Sunday, August 23, 2020
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
|If you don't respond well to suggestion,|
then you won't have a "Salvation" experience.
And if you don't have a "Salvation" experience,
then no matter what ELSE you do, you won't get into Heaven!
Carrollton, Georgia, is a small to medium-sized city located approximately fifty-five miles west of Atlanta. It is regarded by both students and townspeople as being part of the "Bible belt," and most (though certainly not all) of the churches in the area have a Fundamentalist Christian orientation. Fundamentalists take quite literally the scriptural statement, "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2: 8-9). The "salvation sermon" first leads the prospective convert to feel the tremendous burden of guilt which one bears for one's past misdeeds and failure to repent; and this is followed by a great wave of joy as the convert feels his or her sins being "washed away" and is "born again" as a "new creature in Christ."
This salvation experience, however, is not considered to be voluntarily attainable, since it is the result of "grace," or the unmerited favor of God. Should an individual seek to join a Fundamentalist congregation merely because one is convinced of the truth of Christian teachings, many members would be inclined to doubt that he or she is truly a member of the "elect of God" and, not being able to have such an experience, is probably fore-ordained to burn in Hell regardless of what kind of life they may be leading.
From a scientific point of view, it may be postulated that the degree to which an individual is able to have a salvation experience such as the one described is a function of the degree to which that person is suggestible, and therefore there is a direct relationship between the ability to be "saved" and the ability to be hypnotized. After giving a questionnaire to high and low responders on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962) concerning the nature of their personal religious experiences, De Jarnette and I (Gibbons & De Jarnette, 1972) found that there was no significant relationship between hypnotic susceptibility and a previous change in denominational preference, or between susceptibility and the perceived religiousness of one's father. However, the low-susceptible subjects were less likely to perceive their mother as being moderately religious or deeply religious. Comparing high- and low-susceptible "saved" Protestants with high- and low-susceptible "unsaved" Protestants, the "saved" group contained significantly more subjects who were highly susceptible to hypnosis. In follow-up interviews, the reasons for the differences between high and low-suggestible subjects became glaringly apparent. The high susceptibles said things like, "I began to feel a warm tingling glow inside of me. The next thing I knew, I was down in front of the altar, and I was crying," or, "It was like the Hand of God came down and touched me. I felt so happy. I never felt joy like I felt it that day." But when the few low-susceptibles who indicated that they had been "saved" were asked about their experience, they said things like, "I had been going to that church for about six months, mainly because my girl friend went there, but I never 'went forward.' Then one day the preacher invited all those who had accepted the Lord to put up our hands, and we both put our hands up and that was it."
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Frequently the negative beliefs and perceptions that are dragging you down are held by others. The same approach can be applied to a friend or family member that is driving you crazy. Here are a few additional tips to use with a boss that is driving you crazy.
Sometimes a friend, family member, or boss is difficult to change because they have a personality disorder, or what is popularly referred to as a toxic person, or an energy vampire. Unlesss they can be persuaded to seek psychological help, the best thing to do is often to stay away from them or at least to recognize them for who they are so that you do not blame yourself for their problems.
Finally, what you think is also strongly influenced by what you do -- or by what you don't do! In addition to buiilding up youf resistance to stress by getting plenty of sleep, a good diet, and regular exercise, here is a link to a list of activities which can also help you to get escape from the cycle of anxiety, anger, depression, and despair. They can also strengthen the bond between you and your friends or romantic partner when you do them together. If at all possible, surround yourself with positive, upbeat people as you undertake them.
Saturday, July 4, 2020
As Shakespeare said in his play, The Tempest, "The past is prologue" -- or, as a New York cab driver reportedly phrased it, "Brother, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Monday, June 15, 2020
Mother Teresa (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta) had a mystical experience while she was in her teens, and spent the rest of her life futilely trying to re-capture it. But hypnotists, know that it is possible to re-experience previous events even more intensely than when they first occurred.
Many other people, of course, have had mystical experiences. When such a history is present, it can serve as a focus for re-energizing their present view of life. For example, a 58 year old retired English teacher and mother of five grown children who recently had been divorced after a marriage of forty years came to me (Don) for help with depression. She was spending the greater part of each day in bed, with the blankets drawn up over her head. She was taking antidepressants, but they did not seem to help. She responded well to hypnosis, and early in the course of therapy, she mentioned that when she was about sixteen, she had a mystical experience: "I could step beyond the ordinary world of reality, and I felt totally loved."
I asked her if she would like to re-visit this mystical experience as a way of getting over her depression, and she immediately agreed. I told her that for best results, it would help if she were to re-capture her mystical experience with the same life-changing intensity that she had experienced it the first time. She readily agreed to this also.
Pulling out all the stops in order to provide an experience of life-changing intensity, which she obviously needed, I regressed her to her earlier mystical event, and told her that we were going to make it even stronger using hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience. I suggested that we were reaching down into her vast, untapped potential for feeling happiness and joy. This potential for happiness and joy was flowing out from the innermost depths of her being in many different ways and on many different levels, like water from a hundred secret springs. As these feelings continued to flow without limit, they were healing and cleansing every muscle and fiber and nerve of her body, driving out all of the worry, and all of the stress, and all of the care that she had ever felt, and leaving her glowing from head to toe with such an intensity of happiness that she could not bear it if she were not hypnotized.
She remained outwardly impassive as I continued in this vein, emphasizing that this happiness was greater and more intense than anything she had ever hoped for, dreamed of, longed for, or imagined. To further emphasize its strength, I suggested that when she returned from hypnosis, she would not be able to bring all of this intensity back with her, because it would be more than she could bear in the everyday state of consciousness in which we live and move and have our being. But nevertheless, it would transform her life, and turn each new day into a thing of wondrous beauty.
Her depression lifted within two more sessions. Because she was a Buddhist, it was easy to frame her mystical experience as evidence that true happiness comes from within. She no longer remains in bed all day, and frequently goes out shopping, or to play cards, or visit with friends. Her demeanor is pleasant, relaxed, and cheerful. She is continuing to come in for monthly sessions in order to keep her orientation focused on the positive aspects of life, and as a means of continuing her personal and spiritual development.
The client's youngest daughter, who has had a great many personal difficulties of her own, has recently moved in with her. Even though she frequently serves as a lightning rod for her daughter's wrath, the client has remained impassive, and has managed to maintain a generally congenial relationship with her daughter (when they are on speaking terms!)
Experientialism is the philosophical theory that experience is the source of knowledge. It is indeed an honor to work with the experientially gifted; for they truly are "the bearers of the light," which all of us may hope to one day follow.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016) Virtual reality hypnosis: Exploring alternate and parallel universes. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available.)