Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tao of Psychology Part 7: A Secular Spirituality

The book "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert A. Heinlein tells the story of a human boy named Mike who was born and raised on Mars by Martians following the death of his parents and all of the other colonists. When a later mission 'rescues' him and returns him to earth, he is shown to have learned superhuman capabilities from the martians. He can control his breathing, heart rate, muscle growth, and even his sense of time. After struggling for some time to fit in with the other humans, he visits several churches, hoping that the 'old ones' of earth could help him to understand what it means to be human. He finally comes to a realization of the contradictoriness of human nature, which gives him the revelation he needed both to understand his own humanity and to fully understand the teachings of the Martian 'old ones'.

After that, he becomes inspired to start a church in order to teach the people of Earth the things he has learned. He finds that the only way he can do this is by teaching them to speak martian as the human languages completely lack the words needed to describe what he knows. His church becomes very wealthy and prosperous, and several of the other large churches declare him a heretic, sending hoards of angry believers against him. Ultimately, he decides to allow them to have their way, peacefully allowing himself to be martyred to show them the true nature of their hate.

It's often said that the real world is stranger than anything in science fiction, but in this case I'd say they're not too far apart. While humans can't actually make objects disappear into another dimension with our thoughts, or breathe the martian atmosphere (95% CO2, which often freezes), we can learn to control our autonomic functions, our sense of time, and to transcend the artificial limits of personality to find higher meaning in life and reach profound states of awareness. We don't have to learn martian to do it, either. (although Ericksonian language might as well be)

Mr. Ali observed that if parents (or peers or teachers, etc) fail to recognize, mirror and support a child's developing essential nature, the child will dissociate and create self-image parts to protect that nature in whatever way they can. These parts become the story we tell ourselves about ourselves; our 'life story'. By seeing this story objectively for what it is, we can learn to unwrite it, to transcend it and live in the present instead of the past or the future. We can learn to stop our incessant inner 'doing', to center ourselves in being and to transcend the limitations of attachment to the body.

We can do this without invoking gods or ghosts, and without requiring belief in the absence of evidence. Ericksonian Hypnosis can further aid in teaching these things experientially instead of by mere advice or dogma, and to more fully unleash the potential of the human mind both in the inner journey and in living in the world. It is my conviction that this is truly the path which will allow humans to transcend war, prejudice and totalitarianism, and to evolve as a civilization to work towards what is really important and what really does good.

Zen Hypnosis

Recently, while I was digging for free resources on Milton Erickson, I stumbled across uncommon knowledge and their sister sites, uncommon forum and hypnosisdownloads. At first I took little interest in their hypnosis audio, as Erickson commented that no single induction fits perfectly for all people. However, after experiencing a definite effect from a mere text induction (that wasn't directed at me), I decided that it might be worth looking into to see if they had anything that resonated well with the theory I have described. Although it's scattered around randomly, it turns out they have a lot of things which are exactly what I was looking for in terms of converting IFS/DA into a hypnotic format.

Now that I've had the chance to try some of these, I can say more about it. Their inductions suck, so it's bring-your-own-trance. Some of them, particularly the ones Roger Elliot narrates, have very good, very Ericksonian suggestions though, and would be quite useful if you've learned autohypnosis already.


Harmony with Nature: Unguided visualization to boost inner peace and harmony.

Hypnotic Body Scan Relaxation: Teaches you how to quickly and deeply relax every muscle in your body. An easy way to naturally learn to enter a trance, and extremely useful in general.


Know Yourself: Introduces you to the many facets of you.

Cloud Nine: Helps you to have a very zen-like experience, and to connect with your sense of inner harmony.

Mindfulness Meditation Training: Helps you to become more centered in the present, to become more detached from your emotional states, and to gain a wider perspective on things.

These three provide the fundamental skills needed to begin unwinding your personality, and help you to discover a sense of inner calm that underlies all of the chaos you normally experience.


Strength of Character: Helps you to achieve a deep self honesty, from which your indestructible inner strength and perseverance arise.

Trust Your Instincts: Teaches you to become aware of subtle physiological signals your body sends you, to find and believe in the truth in your heart, and to combine your instincts with your reasoning ability to improve your judgment.

The Meaning of Life: Teaches you to access your inner sense of meaningfulness, and to create greater meaning in your life through it.

These three work synergistically with the last three to amplify the effect of meditation, increase centeredness and awaken your inner guidance.


Awaken Intuition: Teaches you to gain access to the subtle and powerful abilities of discrimination of your unconscious.

Learn from Your Mistakes: Become your own best teacher, learn how to learn from your past experience and improve yourself without self-punishment.

Expand Your Comfort Zone: Learn to expand your boundaries gradually, to invite more excitement into your life.

Others' Shoes: Teaches you how to experience what it's like to be another person, and come to understand people better in general.


Super Senses: (at the bottom) Self-explanatory.

Other Hypnotic Techniques

Recently I found a bunch of related hypnotic techniques through Cal Banyan's regression therapy, C. Roy Hunter's parts therapy and spiritual part therapy, ego state therapy and Michelle Beaudry's "Spa of the Inner Mind" unguided imagery and "The Forgiveness Pyramid". From what I understand, connecting with your inner spiritual guidance is a simple and straightforward process, and would be easy to integrate with other techniques.

And that, my friends, is the end of this series. (finally!)

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