The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.
Judith Simon Prager is teaching a three-hour workshop on this topic on April 22, 2018 at the International Hypnotherapy Conference in Glendale, California.
by Judith Simon Prager, PhD
Generally I write and teach about Verbal First Aid, the protocol I co-developed and have co-authored books about. One of the books, The Worst is Over: What To Say When Every Moment Counts, has been called “The ‘bible’ for crisis communication” by the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. I’ve taught it to medical professionals and first responders around the world and have been thrilled to see it adopted and used to help people heal more quickly and avoid post-traumatic stress. And I’ve taught it here at ACHE for many years.
But for this conference, desiring to “go beyond,” I am designing an exploration of the state of flow, of stepping out of time and space, the state of illumination, of moving into the “zone.”
Yes, it is very important to look backwards, to find the source of blocks and limitations within our clients’ conscious and unconscious minds. As a hypnotherapist of more than 20 years experience, and as a human being, I truly believe that cleaning out the misconceptions, those beliefs that run us beyond our conscious awareness and hold us back, is an essential step forward.
And then what?
I also believe that in letting go, we must have a direction beyond that correction. In Verbal First Aid it’s called a trajectory of recovery. In planning for life we must have a notion of our own “full potential.” What are we really? Just our experiences? Merely our behaviors, our cultural beliefs? Or are we spiritual beings, come here to unfold, to become the light that perhaps we were and will return to after the experience of this earth-suit and three dimensional existence.
So, how do we touch that other space? How do we awaken to who we really are, at the soul level, or the “higher self” level, if you will?
When people speak of “flow,” they are talking of igniting a host of different experiences and approaches. There is the physical experience of athletes who go beyond their own limits, at least just this once, and discover powers that actually seem super-human.
There are the spiritual experiences that call to Joan of Arc, the burning bushes that awaken.
There are the emotional triggers that happen to us in nature, such as when we are looking at a bird in flight and we suddenly feel that we are that bird, and look down at the world below.
Astronauts have returned changed after seeing the world we live on as a blue marble, suspended in space, with everything and everyone they’ve ever known and loved on that vulnerable sphere.
The Buddhists/Taoist approach the letting go of self, time, and effort (one of the descriptions of flow) through Wu-Wei, or effortlessness, (not doing, being without agendas) and flowing in harmony with nature and the current of life. They become like water or “reeds that bend without breaking.” According to the New World Encyclopedia, this approach allows practitioners to have a “magical efficaciousness in moving through the world and attracting people to oneself.”
And what part do meditation and synchronicity play in all this?
Diane Ackerman calls a state of flow Deep Play and has written a book by the same name about the experience. “To the Greeks, ecstasy meant to stand outside oneself. How is that possible? Through existential engineering. ‘Give me a place to stand,’ Archimedes proclaimed in the third century B.C., ‘and I will move the earth.’ Levered by ecstasy, one springs out of one’s mind. Thrown free of one’s normal self, a person stands in another place, on the limits of body, society, and reason, watching the known world dwindle in the distance (a spot standing far away). The euphoria of flying in dreams, or the longing to fly through the ocean with dolphins, fills us with rapture.”
I personally have had the mind-altering experience of working with dolphins. I have been told by divers that whenever they swim with dolphins in the wild they come up ecstatic, and it might have something to do with being imprinted by dolphins as they help us shift from our ordinary, quotidian beta waves to their creative alpha brain waves. I believe it also might have something to do with dimensions, so that freeing ourselves from three-dimensions of the material world of space and the dimension of time, we can soar.
In some ways, they all involve altered states or at least non-ordinary states.
So putting it all together, in my session we will learn about how the brain functions in various states,
• the difference between ordinary, three-dimensional time and space and the more productive states of selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness,
• what the state of trance-flow might be and how we might evoke it,
• how artists and athletes use flow states for success
• how you can use this information to help your clients shift from working at a problem too hard to arriving at the thrilling “aha!” or the breaking of imagined limitations, reaching a state in which they might have greater access to their full potential.
Offering this program has been both exciting and a little challenging for me. Can we help to bring out the talents, the desires, the “full potential” of our clients when they come to us with dreams delayed or denied? What are the “steps” that some have discovered or believe to be required to make that leap, beyond three dimensions, beyond time, into ecstasy or flow?
We will spend our time together exploring what it means in the brain as well as the spirit, what others have learned, what triggers might be necessary to make the leap into the unknown, into our full potential beyond removing old programs (which, of course must happen), and going beyond undoing the knots of the past.
And then in the session we all will experientially take a “trip” that gives us a glimpse of the “More.”
Here is a poem of mine that the journal The MOON Magazine published this year in their issue about shamans. Join me.
A Shaman’s Invocation
In the infinite universe
there is always more.
Give me that more,
That I may blaze with it
Like a raucous fountain
Like a riotous volcano
Endlessly elaborate infinity
Embellish the known
Illuminating the secret
Specifying the sacred
Whispering the obvious
To make me listen
What is familiar, make more subtle
What is jagged, make round
…and the reverse.
Rehearse the elusive
Until I am so aware,
I cannot fail to hear
the pulse through my veins
like molten lava
more that I am.
~Judith Simon Prager, The MOON Magazine, October 2017
Judith Simon Prager, PhD, is co-author of The Worst Is Over and many Verbal First Aid books. She trains physicians and first responders across the country and around the world and had appeared on Good Morning America. Her latest book is, What the Dolphin Said.