Martha was a 50 year old insurance executive with three grown children. "In my large Irish family," she told me," "disagreements were handled in one of two ways, either by laughing at them or by ignoring them." She dreaded holidays and the rancorous family quarrels that would inevitably ensue around the dinner table.
Martha had recently celebrated her 15th year of sobriety, and had chosen to make Alcoholics Anonymous her substitute family. She had come to view her husband, a Texas police official whom she saw only infrequently, as a confirmed narcissist. She had not seen him since he had demanded several months previously that she fly a set of business papers directly to him instead of mailing them.
She prayed frequently, and stated that this gave her some relief. In my clinical psychology practice, she responded well to hypnotic voyages to the Multiverse, the Universe of all possible Universes (Gibbons & Woods, 2016), where she could feel herself herself dissolving ito the infinite love of the Multiverse itself as a means of overcoming the effect of previous environmental stressors.
When I asked her about what this experience felt like, she commented afterwards that she thought that it was God. I asked if she would like to hypnotically experience an actual union with God Himself, and she unhesitatingly agreed.
When we got to this portion of her Multiversal journey, I gave special emphasis to the suggestions that this was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her; and that it was as if all of the love, and all of the rapture that had ever been felt by all of the people who ever walked the face of the Earth were hers to enjoy and hers to be, now in these golden moments of delight. I usied suggestions for time distortion to further heighten their effectiveness, suggesting that even though she may actually have been hypnotized for only a few minutes, it would seem as if she had been away for an entire lifetime, and the benefits of herv hypnotic journey would be correspondingly increased After the induction was completed, I emphatically observed "Well, I'll bet that family arguments can't bother you now!" She smiled blissfully, and nodded in agreement.
Meister Eckhart was a preacher in the 12th century who taught that we should see ourselves as empty vessels waiting to be filled with the love of God. He was charged with heresy, since this would imply that there was another way to feel the love of God in addition to the sacraments; but he died before his trial could be completed. His work lived on, however; and his writings were praised by recent Popes.
Since my training is in general experimental psychology, I have no way of knowing whether Martha was really in communication with the Divine. However, this is the reality of her own personal experience and this experience is having a positive effect upon her life, which is the goal of all successful psychotherapy. Here are the multimodal suggestions which I used, which taken. together form the acronym best me.
Belief systems. Now, as I continue to speak, you can gradually become aware of yourself standing in front of a pair of large wooden doors, which are the doors of a great cathedral. If you accept each detail of the scene as I describe it, without trying to think critically, your imagination can be free to allow you to experience the situation just as if you were really there.So just let yourself stand there a moment, gazing at the carved wooded doors, as you prepare to enter. [Brief pause.]
Now, as the doors swing open, you first traverse a small area paved with stone, stopping at the font if you desire, and pause before a second pair of doors which leads inside.
Emotions. You can feel a surge of happiness and anticipation as you pass through a second pair of doors and into the dimly lit interior. As your eyes gradually become accustomed to the dimmer light from the stained glass windows, take a moment to look around in wonder at the magnificence of all you see.
Sensations and perceptions. Let yourself breathe slowly and deeply, as you inhale the faint aroma of incense, and listen to the gentle tones of music floating upon the quiet air.
Some distance away from you stands the High Altar, bordered by banks of gently glowing candles. You select a pew and, after pausing to genuflect if you wish, you enter the pew and take your seat or kneel once more.
Thoughts and images. Let your mind flow with the experience, and allow it to fill you to the very core of your being, until you feel as if you are able to hold within your own consciousness an awareness of the entire Universe, and all its beauty. As it does, you can feel yourself gradually becoming aware of the presence of a Consciousness other than your own.
As this Consciousness begins to merge with yours, you can feel the power of an infinite healing energy filling and flooding every muscle, and every fiber, and every nerve of your entire body. And it's as if all of the worry, and all of the tension, and all of the care that you have ever felt are being driven out and replaced by the power of this infinite, unbounded, healing love.
As your own consciousness merges ever more completely with this Infinite Awareness, you feel as if you are able to hold within your own mind an awareness of the entire Universe, and all its beauty ‑‑ infinite, beyond infinity, and eternal beyond all measure of eternity. And in this sense of total oneness, you are able to freely communicate all your deepest thoughts and needs.
Motives. The experience, as it continues, is providing you with all that you had hoped to obtain from it. The serenity and the peace which you find here will remain with you, as a source of deep inner strength which will enable you to cope much more effectively with all of life's problems.
Expectations. You will treasure the memory of this experience as it meets your needs in the future; and each time you return, you will be able to derive new benefits which will meet your needs even more effectively.
Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Publishers, 2016.