What is the first thing you think of when you think of hypnosis? Clucking like a chicken? Some X-rated show you saw in college? Sadly, hypnosis has a reputation like the bad-boy your dad didn’t want you to date. On the outside it looks risky, yet you are oh, so intrigued. Do you get involved?
Well folks, I do think hypnosis is exciting and intriguing, but it’s completely undeserving of the bad-boy reputation. It won’t break your heart, or start flirting with your best friend. In fact, hypnosis is more like the kid who really liked computers: full of information and super efficient at mining for answers. So, bear with me while I channel my inner computer geek and attempt to use a computer analogy to explain hypnosis – no tech skills required, I promise.
Our bodies are well designed machines. They mostly just run on autopilot, keeping us alive by regulating our breathing, digestion, heartbeat, hormones, etc., etc., etc. In fact, all these tasks are run quite unconsciously, by the subconscious mind, much like a computer program. To demonstrate this point, ask yourself the last time you had to remind your heart to beat or your food to digest.
And while the subconscious is busy keeping you alive, it’s also picking up on everything that you see, hear, taste, smell, touch and think – and I MEAN EVERYTHING. The subconscious mind is a giant data center with an infinite number of servers that has been collecting information on you for your entire life.
So by virtue of this information-collecting mechanism, does it seem conceivable that at some point, there might some faulty programming or perhaps even some malware introduced? (The answer is yes… and it usually happens before the age of 7, though it can happen anytime.)
As with any other computer technical issue, we generally don’t know right away that something has gone wrong, or that something isn’t quite right – the malware stays hidden behind the scenes or the program that is faulty doesn’t get used very often. It isn’t until something starts to affect our lives in a way that we don’t like, that we notice. I equate this to noticing your computer is getting quite slow when you are in a hurry to get something done, or when you really need to finish a report for work and the program you normally use quits working. We tend not to notice when things are moving along smoothly, until they aren’t. This is when we are forced to accept that something needs to change.
Of course, when we decide to make change, it’s hard. We are met with resistance. In reality, the software is only doing what it’s told – when I see X, I do Y. It doesn’t have the capacity to analyze whether you actually want the Y action and then potentially change course depending on that answer; no, it repeats the same action over and over. In short, it doesn’t know how to re-write itself or change the code; it just collects data and uses it exactly as the programming says.
So for us human beings actually living with this “if X then Y” cycle, it can be incredibly liberating or incredibly frustrating. It’s fantastic that your fingers know exactly where to go to play that instrument without thinking, but when it comes to those habits, thoughts or behaviours that are less than ideal, it is incredibly annoying/angering/disheartening – you get my drift. Remember the last time you decided to make healthier eating choices/start an exercise program/meditate daily/etc. and things were going really well? It was great, until it wasn’t. Sometimes we are all one cupcake/snooze button/excuse away from defeat.
I’m sure we can all agree that any permanent change was never accomplished by willpower alone. In order to do something different, we need to re-write the program. This is where hypnosis excels.
Hypnosis allows you to find the malware or that faulty programming and re-write the code. It doesn’t slowly go through, file by file, searching for the issue; it gently walks on over to that computer and gives it some new instructions. We don’t particularly care why the faulty programming is there, we just know that it’s unwanted and we’d like it to go away. In essence, this is why hypnosis is so effective and why it works very quickly – we go straight to the source and re-write the code.
Now, if you catch the malware early, it may be a single visit to tech support (i.e. the hypnotist), but if that program has been running for a very long time, you may find that it has spread to multiple computers and requires a few more visits to “tech support” to truly ensure that you’ve completed the updates. However, in this scenario, we aren’t talking about a five year commitment, but rather a few sessions of deliberate focus to help you get back to perfect working order.
So, next time you recognize that you are falling into the cycle of “if X then Y,” and you aren’t especially fond of the Y, consider that it might be time for a new program – an update if you will!
If you are ready for an update, or maybe you just want to talk about whether hypnosis will work for you, contact me today.