You want to hear something funny? I've got a growing list of 78 techniques for relaxing and making life more worth living and when I went to write this week's blog I found I didn't want to write about any of them. I had picked one out last week and started to write it up. It was something that has been a real boon for my life, something I love, value and want to share about, self empathy. It is a great and important practice for healing old wounds and opening up to whatever is percolating inside you. I really do want to write about it, but it is not what was up for me this week and I even more want to talk about something alive in my heart and in my life. So this week I was involved in self hypnosis. In fact I've been experiencing the benefits of self hypnosis for a few weeks now and I can hardly wait to tell you about it.
About a month ago I took the book The Healing Code out of the library. My overall impression of it is that it is a terrible piece of trash. The authors seem to love hauling out all kinds of new age, half truth, mumbo jumbo to explain why their process works. And the claims of how it works are big, big ones about curing things like cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease and Parkinson's disease. If it was all that and a bag of chips as they seem to believe, you would think there would be healers all over the internet pointing to this practice. Look around. You won't find them. There seems to be a number of "affiliate healers" trying to cash in on the popularity of the Healing Code, but very few unpaid testimonials sprouting up organically. Now, here's the real paradox. If you ignore all the sneaky ways the book's authors lure you to their website and try to sell you more and more Healing Code stuff and you skip over the pages upon pages of unsupported testimonials they put in their book and all the malarky about the unique power of their practice, they actually have developed a cool system of self hypnosis that I'm guessing really improves peoples lives. I've enjoyed it and I think you will too! How is that for an endorsement?
If you are like me, you are thinking self hypnosis sounds way uncool and inauthentic. Maybe. But 30 to 40 percent of the benefits of many medications are due to placebo effect. Why not harness the potential of personal belief to make your life better? It is free, powerful and beneficial. And if the things you focus on improving come from deep stirrings inside of you, what could be bad?
Here is a nutshell version of the process of the healing code. Spend a little time thinking of your problems, physical, mental, occupational, emotional, whatever. Pick the one you most want to do something about. Pray to the infinite or whoever you pray to that all the bad associations, adverse ideas and corrupt physical manifestations of and about this problem will be cleansed and healed by light and love. And pray for the maximum effectiveness of this prayer.
Once you have set this intention choose an affirmation that relates to it and repeat it to yourself for anywhere from five to thirty minutes while sending healing energy back at yourself by pointing your fingers at various parts of your head and neck. That is it. In two paragraphs in this blog you've got the essence of their 300 page book and multi-million dollar industry. God Bless America.
The book further suggests you practice three times a day, more if possible. Part of the process is to sit with the problem for a few minutes and find your earliest memory of the feeling it conjures in you. This felt sense may be caused by something very different from your current circumstances in that early memory. In my case I was feeling scared, anxious and insecure about a business problem and when I stayed with the feelings I traced them back to some really old stuff about being rushed to grow up by my Mom. I couldn't do anything fast enough or right enough for her. Whether it was potty training, walking, talking, writing or whatever I was always a day late and a dollar short in her eyes. She was terribly impatient with me and I internalized this in many ways. I find it hard to take pleasure in my accomplishments, always focusing on the next challenge rather than savoring what I've done. I'm quick to find my own flaws and to put myself down and I take it very personally when things go wrong. I have often felt unloved and unlovable and have spent a lot of time trying to earn positive attention, crestfallen, when I don't receive it. Whoa! This business problem lead me to some very deep and painful introspection.
And at the core of my feelings about being pushed and belittled for years and years was an anger too hot to express that has been keeping me from coming into love. My expectations of mistreatment and lack of ability to understand or forgive have kept me in a defensive posture also containing bottled up hatred. Ick. I've made a lot of progress with my stuff over many years of practice and attention but this central issue seemed immovable. The healing code process gave me the insight to be able to connect these old feelings with my current problems and then a tool to replace the old hurt with new understanding.
I selected an affirmation about forgiveness, knowing that those who abuse me were themselves abused and that I would choose not to perpetuate the cycle of violence with hatred but rather start a new virtuous cycle with forgiveness and love. I did this for a few days but did not really feel the forgiveness so I switched to a self soothing affirmation about being valuable and lovable. I was able to shower my little boy self with patience and understanding in the same situations where I had been rushed and taunted. This was very strengthening for me.
And then on Yom Kippur, a day set aside for fasting and reflection I was doing a very meditative Continuum Body Movement practice, when suddenly I felt like I was my impatient mother. I embodied her frustration at having a late in life child she wasn't expecting. I felt her annoyance at being stuck back in the house raising an infant, just when she was getting ready to spread her wings and enter the greater world. I came into her resentment and I understood. Wow. In that moment I felt compassion for her and peace around our dynamic.
Source: Danielle & Lilliyan Flickr by Robert Whitehead
Since that time I haven't always been able to come into a place of forgiveness, when I think about those difficult situations. Old habits of mind die hard. But now, when I repeat the forgiveness affirmation, I connect with it on a deep level that was not accessible to me only a few short months ago. And I don't think I ever would have been able to come into that loving place without conditioning my mind with the focus of my desire to be healed. More and more I feel love and compassion for my mother in situations that in the past drew my impatience and fearful ire. As to the business problem that started me on this path my sense is that getting unblocked on this old piece is helping me with my current situation. The miracle cure may be set in motion but only time will tell that story.
To wrap this up I have two practices to share. One is a simple self hypnosis technique that I have found very effective and the other is a reiteration of a modified healing code type of routine.
An effective way to modify behavior and overcome obstacles is to repeat an affirmation and visualize yourself manifesting your new behavior for five minutes or so as you are drifting off to sleep. I used this technique to overcome my shyness and fear around speaking to girls I was interested in knowing better. Two rules here. One is to frame the affirmation into a positive statement as if your new behavior has already manifested. Not, "I wish I could talk to women that interest me and not be scared of them" but "I am well received when I talk to women who attract me and I approach them with confidence." The other rule is to not dwell in the place of the behavior you want to change. Imagine only the new behavior you are now developing. Sportsmen and women can improve their games just by thinking about manifesting perfect performances. So can we. I recommend you repeat your affirmation for a few minutes and then try to conjure a situation where you are manifesting the new behavior for a few minutes while you drift off to sleep. This really sets the intention deep in your mind and will make it easier to manifest when the situation arises. An added bonus of this simple practice is that you don't have to carve out any extra time to do it.
The more elaborate healing practice involves picking a problem you want to positively effect. Go back to your earliest memory of the felt sense of this problem, even if the circumstances are very different. Set the intention to cure this problem in a prayer as described above. Then repeat an affirmation designed to replace the uncomfortable feelings with a new mindset. Do this for five minutes or more sending the affirmation to different parts of your body where you think it will be most useful, especially focusing on the space between the eyebrows and the spiritual heart. This last part is in lieu of and very different from the finger pointing in The Healing Code. Be resolute in your desire to heal, practice everyday, multiple times a day if possible and your desired outcomes are sure to manifest.
When you do this and have some positive experiences to share or any questions, I'd love to hear about it.