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Mind Management

Virtue in the Time of Coronavirus

Change is difficult in the best of times. Sometimes that change is joyfully awaited, such as the birth of a child. Even then, though, every parent will speak of moments of confusion, exhaustion, and perhaps grief over the changes that swept through their lives. Those emotions are driven by unpleasant odors, disrupted sleep, and less intimacy.

But that was a challenge that we chose.

The coronavirus is forcing us to change against our will. Our social circle narrows to immediate family. When we meet friends, we self-consciously stand apart. Checkers that celebrated our reusable grocery bags now insist that we pack our purchases. Responsibilities at work dangle incomplete – or are dwarfed by financial worries. Moment-by-moment, we question every act that we take. We become strangers even to ourselves.

As a hypnotherapist, the clients that come to me usually want to change. In assisting them, I draw upon knowledge of how the mind works to strengthen the social identity. The mind has powerful and awe-inspiring methods for building self-knowledge and trust.

These points are most important:

  1. Recognize that you have two minds – a social identity that works in the waking world, and an inner child that maintains your wellness.
  2. Your inner child relies upon your social identity for guidance. When faced with threats, it uses fear and anxiety to motivate the identity.
  3. Fear and anxiety weaken the identity through mental exhaustion and sleep deprivation. If these conditions persist, the social identity breaks down, forcing us to seek new relationships.
  4. As this happens, we stop recognizing that our intimates are offering us care and support. Even the best of us will display irritation, anger, and hostility.

This is the key to self-preservation: what you do has changed, but your character can remain the same.

Make a list of your virtues. Not what you do, but why you are able to do it: patience, determination, intelligence, friendliness, for as many as you can name. They have brought you to this point, and they are what will see you through. Add any that you’d like to develop in these conditions.

Every night before going to bed, write out a letter to your inner child. “These changes ensure our safety and the safety of those we love. In making our way through these changes, we will draw upon our virtues. In dreams tonight, please use all your power to envision how those virtues can serve us best. Rest deeply so that we are able to face tomorrow’s challenges with creativity and resilience – and a strong body to resist disease.”

Then write down your list of virtues, followed by the number of times you used them during the day. Then assign a worth to those virtues. Don’t stint yourself: these are the same virtues that you use at work each day. Pay yourself twice as much for maintaining them under these difficult conditions. Add these earnings to your bank balance of virtue.

These two simple methods counter our inner child’s fear and anxiety. They explain that the change is for our benefit, that our highest accomplishment – our character – is untouched, and that we are confident that we will be rewarded for our strength.

If you find yourself unable to quiet your fear and worry, please reach out to a mental health professional. As a hypnotherapist, I can provide stress relief over the phone or internet, but persistent anxiety that affects relationships may deserve clinical care. Reach out to your doctor, psychiatrist, or a psychotherapist for help.

Health Care

Radiance Projection for Community Wellness

Certain English words have features that capture moral principles. “EVIL” is “LIVE” spelled backwards. And in changing “I” to “WE” we make “illness” into “wellness.”

COVID-19 has socially isolated us, but in that isolation it unites us in a spiritual experience. This guided meditation is a means for turning that union toward protection and healing of those closest to our hearts.

Gratitude to Cheryl O’Neil, founder of the Therapeutic Imagery program at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. The radiance projection builds upon a healing imagery journey from her Life Passages course.

And the script for those wishing to offer to others.

Health Care

Sleeping Through COVID-19

The single most important factors in disease progression are sleep and diet. This has been proven in studies of influenza propagation. Those that properly attend to those aspects of their lifestyle are far less likely to become seriously ill.

So if you’re demanding that your body operate on 5-6 hours of sleep a night, STOP! Start allocating a full eight hours to sleep. If you have trouble with the adjustment, check my one-sheet.

As concerns diet, again make adjustments. Fruits and vegetables have a complex chemistry that isn’t replicated by any artificial supplement – and it’s been proven that the natural source is more effective in support of healing and immunity. Eat whole fruits and vegetables, and lots of them. Pressed juices aren’t the same. You need the dietary fiber to keep your gut biome balanced – and that biome is also essential in the production of chemicals necessary to immune operation.

On top of these two factors, supplements may help to supercharge your immune system. Talk to a specialist and soon – high-quality supplements are rare. Most of what you get from supermarket supplements passes right through your gut.

Health Care

Hypnosis in the Era of COVID-19

Pattern interrupt is a method for rapid hypnotic induction. Back before I knew what hypnosis was, I used it accidentally at ecstatic dances. I would leave space on the floor for my partner and then step in to block her way. When she went blank in the face I thought she had lost interest in me, until one day as I danced away I turned around and saw someone pulling her out.

When a friend went to bump elbows with me this afternoon, I realized that the COVID-19 emergency is going to be full of little pattern interrupts. They’ll be different from the rude ones that define much of modern life. They’ll be little pauses in the flow of people – on the street or in the supermarket – punctuated by a glance that says “We share concern for our welfare.”

In those little hypnotic spaces is the opportunity to feel the warmth of mutual concern flowing between us. To anyone conscious of that dynamic, please burnish your aura so that others can bask in it.

Mind Management

Hypnosis, but Risen

‘m 33 pages into a new book titled “The Foundations and Practice of Lay Hypnotherapy,” and I’ve reached this horrible realization that I’ve been lying to people.

You see, the “hypno” in hypnotherapy is taken from the Greek god of sleep and dreams, Hypnos. In the transition from waking to sleep, there’s a brief window where the conscious and subconscious minds meet. Most hypnotherapists seek to put people into that state so that they can sneak messages into the subconscious. They slow the brain down (to about 12 Hz) and put the conscious mind into idle.

I don’t do that.

There’s another state that joins the conscious and subconscious minds, the state known to religious devotionals and master meditators. It’s the gamma state that runs from 30 to 100 Hz (3-8 times faster than the sleep state). In that state, both the conscious and subconscious are fully active.

All through hypnotherapy college, I made changes to the scripts to suggest that the goal of hypnotherapy was to facilitate a conversation between the conscious and subconscious minds. The effect, I am beginning to realize, is to raise people temporarily into the gamma state.

Perhaps it was intuition of this that moved me to name my practice “Hypnosis Rising.” I’m using the formal methods of hypnosis, but lifting people up into a state of greater clarity, rather than pushing them down toward sleep.

The Greeks anticipated that one day people would attain a state of clarity that would enable us to sideline our gods. They believed that state would be demonstrated by a personality they termed “hristos” or “anointed one.” In recognition of the experience that I offer people, I think that truth in advertising demands that I use “hristotherapy” to describe what I do.