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A16. Hypnosis for Self-Awareness

When DJ returned a month later he reported that he no longer developed shortness of breath.  He said he had practiced going to the beach in hypnosis on a nightly basis for 3 weeks, and used the fist technique to calm himself before running.  He added, “I also used my fist to calm myself during a couple of tests, and this helped me do better.”


“That’s really good,” I said.  “You’re really good at hypnosis and with helping yourself.  Do you want to learn how you can use hypnosis to understand yourself better?” I made this offer so that DJ could learn how hypnosis can be used as a tool for personal growth.  In this way hypnosis could become an even more helpful tool for DJ throughout his life.


“I would like that!” he responded.


“Great.  So, one way to use hypnosis for this purpose is to learn how to allow your subconscious to express itself.  What does subconscious mean to you?”


“Uh – when I hear a little voice saying that I shouldn’t do something?”


“That’s part of it,” I answered.  “The subconscious is the part of your mind that you are not always aware of.   When you first learned how to apply hypnosis and changed your hands into magnets – do you remember how they seemed to come together on their own?”


He nodded.


“I think of that as an example of the subconscious in action.  Your conscious mind said, “I’m not doing this,” because it was your subconscious mind moving your hands together, out of your conscious awareness.”  I continued, “The subconscious shows you dreams.  Your subconscious may know things that you do not know, or would rather not deal with.  Your subconscious also might have abilities that you do not yet have, and can teach you how to acquire them.”


“I’d like to learn how to use my subconscious,” said DJ.


“Good!” I said. 


Over the next two sessions we worked our way through his subconscious moving his fingers (similar to blog 7), talking (blog 7), and typing (blog 25).  DJ learned that he had become short of breath with running because he had put too much pressure on himself to win.  As a result of development of this understanding, we discussed how he might think differently about running competitively so that he would be more encouraging of himself rather than becoming so stressed that he impeded his own progress.


“Your desire to win as is important,” I observed.  “You want to retain that desire because it helps you succeed, but when you push yourself too hard you end up hurting yourself.”   He nodded.


I observed, “In life, the source of one’s strength often is the source of one’s weakness.  Your desire helps you succeed, but it also gets in your way.  The trick is to learn to control it when it is not helpful.  Now that you know how to calm yourself, you can control the desire when such control is helpful for you.”


I decided to help him further by introducing a metaphor.  “Think of yourself as a precious vase, for whom you care a lot.  Perhaps you’ve been asked to carry this vase for a while, and to be very careful with it.  You ensure that you don’t carry it too loosely, because it might fall.  However, if you carry it too tightly, you could break the vase as a result of the pressure you put on it.  So, you need to carry the vase with just the right amount of pressure.  The same is true for how you carry yourself!”


Finally, I discussed with DJ and his subconscious whether their primary goal with running involved winning competitions or running as well as DJ could.  Both parts agreed that DJ’s desire was to run as best as he could. 


“If that’s the case, then I will give you three suggestions regarding how you can run better,” I offered.


“First, focus on running well, rather than winning.  You can help yourself run well while remaining calm with hypnosis, which can help you more easily achieve running in “the zone.”  Do you know what that means?”


“Oh yeah,” he exclaimed.  “I’ve done that a few times.  It’s when running seems very easy and it’s almost like I am observing myself running.”


“Exactly.  When you are in “the zone” running can seem almost effortless.”  I paused.  “Actually, do you realize that when you are in “the zone” that you are doing hypnosis?”


“That makes sense,” he responded.


“So, now that you understand that, the next thing you can do to help yourself run better is to visualize yourself running easily and well.  By imagining this you are showing your mind and body how you want to run.  Do you know what percent of sports is mental?”




“Try more like 90%,” I suggested.  “And when you practice your sport in your mind you get better at it because of your mental calisthenics.”  I smiled.


“I get it!”


“And so the third thing you can do to improve your running is to imagine a coach watching you run and giving you suggestions about how you can improve.  Follow the coach’s suggestions next time you run in your imagination or real life, and then you will notice how you can improve.”


“I think that will be really helpful,” said DJ.  “Thank you for teaching me how I can use hypnosis to help myself in so many different ways.”


“You are most welcome.  Thank you for allowing me to teach you.  One of the greatest gifts you can give a teacher is the willingness to learn.  In this way you have given me the opportunity to help someone, which is one of the most important missions in life.”

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A27. Dreaming of a House

I had expected to have several more sessions with DJ in order to continue our post-transition work. However, we met on only two other occasions to discuss his career development path, and then he felt he no longer needed to return.

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.”