You want to change your life but you don’t want to do it randomly. So you consider your options and pick the best one. Simple, right?
Hmm. Somehow, it rarely goes that smoothly. We all know this – deciding how to live your life can be one of the toughest things. But why? Surely it should be clear what gives us meaning, fulfilment and purpose. What kind of mind can’t see what’s best for itself at all times?
The human mind, clearly. And the reason this is the case tells us a lot about human nature. It’s why changing your live is just liking riding a bicycle. No, not because you never forget how. The analogy is better than that.
When you’re stuck, you need a push. Sometimes that’s literal – with a bogged car, for example. It works metaphorically too. When you’re feeling trapped in life, unfulfilled and like you’re going nowhere, all you need is a push.
Imagine being able to push on command. With nothing but your thoughts (and a pen and paper), you can get your mind working smoothly again. You can tap into your dormant creativity, whether you’re writing an article or rethinking your purpose in life. Whatever the problem, your unconscious mind has the answer.
Use it when you need to move forward. It’ll make you unstoppable.
I write a lot about hypnosis. Most of that writing is flattering. Accurate, of course, but it paints a rosy picture of the hypnotic arts. You might accuse me of thinking that hypnosis is perfect and has no flaws. The way I write about it makes it seem like it has no problems.
Alas, I see its flaws all too clearly. I mean, I think it’s one of the most favourably balanced things you can do. Hypnosis is powerful and so is iron, which can make a bridge or a gun. But unlike the neutrality of iron, hypnosis biases towards the positive. It’s easier to hypnotise someone when they want it and you have genuinely good intentions.
But even an idealised form of the arts – where every experience is positive – isn’t perfect. The community faces so many challenges that I don’t know where to begin. So, off the top of my head, here are a few flaws with hypnosis.
I don’t need to tell you that feeling tired is rough. It affects everything you are, including your judgement and willpower. In theory, going to bed early should be easy when you’re exhausted. And yet, it’s somehow easy to stay up to surf the web or binge-watch TV.
It’s easy to trap yourself in a destructive cycle. Not all such cycles are extreme enough to ruin your life. Some are subtle enough to undermine everything just a little.
When you’re tired, it’s hard to work. It’s even hard to relax. The little things, like grocery shopping, and the big things, like rethinking your life, become even more challenging. You can be so run down that it’s hard to do anything. Or hard to do nothing.
So, what do you do when you need an energy hit? Most people reach for the world’s most popular drug: caffeine. I’m not going to say that caffeine doesn’t work. It obviously does. I’m not going to say that it’s harmful. All stimulants allow you to wear your body and mind out – but short of chronic abuse, there’s nothing wrong with it.
No, my complaint with caffeine is that it’s inefficient.
Is it possible to enhance your senses (or even add new ones) through hypnosis? It sounds like I’m talking about superpowers – many heroes and villains have eagle eyes and lupine hearing. In a way, I am. But it’s not a superpower if it’s real. This is about sharpening your perception. And maybe even expanding it.
This sounds like science fiction. So much of what I’m alluding to seems to leave reality behind. If you asked most people if mind training could enhance their senses, they’d say no. Maybe you’re sceptical too.
In that case, let’s start with sensible, no-nonsense techniques that you can begin to use right now.
I’m going to do something foolish: I’m going to talk about the left hemisphere of the brain. Why is this risky? Well, if you go out into the world, you’ll find people who describe themselves as left brain dominant or right brain thinkers.
Then you find people who sneer at the first group, saying that the left-brain-right-brain thing is a myth.
It is a myth.
And it isn’t.
People aren’t dominant in one half over the other. If you’re creative, then you use both sides of the brain. If you’re analytical, it’s the same story. Any category of mental tasks, like language processing or perception, uses both hemispheres. They work together.
But a car’s engine and wheels work together to get you somewhere. You wouldn’t call them the same thing, though.
It’s a mistake to say that only the right hemisphere is creative. It’s also a mistake to say that the two hemispheres are identical. When you think, you use your entire brain…
Though you use each half in different ways.
If you’re like most people, you dream of a better life. There’s an idea percolating in your mind that yearns to see the light. It wants to be realised. And there’s one thing you’re sure of – it will keep bugging you until you pursue it.
But you have doubts. You’re putting it off. It’s not the right time. You want to wait until you have more money, skills or spare time. I get it. It pays to calculate, especially when we’re talking about life changing decisions.
On the other hand, you’re worried that you’re making excuses. Are you preparing to follow your dreams, or putting it off? One is sensible; the other, tragic.
What do you do? Your inner mind pushes you towards a greater life. Your inner mind also slams on the brakes, filling you with doubts and hesitations. Consciously, you know you want this. Unconsciously, though, there’s conflict.
Where does this conflict come from? How do you resolve it? Read More
When something affects young men and middle-aged mothers in droves, you know it matters. It affects successful businesspeople, retirees and students. It crosses age gaps, genders, ethnic groups and professions. This simple question haunts the psyche of the human species.
What’s my purpose in life?
This question looms when you are feeling stuck. There’s no telling when it might come to haunt your thoughts. You could have everything – career, spouse, kids – or nothing.
Not knowing what your purpose is taints your every experience. After all, if you’re not fulfilling your destiny or living up to your potential, then why does it matter? Living your life can feel as though you’re going through the motions. Read More
It’s 2018. So many things are still here, against the odds. Social inequality should have vanished by now. I’d happily see certain fast food chains retire gracefully into history. Then there’s the idea that someone can be too strong-willed to be hypnotised.
That doesn’t even make sense. It’s like saying you’re too purple to run aquatically. Your strength of will – whatever that means – has nothing to do with hypnotic susceptibility.
And I have news for you: if you were unable to be hypnotised, that’s not something you’d brag about. Just the opposite, in fact. Read More
It’s no surprise that hypnosis can influence memory. After all, hypnosis connects to your unconscious mind – the same part of you that stores and accesses memories.
But it’s not enough to say that hypnosis influences memory. How does it work? What can we use it for? Those are better questions. And those questions have great answers. Working with memory can heal trauma, fight crime, accelerate learning (by helping you forget what you learn) and slow ageing (physically as well as mentally).
Hypnosis influences memory in different ways. Here are a few examples – keeping in mind that these categories have fluid boundaries between them. Read More