Basics

Personal Development: Table of Contents

While we are all unique, life imposes certain facts upon us. We are born, grow, learn, create and relate to those around us. Each opportunity builds upon those that come earlier.

For the fortunate, life becomes deeper and richer with age. For others, life is a rut that can’t be escaped. In either case, just as a map guides a mountain climber, so a basic map of personal development guides our growth to maturity.

This blog series builds a road map around the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind – the relationship managed most directly through hypnotherapy. The mind divides in childhood to soften conflict between the self and the world. Unfortunately, that division generates internal conflicts. Which creates conflict with the world, leading to conflict with the self, and on and on until we realize that we need to include others in our circle of concern. As harmony is rebuilt, the mind reunites, and we enter the realm of spiritual experience.

Part 1: Change Matters – Unlike most animals, humans make their most important changes in the mind.
Part 2: Theory of Mind – Explaining why the mind is divided between conscious and subconscious.
Part 3: Path to Maturity – Laying out the steps toward maturity and the roles characteristic to each stage.
Part 4: Survival (dependent) – We are social creatures: survival depends upon partnership. The first partnership is with our parents. When family experience is painful, hypnotherapy can help limit the impact on our adult lives.
Part 5: Sex (hedonist) – The sexual urge drives us out of the home and into peer relationships. Again, many of us have work to do as adults to heal the damage caused in those chaotic years.
Part 6: Exchange (consumer) – Euphoria and fear control our preferences, but also bias our behavior when we expect one more than the other. That bias arises in infancy, making it hard for us to adjust our patterns when they cause problems.
Part 7: Healing and Trust (healer) – When we come to accept that our bias is our problem, sympathy for ourselves extends to include others, and we begin the work of building relationships around trust. This is the sweet-spot for hypnotherapy.
Part 8: Truth (partner) – Life involves many relationships, and only in honoring the truth are we able to sustain true partnerships. Hypnotherapy allows us to smooth over any rough edges carried forward from the past.
Part 9: Creativity (inventor) – In the security of partnerships, we get to choose both who we want to be and what we wish to accomplish. Sustaining harmony is the challenge, as trauma disrupts everyone’s plans. Hypnotherapy helps both with harmony and healing.
Part 10: Imagination (liberator) – This final post looks (somewhat speculatively) at the final step into maturity. The barrier between conscious and subconscious dissolves, and we enter a realm of spiritual development that is qualified by our ability to sustain harmony in the realm of ideas.

Basics

Personal Development: Part 3

Path to Maturity

In our last post, we offered a hypnotherapist’s view of behavior development. Rather than looking at the subconscious mind as a seething cauldron of primitive instincts, the hypnotherapist sees it as your oldest, dearest friend. Its only concern is your survival and happiness. Problems arise, however, because:

  • everyone else is trying to survive and find happiness, which can create conflict, and
  • normally the only time the subconscious tries to change is during sleep. This means that it gets out of step with our conscious goals.

Obviously we’d like to be able to seize opportunities – to change rapidly – without creating conflicts within ourselves or with others. That’s not easy. In fact, it’s the journey of a lifetime that I’ll call our “path to maturity.”

One of the great things about being human is that we teach each other. When somebody gets it right, they share their wisdom (Lao-Tzu) – or attract followers that write it down for them (Jesus). From my examples, you’d see that many religions are paths to maturity. But they don’t have a monopoly: Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs charts a course of increasing authority and responsibility; Erickson’s Stages of Life charts a course of social engagement.

But none of them considers the hypnotherapist’s concern: harmonizing conscious goals with subconscious motivations.

Furthermore hypnotherapists, in engaging with people’s deepest desires, also confront something else: the dissolving of boundaries between therapist and client that is spoken of in spiritual teachings. This is not found in Mazlow or Erickson. Religions deal with this, but rarely step-by-step as a path to be followed.

So it was entirely surprising to me how easy it is to fit hypnotherapy into the framework defined by the Indian Chakras. For that is what is represented in the graphic: a path of maturity built from the ground up upon the concerns most important to the subconscious. We’ll break down the stages in the posts to follow.

Part 1 || Part 2 | Part 4

Basics

Breathing Meditation

From the introduction:

If spirituality is the negotiation of the boundaries between “I” and “we,” the purpose of breathing meditation is to clarify those boundaries. It is necessary because being born into a new life is an intensely shared experience, creating connections that make it difficult to know where we stop and another (initially mother) begins. The first goal of breathing meditation is to be confident in our sense of self.

Even as we separate life remains a collaboration. What is no longer needed by us can be a gift to other living things. What they no longer need can be a gift to us. To meditate on our breath is to be conscious of that exchange: we exhale carbon dioxide, and plants release oxygen.

To master breathing meditation is to make exchange the sole focus of our awareness. As mastery grows, awareness extends to subtle exchanges of thoughts and then pure energy. Obviously breathing meditation is not mastered in a day.