“It’s not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them.” – T. S. Eliot
By now in our discussion of the unconscious mind, you’re probably feeling as if the “Saboteur Within” is downright unstoppable. I won’t lie; true change can be very, very difficult unless you can engage the help of your Saboteur. In this next section I am going to arm you with eight powerful tools – I call them “rules” – that will give you a new understanding of, and mastery over, the unconscious mind.
Rule # 1 of the Saboteur Within: Thoughts = Physical Reaction
Mary was a seventy two year old woman who initially came to visit me because she had been experiencing chest pains. Apparently, this was nothing new for Mary. During our initial consultation, she shared with me that she had experienced chest pains as far back as she could remember.
When I asked Mary what she’d done in the past to alleviate her symptoms, she told me that she had taken medication for many years and sometimes the pain would ease a little and yet no matter what she took, or how often or when, the pain was always there. She confessed that she “never felt any freedom from the pain within her” and that she literally “couldn’t take it anymore.” She wanted to find some relief – at last.
As Mary sat in front of me for the first time that day, I thought I would use hypnosis and regress her to see where some of these physical ills might be stemming from. Hypnosis allows the client to deeply relax, whilst accessing a heightened state of awareness and communicate with their unconscious mind to work through their issues. In my experience, someone who’s had chronic pain for as long as they can remember is usually displaying some physical reaction to strong emotions.
I decided to regress Mary ten years at a time. Each decade I asked Mary, “What can you see and sense?”
Each time Mary replied, “Nothing; it is all black.” Each time I would say “Wonderful, Mary” and continue the regression.
I eventually regressed Mary all the way back to her wedding day, over five decades earlier. In my naiveté I had assumed that the day she got married must have been a happy day for Mary. However, when I asked what she was “experiencing” Mary replied that “everything was black.”
This time, however, I noted some serious nonverbal expressions accompanying her response. Her face was contorted a little and she felt that there was something within her she was not happy with. When I asked her about this, Mary said she “wasn’t sure” what this negative feeling was about.
Eventually I got Mary to open up, not just about her wedding and why it was causing her “pain”. Initially she was unable to express what she felt verbally but by telling her what I was observing in her non-verbals, (facial expression, body posture etc) we began to explore the suffering she had experienced not just on her wedding day but throughout her entire marriage and how it had contributed to her nearly lifelong chest pains.
It eventually transpired that back in the time when Mary got married, your husband was legally allowed to rape you. In other words, even if a wife said “No” to sex, because she was legally married her husband couldn’t be accused of raping her – even if he forced her to have sex against her will.
This experience had been horrific for Mary and had had an effect on her life from that day forward. Mary felt that she had never truly made love, but only “had sex” at her husband’s will. Being a young woman at the time of her marriage and uninitiated in the “birds and the bees,” Mary did not understand what was happening to her. She never associated sex with pleasure, or even with love or affection; all she could associate with this feeling was the pain.
If Mary and her husband went out for the evening when they were young and her husband had had a couple of drinks, she would notice that twinkle in his eye, which meant that they were going to have sex. Initially, Mary would feign a headache. This never worked, though, as he would still insist on forcing himself upon her and it would hurt Mary considerably. She never experienced any physical pleasure from the “act” and foreplay was something that you did on a Sunday night with friends in a game of cribbage.
Over the years the pain Mary experienced below her waist during intercourse quickly developed into chest pain. Amazingly, chest pain worked; it worked so well she would get out of breath and feel like she was going to die. The pain was so intense that her husband would leave her alone.
Now, many years later, even though Mary and her husband were now both in their 70’s and sex had not been in the cards for a long, long time the physical reaction was still present. She couldn’t actually allow herself to let her hair down and experience fun.
Here we have the unconscious mind at work, doing what it does best: turning thoughts into physical reactions. In Mary’s case, she was associating sex with pain. Consciously, she could not say that to her husband as at that time he could beat her and still have sex; legally. So her unconscious mind designed a wonderful way of looking after the self at the expense of a lifetime devoid of fun, laughter and sexual enjoyment.
The initial feelings that the client had were now locked inside her mind and had made her a prisoner. I now had to guide her back to that painful time in her life and allow her to let go of the negative emotions she’d learned to associate with sex and thus release the pain from her chest.
I had a hunch that Mary’s feelings about sex had imprinted long before she met her husband, let alone married him. I decided that since most life imprints are developed by the age of five or six, it would be more feasible to begin at the beginning of Mary’s life and bring her forward.
I said, “Right, Mary, in a moment I am going to ask you to close your eyes and ask you to wander back to a particular time and place inside your mind. As I count back from 5 to 1, I would like you to have the sensation of being born. Because you were born and the evidence is right here in front of me now 4, 3, 2, 1…. That’s right and you are back there now and you are just being born. Now, Mary, tell me what do you see? How do you feel? And, what can you hear?”
At that moment Mary sobbed and wailed like a stricken animal. I asked, “Mary, what are you doing inside your mind, right now?”
She answered, “I can see my mother!”
I said, “Wonderful! What’s happening now?”
Mary answered, “She’s dying!” That’s right; Mary’s mother had died during childbirth and Mary had repressed the memory, but that hadn’t prevented her from carrying around the pain and guilt and sadness for the rest of her life. And right there and then, some 72 years after her own birth, Mary mourned the death of her mother and the pain vanished. She had carried it all those years, never consciously knowing that there was something so distressing and emotional, she could never have dealt with back then.
This subsequently affected Mary’s relationship with her husband as the thought of sex and pregnancy also had connections with an insurmountable fear of pain and death. During regression therapy, Mary released the pain from her body.
As you can see, Mary wasn’t pretending to be in pain but nor did she know what the cause of her pain was. Yes, consciously she understood that her mother had died whilst giving her life but where did the pain come from? The pain could have been transferred by the family who looked after her and brought her up. When she first started playing with other children, who had mums, the pain of being without her mum or being different, could have been imprinted deep inside her mind, or as Carl Jung put it, her “Personal Unconscious”. We could speculate all day but let me simply state that by allowing Mary’s unconscious mind to access the emotions that were locked up back then; she was able to release the pain from her system.
Mary fed back to me a few weeks later that she had never genuinely experienced happiness in her life and now she felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her. Mary’s Saboteur had maintained her sadness and fear as it was the routine she had been born into. Thankfully she was now fully able to experience true happiness and joy.
Rule # 2 of the Saboteur Within: Expectation = Realisation
A mother called my office one day, and asked if I could work with her daughter. She was seven years old, a tiny, petite little girl. Unfortunately, she was in a great deal of pain and could not walk without the aid of crutches.
The specialists had examined her and found that since she was so small, a problem in the muscle and bone development of her feet was creating all the pain. There was no need for an operation, however, as by the time she was 12 years old she would have grown sufficiently and there would be no long-term problems.
Since I knew I was going to visit a child, I took a teddy bear with me. Sometimes, I’ve found, it’s easier for children to speak to toys and animals. Her mother and I were both concerned with the fact that Sarah could not play and interact with her friends as she would like to. We were worried about the long-term problems that this isolation could create in her personal development.
I asked mom to leave Sarah and I and go into the other room. I did this as, in my experience, it is often impossible for young children to express themselves fully when their parents are around because they will seek approval of what they say and may be reluctant to be open and honest about what they are experiencing. Once we were alone, I asked Sarah if she liked teddy and she smiled and said, “Yes.” I then told Sarah that Teddy would like to come and live with her and she was very happy about this idea. I went on to tell Sarah that Teddy was very excited about moving in with her. However, there was a drawback; Teddy would only feel safe if he was being looked after by older people who could keep him safe.
Next, I covered teddy’s ears so that he couldn’t “hear” and asked Sarah if she could pretend to be 13 years old, of course, we wouldn’t tell teddy. It would be our little secret. She smiled and said, “Yes.” So, I told Teddy that even though I would miss him, Sarah would really be able to look after him and Sarah walked straight across the room and picked up Teddy. I asked her what she liked most about being 13 and she excitedly said, “Staying up late and wearing mummy’s make up!”
I told her to go and show mummy her new teddy. Sarah walked straight out of the room to tell mum and seeing her daughter walking without pain made Sarah’s mother cry.
“You are walking,” she said, and Sarah looked at her with an “of course I am” look on her face.
Then she said, “I am a big girl now.” The rest is history; Sarah walked pain-free from that day forward and proved our second rule of the Saboteur Within: expectation = realization. In other words, if you expect something to happen – it will.
You’re probably thinking that this is preposterous but there are many examples of the placebo verses nocebo effects. In 1952 Dr. Albert Mason was using hypnosis to treat a 15-year-old boy’s warts. Hypnosis had been successfully used in the treatment of warts by many doctors and Mason was very good at it. This time, however, the boy was covered from head to toe and his skin looked like cracked leather.
Dr. Mason was to create a medical sensation with this patient, because one week after his session the boy returned and his arm, which is the part of his body Dr. Mason had suggested to get well, was perfectly healthy and clear. After a few more sessions the boy’s skin totally cleared up and he went on to lead a normal life.
How did it make medical history? Well, the boy was suffering from a lethal genetic disease called congenital ichthyosis and Dr. Mason hadn’t prescribed any drugs, he only used hypnosis to reverse all of the boy’s symptoms. At the time of working with the boy he was totally unaware that the condition was incurable.
When Dr. Mason wrote about his startling treatment for ichthyosis in the British Medical Journal in 1952, his article created a sensation. Dr. Mason became a magnet for patients suffering from the rare, lethal disease that no one before had ever cured.
Dr. Mason attempted to help other ichthyosis patients, but was never able to replicate the results he had with the young boy. Now that he knew that the disease was incurable his own belief was weakened, and the patient could unconsciously pick up on Dr. Mason’s doubt.
“I had a mother who was very ill when I was a child, and so the need to cure was really linked to my relationship to an ill mother and that’s just what you need to be a hypnotist. You need a kind of furor therapeutica. The congenital case I cured, I’m sure, needed to be cured as much as I needed to cure him and something strange happened. After that case, half a dozen ichthyotics came to see me and I never cured another one. By that time I knew it was incurable, so, there was the difference, that kind of conviction I had that I could cure him was no longer there. So that was really my history and how I became an analyst.”
I always tell therapists and coaches in my trainings that they must believe in the client’s ability to create a miracle. You see; if your coach doubts their ability to help you or your ability to help yourself, either way you are doomed to fail. On the other hand if your coach, therapist, doctor, mum or dad let go of their ego and has absolute faith in you, then miracles can and do happen.
If you spend all your time expecting to be poor, you will be poor; expecting to be unloved, you will be. The unconscious mind will construct an “I am” story for you and every belief and value you have will go to support that particular story. The question is does your story help you and support you or not?
Sarah and her mother hadn’t expected to be pain-free until she was older. Therefore, Sarah was fully prepared to live with excruciating pain, isolation and lack of socialisation with her peers. She “expected,” and so her expectations were “realised.”
Here I used the rule to the full. Sarah’s mum believed the specialists, Sarah believed her mum. So when the specialist said she will be in pain until she is 13, her problem fitted the expected criteria and the brain and nervous system responded accordingly. So I had to give Sarah another expected state of mind, which was one of already being 13 years old.
Sarah’s mind already knew on an unconscious level that at 13 there would be no pain in her feet and she would be living a normal life. So by creating the scenario that she was already 13, I had the client create the expectation and thus the realisation of a healthy physical pain free life. What happens when the child realises that she is not 13 years old? Nothing at all because she has made a change on an unconscious level, which will run and run until a better update overrides the message.
This technique works well with anxiety because in order to be anxious about anything, your mind has to expect a problem in a future event. Have you ever been invited to a party and told yourself “it will be rubbish” and you go anyway and guess what? It was rubbish! It happened exactly the way you thought it would be. Why? Because expectations lead to realisations!
The same can be said on the positive side, where people have a strong belief that they deserve to succeed in whatever endeavor they have chosen to undertake. They don’t fail because they don’t expect to fail; they succeed because they expect to succeed. As we move further through the course there are some exercises that should help you to get to grips with this.
Rule # 3 of the Saboteur Within: Imagination is More Powerful Than Knowledge
No matter how unreasonable a human being’s beliefs or superstitions are, if they imagine them to be true – they are true; at least for them. As we continue through the book, I will show you many examples of clients who, even though they have a detailed knowledge of what caused or is causing their problem, they are unable to be set free until they engage with their imagination.
When Simon came in to my office wanting to stop smoking, I was very interested in the fact that every ten seconds or so he rubbed his nose. Simon went on to explain that, after many tests, he had been found to be allergic to nicotine and that was why he needed to stop smoking.
Simon had sought out knowledge for his bizarre “nose rubbing” behaviour and so here he was ready to work with hypnotherapy to overcome his cigarette addiction. As Simon sailed into a relaxing trance, I decided it would be fun to test out the ‘diagnosis’ of nicotine addiction. I worked with his unconscious to use the part of his mind that was driving his smoking habit and align it with the part of him that was making his nose sore.
I then asked his unconscious mind to find brand new ways of allowing these reliable behaviours to support Simon in his life moving forwards.
The whole session lasted about an hour and when Simon opened his eyes we chatted about this and that for twenty minutes and he left. The next day Simon’s wife telephoned to thank me because Simon hadn’t touched his nose once since leaving me and he hadn’t even mentioned cigarettes.
You see I had worked with the fact that Simon believed, because of the information he had been given, by ‘experts’, that by stopping smoking, his nose would no longer be sore and he would therefore stop touching it. I decided to work in the opposite way and by stopping him touching his nose, using light trance, then he would stop smoking. The logic is the same, except for one thing, if Simon was truly “allergic to nicotine” as the specialists had told him, then it would have taken a few weeks for his system to be clear of all traces of nicotine and consequently it would also take a few weeks for the irritation in his nose to subside, not simply forgetting all about it, one hour after a conversation with me.
I was recently a keynote speaker at a workshop for cancer patients in Manchester, England, and at the end of the session I agreed to give a demonstration of how powerful the imagination is. I asked for volunteers with a fear of heights to come forward. I got eight volunteers and I stood them in a line. Working with one person at a time, it took less than seven minutes to change their negative imagination into a positive one.
When you ask someone with a height phobia to imagine that they are on the 36th floor of a skyscraper, three feet from the patio door and that the balcony outside has no railings, just a long drop, straight down to the busy street below, it’s amazing just how their mind allows them to access that situation. Immediately the body stiffens, heart rate increases, their hands become clammy, sweat pops out on the brow, their throat becomes very dry and they look absolutely petrified!
What a brilliant use of your mind! How else to explain the sudden visualisation these people experience to make them physically and emotionally terrified; even when they know that they’re standing, safely, on the ground! Now, I can’t walk from the living room to the kitchen without forgetting what I went in there for and yet these guys can, instantly and vividly, remember every single detail of how to be scared and all of the subsequent behaviour that specific fear creates for them. It happens automatically, they don’t have to think about it, just like sneezing, you don’t have to remember how to do it or plan it, it just happens.
Do you know what fear is? Fear means False Evidence Appearing Real. With a phobia, however, the fear is genuine to the client. They honestly believe in their imagination that they are no longer standing in a room being watched by sixty other people. In their minds, they are actually in that skyscraper and everyone else watching can see, quite clearly, that they are responding as if it were real, by the panic on their faces and the sweat on their brows.
When you hold that fear inside your mind, the picture is very strong and the feeling is very real. In order to separate the picture from the feeling, I have the client sing a silly song inside their mind and, all the while, walking forward. At the same time I tell them that I have a red cloak that is allowing me to fly and I lend them a spare red cape so that they can fly with me, too.
Then we “fly” in their imagination to the 50th floor and wave across to the spectators in the other buildings. I ask the client to count how many people they can see smiling and waving back at them, all the while, continuing to have them sing their silly song, something like, “The sun has got his hat on,” this also has the desired effect of having them mix a fun chemical within their hypothalamus whilst thinking about a context which formerly scared the bejesus out of them! Then we come back to land on the 34th floor and they are safe in the room again.
Next, I ask them to open their eyes, see me standing there three steps away from them and walk toward me. Now, I ask them what they can hear. When they reply with “a silly song,” I know that their fear has been conquered. The “silly song,” and the feel good chemicals that accompany it, has overridden the original voice that was running in their mind, making it feel comfortable for them. It probably seems too quick and easy but so long as I am able to make the client do some fun, crazy stuff, then I am helping them to change their internal chemical response to the external stimulus. The mind generalises the new stimulus response automatically, so long as there was enough fun attached to it!
The entire technique took less than fifteen minutes and by the time I got to volunteer number eight, his mind had already piggy backed on the technique I’d used with the others, so I quite literally patted him on the back and congratulated him for having done a marvelous job! He smiled, knowing his fear had left him.
It was interesting to note that only one of the clients, Sally, doubted what she had done that day. A couple of months later she emailed me to inform me that she had just been to Paris, and what’s more she’d gone up the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t until she came down that she realised she had actually been up there, all the way to the top, without fear and terror. You see, once the imagination has been given a more useful outcome, it will always choose the best option available, given the resources on hand at the time.
If you were to consider that you are observing the world and your observations appear on a large screen in front of you, the challenge then is to adjust the settings on your screen, until it feels better.
Height phobia example: In order to have a height phobia you have to drop your screen on the floor and imagine that you are standing on the edge of an abyss, which you are about to fall into! Voilà you have the structure of a height phobia. Now to fix it all you have to do is fill the void full of stuff, thoughts, imaginary concrete anything that you want, until it’s absolutely full to the top and then step on it to make sure that it’s okay. Hey Presto! You have now cured a height phobia. There are lots and lots of ways to adjust your screen and thus adjust your life, so chase me up if you ever need a hand.
Rule # 4 of the Saboteur Within: Opposing Ideas Cannot be Held Simultaneously
Jane was in her late 40’s and her presenting problem was spondylitis. In other words, she could not lift her hands up above her chest because to do so would create excruciating pain. She had been subjected to all the x-rays and specialist tests, and she munched on pain killing pills daily. The problem began 25 years ago and started with a twinge in her neck that gradually got worse and worse.
When we started working together, I used some simple relaxation techniques and the client reported immediate relief from pain. I had her move her neck fully in all directions to see how it felt and she could lift her arms naturally. Jane left my clinic that day feeling very, very happy with herself.
However, that evening all was not well in the mind of Matt Hudson. I felt it was just too easy to solve Jane’s problem and that we hadn’t gotten to find the actual opposing belief that made Jane present with her pain in the first place.
If you put this course down for a moment and rub your hands together, you will create heat. The same can be said when you are holding opposing ideas, you will create a “friction” within the body and this, in itself, can cause pain or dis-ease. Even though we seemed to have solved Jane’s pain, I thought one more session would be in order to get to what caused the pain in the first place.
About a week later Jane was back in to see me. When I asked her how she’d been feeling, Jane said that she had had a little twinge of pain since our last meeting, but that she’d remembered the technique I’d taught her, which was simply see the pain, notice what colour it is and change the colour until it feels better. This method of visualisation allowed Jane to switch off the pain.
“Ah ha,” I said, “I was right, because if we got the root of the problem, the pain would not have popped up again so soon, if at all.”
Jane looked at me as if I might be a little crazy, personally the best look a client can give, it just says to me “This isn’t normal!”
I next asked Jane to sit back in the chair, close her eyes and contemplate what started happening in her life, 26 years ago when the pain first presented itself, that is still happening today.
What happened next defies belief and I can only tell you as I saw it: Jane’s body went into full spasm. Seriously, you would think she was sitting in an electric chair; she was physically pained and I was elated.
“Yes!” I thought to myself. “Now we’re getting somewhere!”
I asked her what was happening in her life back then, just before the pain started. She said “I know it sounds silly but…” “Hooray!” I thought, you see if someone begins with “This may sound crazy, or I know it sounds daft but..,” they are telling you that there is a direct correlation between what they are saying and what has transpired: but they don’t know how they can possibly be connected. She went on to tell me that her mother had become ill 26 years earlier, she had just gotten married and was starting a family. As a caring daughter, she would try her best to help her mum, by popping around daily. At the same time she had to look after her own family. Jane juggled this situation all on her own because her two sisters had exited stage, left and right, leaving Jane to do all of the caring for her mother.
Now, here are the conflicting beliefs that were originating in Jane’s mind and presenting themselves as physical pain in Jane’s body.
Belief: “I love my mother and I must always help my mother…”
The “must” (model operator of necessity) suggests that Jane has no say in the matter.
The “always” (Generalisation) means there has never, and will never, be a time when Jayne won’t help her mother.
Conflicting Belief: “My sisters are single and they should help my mother as I have got children and I have to be there for my children because I am a mother”
The “should” (model operator of necessity) suggests that the sisters are disobeying the family rule, because they aren’t helping mother. This is all going on inside Jane’s head by the way.
The “I am” (Identity Statement) Jane is viewing her sisters, from the viewpoint of a mother, so as daughters they aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Jane was experiencing a lot of guilt over these conflicting emotions; guilt about not being there for her mother, because when she was with her mother she should be caring for her children, and guilt about caring for her own children when she should be caring for her mother. Underneath Jane’s guilt was a lovely heap of anger, which was quietly bubbling away deep beneath the surface. The feelings presented themselves as pain so Jane’s health was sabotaged, sacrificed if you will, in order to maintain the integrity of Jane’s whole system. Jane becoming ill would mean that her sisters would have to step in to help out and she could exonerate the guilt and anger she felt without having to have a blazing row with her sisters because that would upset mum if she found out.
When Jane had been given the chance to fully evaluate her beliefs, by writing them down and noticing which ones were helping her and which were sabotaging her, the pain left her body for good. She has since gone on to become a swimming instructor with a full range of body movements.
Exercise 1: This Means That
Think about your problem and sit for a while with a pen and paper, simply write:
“MY ________ [Whatever the issue is] means ________.”
Once you have written that statement, look at your meaning and follow up with
“and that means ________”
Write down that answer and again follow up with a further 5 or 6 times of “and that means?”
“My frequent headaches means… I take lots of time off work
and that means…
I worry about my sick record at work
and that means…
I feel that my colleagues resent me
and that means…
I don’t feel ‘part of the gang’
and that means…
I feel lonely and isolated at work
and that means…
I feel very sad
and that means…
“I want to work where I can feel happy and appreciated.”
Now put together your first statement with the last one…
“My frequent headaches mean I want to work where I can feel happy and appreciated.”
Have a look at you answers; maybe get a friend or family member to work through it with you. You’ll be surprised at what crazy nonsense some of your beliefs are founded on.
Rule # 5 of the Saboteur Within: An Unconscious Idea Remains Fixed Until Replaced by a Better One
A woman named Susan had come to me to help her stop smoking, which fits really well alongside this rule. Susan was in her late 50’s and she had smoked for 40 years, 60 cigarettes a day and worked in a bingo hall. I haven’t been in a bingo hall for many years. I am assured, however, that nowadays they have very good extraction systems, but back then all was smog.
Susan desperately needed to stop smoking as her health was suffering badly due to bronchial problems. Consciously, she had tried to stop several times and failed every time. Why had she failed? Because, just saying “This will be good for me; I will be healthy.” is not going to beat your Saboteur. Her Saboteur whispered temptingly, “Cigarettes help me to relax, I can’t quit now”. That might seem like a bit of an odd belief but let me tell you how Susan’s Saboteur came up with that; “Cigarettes help me to relax.”
Susan’s “origin story” about becoming a smoker is not so unique. When Susan first started smoking, she coughed and spluttered like most young people, but she “stuck at it” so that she could relax, mix with the other “big girls” and belong to the larger group. So after a week or so, Susan’s unconscious mind – the Saboteur Within, remember – got the message that cigarettes helped her to relax.
Here we are now, 40 years down the line and the client cannot convince her own mind that smoking isn’t good for her! Even though the evidence to the contrary is compelling, to say the least – her health has greatly deteriorated – still the unconscious message that “smoking is relaxing” remains fixed.
So many people visit hypnotists and therapists and expect them to stop them from smoking, but nobody ever “stopped” anybody from doing anything and, sometimes, even suggesting that some one “stop” something can encourage them to do more of the same. I couldn’t “cure” Susan’s addiction to nicotine; only she could. How? By taking on the Saboteur Within!
I started by asking Susan what she liked about the cigarettes. She said that they calmed her and made her feel relaxed. Then I pointed out that if you ever had an accident, the first thing the paramedics do is to put a mask on your face to give pure oxygen. The reason for this is because oxygen allows you to become calmer and more relaxed.
Yet there she was being able to puff on a cigarette, which contains smoke and nicotine, and actually convince herself into believing that she is becoming “calmer” as she smokes. I next said that since she had been able to rely for 40 years on the habit, wouldn’t it be a good idea to utilise this reliability and have it do something else for her in return?
Now, I ask you, if you had a best friend who you could rely on for 40 years – night and day, rain or shine – and you came to meet a guy like me and I told you never to see that friend again and that friend had never done anything wrong, would you listen to me?
This is what many try to do when they want to quit smoking. They seek another external stimulus, a patch or a piece of gum to retain the internal stimulus that the mind can supply. Even if they understand that the unconscious mind is behind the reinforcement that smoking is “relaxing” they don’t really appreciate the strength behind the behaviour, the Saboteur has immense capabilities.
However, the same behaviour that made us do something bad can also help us do something good, so that when we have that strength move into a different area of our lives, we then have a good, solid resource with many years of trust behind it.
So when that strength is given a new role in our life it runs it effortlessly, allowing us to get on with the job of living. My job was to use Susan’s strength and point it in a new direction; we needed to use her consistency and reliability for the purpose of something good, healthy and that would truly make her feel calm and relaxed.
We opted for helping Susan feel healthier, fitter and stronger. Which were three ideas that Susan consciously could accept. Then using “The 6 Step Reframe” (a simple NLP technique) I helped Susan’s mind to accept these thoughts unconsciously, thus overwriting the original imprint.
It takes 66 days to “make or break” a habit. I wonder if that’s why a lot of advertisers give you a “free” trial, because they know that if you keep the product or service for 60 days or more there is a huge likelihood that you will have come to rely on whatever it is they are selling you, because it has actually become a habit.
Using hypnosis, it’s possible to take that 66 day period and condense it into a half-hour session. This isn’t magical; it’s just the way that your mind can distort time. You will have many everyday examples like: waiting for a bus, a train or an elevator time can drag and a minute can seem like an hour. When you’re having fun and enjoying yourself hours can whizz by in seconds. I remember when I had a crash in my car; I could see the driver heading into the rear of my vehicle. I braced for impact and although it only took seconds, I thought that I had time to nip home, put on clean underwear, go to the movies and then have lunch before getting back into the soon to be car crash! So time is up to you, is it time for you to change then, now?
Almost a year went by before I heard from Susan. She had put away the money that she used to spend on cigarettes and used it to pay for her flight to Australia to see her sister, after not having visited her in 25 years! But that wasn’t all, Susan told me that, when she smoked she would do it in the garden shed, when her husband went out of the house, and after our session, she would find herself nipping out into the garden shed, without any cigarettes. She would stand laughing at herself because her mind was still carrying her to her relaxation destination. ☺
It was amazing to see the progress. It was as though Susan had never ever smoked at all, let alone for 40 long years. If nicotine is supposedly as “addictive” as the pharmaceutical industry would have us believe, how then is it possible that a woman who has smoked 60 cigarettes a day for 40 years can quit after one hour and have no adverse effects to her health or any withdrawal symptoms?
I’ll answer my own question: An Unconscious Idea Remains Fixed Until Replaced by a Better One. In other words, the power of the unconscious mind is so great that when it is presented with an alternative that is “better” than an original default setting – such as smoking is good for you – it can then use the same powerful force of the Saboteur Within to focus on the “better” idea and make it equally as strong.
Many people will try this technique and it simply doesn’t work, one of the reasons that they don’t succeed is that they fail to access the same or better drivers than the original stimuli, so the internal chemicals don’t switch. The best technique, and I’ve used it forever, is the 6 Step Reframe, there are plenty of examples of this NLP method, all over the internet, or you can chase me up and I’ll go through it with you on one of our training courses.
Rule # 6 of the Saboteur Within: Emotional Pains Can Create Physical Change
If you’ve ever doubted the power of the human mind, hear this: “In the twenty-first century it has been hypothesized that lifestyle-related disease will account for more than 70% of all disease.”
Case in point: Iris came to me with inflammation of the knee, which was so bad she had been put on a list for knee replacements.
Iris had worked as a cleaner for many years and her doctor had said that this problem was “to be expected” and had put it down to normal “wear and tear.” She was 56 years old, a mother to four children who had grown up and moved out of the family home, leaving her alone with her husband.
Iris described to me how excruciating her pain was when walking and how the painkillers worked for a short time, but that now the pain seemed to be “constant.” When asked if there were any times that she didn’t feel pain, Iris immediately said, “NO!” After a bit of probing, however, we managed to discover that whilst reading her favorite Catherine Cookson books, Iris was actually able to relax enough to be pain free.
“So if you walked around reading Catherine Cookson all day, your knees would be okay?” I asked with a chuckle.
She smiled and said “If only,” before breathing a deep, longing sigh.
Knowing that there was something sitting under the surface of her wistful answer, I asked, “What prevents you from doing what you want to do?”
Another sigh and then, “My husband…”
Iris then went on to explain that her husband was always ill and spent a lot of his time lying upstairs in bed. In fact, rather than be able to get up and walk downstairs to help himself, he would thump on the floor with a stick to summon her. A scowl flashed across her face for a second as Iris replayed the constant “thumping” sound to herself.
I asked, “What goes through your mind as you hear your master summoning you?”
She smiled, saying, “I couldn’t possibly say it out loud.”
As I’m sure you can guess, all was not well in this relationship. In fact, Iris was so locked into her pain that she would put her husband’s meal on a tray and balance it on her knees as she shuffled up the stairs one at a time on her bottom.
She was very angry at having to be her husband’s “servant,” but she had no choice. They were too proud to ask for state help, her husband’s care was up to Iris. Well, in enters the Saboteur. You consciously do what you have to do because you don’t want to upset the status quo, but your unconscious is listening to you when you are talking to yourself, whilst in an emotional state.
So, in the case of Iris, if you didn’t want to go upstairs but couldn’t say “no” because you didn’t want to upset anybody, what would you do?
This particular client had no conscious solution to: “If I can’t walk up the stairs, he will have to come down!” But her unconscious mind sabotaged her health, so she was almost unable to walk and her husband had to come downstairs.
Now, if Iris had tried to do this consciously, she would have had to confront her husband and explain to him that she wasn’t happy with the situation, it would have required a lot of courage and she just wanted an “easy” life, even though the one she had wasn’t so easy, either!
When this inner conflict was brought to the surface, I used hypnosis to relax Iris and utilised the information which I had gleaned from our session, within the trance.
Within a month of the session Iris, who had somehow found the nerve to explain to her husband that he “needed to take responsibility for his health and she wouldn’t be up and down the stairs any more, as she wanted to be out and about, enjoying life” was able to go for long walks. This meant that her husband had to get out of bed, which he grudgingly did for the first couple of weeks and then his energy levels raised too, so that they got to actually spend good times together. 10 years later Iris has still had no recurrence of her knee problems and her husband has miraculously gotten “well” again!
Human beings are geared up to take the path of least resistance and illness can provide an easy ride for some people, a period of poor health can bring many secondary benefits for the patient, they don’t have to do things for themselves, people around them will take care of their needs, they don’t have to go to work and friends and family will make a fuss and make them the centre of attention.
When Iris’s husband was sick she cared for him and ran around after him, then Iris began taking less care of him and more care of herself, the benefits of coming downstairs and being well, outweighed the benefits of lying upstairs and being unwell.
It all goes to show how intimately our minds and bodies are connected. When emotional pain is strong enough, it will translate into physical pain. The key is to know when a pain is truly physical, or coming from your mind. The minute Iris saw the connection between her knee pain and her husband’s constant thumping, her mind awakened to the idea that it was her mind that was the cause of her pain; not her knees.
In July, 2002- arthroscopic knee lavage or debridement was proven to be no better than placebo surgery in a randomised controlled trial. Basically, in a trial group of patients all expecting knee surgery, only half of the patients had the full operation whilst the other 50% simply had a small incision made to make it appear that surgery had taken place but they did not undergo an operation. The latter group fared as well as the group who had had the full operation!
When Fred the bank manager came he had been diagnosed with Helicobacter pylori, a germ that lives in the human stomach, it can lay dormant and cause no problems for many people but for some, with stomach ulcers, it can create a big problem, which can be treated effectively with a course of antibiotics.
Fred had had several courses of various drugs and was still suffering. The strange thing was, that when he was at home, Friday and Saturday he was okay, when he took a two-week holiday abroad and ate foreign food, drank lots of alcohol, he was okay, but as soon as he pointed towards the bank, his illness would flair up!
Fred’s bank was being taken over by “money grabbing ruthless executives, who don’t care about my customers, just profits!” he explained rather venomously. Fred had worked for the bank for thirty years and he wasn’t at all happy at the way the new order of things was shaping up. There would be many redundancies and “it’s gutting me”, “tearing me apart”, “it turns my stomach” the metaphors flowed forth from Fred one after the other.
We worked on separating Fred from the bank as he was actually mentally connected to everything that represented the bank, so every single thing that affected the bank’s status quo was affecting Fred.
Over several sessions Fred decided to take early retirement and he reported to me that from the moment he decided to be free from the bank his stomach was calm and still. Several years later, I still bump into Fred now and again. He’s still helping people and laments about how he could see the writing on the wall for the banking crises. Funnily enough he has never had a recurrence of any kind of stomach ulcer and as he put it “I am a new man, since leaving the bank.”
Fred’s pain was only active when he was at work, when he returned home it subsided and it all began with the change in the way in which his bank did business.
So have you had a change of management, business direction, organisational culture? Maybe sitting down and separating what you do from who you are would be a very good idea for you. Fred believed that he was the bank but the bank is a thing not a human being.
To round off this section, let’s take a closer look at what can lie behind ill health. Please remember no one is ill on purpose. I like to think of it this way, is it possible for two people, who love each other, to have a disagreement? The answer is yes, of course!
Now if you consider your body is made up from 72 trillion individual cells, each with their own sense of purpose, is it, therefore, conceivable that there could be a dispute running between some of these individuals, so much so that they actually sabotage each other? Work through the exercise below, answering each question honestly to open up insights into the deeper meanings behind your ailments. Then, consider how you can encourage new meanings within yourself to align all of you, in a common purpose.
Exercise 2: The Underlying Motives of Illness
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does your ________ [insert illness] mean to you?
- What are the benefits of your ________ [insert illness]?
- What does your ________ [insert illness] allow you to do?
- What will you get if you do change?
- What will you get if you don’t change?
- What won’t you get if you do change?
- What won’t you get if you don’t change?
Don’t just rattle off a very surface, conscious answer, ask your friend to grill you. Remember, your Saboteur will deliver the first few answers that you come up with, because your current condition might actually be serving a purpose…
Rule # 7 of the Saboteur Within: The More You Do It, The Easier “It” Gets
This rule is probably one of the easiest to adhere to, because once you accept a suggestion unconsciously, it makes it easier for additional suggestions to be accepted – and thus easier for you to act upon them. Even though I’ve said it’s easy, there is a problem! You have to sit back, relax and allow yourself permission to just be, calm, still, peaceful, tranquil, quiet…
That’s right…. And for some that seems impossible but it is achievable.
To give an example of this rule in effect, I would like to tell you about a woman named “Barbara,” who I met while on holiday in Greece. She was a mother in her 40’s with two daughters and a loving husband. I was by the poolside and I noticed that Barbara seemed very uncomfortable near the water.
After a little pleasant chatting, I found out that when she was young she had been thrown into a pond, by some older children and was terrified. Ever since then, Barbara had never ever learned to swim, because as she got older the suggestion that she “couldn’t” swim became more and more powerful.
I asked if Barbara could drive a car and she said, “Yes, of course.”
I said, “WOW, you manage to sit in a vehicle and drive. Do you have the radio on a lot of the time?” I enquired.
She said, “I do, yes.”
I then said, “Well, I bet you can chat and listen to the radio at same time as driving. Can you remember when you first started to drive how difficult it was, using your legs, switching gears, etc.?”
Barbara nodded, not quite sure where this was going. “And here you are today, an accomplished driver,” I said. “Well, swimming is a lot easier than driving. Did you know that?”
I then proceeded to build successive suggestions upon how competent Barbara was at being able to move her arms and legs on an unconscious level and thus drive a vehicle and “being a woman” it was a very brave thing to do. Sometimes it’s better to break rapport in order to get you into the right frame of mind and that last statement just does it nearly every time! ☺
Then I asked Barbara to step into the pool at the shallow end; she did. We then spent 30 minutes, chatting in the pool. The next day after breakfast our two families went to the beach and here Barbara began to learn to swim.
Within a couple of hours she had accomplished 20 yards of unbroken swimming. She was ecstatic. I had quite literally listened to her suggestion that she could not swim and replaced it with a suggestion that she “could learn” and that she was, in fact, open to learning.
This open suggestion leaves no conscious or unconscious defence as everybody is open to learning. Now her unconscious mind would give less opposition to any subsequent suggestions of her becoming a competent swimmer.
How did I help Barbara to change?
I watched the way she timidly approached the water to cool down from the sun, she was scared.
I spoke to her from inside the pool as she lay safe on the outside. My opening address was about her driving, not “hello” and “how do you do.” This causes a little confusion. I parallel the learning state of driving to swimming after all, learning is learning. I tell her how brave she is to drive “being a woman.” ☺
When I ask her to step into the pool she is in a determined “I’ll show you, you male chauvinist git!” state of mind.
The internal chemistry is now one of purpose and not fear.
Once in the pool, she practiced, I smiled and we left her to it.
By leaving her, she became even more intent on proving to me that she could do it. She went to bed, slept while her mind swam for many hours. She got up early, met us at breakfast and asked if we would like to go to the beach to swim. The invite presupposed that Barbara was pretty confident that she was going to show me what she was made of!
Result a non-paying client gets a result she couldn’t have dreamed about and I look like a bit of a male chauvinist git! All in all a good day’s work. ☺
Exercise 3: Reframing Your Ability
You might want to get your best friend to give you a hand with this one. ☺
- Consider something that you currently can’t do but would like to be able to do?
- As you consider it, think about something that you currently do that is similar in process to that which you want to achieve.
- Continue to switch from step 1 and 2 inside your mind and give yourself permission to act as if it were possible.
- The more energy you give to it being possible and already having an existing road map, which is similar to it, will accelerate your learning, so that you can attain your desired outcome more quickly.
Rule # 8 of the Saboteur Within: The More You Try, the Harder it Gets
Poor Tommy had insomnia. According to his mum, Tommy always wakes up about three in the morning. Tommy, now 11, goes to school and is really upset and cries a great deal.
“I think I would cry a lot too,” I told Tommy and his mum, “if I had to get up every morning at three o’clock and then go and do a full days work at nine o’clock!”
Sleep deprivation. What the heck can you do about it, right? Because you are asleep and before you know it you have woken up and as this rule suggests – and anyone with insomnia knows – the harder you try to get to sleep, the more awake you become.
On his first visit I chatted with Tommy about kid things. His Xbox and GameCube and how exciting they are when you’re caught up in the game that three, four or even five hours can vanish, just like that!
Then I helped Tommy appreciate the voice inside his head and he looked at me like I was pretty weird. So I suggested that he try not to finish the next song that I was about to sing, which you, the reader, can now try.
It went along the lines of, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear…”
Then I said to Tommy, “Did you hear that little voice inside your head filling in the blanks for you?”
When he nodded I went on, “Well, Tommy, that’s the part of you that likes playing on Xbox and your GameCube.”
Tommy seemed okay with that. Next I asked Tommy, “Have you had a dream where you can fly?”
Tommy said that he hadn’t. I asked, “You’re joking, right? You know the dream I mean, right Tommy? Where you can fly about the world and do anything?”
When Tommy still shook his head I said, “You need to have a word with that voice of yours then, Tommy, because the human mind is better than any Xbox!”
Next I had Tommy conduct a little experiment that proved my point. “With your eyes closed,” I instructed Tommy, “have your mind design a game that’s really fun to play. Now, imagine having a full eight hours at night, playing that game and not having to stop all night!”
Tommy seemed excited by the idea, and promised he would. His mum reported next day that he slept until 7:30 in the morning. It was the first time he’d been able to sleep through the night in months. It was also the first time he’d gone off to school without crying!
How did I manage to pull this off?
I told Tommy’s mum not to acknowledge that she knew me at all! Then I talked about the mind and how much better it is than a game. 8 hours uninterrupted gaming. Then I left. Tommy’s mum was instructed to ask Tommy where did he know me from, and be shocked at the fact that this strange man (me) had come in and talked to Tommy and then just left. Mum was a brilliant actress. ☺
Tommy is now confused, first step before enlightenment. Bedtime comes and he enters an uninterrupted 8 hour game.
This last rule proves that the harder your conscious mind tries to do something, the harder the unconscious mind will make achieving that goal. Therefore, we must “trick” the unconscious mind into believing that change is good for us. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the rest of this course is going to help you do…
Exercise 4: Reframing Your Ability, Part II
- Consider something that you have been trying to do.
- Consider doing it.
- Consider looking back six months after you have achieved doing it.
- Focus on the feedback that you get between step 1, 2 and 3.
- Write down what the differences are:
- Do you have a different voice inside your mind for each step?
- Do you have movies running inside your mind or are they still images? A
- re the images in colour or black and white?
- Do you make yourself small or large?
- Adjust the sounds and images until you stop “trying” and start “doing.”