Flipping the Lightswitch on the Mind’s Darkness
An Exploration of Energy Psychology and Hypnotherapy
Q. How many neurons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. 100 billion and one. 100 billion microscopic cells to create a thought and one to say, “That’s an idea!”
Anyone who has ever reached for a lightswitch that is no longer there on the wall after a room remodel, or pushed the button on a coffee maker during a power outage knows the power of neuro-electrical programming, how it can take days to re-wire their perception, or beliefs, to align with a new reality. Hard wiring is a good thing. It tells us how to navigate our environment, stay alive and motivates us to pay our electric bills.
But what of the destructive programming, or limiting beliefs, we are completely unaware of; the darker messages buried deep in the shadows of our subconscious that informs our decison making, judgement and actions; our shadow selves?
“Argue for your limitations and they are yours.” ~Richard Bach
The above quote is an apt spiritual injunction. Yet, if we don’t know what our limitations are, how to recognize them as negative beliefs driving our behaviors, rather than the gospel truth of our reality, it is nearly impossible to argue against them.
No one wants to be held hostage to destructive behaviors or repel people with persistent negative attitudes. But all behavior is driven by what we believe will keep us alive and safe in the world. It is a cruel irony that those self-regulating behaviors we act out in order to regain balance —physically, psychologically and socially— and to move away from threat all too often backfires. What one does in response to a negative belief to feel safe, included and purposeful causes another to retreat, reject or judge.
This is the pioneering work of energy medicine (also known as energy psychology) which includes methods such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing); EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques); PSYCH-K (psychology + kinesiology) and hypnotherapy. The common denominator is neuroscience and how it addresses the brain’s electrical impulses and currents to reprogram the negative beliefs and perceptions learned and stored in our subconscious during childhood. But if beliefs are more powerful than reality, can we change? Energy medicine says yes!
A relatively new field, energy medicine marries neuroscience and psychology, shining the spotlight on the real reasons we get stuck in destructive patterns and the negative thinking that keeps us missing our goals of true success, happiness and love. Research consistently finds that we make decisions or set goals with only a tiny fraction of our conscious mind while the vastly larger subconscious is really running the show.
We’ve heard it for years now in movies and books like The Secret, and support groups, personal development seminars, eastern mysticism and cognitive psychology: YOU create your own reality.
But there is an element of blame and judgement in that suggestion. Anyone who has lost her husband in a car accident or has a terrible birth defect will tell you, they most assuredly did not create the painful situations they are in. There is some truth in both arguments though. Individually, we do not have the sum power and responsibility for creating all of reality. We do however have the ability to reveal a broader reality beyond our narrow negative perceptions and better align our lives to reflect more of the positive fragments of reality that are out there.
Our negative programming teaches us to select certain fragments of reality while being blind to others. What hypnotherapist Debbie Taylor-Lilly of Intuitive Hypnosis in Portland, Ore. says is our perception of life events; the personal meaning we assign to our life events. “Your perceptions tell you that what you are looking at, listening to, thinking about, experiencing, etc., is either good, bad, or neutral.” And our negative programs, just as a parasite seeks a host to survive, needs proof of itself to sustain its life. The talented adult artist who bases his livelihood on his artwork but never sells a painting was told as a child that no one will like him if he is a better artist than his peers. A brilliant ad executive who keeps losing her management positions because she is terrified of sticking up for herself is the daughter of a powerfully destructive narcissist. Self-fulfilling prophecy gets its fuel from belief. The reward is survival but the punishment is social isolation.
Energy medicine to the rescue! Methods such as PSYCH-K, EMDR and hypnosis helps us knock down the negative beliefs blocking the neural pathways that obscure the sunnier view. The more an individual can step out of his own shadow the more light he can accept and, in turn, reflect on his environment with positive actions. Collectively, consciously “creating” a new reality.
If the mind is like a box and our neurons are the pinholes through which we perceive only tiny fragments of “what’s out there” —selective reality— PSYCH-K helps slide the lid open to reveal a much broader landscape, and overwrites the negative or limiting belief with a new program of infinite possibility.
Can the mighty iceberg, the submerged part that is our subconscious, be that easily influenced by mere suggestion? Yes, says Taylor-Lilly. “Hypnosis, which is a state of deep relaxation, puts your mind in a state of receptivity that allows new programming to download. Hypnosis provides access to positive beliefs about yourself and the present that negative programming has kept locked out from your awareness.” Reprogramming does not consist of completely erasing our lives and memories. Instead it is a matter of laying down new positive tracks over the negative, limiting beliefs that make our reality a prison of impossibility. Repetition is the key, Taylor-Lilly explains. Just as physical therapy rebuilds and realigns our musculature, positive belief messages, consistently applied, overwrites our sub-conscious mind’s recorded messages about our beliefs and what is possible, or not possible for us.
But how does laying down a new track, so to speak, on the individual’s tape player sync with the reality of the world at large? How to reconcile, for example, a job seeker’s belief he can have any job he puts his mind to with a tough economy and poor job market? Because. The conscious mind will not seek anything that the sub-conscious mind does not believe exists in reality. Once one changes his perceptions of reality, he opens himself, literally, to a world of possibilities where the creative problem solving can begin.