Hypnosis and the scenic route to a meaningful life

or how developing inner focus can expand the already existing creative resources of your mind/body

One of the fathers of modern hypnotherapy, the French physician Hippolyte Bernheim writes in De la suggestion et de ses applications à la thérapeutique (Suggestive Therapeutics: A Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Hypnotism, 1888) – hypnosis is ‘the production of a dynamic change in the nervous system of a person…by another person by means of the calling forth of representations or ideas’

Long title and a complex sentence, what does it actually mean? At its essence, it means that in hypnosis, an ‘idea’ gives rise to a dynamic in the body – a thought initiates the development of a process, in the body. And of course, a dynamic in the body can give rise to an idea, a realisation, in the mind. As I experience trance, an image appears, a memory arises, I ‘hear’ inner words, and together with it, I notice a feeling, a sensation, a movement giving rise to smiles, tears, laughter, muscle release, adjustments. My mind and my body begin a conversation, or perhaps I let go of the distractions which generally prevent me from being aware of this constant creative flow of communication which is the reality of my mind/body. As the therapist holds space for me to fully immerse in the richness of this dialogue, I experience a shift, a moving away from self-doubt, inner conflict, struggle, towards an experience of deep listening, trusting and eventually flow.




Does a hypnotic trance cause this dynamics?

Does a hypnotic trance cause this dynamics? Perhaps it is more accurate to say that in a hypnotic trance I am able to pay close attention to the subtle meaningful ongoing natural dynamics of my mind/body. As I am fully supported into paying closer attention to the dynamics of my embodied self, a healthy positive feedback is established, which increases their resonance while allowing me to register into awareness their significance. If I make myself quiet enough to listen, the creative inner intelligence of my mind/body will be freer to affect change, bring balance, clear blockages and release what is no longer useful.

Vishnu sleeping upon his multi-headed serpent Shesha over the ocean of consciousness from Sage Merkandeya's Ashram and the Milky Ocean (folio 5 from the Durga Charit, Jodhpur, ca. 1780-90, Mehrangarh Museum Trust).

Rather than constantly talking over my somatic self, I am openly receiving the communication. This is a fundamental step, it not only opens the channels which allow for that communication to become clearer, it also develops our capacity to being ok and comfortable with that communication, making it potentially smoother and gentler rather than harsh and violent. This is a necessary skill and a fundamental resource for our development. If we listen to our embodied voice, if we give it space, it doesn’t have to shout. When it shouts, we get a panic attack, we can’t sleep, our shoulder aches, our neck gets stiff, we feel our heartbeat race when we are in a public space, we can’t speak in front of an audience without freezing, and so on.

And so we start walking on the long meaningful mesmerising challenging scenic route of our healing. Our healing is our understanding, not a conceptual understanding but a somatic tuning in to the awareness of who we are and how our experience relates to us meaningfully. When we listen, we allow those gaps and cracks which often create an inner felt sense of disconnection and void to start filling up, we become fuller, even though we might feel lighter. And yes it sounds a bit like magic and it is pretty magical, so is everything else you experience every day really, if you just pay attention.  

And yes it sounds a bit like magic and it is pretty magical, so is everything else you experience every day really, if you just pay attention.  

Michele Occelli
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