This past weekend I attended a great hypnotherapy course at the conscious healing centre in Sandton. It was presented by Arno Stadler with much assistance from Brigette Bowles.
On previous hypnotherapy courses that I have attended there I was surprised and curious to see how much energy and attention I spent deciding whether or how much to eat of the biscuits that were usually laid out with the coffee and tea.
My higher self didn’t want to eat them because they are not that healthy and I wanted to perform at my best, uncrippled by bad eating habits.
My inner child just wanted to munch them up. I saw it as a rare opportunity to get cookies. *Sarcastically* which you know is such a rare and hard to get a hold of item.
Every time it was a struggle. I would not eat them, but with regret. I would eat them, and regret it. I would compromise and feel unsatisfied.
The Saturday was the first day of the course. At the first tea break, I didn’t eat any of the biscuits. The inner dialogue went something along the lines of: ” I can eat them anytime I want, but right now I don’t want to eat them so I won’t.” How much of that was true and how much just rationalisation I do not know. A large part of the discomfort I felt was that I became unsure of what I wanted and no longer trusted myself fully.
At lunch, I did eat some of the biscuits. If I had not eaten some the mental negotiation and compromise I had would have been completely shredded. It would have been an invitation for anarchy. Having a partially satisfied inner child still allowed you to function. If your inner child was in open rebellion, good luck mate. It was around first, can throw tantrums and hates being forced. So the first day ended almost in a draw, almost in conflict. Unease was in the air of the metaphorical saloon where my subconscious played the piano with a wary eye and a six-shooter within easy reach.
The second day dawned and all the players were darting glances and shifting around nervously. Harmony was far from view. Figuratively.
To practically show us all how it really looks to do a resource state they would demonstrate by doing a session on one of us. Somebody was getting bonus therapy. Out of the 18 people there, 5 of us were willing or eager to be the guinea-pigs. You were not allowed to vote for yourself. When the votes were counted I had seven and the nearest had six. I was getting the front row seat.
One of us did the relaxation and then Arno took over. He set up Ideomotor signalling, which is just asking me to choose fingers for yes, no and I don’t know yet. So if I am deeply relaxed and don’t want to speak I can just twitch a finger. Then he asked if I had permission and support from my subconscious. I did not. Asking we found out that I would only have support as long as I was safe.
Then he led me on a visualisation where I spoke to my inner child and hugged him. He wasn’t feeling happy. He wanted me to play more. He wanted to have fun. He could have things just because he wanted to. There was no need for him to earn it. And not having fun was a lot worse to me than the minimal effects that I would feel from eating biscuits.
After crying and to-and-fro I could take my inner child’s hand and have him follow me to play. After the session, I ate biscuits and enjoyed them. I also asked the girl there for a kiss that I had wanted to do for some time. She said no, but I still felt so much better for asking.
Now I will tell of what happened earlier the day.
One of the guided meditations we did as a group was one where you forgive. You forgive other people, they forgive you and you forgive yourself. Because it’s hypnosis, the forgiveness is on an emotional level instead of the mental/verbal level that we usually forgive somebody.
The experience that each of us had varied wildly. Some were more bizarre than the average dream, some were just pleasant journeys of the imagination. All of us had emotional reactions. The instructors were well prepared with tissues. Another person and I cried hard.
A short description of what the meditation was: The normal introduction to focus on the person’s voice and allow yourself to be guided. Relaxation deepener. Then imagining a place that pleases us. Finding 3 doors. Entering each. In the one all the people that you have to forgive. Another with people who forgive you. The last with a mirror where you forgive yourself.
The room with the mirror was where most of the action happened for me. I had done other meditations before where you imagine yourself during different times of your life. Eg. five years ago, next year, five years from now. I experienced/ imagined something similar that time. In the mirror, I saw many selves. three or four were of me when I was younger. Forgiving my younger selves was emotional but not overwhelming.
I also saw older versions of myself. One a young adult somewhere in his twenties. The other old(to me), maybe forty years old. Trying to forgive them was overwhelming. I cried harder and tissues aplenty were needed. The group moved on to a visualisation of absorbing a rainbow but I was still caught up in the images of myself. Leaving each room we could imagine a book with the names of those we could not yet forgive.
The collective journey was over and I opened my eyes. Tears were still seeping out and I could feel a lot left to release. People shared their experiences and there was interesting variety but I was still focussing on myself. One other person was also not yet done crying. When I got more tissues they were used instantly. Then I left the room to continue crying.
I was crying for the pain and the mistakes. I knew that despite trying my best, despite the best intentions, I would still fail. Behind the intellectual rationalising, “There are no mistakes, only feedback.”; “Failing is part of life” There would be failure. I will still fail in life. It will still be terrible. It will still hurt deeply. All the personal strength or development will not change that. If I wanted to avoid such pain I would have to also cut myself off of some of the greatest joy and deepest satisfaction that one can feel. I would be blunted emotionally. We need the contrast. A permanent upside is no upside at all. And I no longer do that. I know that to be an adult you have to be able to cry like a child.
Despite or because of meta-cognition, trying to keep my life in the right rhythm I will still at times dance with completely the wrong rhythm. Sometimes it will go terribly. It will be okay, but still terrible. I didn’t know if the pain would be mine, caused by me, or felt for someone. There and then I just felt the pain and allowed the emotion to flow.
I also felt pain from my past. Pain that I had buried, lied about to myself or fled to distraction. I cried on my own. I was raised as a Christian and have been an atheist for a long time but I beseeched god. Not God as an omnipotent paternal Christian but god as the song of the world, the spirit and meaning of the Universe. I asked why I had been left alone. The answer I got from myself was that I needed to learn to how to dance on my own.
I did not believe in destiny years ago, but these days I do. Even if destiny is just our unconscious actions and beliefs.
After a while which felt like the perfect amount of time, Lance and Katya came out to comfort me. It was soothing to be held by Katya while Lance stood by. Thank you both. Knowing that we go through life with other people and that they can hold you when it hurts is worth an absolute fortune.
After a while, it faded and I no longer cried. I had accepted, mostly released and was ready to move on. The rest of the course went without special mention.
That night I went to an event and really enjoyed connecting with the people there. I feel that the more connected and accepting I am of myself the better I connect to others.
This course was sooo beneficial for me and I am grateful and excited that I will be able to share even a fraction of the experience with others as well. The people are so supportive and I feel a kinship of spirit with them. The presenters are excellent at what they do. The venue and setup are good. It’s awesome that I can access the feeling of being on top of the world anytime or place now.
To happiness, and beyond!