Tag Archives: self-hypnosis

Chuck’s Place: Finding Equanimity

Finding equanimity in nature…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The ability to remain consistently calm, in this time of incessant turbulence and rapid unpredictable bipolar shifts, is a cherished resource. Equanimity greets every moment with equal attention, appreciation, clarity and calm.

Buddhist practice embraces equanimity as the ultimate attitude needed for successful transition from human to infinite life. The ability to be present, to not sow a seed of reincarnation—by distraction or attachment—in the dying process, frees the energy body to evolve in its definitive journey beyond human life.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico also valued the relationship of equanimity and death. They reasoned that any moment in life could be one’s final moment, hence one should be fully present, alive, and equally appreciative of every moment in life, regardless of personal preferences.

The Shaman’s perspective is the ultimate Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all moments are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Shamans cultivate equanimity as a program for living, the Buddhists as the key in dying. Both cultivate an attitude of deep calm in approaching life’s greatest encounter—its final moment.

How can we cultivate equanimity?

The Shamans contribute an attitude shift. Each day they remind themselves, ” My name is ________, a being who is going to die.” Far from being a morbid ‘Good Morning, World,’ this use of death as an advisor heightens one’s awareness to be fully present and engaged in every moment of the day, regardless of the activity.

How often do we lament a Monday morning, or the end of a joyous encounter? Even worse, how often do we dread an encounter or work task, and pray for it to quickly end. The intent of equanimity is to be equally calm and present to each equal moment, regardless of its intensity.

The Buddhists contribute the practice of meditation to still the mind, a great perpetrator of non-equanimity known as worry. Yoga, with its Hindu roots, uses self-regulation of the body to achieve equanimity. The practice of pranayama breathing exercises greatly enhances voluntary control of the autonomic nervous system’s mobilizing defenses, in the face of real or imagined stress, a valuable tool to achieve equanimity.

Autogenic training and self-hypnosis are tools to deepen the conscious relationship between mind and body. When we give the body a specific instruction when in a deeply relaxed state, the subconscious begins to listen and override its genetic, archetypal, or habitual programs.

Thus, we can instruct every part of our body to remain deeply calm while we remain fully awake and present to all conditions. Jan and I recently discovered the gift of Dr. Eleanor Eggers, a 97-year-old  semiretired psychologist, who developed a simple website giving away the secrets of her life’s work. This is her contribution to the greater good.

Her website offers the autogenic phrases that Elmer and Alyce Green developed at the Menninger Foundation, for deep relaxation, as well as other resources from her long and fruitful career. We happily pass on her website link: Dr. Eleanor Eggers.

Though, at present, we may experience limitation in exacting needed changes to our chaotic world, we are all free, as Victor Frankl would say, to assume the attitude we will embody in our encounters with that world. Equanimity ranks highest in our approach to life, in and beyond this world.

May all beings find equanimity.

Peace,

Chuck

A Day in a Life: The Power Within

Who else are we that we have unlimited power within? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Who else are we that we have unlimited power within?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I have a pain in my shoulder. I notice that when I’m distracted or busy I don’t feel the pain; it simply doesn’t exist until I put my attention back onto my shoulder and remember, “Oh yes, I have that pain in my shoulder.” Immediately, I feel pain again. Why is it that the pain sometimes exists and sometimes doesn’t? Is it real to begin with?

I think about other scenarios where I think something and it manifests. One day, Chuck and I were gathering wood for the wood stove at our wood pile. Chuck was reaching high up on the stack while I was reaching down to some small logs on the ground below him. I suddenly heard a voice warning me to get out of the way, that a log could fall on top of me. As soon as I heard the message to get out of the way, I started to pull back. At the same time, as Chuck said, “a log leaped off the pile” and landed on my finger. OUCH!

I wondered if my thinking that a log could fall, actually caused the log to fall. Did my thought create the outcome? Do thoughts have that much power? Sometimes, I might think a thought and then tell myself to dismiss it, that it’s not something I wish to invite into my life, and in such cases the thought does not manifest. Can we really control our lives by our thoughts? Do WE have that much power? These questions have interested me for a long time.

We limit, inhibit, and control ourselves in the way we speak to and about ourselves. We tend to label ourselves, saying that “I am this” or “I am that.” We compare ourselves to others, give ourselves commands and definitions, make statements about ourselves that have impact, not necessarily positive, even if we might intend them as encouragement, such as, “I have to change, I must lose weight, I have to exercise, get into shape, eat better, etc.” We say, “I have to do this or that,” or “I should.” It’s also common to complain about what we think we can’t change. “I can’t… I shouldn’t… I’m not… Why aren’t I…? How come I can’t…?”

I do the same. I tend to say things like: “I have to get into balance. I have to get calm. I look tired today.” These things may have positive underlying intentions, but they in themselves are not helpful. When I notice myself saying these things I apply a little self-hypnosis and turn those phrases into affirmative, self-empowering thoughts. “I AM in balance. I AM calm. I look GREAT today!” When I do this, I notice that I feel differently. The more I say it, the more it becomes true.

Dare to dream a different dream... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Dare to dream a different dream…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Self-hypnosis is really just about offering suggestions to the self. We do it all the time, without even thinking about it, telling ourselves a myriad of things every day, plenty of negative self-talk, most likely, because we have been trained to notice only our imperfections. It might be time to try out some positive self-hypnosis for a change, to discover that real and lasting change comes from within, and that positive suggestions have positive impact.

If we actually listen to what we say to ourselves on a daily basis, how often we say negative or demeaning things to ourselves—I’m lonely, I’m bored, I’m a loser—the more lonely, bored, and the more of a loser we become. Our thoughts are that powerful!

So, watch what you say to yourself. You might be able to prevent a lot of unnecessary pain. If I had dismissed the thought of that log falling on me, might I have prevented my finger from getting crushed? I don’t know, but I’m sure going to try to avoid unnecessary pain in the future!

How can we do that? How can we avoid pain? How can we change our thoughts? We might begin by asking ourselves some questions, depending on our circumstances: Did I bring this pain on myself with my thoughts? Did I invite this challenge into my life? What thoughts do I tell myself that have created my life? Are my thoughts generally negative or are my thoughts generally positive?

Once we discover our own personal method of self-talk, we take the next step of using new language to empower ourselves. Self-hypnosis is an agent of change, but using it is our choice. Are you ready to take responsibility for the self and wake up this power within?

We enter new territory as we give positive, supportive suggestions to the self. “I am healthy. I am happy. I am fit. I am losing weight every day. I am beautiful. I exercise and I am in good shape. I eat right and I am healthy.” As we say these things to ourselves we become them. Yes, we have the power to change ourselves!

About a decade ago, when I was in the middle of my recapitulation, I discovered that I was always expecting everything in my life to be difficult. I expected bad things to happen to me because that was my experience. I expected my car to keep breaking down, people to disappoint me, to be lonely and sad, to always be depressed. One day, I got so fed up with things going wrong and with being depressed that I declared I would no longer be accepting bad things. From that moment on I would only accept good! That very day things began to change for the better. It was in that moment that I discovered just how much power my own thoughts had.

Just as the morning light of each new day is intentional, so will peace come if we intend it... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Just as the morning light of each new day is intentional, so will peace come if we intend it…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Gaining control over how we speak to ourselves, is a fine practice to accompany our work on becoming kind, loving, and compassionate beings. As we practice putting our attention on our thoughts—the patter that runs through our minds, day and night, about what we should or should not do or be—we will turn those thoughts on their ears. We will take back our power, turning negative energy into positive energy.

As we study how our own negative self-talk affects us, as we change the messages we constantly give to ourselves, we gain understanding in the difficulties that others face. We learn compassion when we realize that we are no different from anyone else.

We really do hold the power to change, the power to create a new reality, simply by how we talk to ourselves.

Here is a positive, self-affirming hypnotic suggestion to say to yourself: I am calm, I am in balance, and I have the power to change,
Jan

NOTE: During the writing of this post my shoulder did not hurt one bit! Hmmm…

A Day in a Life: Self-Hypnosis for Change

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis is a phrase commonly uttered among hypnotists. And what does that mean, you might ask, because, if that is true, why do we need hypnotists at all? In truth, we have been hypnotized our whole lives and continue to be so by the things that are presented to us from outside of ourselves, often quite blatantly, but also from inside our own psyches, perhaps in unawareness. From our earliest years, we learn about life from our families, teachers, and our social and religious circumstances. As we grow and enter the world we are increasingly bombarded with new information presented to us by the “experts,” such as in the media, in politics, in marketing, in the medical community, the drug companies, the food companies, by important figures in our lives, etc., essentially by anyone telling us, repeatedly, that something is true. And, in fact, the simple act of repetitively internalizing thoughts about ourselves implants beliefs that we are a certain way, so that, eventually, we take on the task of living out these beliefs, whether they are true or not. A skilled hypnotist, to contrast, knows exactly what new words, used in the right manner, can break through the old beliefs and truisms about the self, bypassing the long ago embedded ideas and the protective layers of ego that hold so tightly to those old beliefs, to implant new ideas deeply in the psyche so that change can happen. It is also true that even the most skilled of hypnotists will not succeed in truly hypnotizing someone if the ego is not ready and willing to participate in the process. Thus it is true that all hypnosis is, in fact, self-hypnosis, because the entire self must be involved in the decision to change. The ego must be ready to allow the deeper self to access new information that may bring about a true shift in habits, in behaviors, in beliefs, allowing for a new self to be fully embraced.

The reason I am bringing this up is that in her message on Monday, regarding a process of going into a deep part of the self to reach a place of shift, Jeanne is really outlining a process of self-hypnosis. In fact, my channeling process is a practice of self-hypnosis, of going into trance, a hypnotic state, and allowing my ego to back off while I access a place beyond myself. That being said, meditation could also be termed self-hypnosis. When I had finished with the channeling on Monday, which I do with pen in hand, and was typing it up on the website, it dawned on me that Jeanne was actually offering quite a nice step-by-step practice of doing self-hypnosis. And the key to learning anything is practice. The things we learned as children were taught to us over and over again. We learned to walk, to speak, to read, to write, etc. by doing them repeatedly. In order to become a good artist, to be able to draw and paint what I was actually seeing or imagining in the way that I wanted to express it, no matter how naturally talented, I had to practice and learn by doing repeatedly. It is the same thing with learning to play a musical instrument or play a sport, or even learn to drive. To do anything well, to reach a sense of accomplishment we must practice, and it is the same thing with self-hypnosis. In order to truly change, we must practice repeating our new truths, by asking for shift to happen, by constantly giving ourselves a new view, and by offering ourselves a new perspective. If we wish to achieve change we must participate in making it happen.

The four steps that Jeanne offered begins with the practice of saying a mantra, of repeating something over and over again, reminding ourselves that this is important to us, that we want this. This is doing self-hypnosis. By repeating an affirmation, a prayer, an intent over and over again, we are doing self-hypnosis. This practice allows us to enter a new state of awareness, to go into trance, however light, so that we can take the next step, which Jeanne outlines as breathing innerly and allowing ourselves to feel our energy as a calm pool. She then asks us, in the third step, to go deeper into trance and into self-hypnosis and look at ourselves from outside of our normal means of viewing. She asks us to change our perspective, which is one of the main tools that a hypnotist uses, offering, through acceptable, personal suggestion, the means of seeing what we have been missing about ourselves, something that we have not allowed integration into our conscious awareness. She then asks us, in the fourth step, to take a look at how we have been affected by the outer world all our lives, to see even that world from this detached new perspective and gain clarity on just how the things we believed about ourselves may not really be compatible with our inner truths or our inner energy. Have we been compromising our energy in order to uphold an outer world that we do not truly believe is right for us? Have we been playing a game, simply because it was the only game that we knew? Are we caught in the outer energy because we are not aware that we have our own energy inside of us that has very personal ideas of what we should be doing with our energy, and with our lives?

In offering this four-step process Jeanne is offering us a practice of self-hypnosis so that we can be our own catalysts to change, without having to wait for the world outside of us to force us into having to accept a shift. We are offered the opportunity to do it on our own terms, with our own full participation, ego and psyche in gentle alignment. If we practice these steps of self-hypnosis as Jeanne outlines them, eventually we can affect change within, simply by the fact that we are intending change. By our practice of these steps, by repeatedly introducing new outlooks, new views of ourselves, both innerly and outerly, we offer ourselves new energy, based on truth and resonance of inner spirit. As short and subtle as these visits to our inner energy are, eventually we will be ready to take longer and deeper visits, offering ourselves the opportunity to envision and enact even greater changes.

Any new idea we wish to offer the self can be introduced in the manner that Jeanne outlines. If we wish to be better at something, more focused, if we wish to lose weight, eat right, sleep better, change a habit, be happier, be more daring, be loving, be aware, etc., —for ourselves or others— we can use these steps, beginning with simply stating our new intent in the mantra of step number one. By going through the process Jeanne offers us, by looking carefully, gently and compassionately at ourselves, and by sticking with the practice for as long as it takes to achieve change, without giving up for all the old reasons and by allowing the ego to sit idly by, we can truly change. We can achieve what we desire. And, in alignment with spirit, you might be surprised at what you discover about the self that you did not understand or even know about before you began the process. Try it and see what happens!

I am reminded that even before I knew anything about hypnosis or even thought about becoming a hypnotist I certainly utilized a lot of self-hypnosis, not because I knew what it was, but because it was such a natural habit, one that we all do all the time. That might be another thing to notice. How often do you hypnotize yourself each day? You might be surprised that it really is quite often.

Enjoy the nice spring weather! And keep practicing!
Love,
Jan