens with pioneers, he faced quite a nonplussed reaction, and sometimes a hostile one, when he started to explore the potential of hypnotherapy. Yet all societies use trance, the engine of hypnosis. It’s part of the basic human toolkit. It’s also certainly a part of all religious systems, including shamanic ones, and all forms of art and entertainment. It is much used in healing too, although not always consciously so. More or less unknown to the mainstream, what has developed in clinical Ericksonian hypnosis (since Freud’s dismissal of the modality was itself dismissed) is a highly effective and flexible use, in a completely modern setting, of basic states and capacities humans have found in themselves for millennia. What’s good about it is how well it works. It’s also plain fun to experiment with.

I’d like to give you a feeling for how it happens practically. It’s easier than you might think because you’re always using trance, as everyone does. You see people at the bus stop absorbed and not present — they are reorientating internal maps and goals, adjusting energies, in a trance state. These maps exist at a level of which we aren’t normally conscious, so people usually will not notice what they’re doing (meditation will change that, but the ability to observe the mind skilfully need not interfere with trance — they can complement each other.) Stephen and Carol Lankton, in their seminal Ericksonian hypnotherapy text The Answer Within, point out that if you watch many different types of therapy at work, as they did, on video, you will see patients and indeed therapists going into trance as they retrieve memories and alter those internal maps. (Stephen Lankton comments on that in this interview as well.) Just as all human life involves trance, all therapy is in a sense hypnotherapy, because the maps can’t really be altered without trance of some kind.

And what are the maps? Just your world as you see it on an intuitive lived level, with all its experiences and relationships, stored unconsciously in your nervous system. Normally quite hard to alter consciously, that process becomes far easier when accessed the right way, and then your world and behaviour instinctively changes. A bulimic who underwent a session of therapy with the Lanktons told them later that she went into a store to buy junk food — but noticed when she came out that she hadn’t bought any. The map had changed, but she had not yet consciously caught up. You can probably instantly think of a dozen applications for that in your own life. It’s the very opposite of the willpower approach.

The interesting thing (and ignorant writers on hypnosis never bring this out, nor do stage hypnotists) is that it was really the bulimic woman herself who changed her own map. Ericksonian hypnosis in particular is concerned with giving you you. It operates on the principle that various breakdowns in communication and meaning are preventing you from the becoming that you deeply know needs to take place, and allows your subconscious to bring out what needs to be there. The hypnotist sensitively provides a setting, maybe a relationship or a superstructure, a way in, which will allow this to happen — but with that channel open, it is the person in the trance who actually does the work. I’ll illustrate this as we go. Deep-seated drives within a human being, their truth and meaning getting mixed up, can be hard to handle consciously, but unconsciously the way forward is known. Symptoms are seeds whose cure is their flower.

(A couple of myths to skewer: no, you can’t be hypnotised if you don’t want to be, and no, you can’t be made to do things you don’t wish to do. By the way, it’s also true that it is easier to hypnotise people of greater intelligence.)

Another example of internal maps comes from Irving Yalom’s super book, Love’s Executioner, a riveting set of tales from the chair of a skilled working therapist — but not a hypnotherapist. One of his patients is unable to get over the death of her daughter. She finds herself going into a store and suddenly realising she is in a checkout queue, in tears, holding a birthday card for the daughter, who has been dead for years, but whose birthday is coming up.

Compare the behaviour of that patient with the bulimic of before. Each goes into a shop, and does something not consciously intended, which reflects deeper parts of their maps than they were consciously accessing. For the bereaved woman, her internal map still contains her relationship with her daughter, whom she consciously knows is no longer present. But she has not yet accepted the truth on the deeper level — one could say she maintains her inner map by hypnotising herself. Opening up those deeper parts to a different way is the key, allowing them to express. Often we can’t consciously see a way forward that we are dying to take deep within. (When I read that chapter in Yalom now, I wish he knew something about hypnosis.)

In the Reading List I’ve emphasised different sorts of psychology until now, and they remain useful — but recent discoveries, which I’ll detail as we go, make me think that hypnosis is the most essential of all modern psychological methods of altering the self available, a great testament to the fact that our secular culture gets things absolutely right sometimes, and a marvellous partner for ch’i kung.

It’s comfortable, so enjoyable… and it seems to work so durn quickly. Erickson’s speed of cure increased dramatically over his lifetime, and the methods are now amazingly compact and efficient. I’ll save more details of his successes and methods for another time, but just have a look at the cases detailed by the Lanktons in their Answer Within book: child abuses, chronic depressions with psychosomatic elements, deep social panic and so on, are cured time and again in one unprepared session, and the cures hold up when checked months and years later. That I’m aware of, other forms of therapy simply can’t do this. Imagine having that kind of flexible power at your disposal, in the service of your best truth, or anyone’s. (Your own access to kundalini power will be a lot smoother if you’ve ironed yourself out this way first.)

The more esoterically-inclined reader will also have noticed the similarity of those bulimic and grieving patients to the “extraordinary knowing” of a previous post. They are all examples of human beings doing things without conscious intention, from an inner prompting that feeds more into the bodily end of consciousness. If those deep levels have been made harmonious, other things speak through them. As Glenn Morris described one example: “Leon had a “bad feeling” and stepped back when the others moved forward” — thus avoiding a collapsing bridge. Can one encourage this kind of unconsciously-motivated action with hypnosis? The answer is that one can, and I’ll show more of this as we go too.

I love to make trance into a work of art and I’ll release some hypnosis cd’s at some point (in fact I plan to make other deliberately trance-based works of art too, if I get the chance) but Ericksonian hypnosis in particular is at its best when dealing with the individual directly and spontaneously rather than generically. It assumes you are at your best when you are most you, and it works with your own personal sets of symbols, not the therapist’s.

It may be somewhat tricky to get the most out of hypnotherapy by yourself, but there are easy ways in and short cuts to beginning — next post I’ll go into that. The subtle and indirect Ericksonian approach, with its paradoxes, metaphors and double binds, is the very opposite of the direct-command ‘you are feeling sleepy, you no longer crave cigarettes’ stereotypical direct hypnosis idea, and is a real education in human nature. There are some good resources there now, especially if the only person you want to work on to start with is you. You progress quickly approaching things as a fun experiment to begin with. (If you don’t know how to do that, make it a hypnotic goal!)

How does hypnosis tie in with energy work, and with spiritual enlightenment? The answer is they are made for each other. A story from energy healer Donna Eden springs to mind. She describes working on a patient named ‘Leah’ whose bronchitis was so bad she had to be carried into Eden’s office. A blocked meridian received a lot of attention, and Eden became aware of an overwhelming grief surfacing, in Leah and herself. They were both in tears. It turned out Leah’s best friend had died after being nursed through a long terminal illness by Leah herself. A complicated story in Leah’s own mind and heart had built up amidst all the difficulty, until, after the death:

She had fallen into a pit of existential despair over the thought that no-one would ever be there for her as she had been for her friend. At a level below her conscious awareness, she had given up on life. Her sense of emptiness and isolation had buried itself in her lungs and manifested as bronchitis.

Eden 2005

This is more than simply a useful confirmation of the fact, well known to chi kung, that grief collects in the lungs. (Although it’s good motivation to use healing sounds and/or a lung exercise to clear them!) It’s really a recapitulation of what the bereaved patient of Yalom’s was dealing with, showing how the map can be altered from the energetic angle too. The blockage in Leah was also manifested in her internal map of meanings, in a way she could not help living, just as with the earlier two examples. It was about deep meaning, the deep meaning of being loved and cared for. It starts to become clear how useful hypnosis is as a partner with energy work, because those are exactly the kinds of things it can deal with. Internal maps, deep-level stories and beliefs and experiences and self-images, passions and meanings, are bound up with the energies that run your body and soul. If you change the internal maps, you also change and clear the energies. (As Michael Winn likes to say, ‘your life is how you are using your ch’i’.)

If dealing with energetic blockage within yourself, imagine being able to go within and enable your own body’s and soul’s knowing to unblock the energy, or tell you how the map needs to change, or even change it without telling you! Letting go is the classic hypnosis skill. I’ll give later some juicy cases of Erickson’s that demonstrate what’s possible — one example is the time he hypnotised himself to write an article in his sleep, and woke up to find it completed on his desk.

Here are some recent more ‘psychic’ experiences of my own; they showed me a little of the potential of ‘clinical’ hypnosis methods with transpersonal energies. In a hypnotherapy lesson over at the school of the excellent Terence Watts in Essex (not primarily an Ericksonian, but someone with some very useful tricks — check out Warriors, Settlers and Nomads), there were quite a few of us with spiritual interests. I was sitting next to one such, as Terence launched into work with a class-member on the other side of the room. I was delighted to notice a beam of light emerge from his third eye as he began to work with her, and I turned to my neighbour asking if she saw anything in his aura (Glenn taught me: always confirm, and make it a folie à deux, if possible). After a moment she lifted her hand to her forehead and extended it out, imitating what we both saw.

I think we both hushed up when we realised the sign we were making could be misinterpreted to mean ‘dickhead’. :) (Although Glenn himself had always stressed that, since kundalini brings genital energies to the brain, it is actually just a ‘good way of being a dickhead’ — for men anyhow. ^_^) But it was nice to confirm that, subconsciously, energy and chakra work occurs all the time in healing, whether or not the person intends it. Terence, I’m sure, never sensed it directly, but I thought his third eye projection was seeking to join with the same chakra in his subject. Something worth experimenting with there. He’s very talented.

I had lots of energy that day. More than once, I noticed ch’i passing from my system into a hypnotic subject, especially when doing a so-called ‘thumb drop induction’, where there is a hand-to-hand contact. One charming lady, of no esoteric experience at all, described a bolt of energy moving up her arm (lung meridian). She looked at me and said, “I didn’t imagine that.” Such are the benefits of kundalini shakti. As with a woman being steered unconsciously away from junk food, it sometimes moves at its own whim and not yours. It is part of the deep thing too. What it did for her I don’t know.

Later, I took another spiritually-aware lady into trance. She got a big dose of energy and contacted me later to thank me for the boost. When she hypnotised me in turn and took me through a nice Terence Watts sequence, I visualized a warrior figure whom I can still access. “Is she wearing a headdress?” asked the lady afterwards. I could only smile — there really are no secrets! Later on she told me she now knew more about some recent struggles of mine than I’d wanted to reveal… luckily she was of a type to be trusted. :)

We all communicate on this level constantly, and trance and energy are ways to bring such things to awareness and use them — my lady Rachel and I have proved that to each other many times over the past decade, and I’ve achieved something similar with a tree I know, come to that! The entirety of reality on this planet is constantly swapping energies and images, and strong work with ch’i will also move you from a receiver to a broadcaster on wavelengths you may have to learn to get used to in a hurry. It will open you to what openness is, where there are no barriers to experience on non-physical levels.

But what I hadn’t really expected was that ‘pure clinical’ trance would be so energetically active too. It’s a lot more than a good cure for smoking addictions. It turns out, in a LeShan-style way (ie. feeling completely merged at times with the subject) that clinical trance is a perfect environment for all sorts of more esoteric stuff — healing and telepathy for example. And yet it has managed to win a real place in our mainstream culture, too. I think its potential is therefore enormous and I think Glenn would have approved of checking it out. Not everyone realises that he was a certified hypnotherapist himself, and before he died he told me he was very interested in using hypnosis for kundalini applications. Glenn is still around and might take an interest himself, if I pursue this…

Meanwhile, for those who want to have a try at this, I’ll be giving some more details next time.


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