Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Self-Hypnosis For Well-Being
It was back in 1974 when an entirely new way of thinking invaded the brain of the Footloose Forester. That was the time when a traveling clinical hypnotist on a lecture tour came to visit the University of Hawaii to teach a summer session short course. His name is forgotten now, but not his techniques. The certified clinical hypnotist from suburban Long Island, New York had obtained permission from university authorities to conduct a three day, non-credit fee course on the university campus; and the sessions were open to the public, to better utilize the classroom facilities during the summer break between semesters. It was the best $10 tuition fee that the Footloose Forester ever spent. And it was the most useful discovery he had made in several years.
Self-hypnosis is not a parlor game. On the contrary, self-hypnosis is merely one application of the principles of clinical hypnosis; which has scientific validity in helping to cure phobias, reduce fears, alter moods, lose weight, quit smoking; and ameliorate numerous other behavioral issues. To be personally confident that the techniques might have useful applications in his own life, the Footloose Forester researched some of the background data on clinical hypnosis before enrolling in the class. The information was convincing, and the Footloose Forester continued to read three books, concurrently, on clinical hypnosis while also doing the required reading on self-hypnosis that was assigned by the teacher.
Hypnosis allows a person to address his/her sub-conscious mind; and self-hypnosis is a conscious effort to reach that state of sub-consciousness. The 3-day short course involved the teaching of the ten steps to prepare for a hypnotic state and the circumstances by which effective hypnosis might be facilitated. Those steps are not complicated, but will not be listed here, as part of this story. An upcoming chronicle in the On the road….again! series will address at least a few of those steps; but that trip will not be a road trip but an intellectual one in quest of scientific references regarding self-hypnosis. For the moment, a few examples might suffice to hold the readers’ interest.
Among the 20-25 students enrolled in the short course in self-hypnosis, the teacher knew that only a few of us really “got it.” How did he judge our level of achievement? By testing us in the use of the principles; and by scoring us for body language indicators that he had in his bag of tricks. It was not a matter or pass or fail, it was just a case of learning it--or not. Since the Footloose Forester learned it, he also knew that most students didn’t get it.
Just as golf cannot be taught, it can only be learned; so too do certain other disciplines become hard-wired in our brains. Learning how to ride a bicycle is perhaps the best example. The Footloose Forester can say with some confidence that some other disciplines are apparently not hard-wired. As an embarrassing example, he confesses that although he was taught lots of mathematics, he learned very little. He speculates that math learning skills are not hard-wired in his brain. But when it came to learning self-hypnosis, he rejoiced in knowing that it worked for him. He was eager to try it out; and did so in various ways.
Having a quiet place and a peaceful setting were two perquisites for establishing a suitable venue for a venture into self-hypnosis. In the beginning, the research library at the University of Hawaii was the place to start. In the first session, it took about 1½ hours to achieve the state of sub-consciousness that he hoped to attain. Although the library was air-conditioned, he noted that he was sweating during the incantation phase. That phase made use of repeating a mantra to focus his thoughts; and recognition of a physical indicator that he had reached his sub-conscious. The mantra was the word “sunrise” and it took his brain to a peaceful place and time on a jungle island in Indonesia where he had experienced intense happiness in a remote setting. Today, even after 38 years, the mantra came back to him instantaneously because it was hard-wired into his sub-consciousness.
Another device used to descend into the sub-conscious was to count backward from 20 to 1, while imagining that he was going slowly down a mine shaft elevator. When he reached the bottom of the shaft, he knew that he had arrived at his sub-conscious state--if he could pull gently on his ear lobe. The gesture had to be voluntary; could not be hurried; and could not be faked. That is why it took 1½ hours to achieve. But when it was finally achieved that first time, the effect was like opening a clogged drain pipe. Since that time, the Footloose Forester can reach his sub-conscious state in less than two seconds. He sometimes tests that ability by first giving himself a post-hypnotic suggestion, then commanding a trip into the sub-conscious; and finally by looking for signs that the post-hypnotic suggestion was followed.
In Part II of this mental chronicle, the Footloose Forester will describe a few episodes of his self-hypnosis; and what happened when he hypnotized two other people.
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Pretty cool Dick. I believe in the concept but highly doubt my mind could be hypnotized in the conventional sense. I'm sure I am "mesmerized" by lots of things. I just can't imagine my mind being quiet enough for the process to take effect. I'd sure like to try.
One false notion most people have is they are not susceptible to hypnosis becouse of their strong will; and that gullible people will easily follow the rules and suggestions of superiors. On the contrary, strong-willed people are highly suggestable because they are usually intensely curious, determined and persistant. If you think you can succeed...you can. If you think you can't succeed...you can't. I'm pretty sure that you are one of the Yes, I can group.
I wouldn't argue with that Dick. It's only that I have tried this before and my mind is almost unable to be quieted, even when completely focused. It would be fun to try again.