A13. Putting Together the Power of Words and Images - Part II

“Do you like relaxing?” I asked DJ.


“Sure!” he replied.


“So, I am going to teach you a relaxation exercise that involves putting together words and images.”  He looked at me intently. “You get to imagine going to a relaxing place of your choice.  It can be a place you have been, where you’d like to go, or even an imaginary place.  Do you have a place in mind?”


DJ’s eyes wandered to the upper left as he thought.  Then, he nodded.


“Do you want to tell me where it is, or do you want to keep in to yourself?”  I asked.


“I can tell you,” he said. “The beach.”


“Great!  So now you get to imagine going to the beach.  When you go there, you get to imagine what you might see, hear, smell, and feel,” I said, as I rubbed my thumb against my second and third fingers so that he would understand I was talked about the physical sensation of touch, rather than feeling as an emotion.  “And make sure to bring some food with you in the imagination, so that you can imagine what it tastes like.  Why do you think I am suggesting that you imagine with all of your senses?”


“So it seems as if I am there?”


“Exactly.  The more you imagine your senses the more real the experience can seem, and the more relaxed you can become.  In fact, if we scanned your brain while you imagined with your senses, each time you imagined a different sense a different part of your brain would become involved.  I am teaching you a whole brain experience.”


He nodded.


“What do you like to do on a beach?  Lay down?  Run around?”


“I like to throw a football,” he exclaimed.


“Great.  So then you get to imagine doing exactly that.   And as you are throwing around the football I will talk to you about relaxing from head to toe, one muscle group at a time.  How do you imagine you will feel after that?”


“Relaxed?” he said quietly.


“Exactly.”  I had noticed that as I was telling DJ about what we were going to do, not only was he interacting with me, but he seemed to be experiencing the sensations we were discussing.  Truth be told, already he was engaged in hypnosis while I was in the process of explaining to him what we were going to do!


“Now, here is a very important part,” I continued.  “You get to pick your own personal relaxation sign.  This is a sign that you can use whenever you want to calm yourself, even when you are not doing hypnosis.  You could make a very visible sign, like this,” I said as I held up my arms, brought my palms together above my head, and lowered them slowly to my chest, into the position hands might be held during prayer.  “But then, people might say, ‘DJ, what are you doing?!”


He smiled.


“Instead, I recommend that you pick a more subtle gesture, like making a fist, or thumbs up, or crossing your fingers.”  I showed him a number of alternatives with my right hand.


“I think I’ll make a fist,” he said.


“Good.  So, from then on, whenever you make a fist you will be able to relax just like you will be during hypnosis, even when you are not in hypnosis.  This can be very useful to help with your breathing.  Should you find yourself having trouble with breathing you can just make your sign, relax, and then notice that your breathing becomes fine.  You can even use your sign before your races and this likely will prevent you from developing breathing problems in the first place.”


“I get it,” he responded.


“Once you rehearse your relaxation sign you can spend as much time in hypnosis as you would like,” I continued.  “You can imagine being on the beach for a minute, an hour, a month, a year, or even forever.  Time has no meaning when you are in hypnosis.  You can imagine being on the beach for as long as you want in only a few moments.”


“How does that work?” he asked.


“When you are in hypnosis,” I explained, “You can focus on the imagery and thoughts that I suggest, or that you suggest to yourself.  In other words, you are focusing within your inner mind.  When those thoughts do not include paying attention to time in the “real” world, you can lose track of it.  Have you ever read a book and became so interested in it that you didn’t realize how long you had been reading?  That’s the same kind of situation.”


He nodded.


I continued.  “Once you are ready to return from hypnosis, please raise your hand, and I will give you a few more instructions.  Do you have any questions?”


“No.  I’m excited about doing it,” he exclaimed.  “You should be,” I responded.  “Using hypnosis can help change your life.”


To be continued next week.

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A26. Another Synchronicity of Events

After living in Syracuse for a number of years, my wife said that she was tired of the difficult winter weather there, which affected the city nearly half of each year.

A25. Guided through Life

During the summer prior to medical school I met with the Cantor at my parents’ synagogue and asked him to help me to continue to learn how to chant from the Torah.

A24. Finding my Spiritual Self

The amazing events with DJ reinforced ideas and feelings about life that I had been developing for a couple of decades. Thus far I have shared how my involvement with the world of medicine helped instruct me about how life can work.

A23. Return of a Friend

During the following two weeks until DJ’s next appointment with me, I kept thinking about the remarkable lessons that DJ and his subconscious were teaching.

A22. The Role of a Leader

DJ brought a copy of “Dharma Bums” to his next visit with me two weeks later. “You were right!” he exclaimed. “The part about the paths was not in the book.”