It might seem a bit strange to read of a hypnotherapist talking about a ‘mystical’ experience.
Indeed, most of us talk about stopping smoking, overcoming phobias, dealing with emotional crises and the like. Of course, dealing with these types of issues is something I do on a regular basis.
But what I’ve noticed over the last several years is that my work has become more ‘spiritual’. By that I mean I’m helping more and more people to find a deeper meaning in their lives and connect up to a bigger reality.
What I’m referring to here is expanding your consciousness, to help you out of the narrow perceptions of the ego (the bundles of conditioned responses that dominate our lives) and into a more enlightened way of being in the world.
And this is where hypnosis plays a vital role. You see, hypnosis should not be limited to just solving problems. It is at the heart of how we can change the way we see the world.
In this article I’m going to talk about hypnosis and the REM state and how, when used correctly it can be the key that ‘opens the doors of perception’ into a different reality.
The bigger picture
Now, you might ask, ‘what’s the point of connecting up with a bigger reality? What good will it do me?’…
I’m not talking about God in the traditional way that we’ve come to understand it (or Him), reading scriptures and listening to a priest in church on a Sunday.
I’m not talking about something we must believe in (otherwise we’ll all go to hell). No, what I’m talking about is the ultimate human experience; a direct experience of ‘God consciousness’.
When it happened to me, quite unbidden whilst pushing my baby son in his pram through a street in Colchester, it became – and remains – the most meaningful experience in my whole life.
My experience of Oneness – the mystical state
My account of this has been published in Steve Taylor’s book, Spiritual Science but I’ll give you a brief rendition here…
“It was mid-morning on a bright autumn day in Colchester and it was my first time out with my baby son – just me and him, alone together...
Having parked the car, I pushed him in his pram down North Station Road, feeling really proud to be a dad. I smiled at strangers and everything felt right. I could feel the love coming from one man who smiled back at me as he passed, as if a stream of energy were flowing from his heart to mine and back again.
I looked at the pavement, lampposts, street signs, cars racing past, all with a growing sense of wonder. “How wonderful that someone laid this path for us,” I reflected, “…and the lampposts, what a wonderful invention…and the music coming from that car – just perfect – someone wrote that…someone invented the CD player…people made it…”
I suppose you could say I was feeling a profound sense of gratitude and wonder that things existed, what philosophers might refer to as an ‘ontological state’.
“The sense of wonder and appreciation intensified until I became one with all and everything. Subject (me) and object (others/things) all merged into one. I merged into everyone and everything, and they into me. There was no separation. Where I ended and others began, I could not tell. Everything was one.”
And the only word to describe the state was ‘love’. Everything – and everyone – were made of love. Love is the universal substance, in everything and surrounding everything.
My awareness was aware that time had stood still, or, more accurately, I had stepped out of linear clock time. I was floating in the eternal.
No time. No separation between myself and others. All objects, all people, all things, including myself were one and the same.
How the mystical state changed me – immediate affects
This state of Oneness lasted about twenty minutes of clock time (I’ve since retraced my steps) and as I ‘came to’, returning to normal, every-day consciousness I felt that there had been a ‘gravitational shift’ within me.
I had been gently birthed out of ego-consciousness and into soul consciousness. In the words of 13th Century mystic, Meister Eckhart, the birth of God in my soul had taken place. I felt ‘born again’…
I immediately felt more altruistic, more empathic, more tolerant, more compassionate, more attentive, kinder, more loving toward everyone and everything.
And the affects continued for several more weeks. Although the intensity of the experience wore off (thankfully so, as one could not operate with normal day-to-day tasks if the state remained permanent) the memory of it will always persist.
The positive affects of altruism, empathy, compassion and the like have certainly stayed with me.
Trying to make sense of it all
I’ve spent the best part of a decade trying to understand what I experienced on that bright autumn day. I’ve researched others’ accounts of such experiences, going right back into the annals of ancient mysticism.
It seems certain that what I went through was, in the words of Steve Taylor, a ‘high intensity awakening experience’. The only other time I’d had anything close was through the use of LSD and magic mushrooms in my 20s.
It was only when I stumbled upon Advaita Vedanta in a second-hand bookshop that I started to understand things better.
This branch of Hindu spiritual philosophy posits that the world we call real is just an illusion, consisting of only our preconceived notions and perceptions. In other words, we don’t see the world as it really is, only our own perception of it.
Advaita philosophy states that there is a fourth state of consciousness – beyond waking, sleeping and dreaming – and it is the state of Oneness. They refer to it as ‘non-duality’ – no separation between subject and object. This is the state I accessed somehow on that walk through Colchester with my baby boy.
So, what’s this got to do with hypnotherapy?
What we’re really talking about here is consciousness. In a non-dual state you become merged with everything – you become pure consciousness.
As ‘you’ – or, more accurately, your centre of awareness – witnesses things, it is as if you are consciousness experiencing itself.
It took me a while to understand this so I’ll repeat: in the state of Oneness – referred to as ‘Turiya’ in Advaita – you are consciousness witnessing itself.
There is no ‘you’ getting in the way – no notions, no preconceptions, no thoughts or running commentary. You are one with All That Is. Your consciousness is swept up into the universal consciousness.
This has been referred to in all the great religious texts compiled over the centuries. Jesus referred to it as the Kingdom of Heaven, Buddhists might refer to it as enlightenment or Nirvana. Zen masters call it satori.
As a therapist, through my own experience and the many I’ve researched, I conclude that the experience of pure consciousness is the most powerful way of shifting one’s perception, and with it, bringing about emotional healing and transformation. Once you’ve had such an experience there is no going back.
The transformative use of hypnosis the REM state
This is where hypnosis and the REM state play an important and even vital role. You see, what we’re doing with hypnosis is focusing attention.
When we do this we begin to enter the REM state – nature’s optimal learning state (more of which you can read in my e-book). And I’m forming the belief that the REM state is a portal into Oneness, into pure consciousness.
Hypnosis accesses the REM state. Meditation accesses the REM state, as does the use of psychedelic drugs. And it is in that state that we can feel a real connection to a larger reality, call it God, Allah, Spirit, the Universe, the Great Mystery, Nature, whatever. And in so doing, something shifts in you.
Coming home to yourself
This is why I now practice this type of therapy more often, a more ‘spiritually based’ hypnotherapy, with the aim of helping you have a direct experience of something more profound. It’s just as if your heart and soul are coming back to life. It’s like coming back home – to yourself.
And surely this must underpin all good therapy? To help you become real, authentic, to awaken a deep meaning in your life and a connection to a larger reality?
To help you feel truly alive in each and every moment, no longer living as a ghost to yourself, but fully present in the here and now. For this is where life is.
If you have had experiences of Oneness consciousness please get in touch. My research is ongoing and I would love to hear your story.