Awake and Aware
I got an e-mail from Asoka Selvarajah the other day, (see below) and amused myself with its appropriateness. Although I've never met Asoka, we seem to be mostly on the same wave length, at the same time. I've printed some of his articles in the past.
The irony was how well his e-mail matches the theme of my new book, and how well my new book echoes the principal message of The Phoenix Centre. There’s awake and aware, and there's whatever you want to call the opposite state. Hypnotized. Zoned out. Numb from the neck up. Asleep at the switch. Unc. (I saw that in a book once, it's short for unconscious.)
Now, and this is the tough part, the opposite of Unc is not "enlightened." I know several people out there who are now throwing their hands up in despair, whining, "But…but…I'm so…highly…developed!" As if this is some kind of static process. As opposed to a dynamic one – one that exists moment by moment.
Yeah, there's the rub. Paying attention is fine, but most want to figure out how to do it, and then be done with it. Asoka makes that point at the end of his article, when he indicates that waking the woman up from hypnosis simply allowed her to settle into her normal, waking trance. Waking up is an interesting process, achieved in this moment, (remember the title of my book, This Endless Moment? Get it??) and then it's endlessly repeated. There is no, "Oh! Now (and forever) I get it!" No, "I've been to Haven or The Phoenix Centre, and I learned how to communicate!" No you didn't. Because there is a difference between learning to communicate and actually communicating.
The reason it's so tough for many is that the concept is dead simple, and the application is endless. I may know an amazing communication model, but I can only use it instance by instance. And using it when all hell is breaking out requires discipline as opposed to "enlightenment."
The norm for most people is to stop at the identification (or learning, or thinking) stage. A colleague of Dar's typifies this. I've known her for years. She owns hundreds of my business cards. She's never been in for a session, however. Lately, she's surviving her typical dramas by persuading her doctor to give her pills. I suggested she come for a talk, and she said, "I already know what you'll say. You'll say I have low self esteem and am insecure."
In a sense, she may be right in her self-diagnosis, although I don't necessarily think so. I'm into a much more fundamental question. I've known her for 15 years, and she seems to be stuck in the same place. She's happily living her life as the world's most unhappy person. In other words, she has lots of explanations for why she is stuck. She is unwilling to invest anything in seeing her life differently, or perhaps more precisely, is unwilling to do her life differently.
So, her body is giving out on her. More headaches. More pain. More sadness and anxiety. More stress and sadness.
What would be required here, as with all of us, is for her to pay attention. She needs to learn to listen to her body and to watch her mind. She has bad habits that lead her to misery, and these have become default behaviours. They never work, but they keep getting repeated.
Were she open to it, I would propose 3 months of weekly sessions of Bodywork and talking. I would suggest that we strategize ways for her to notice, or wake up to, her Unc thinking. I would help her to identify the feeling as she slides away from awareness to the hypnosis of mindlessly repeating old habits. I would help her to re-acquaint herself with her body – both the signals of pain it's sending, and help her to meet herself physically when the pain is absent. I would then look at how she is living her relationships, and see what we could come up with for her to be clear and honest, open and vulnerable, without being angry, sad or dispirited.
Please note the last word in the last sentence. Dispirited. I would explore her spirit with her – what motivates her, what calls her, what has the potential to set her free. She is, as the old cliché says, a human doing instead of a human being. Being is about finding one's spirit, one's essence, and living from there. Spirit is all that there is, when one looks at what is both "real" and lasting.
This is what I suggest for each of you. Find someone to talk to and do Bodywork with. See how you are stuck, what patterns are happening on autopilot. Decide, one moment at a time, to come into awareness and consciousness. Feel your feelings, find your body, and free your spirit.
Anything else is a walking trance. You can practice that after you're dead.
In the end, being awake and aware is all we ought to be striving for. And we should be moving mountains to be there. If you are not, ask yourself what you are waiting for.
Life is short. Get on with it!
Are You Hypnotized & Don't Even Know It?
by Asoka Selvarajah, Ph.D
When I was at university, an astonishing thing happened one evening. There was a hypnosis show on campus. It was several hours later that night, long after the show had ended. One girl, who had been hypnotized, was found in considerable distress in her room. Nobody knew what the matter was, but the hypnotist was called on the telephone. It seems that the girl was still in a hypnotic trance! Anyway, he said a few words to her over the phone, and all was well.
The amazing thing is that the girl had seemed perfectly normal to both herself and her friends for hours after the show had ended. Nobody imagined that she was still under the influence, not even the hypnotist himself. Yet, she was.
So, how do you know if YOU are in a hypnotic trance right now?
"Easy", you retort, "I have never been hypnotized". Oh, but you HAVE!...
What does hypnosis really do? By accessing your subconscious mind, it changes, either temporarily or permanently, some part of your world view. This can be as simple as making you forget your own name. However, it can also be as profound as causing a long-standing severe allergy to vanish while you are in trance, or cause you to paint and draw with a talent you are incapable of during normal waking consciousness.
Now, this type of thing, amazing as it may seem, is fairly common and the change so dramatic that it is easy to detect. However, you yourself may be experiencing a much more subtle trances.
These were created in a similar way, but over a longer period of time, and in a less deliberate fashion. Who was the hypnotist in this instance? None other than your environment, your parents, your peers, and even your TV set. Through a process of repetition, you slowly became "conditioned", i.e. hypnotized" into accepting a certain view of reality. It sinks deep into reality, and becomes part of "what is", and therefore is no longer questioned.
Think about this for a moment. Where did your view about money come from? Or of the opposite sex? Or religion? Indeed, where did MOST of your deepest beliefs, i.e. what you consider to be irrefutable FACTS, actually come from?
If you are honest, you will agree that most of them did not come to you through a process of rational thinking. Most people get their ideas about Money, for example, directly from their parents, through a process of osmosis. From the time they were young, they were indicted into a hypnotic trance, where suggestions were repeated over and over about money, until they became the very beliefs of the person in question.
The same is true of many other deeply held beliefs. We are walking around in multiple trances - the victims of countless hypnotists, and we don't even know it. We think we are fully awake, just like the girl in the earlier story, but we are actually in trance.
When you are asleep and dreaming, you don't usually know it. However, when you awaken, you can say "Oh, it was just a dream". Yet, when you were asleep, you could not really tell. It all made perfect sense at the time, no matter how bizarre it seems on awakening.
BUT, when you are awake, how do you know that you are not really also in some other kind of dream? Actually you do not. And actually, you ARE!
That is precisely what Buddhism and many of the other esoteric traditions teach when they describe the world as illusory, and a condition to be woken up from in order to achieve enlightenment. They are really talking about trance breaking. Indeed, the name the Buddha gave himself, "Tathagata", means "The Awakened One".
In more ways than we can count, we are in the grip of hypnotic trance. At present, political powers seek to condition the minds of the masses and enclose them within the hypnotic trance of FEAR. It seems to be working, mainly because people are not awake and aware, and do not guard the doors of their minds. Rather, they let anything come in without due examination. As each person participates in the trance, they reinforce its reality for everyone else.
Do you find yourself unable to break out of certain frustrating tendencies or habit? Do you find the same situations cropping up for you wherever you go, even though the people and places change? Do you "know" that you are incapable of certain things that other people find easy - drawing, making money, meeting people, public speaking or whatever? If so, the chances are very strong that you are hypnotized, but don't know it.
The whole point of personal growth teachings is to help you examine yourself and see what is really there, i.e. to see the trances that have been imposed upon you by unknown hypnotists and break free of them so that you can live truly and authentically. Otherwise, you are living someone else's idea of the way you should be.
The worse thing about a hypnotic trance is that you can't tell you are in one, and neither can anyone else. Moreover, each person has their own set of trances to deal with, so how can they be of much help to you? As Jesus said, if one blind man leads another, the only thing that is certain is that they will both fall into a ditch!
The way to break out of your trances is through rigorous self-examination and study of materials that can help you awaken, bit by bit. Question yourself. What ARE your attitudes to Money? Jews/Moslems? Relationships? Women/Men? War? Sex? And so on.
Where DID you get these ideas? Are they really your own, developed through a process of careful study and examination. Or did you imbibe them from the hypnotists of Society, parents, friends, culture? Are they helping you, or causing you to be much less than you could be?
If you seek, you shall find. Indeed, you shall discover that many of the beliefs you hold sacred were placed in your brain before you could even speak. Yes, the hypnosis began that early!
Going back to the original story, they eventually managed to awaken that girl from her trance. Arguably, when the hypnotist brought her back to her senses, she simply returned to her more conventional everyday hypnotic trance - the one she was familiar and happy with. In a sense, she merely awoke from one hypnotic trance into another.
So, what is it going to take to wake YOU up?.....
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2004. All Rights Reserved.
Asoka Selvarajah is a writer on personal growth and spirituality, and the author of "The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self". His work helps people achieve their full potential, deepen their understanding of mystical truth, and discover their soul's purpose.