What You Could Be Missing with the Virtual Gastric Band Approach to Weight Loss

weight-loss-loose-jeans-lost-weightJust recently I’ve been reading some people’s opinions about the Virtual Gastric Band approach to weight loss. And I’m happy to see that a lot of people are getting great results with hypnosis for weight loss, using the virtual gastric band app.

I did notice, though, that several reviewers of the virtual gastric band suggested that hypnosis and hypnotherapy are only useful as a supportive tool for other therapies.

Virtual Gastric Band_Celebrities_Marie ClaireThese writers are under the impression that hypnosis and hypnotherapy don’t address the root cause of the problem of being overweight. This just isn’t the case. So I’d like to clarify a few points here.

If we define hypnosis as merely giving positive suggestions, during a hypnotic state, then it’s accurate to say that the benefits you would receive could be limited and temporary. It’s like pulling off the top leaves of a weed in your yard — as long as the root is still there, the weed’s going to grow right back.

How to Escape from the Vicious Cycle of Weight Gain

In our society, if you’re overweight, it’s easy to feel bad about yourself. Everywhere you look, advertisers are telling you you’re doing something wrong. This is particularly true for women: if you don’t fit into a size 4 dress, media images are designed to make you feel like a failure.

pink-donut-sugary-foodWhen you feel bad about yourself, it’s very common to eat more, so as to numb the emotional pain that comes with believing you’re ugly or unacceptable. This just makes the problem worse: you feel bad, you eat more to feel better, you gain weight, you feel worse.

How can you escape this vicious cycle of gaining weight when your goal is to lose it?

Using a tool such as the Virtual Gastric Band app may help you somewhat. Even if all you do is receive hypnosis suggestions in order to eat less and exercise more, you may lose weight. But unless you’re able to get at the root cause of your weight problem, you may find yourself in a virtual vicious cycle — the weight will come back. This doesn’t mean that hypnosis doesn’t work, and it doesn’t mean that the Virtual Gastric Band approach to weight loss doesn’t work. It  just means that the methods of hypnosis aren’t being used effectively.

The remedy? Combine hypnosis with therapeutic methods that get to the root cause of your weight problem. It is the goal of hypnotherapy to harness the power of your subconscious mind to make the beneficial changes you want — in a deep and lasting way.

In as little as one hypnotherapy session, it is possible to quickly and easily erase the beliefs and compulsions at the root of your weight gain.

hypnotherapy-hypnosis-session-woman-700x420I have seen this happen many times over the years. When the two must-haves” are present (see below) after a single hypnotherapy session you can begin to feel great about yourself as you create the light, strong, healthy body that you long for.

When you address your weight gain with the help of hypnotherapy, it’s like digging out the weed at its root. You will not only lose weight — you’ll be able to successfully maintain your new, healthy lifestyle, effortlessly and joyfully.

It’s important to understand that hypnotherapy is not a mechanical intervention. The results are not automatic. Lasting results mean that your body stays healthy and your weight loss isn’t just a passing phase.

How to get lasting results with hypnotherapy

trust-your-hypnotherapist-300x2401. You must be working with a hypnotherapist that you trust.

2. Your hypnotherapist must have the ability to use hypnotherapeutic methods effectively and responsibly.

In my 26 years working with clients on the issue of weight loss, I’ve often heard people say, “I tried hypnosis and it didn’t work!” But hypnosis is not an “IT” that may or may not work. If you have “tried hypnosis” and it didn’t work, it’s most likely because either (1) you didn’t trust that hypnotherapist, or (2) the hypnotherapist did not have the proper skills to help you.

When all is said and done, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. If you don’t accept hypnotic suggestions, nothing will happen!

No hypnotherapist has power over you.

Hypnosis-can-make-you-slim-weight-lossThe hypnotherapist’s job is simply to deliver “invitations” (hypnotic suggestions) that will be readily accepted, and acted upon, by your subconscious mind. But if you’re really going to experience significant weight loss land create the healthy body you want, you must feel safe enough to accept these invitations.

Even when the hypnotherapist has all of the necessary skills to help you lose weight, if she doesn’t gain your trust, you’re likely to reject the invitations, and nothing good will come from your hypnotherapy sessions.

In addition to this unfortunate outcome, you may also form a belief that “hypnosis doesn’t work for me.” You may never realize that it didn’t work because you didn’t allow it to work. And you probably didn’t allow it to work because you just didn’t feel safe enough with the hypnotherapist.

So don’t give up on hypnotherapy! Find a competent hypnotherapist you feel safe and comfortable with, so that you can accomplish easeful weight loss with lasting results.

You’re warmly invited to take a look at our Spontaneous Solutions for Weight Loss, Health Gain! on CD or mp3, and supercharge your weight loss with our Mindfulness and Awareness program to change your limiting beliefs permanently, so that you can fully enjoy your new, healthy body.

You’re also welcome to contact me to schedule a private session for Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching.

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Upcoming Events!

  • Jack-Elias-teaching-Hypotherapy-Summer-IntensiveThe 26th annual Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP Summer Intensive certification training begins July 10th, 2014. Enjoy making profound liberating changes in your life:  Come and join us!
  • I’ll be giving a seminar in London on October 3-6 “Spontaneous Solutions:  The Art & Skill of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy and NLP”    Register now

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ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack also offers private sessions, in person and via Skype or phone internationally.

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How to Be Kind to Yourself Every Day

feet-walking-streetEvery morning I get up at 6:00 am to take a brisk walk through the neighborhood. My wife marvels at my persistent habit of rising early, but for me it’s an important meditative time when I can enjoy the quiet and look at what’s happening in my mind — my trances. Most days, the egoic mind wants to present its latest plan to improve me, my life . . .  or my wife.

You don’t have to get up at 6:00 in the morning to have this experience though, do you?

Through our attempts at self-improvement, it is definitely possible to create gaps in our mind-trances, and through these gaps we can experience the happiness of our innate purity. But as long as we identify these experiences of beauty and openness as the product of the mind, as the product of our own efforts, we will miss the fullest appreciation of ourselves and our lives.

We really don’t need self-improvement. Our happiness is assured, if we’re willing to learn (and practice) true self-love and self-appreciation.

This already happy state exists within us in its fullness and shines constantly through us despite our egoic trances, not as a result of them. Our egoic mind can never bring us to this state, because we’re always already in it (even when we’re not appreciating it).

Contemplating Self-Love

Self-love-hug-blonde-woman-wind-purple-RContemplating that we’re always already happy and don’t need to be improved, does lead to self-love and self-appreciation. Just remain passionately open and curious, free of any standard of success. It’s important to be free of fear or hope that you will or will not be successful at being happy.

To maintain this view, remember that you’re doing this contemplation purely for the sake of learning — learning for its own sake. You’re discovering that even so-called success or failure is merely a label for a kind of learning whose fundamental value lies beyond these conditioned judgments. Learning is not something you do with your head; it is a whole body/being process.

To be fully engaged in the process of learning is to be fully alive, moment by moment.

To experience being fully alive is the ultimate goal of the Finding True Magic courses and of my work with Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching clients — to be awake, free from all trances of the egoic mind.

This kind of freedom has the quality of an easeful, effortless self-love and self-appreciation that extends to all others. In this way, the ultimate experience is not about self at all. It’s about our essential connection to all beings, including what we call our “self.”

Practicing Self-Love

bird-looking-in-car-mirrorSounds good, but how can you practice this every day? You begin by letting go of the habit of self-improvement . . . and the self-criticism that tags along with it.

You can think of it this way. Every time you’re tempted to criticize yourself, at the moment you have the thought that something is “wrong” with you — be kind and encouraging to yourself instead. This is a simple and yet powerful way to practice self-love on a daily basis. And that self-love will gradually become an experience of freedom.

When your response to every mistake, mishap, or shortcoming is kindness and encouragement, you begin to welcome these events as enriching moments of learning.

When you treat yourself well in the presence of the “bad” things you do, you discover a growing sense of cheerfulness, and a willingness to engage fearlessly in any situation.

You’re fearless because you know your response to yourself and others can always be kind and encouraging.

I love practicing this on my morning walk. If I awaken in a dark mood, I begin extending kindness and encouragement to myself as I walk, and gradually the dark mood dissipates. By the time I’m back at my doorstep again, I feel quite joyful and enthusiastic about life.

A Simple Way, Every Day

heart-pink crystal-rocksFor starters, pick one situation in which you almost always feel bad about yourself. Think of all the reasons you’re supposed to be feeling like a schlub in this situation. You might even want to write them down. Go back over each reason, recognizing that each one is an opportunity to be kind and encouraging to yourself.

This is only one way to practice self-love and self-appreciation. It’s the source of our ability to extend our caring to all others as well.

Do you have a favorite way of practicing self-appreciation? Please share it in a comment!

 

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Upcoming Events!

  • Jack with class outsideThe 26th annual Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP Summer Intensive certification training begins July 10th, 2014. Enjoy making profound liberating changes in your life:  Come and join us!
  • I’ll be giving a seminar in London on October 3-6 “Spontaneous Solutions:  The Art & Skill of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy and NLP”    Register now

_______________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack also offers private sessions, in person and via Skype or phone internationally.

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3 Things All Couples Need to Know to Improve Communication in Relationships

couples-holding-hands-bgRecently a couple came to see me, to try to solve a Very Unique Problem in their relationship: they weren’t getting along. I’m kidding, of course. Most of the couples who end up in my office aren’t getting along, and want to improve the communication in their relationship. Sometimes they’re not even aware that there’s a problem of communication in the relationship — they just think they’re an unhappy couple, and they want to be a happy couple. That’s a simple enough request to make of your hypnotherapist, isn’t it?

So what do I do?

When I’m working to help a couple communicate better, it may surprise you to hear that I don’t employ the latest tricks to get men to understand women better, or vice versa. Improving relationship communication is actually much simpler than that — if the hypnotherapist’s approach is transpersonal in nature.

As a transpersonal hypnotherapist, helping couples improve their relationships is really a matter of embodying (not merely believing) a simple, yet often elusive, perspective about the nature of our minds and our experiences.

What is this simple, yet elusive, perspective?

As a hypnotherapist, I do not have to put people in trance — they are already in trance. In fact, all of our problems are born of our trances. A therapist can use standard hypnotic processes (which I teach in my hypnotherapy certification course) in the same way that poisons are used, in proper measure, to make medicines.

But a transpersonal hypnotherapist practices this alchemy with the understanding that the goal is not to help clients become established in comfortable trances, but rather to be free of trances altogether! The goal is to be present, at ease, and free of fear — whole and peaceful. In order to help people become free of troubling trance states, I introduce three ideas that everyone must understand before they can be free and happy in relationships:

happy dolphinThe 3 Things You Must Learn Before You Can Be Free and Happy

1. We are not who we “think” we are. Who we think we are is our deepest trance state (actually a “bundle” of trance states). Knowing this makes it easier to relax and let go of all of the thoughts and feelings we identify as being “ours.” When you can do this, your communication is naturally more curious and open-minded. You ask more questions; you listen without thinking you already know what’s about to be said. The whole process becomes less intense and much more interesting.

2. To the degree that our awareness is absorbed in and identified with our thoughts, we live in a hypnotic state. Most of us are accustomed to living within this tightly defined state rather than living in a spontaneous, “real” state, an “awake” state. Once you understand that there’s an alternative — that you can respond to your experience as new in each moment, life becomes a great deal more surprising and delightful, and memories of the past don’t create the fear and dread they once generated.

3. All communication is a sharing of our hypnotic states, “dream” states, and even deluded states. We share our hypnotic states in both intrapersonal and interpersonal communication, to the degree that we’re sharing our thoughts about reality rather than a direct experience of reality.

When you say, “I feel you don’t appreciate all that I do for you,” you’re talking about your hypnotic state, your ideas and thoughts. You’re not talking about your feelings (sadness, disappointment, annoyance, etc) at all! But if you know that whatever you say to your partner is going to be an artifact of your customary hypnotic states, that makes it easier to see the discomfort of your negative feeling as an object in awareness. It’s a fluid energy pattern, not some”thing” you must hold onto for dear life.

All day long (and even in our dreams) we are selectively attending to our ideas about ourselves in order to make choices which define and determine our lives. Amazing how we can be doing this continuously, without even being aware of it, isn’t it? And …

kid-surprised-faceIf the root idea of who we are is a mistake, then our whole accustomed process of strategizing to improve our lives is a “mishap” having varying degrees of painful and pleasurable consequences.

Understanding these three perspectives, which strike at the root of our mistaken perceptions of ourselves and our experience, opens the possibility of complete freedom of thought, feeling, and perception in the moment.

If you’re aware that your idea of “myself” is a set of ideas — a trance — then it’s not such a big deal if your partner says, “You never listen to me! Why are you so selfish?!” You don’t take it personally. That statement, just like your idea of your “self,” and just like any uncomfortable physical response (emotions) you may feel when you hear it, is just another object in awareness. And when you don’t take it personally, you’re not threatened. That means you can be genuinely interested in what’s really troubling your partner. Instead of getting caught in painful reactions, you can share warmth and support.

These simple shifts in understanding can help not only couples working to improve communication in relationships, but anyone seeking to understand, and to be understood by, another person.

To learn more about how these perspectives can help you avoid painful mistakes and have better communication with your partner, check out my Relationship Survival Kit on CD or mp3.

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Upcoming Events!

  • Jack with class outsideThe 26th annual Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP Summer Intensive certification training begins July 10th, 2014. Enjoy making profound liberating changes in your life:  Come and join us!
  • I’ll be giving a seminar in London on October 3-6 “Spontaneous Solutions:  The Art & Skill of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy and NLP”    Register now

________________________________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack also offers private sessions, in person and via Skype or phone internationally.

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Posted in Communication, Dating, Relationship, transpersonal hypnotherapy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Owns Your Thoughts and Feelings?

happy-hiking-couple-ethnic-relaxing-talking-in-grand-canyon-hikers-taking-break-after-walking-on-south-rim-hikeI once received an emergency call to help someone who was suicidal. Of course I agreed to see him right away. As soon as he arrived it became clear what the problem was. He began listing all of the things that were wrong with him that made him want to end his life. It turned out that all of these “things” were feelings.

He was convinced that his feelings were so unacceptable that the only possible solution was to remove himself from the face of the earth.

As he listed each horrible thing that he believed was “wrong with him,” I said, “But everyone feels that way!”

Each time he looked at me quizzically. “They do?”

And every time I repeated, quite emphatically, “Yes! They do!” Then I backed it up with many common examples, including examples of my own personal experience with these kinds of thoughts and feelings.

We went back and forth about this for over an hour. He would describe something that was “wrong” with him and I would say, “Everyone has that.” Again he would appear surprised and again I would convince him it was entirely ordinary. At the end of the session, he left feeling extremely happy. To this day he hasn’t had another episode of suicidal thinking. So what happened there?

The Problem of Ownership

Have you ever noticed that when you think of something as “mine” you don’t want to let go of it, even if it causes you suffering?

This is how we’re thinking when we say “I’m hurt” or “I’m angry.” We’re thinking these thoughts and feelings belong to us personally.

This kind of thinking pulls you into those feelings, as though you’re fused with them. It’s as though suddenly you are your hurt feelings – you are your anger. It’s not accurate, but that’s how we tend to think about it.

This complicates the whole issue of dealing with reactions and upsets. If I think this hurt is a part of me, that it defines who I am (even if only in this moment) it could be embarrassing to reveal it. And feeling embarrassed isn’t high on my list of enjoyments.

But what if you noticed that you’re separate from your thoughts and feelings? Think about it for a moment: I am not my thoughts and feelings.

Thinking this, you can more easily stop calling your emotions “mine.” Now you can just label them as experiences, or even just “objects in awareness”: Hmm, look at this intense object in my awareness – how interesting!

Hey-thats-mineWe rarely question this seemingly natural sense of ownership of “my” thoughts, feelings and sensations. It’s a profound error that causes untold amounts of suffering. Ownership implies uniqueness. If it’s mine, if it’s “me” then it can’t also be “yours” – it can’t be you and me. If you judge something to be your unique flaw or shortcoming, you’re probably going to suffer shame and self-hatred.

This idea of unique ownership, and the shame and self-hatred that go with holding onto this idea, blinds us to the fact that what we are experiencing is a universal human emotion. It’s a set of feelings and sensations that every human being has probably thought or felt at one time or another. So it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Would you like to convince yourself? You can practice this way:

Think to yourself, “I’m noticing a fearful thought in my awareness right now . . . and a fearful sensation in the (not my) body.” As you observe what it’s like to have this thought and this sensation, realize that this is a human experience, not your personal and unique, shameful experience.

Practicing thinking this way may seem weird, robotic even. But doing it has a surprising effect — it takes the power of persuasion away from those attacking or fearful thoughts, and removes the sting from the emotions they cause. Instead of becoming a robot, you will become more yourself. You’ll be a more relaxed human being.

And what’s more, as you become adept at noticing your thought/feeling state, you can begin to sense the age of the former ‘you’ who used to feel powerless and weird whenever you were in that state. As you sense yourself in that place and time of your life, you can consciously shift her posture so that it is upright, open and present, full of awareness. As you hold this posture, absorb this freed-up energy into your heart. This, too, helps you become a more and more a relaxed human being! Not unique maybe, but definitely happier.

Good luck. Have fun!

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Upcoming Events!

  • Jack with class outsideThe 26th annual Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP Summer Intensive certification training begins July 10th, 2014. Enjoy making profound liberating changes in your life:  Come and join us!
  • I’ll be giving a seminar in London on October 3-6 “Spontaneous Solutions:  The Art & Skill of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy and NLP”    Register now

________________________________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack also offers private sessions, in person and via Skype or phone internationally.

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Posted in Depression & Anxiety, Emotions: Becoming Skillful, Overcoming Fear, self esteem, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Love (and Empathy) Got to Do with Relationships on Valentine’s Day?

happy-together-300x203We call it “falling in love” but what is it we’ve really fallen into? Whatever it is, Valentine’s Day is our perfect day for it.

So many flowers, so many chocolates, so many cards. Lots of momentary happiness, and then . . . suddenly resentment strikes again! If your experience of falling in love has ever taken a nosedive like this, you know what I’m talking about. You wake up a few days or weeks after meeting your soul mate and think, “What did I ever see in her/him?”

If after the relationship becomes sexual you suddenly feel cool and indifferent toward your partner, you may be running a Don Juan-like mental program (women can run this program, too). In this scenario you project your “urge to merge” onto your romantic partner. Instead of relating to that person as they are, you relate to them in a dreamlike trance, in which your partner represents the glowing promise of losing yourself in bliss.

You make contact. It’s so intoxicating! But once the passion has cooled, you see your partner in their ordinariness as a human being. You’re discouraged to see that they’ve lost their mojo.

At this point, the game changes. Staying involved now requires that you relate in ordinary ways with an ordinary person who seems diabolically gifted at exposing your own ordinariness.

Distracted couple in cafeWhere did all the magic go, the surge of sensual wonder, the adoration you felt just yesterday, between the sheets?

What happens then? You project all of your I’m-not-good-enough judgments onto your romantic partner. And voila! Suddenly they’re the one who’s not good enough! So naturally, we must move on in search of the ideal lover – the personification of your passionate hallucination.

And so the cycle begins again.

My teacher Chögyam Trungpa described this dynamic simply and clearly:

“It is very difficult to learn to love. If an object of fascination or some kind of dream or promise is presented to you, you might fall in love. But it is very hard to love if it means purely giving love without expecting anything in return. We can only fall in love if we think our expectations will be fulfilled. In most of our love affairs, our love is conditional. It is more of a business deal than actual love.” *

Many relationships survive the Don Juan stage, but if the “business deal” is still in place, there is constant struggle. Each partner expects “payment” for every kindness or good feeling they bestow on the other.

sandheartBut what would it look like to give love without expecting anything in return? Isn’t that only for saints, or monks . . . or worse, won’t it mean submitting and becoming a doormat? Not at all. Giving unconditional love arises from a sense of your own unconditional OK-ness. It may be necessary to do some work to reacquaint yourself with your basic goodness, of course. But once you have reconnected with your self-worth, you’re able to be generous with your partner and with yourself. You don’t need a good business deal to keep you happy.

There may not be any such thing as “true love,” but what about “truly loving?” What does that look like? In a word: Empathy. You’re practicing empathy when you don’t try to defend your goodness because you know it doesn’t need defending. You’re able to listen to your partner’s needs and desires without perceiving a threat.

Practicing empathy means paying attention to another’s experience without judgment, without clinging to the hope of a payoff, and without fearing that you won’t get what you need. No more business deal. You’re listening to your friend and watching them closely because you want to connect in a shared space where you both feel seen and valued just as you are. This is truly loving. This is unconditional love.

Don’t worry if you’re not an unconditionally loving and empathethic lover . . .  yet. Empathy takes time and practice. Happily, the recent research on cognitive aging indicates that the longer you practice empathy, the easier it gets, and the more creatively you’ll be likely to express unconditional love.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day! Give and receive cards and flowers and chocolates. Go out to dinner. In the midst of these celebrations, may you be inspired to give the true love gift of empathy.

To support your exploration of truly loving, you may want to check out my Survival Kits for Dating, Sexual Intimacy, and Relationships.

* Chögyam Trungpa, from “Planting the Moon of Bodhi in Your Heart,” The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume Two, pp. 97–98.

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ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack also offers private sessions, in person and via Skype or phone internationally.

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Posted in Addictions & Compulsions, compassion, Dating, Emotions: Becoming Skillful, learning, Overcoming Fear, Relationship, self esteem, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Good Habits: Put Your Attention Where Your Heart Is

Getting stuck in anxious energy and busyness, but getting nowhere. Does this sound familiar? I call it “running in place,” and it’s a sure sign that I’ve stopped giving myself love and compassion. When you notice yourself doing this, don’t think, “I have to stop this.” Instead, think, “Oh! I’m running-in-place! I must be denying myself love and compassion.”

good-habits-self-compassion-hug-womenThen if you like, you can put your hand to your heart as you do in the Hands Over Heart Technique I mentioned in this earlier post.

  • To practice self-love (patience) and kindness (compassion), stand still in the present moment – relax, breathe, open, be aware that you are here in this moment without a storyline.
  • Generously give your attention to a powerfully positive moment in your life — a time when you felt utterly joyful and free and happy to be alive. As you do this, affirm a basic confidence in your own resourcefulness and in your connection to life itself.
  • You are connecting to your natural courage now.
  • To keep your courage alive in your mind and heart, you can place your hands over your heart, and gently close your eyes. Once again call up your powerfully positive moment. Make it vivid and alive. Now open your eyes again and return to your life refreshed. Consider your purposes and your plans with new energy.

To support yourself in this Easy Good Habit, you might try listening to Awakening Inner Wisdom and Love (CD or MP3) every day for at least a week. The best time to do this is either just as you’re waking up in the morning, or just before you go to bed at night, but many of my friends listen to their tapes at lunch, to freshen themselves for the rest of their day. See what works for you.

That’s the end of our 2014 series, “Easy Good Habits.” I hope you enjoyed trying them out!

May skillfulness of heart and mind, and every kind of compassionate activity, flow effortlessly throughout every aspect of your life.

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ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack offers:

  • Private Sessions in Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching, live and via Skype or phone internationally.
  • Keynotes and other programs to teach audiences how to use the techniques of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP to achieve success, confidence, and a consistent sense of well-being. Book Jack Elias to speak to your group.

 

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Posted in Buddhism & Psychotherapy, compassion, Depression & Anxiety, Emotions: Becoming Skillful, exploring consciousness, Hypnosis for Health, learning, Overcoming Fear, PTSD, Relationship, self esteem | Leave a comment

Easy Good Habits: The Courage to Be Kind

In the last post, I mentioned making the conscious effort to soften your heart with patience and kindness (and therefore courage). Were you surprised to see “courage” in there?

Confidence_jump1Did it surprise you to think that softening your heart, consciously becoming more patient and kind through consistent effort, takes courage?

If it did surprise you, please consider that it is an act of courage when you resist the fearful habitual thought patterns that keep you stuck, or anxiously running-in-place inside yourself, unable to move forward.

It is possible to make major shifts — to easily make true and lasting positive change in any area of your life — when you call on the courage to be kind.

When you call up this courage to be kind, you affirm a basic confidence in your own resourcefulness and in your connection to life itself (en-courage-ment).

Want to try a courageous experiment?
Think of the last time you had a really good idea that worked out well. Think of the moment of inspiration that sprang up and how you felt enlivened and *encouraged* when it arose in your mind. “That’s it!” And remember how, when you acted on it, you were pleased that you had contributed to the outcome in an essential, meaningful way. Maybe things turned out even better than you had envisioned. Close your eyes for a moment and let yourself enjoy that moment all over again, in full vivid detail.

Courage is beautiful, isn’t it?

Now . . . focus on a time when you stood up for yourself or someone else who needed your help and advocacy. Sit or stand up very straight while you recall this. Feel the strength of your heart, and affirm its strength.

Think, “I have the courage to be kind.  And it feels great.”

Your courage is always ready to show itself to you. Call on these memories of inspiration, of the courage to think well of yourself and your own ideas, to be kind and patient with yourself and others.

To support yourself in this Easy Good Habit, you might try listening to Becoming Fearless and Compassionate (CD or MP3) every day for at least a week. The best time to do this is either just as you’re waking up in the morning, or just before you go to bed at night, but many of my friends listen to their tapes at lunch, to freshen themselves for the rest of their day. See what works for you.

Next up: Put Your Attention Where Your Heart Is 

___________________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack offers:

  • Private Sessions in Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching, live and via Skype or phone internationally.
  • Keynotes and other programs to teach audiences how to use the techniques of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP to achieve success, confidence, and a consistent sense of well-being. Book Jack Elias to speak to your group.

 

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Easy Good Habits: Soften Up with Kindness and Compassion

Child and Chick_BirdI believe that the start of a new year is a great time to shake things up a little.

So . . . here’s a radical three-part notion:

1. When you soften your heart with patience and kindness (and therefore courage), positive thoughts are able to make a greater impact on your mind.

2. When you strengthen your positive thoughts, it automatically becomes much easier to change your perspective and make things work.

3. Therefore, the most powerful thing you can do to create a positive mind-state — the state from which flows all creativity, health and wellbeing, as well as worldly success — is to allow your heart to soften.

How do you soften up? You’re really going to enjoy this . . .

  • First, consider that your true self is already peaceful, free, and kind. All you need to do is reacquaint yourself with its natural healing gesture: compassion.
  • Next, affirm this in your own experience. Notice (or remember) what happens when you see a child or a small animal suffering. Usually you’ll feel a pang of concern. You wish they weren’t hungry, hurt, or lonely. At the very least you may feel momentarily uncomfortable. This is a glimmer of compassion. It is your heart’s natural gesture, and it reaches out to another being —  either overtly or invisibly —  whenever you see them suffering.
  • Say to yourself, “Because my heart is naturally compassionate, I am kind. This compassion would like to ease all of the suffering I see.” Stand before a mirror and say this out loud to yourself. It’s OK if you laugh — it is kind of funny to talk to a mirror. But it’s also very interesting. It’s good practice acknowledging what’s true.

To support yourself in this new Easy Good Habit, you might try listening to Becoming Fearless and Compassionate (CD or MP3) every day for at least a week. The best time to do this is either just as you’re waking up in the morning, or just before you go to bed at night, but many of my friends listen to their tapes at lunch, to freshen themselves for the rest of their day. See what works for you.

  • Next up: The Courage to Be Kind

As always, sharing and questions are welcome!

___________________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack offers:

  • Private Sessions in Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching, live and via Skype or phone internationally.
  • Keynotes and other programs to teach audiences how to use the techniques of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP to achieve success, confidence, and a consistent sense of well-being. Book Jack Elias to speak to your group.
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Don’t Try So Hard! Not Your Average New Year’s Resolutions

Summer Intensive 2013Happy New Year! Amazing to think it’s already 2014.

Is your inbox flooded with messages about keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? I promise this will not be just another ‘how to’ message for you. (If you like, you can skip straight to the “Hands Over Heart Technique” at the end, but you might want to read on to learn why it’s my #1 secret.)

Once a student was lamenting to my Zen master, Shunryo Suzuki Roshi, that she was unable to accomplish all the things she wanted to do (in order to be a “good” Zen student). Roshi said, “Pick something easy. Just one thing. And if you do it everyday without fail, it will make everything work.”

That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? Why, then, do we still seem to have so much trouble keeping our promises to ourselves? I’ll tell you why.

  • At the core of every failed plan to fulfill our resolutions, there has been a root defect.  Ironically, it’s also the simplest and most important step that we’re overlooking: Constant genuine self-appreciation (love) and encouragement.

You may think, But that’s too easy!

Well yes, it’s easy. But it’s not too easy. It does take a little effort.

For the past few weeks I’ve encouraged you to make kind gestures to yourself – even as simple as practicing the ‘hands over heart’ technique. If you did this, you may have noticed some valuable positive changes. Such a small thing, but just this One

For the next few weeks I’ll be posting a series called “Easy Good Habits to Make You More Fabulous in 2014.”

I’m only half-kidding. I really am going to offer you some Easy Good Habits. If it sounds like a makeover, there’s a method in this madness. By adopting these habits I’m going to share with you in the coming weeks, you can quite readily harness the power of your naturally good mind and heart, and transform not just this year, but every year of your life, from 2014 onward.

To kick it off, here’s a sneak peek at Most Important Thing you can do that will supercharge any one of my Easy Good Habits to make it an Easy Great Habit:

Fuel Up Your Positive Thoughts

  • Everyone’s heard that it’s important to “think positively” to get positive results. But more important than emphasizing positive thoughts is to “fuel up” those positive thoughts.
  • What’s the fuel, you’re probably wondering. All you need to do is genuinely connect with positive feeling energy. It’s already within you, so don’t think you’re conjuring up something out of nothing. Just remember what it feels like to feel wonderful, then “give” that feeling to your positive thoughts. They’ll expand!

All this and more is contained in a simple act of patience and kindness, which is why, if you keep practicing such acts, you find more and more richness and aliveness in every area of your life. When you say “yes” to life’s commitment to you in the moment, life answers “yes” in every situation, and in every moment. The more often you make your gesture, the more re-sensitized you become to life’s constant beckoning gesture of kindness.

There is a beautiful statement of commitment that expresses this. It comes from spiritual traditions that involve a guru/disciple relationship, but the truth applies to your relationship with Life itself as your guru:

“When you take one step towards your guru, your guru takes 1000 steps towards you.”

In 2014, continue to cultivate the kindness and patience. As Suzuki Roshi suggested to his student, you can begin with “just one easy thing” and watch Life take a thousand steps toward you, with open arms. You can begin with . . .

The Hands Over Heart Technique

  • For just 5 times a day for just 20 seconds, with your hands over your heart, stop and breathe with a soft belly and soft shoulders, then bless that part of you that fears, and bless the one who inspires the fear. For ‘fear’ you can substitute any negative emotion — jealously, resentment, etc. that you might be battling with.

Do this for yourself daily for one month – just try it, 5 times a day for 20 seconds each. Certainly you can spare 100 seconds per day! When January is over, take note of how your life has changed. You might find that this practice has grown on you.

May you fill the path of 2014 with your love and enthusiasm!

For support, consider the Awakening Inner Wisdom & Love Audio program (CD or MP3).

As always, sharing and questions are welcome!

Email jack@FindingTrueMagic.com. Good luck!

___________________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West.

Jack offers:

  • Private Sessions in Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching, live and via Skype or phone internationally.
  • Keynotes and other programs to teach audiences how to use the techniques of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP to achieve success, confidence, and a consistent sense of well-being. Book Jack Elias to speak to your group.
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More About “What DO Thoughts Think About?”

I want to share some additional perspectives aboutANXIETY, PTSD my previous blog, “What DO Thoughts Think About?”

“Thoughts think about other thoughts” is a subtle topic; it’s importance can easily be missed, and working with it can seem boring and pointless in the beginning.

In order to experience the power of this insight, the first step to is to practice noticing and watching thinking, emotions and sensations, as they are, without any motivation to improve, escape from, or stop them.

I recently had an old client share that years after I had shared this insight and practice with her, suddenly she started remembering that “her” thoughts and emotions were not “hers” — they were just thoughts and emotions. She shared how the insight just started coming up naturally and that it interrupted her involvement in fearful concerns, stress, and melodrama.

She was able to feel a refreshing sense of being present on the earth, on the spot in her body, with an awareness of freedom to move around unobstructed by the thoughts and emotions she was aware of. Instead of entrancing and absorbing her in a claustrophobic inner environment of hallucinations, they were just objects in awareness, surrounded by this refreshing free space.

You can have this experience too! Remember:

1)      “Thoughts can only think about other thoughts.” Relax, breathe, and observe.

2)      Therefore you can only think about THOUGHTS of self, about your IDEA of self. You can’t think about your actual self which is not a thought. Relax, breathe, and observe.

3)      This means the REAL You is off the hook! No blame, no shame — your story is not about you, it is about an IDEA of you. This doesn’t mean you can pretend you didn’t do or say things — activities can be judged and it’s best to be accountable for them. But these actions do not create or define your “personhood”. They just are what they are. Relax, breathe, and observe.

4)      Commentary, subconscious gossip, will come in. Just watch it, too. Here is a tip — discouragement, boredom, and irritation are all thoughts, too. Watch and notice them. Relax, breathe, and observe.

5)      Do this for just 5 minutes a day if that’s all you can manage. Practice develops the strength of your capacity to watch and notice uninterruptedly.This is the secret to experiencing the freedom that you already are. If you can’t manage 5 minutes, relax, breathe, and observe as often as you can remember to, even for just a few seconds. Set your smart phone to remind you every 30 minutes to stop then relax, breathe, and observe for 10-15 seconds. It will work for you!

6)      Give yourself the chance to realize that any dilemma-oriented thinking relating to an IDEA of self does not prohibit your right to relax into a kind, encouraging self-regard and self-respect.

7)      The more kindness and self-respect you have, the more fearlessly you are accountable for your actions. This kindness, respect, and fearless accountability makes it easy to welcome and respect others and to enjoy collaborating with them at work, at play, and in intimate relationship.

To summarize:

  • Have enough compassion and kindness towards yourself to practice mastering the deluding power of fearful thinking on a daily basis.
  • Value life, value yourself as life itself, not as the smallness you think you are.
  • Increase and express this valuing by developing your ability and strength to watch thinking without being ruled or defined by thinking.
  • Practice releasing every form of self attack and self put down as you now realize they are all false — just thoughts thinking about other thoughts.
  • Through this simple practice, deepen the felt sense of your already free and complete being as you release yourself from the power of deluded thinking. Feel life flowing through you as you.

As always, sharing and questions are welcome!

Email: jack@FindingTrueMagic.com. Good luck!

___________________________________________________

ftm-front-cover-finalJack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West. Finding True Magic now available as an eBook!

Jack offers:

  • Private Sessions in Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching, live and via Skype or phone internationally.
  • Keynotes and other programs to teach audiences how to use the techniques of  Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP to achieve success,confidence, and a consistent sense of well-being.

Book Jack Elias to speak to your group or organization.

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