Darkness. I’m going to recommend peering into and then fully embracing darkness today.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe
This week, I was chatting to a very lovely man who enrolled on one of my hypnotherapy training courses and I was telling him that despite us having very high educational standards and expectations of our students, despite the very high academic nature and theoretical underpinning of some of the course, I tend to draw upon cultural references to illustrate the theories in simplistic terms – in particular by drawing upon references to my love of sci-fi.
He then matched my sci-fi geekiness and we shared our love of it together for a while and we are going to get along just fine when his course starts. One of the things we laughed about was how when we first watched the Star Wars trilogy as boys, we were drawn to the dark side. That is, the dark side of the force did seem powerful, impressive and very alluring to a young boy. Even today, now that my children are watching the films, they both have Darth Vader down as their favourite character, just like I always did, and I did nothing to influence that.
Some of my teenage years in life were punctuated with darkness. Not just as a metaphor for challenging times, but also as a choice and as a way of feeling (albeit seemingly perverse) comfort and joy. I used to play my Smiths LPs while sat in a darkened room and purposely mope and affect a kind of faux depression that would lead to quite a lot of existential angst – heck, the best poetry of my life came out of that time in my life and much art and creativity is born out of darkness that is experienced and reflected upon.
Typically, people tend to associate darkness with the negative, quite rightly so much of the time. Yet darkness has a number of purposes to serve.
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” – Francis Bacon
Well said Francis Bacon, the yin and yang of light and darkness is often necessary for each to exist and be appreciated. Many of the dark times in my life that I referred to earlier on have ensured that I truly appreciate and understand the value and importance of the good times and the halcyon periods of my life. Many of us use dark experiences in this useful way.
Darkness is going to become a resource for us in a very different way altogether today with this self-hypnosis process.
“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T. S. Eliot
This T.S Eliot quote could not sum up better the process I am offering up today and it is incredibly relevant, let me explain….
Often when people seek help for sleep issues, insomnia or getting back to sleep when disturbed or awoken, they adopt techniques of a wide variety. It may be progressive relaxation exercises, it may be breathing, or mindfulness, or self-hypnosis, all with the aim of lulling into a gentle slumber. The issue I have encountered and found over the years of working with many clients to advance their quality of sleep has been that many techniques by their very nature tend to get the mind and brain busy again, they create a busy mind that is working at the process that is supposed to be helping them. Many people even get stressed out worrying if they are doing it right, or if they have followed the steps correctly or in the right order and so on.
This is where darkness comes in. I have devised, developed and used this very simple process to help my clients plunge themselves into darkness, in a good way, just follow these simple steps.
Prior to starting, if you have an eye mask of some sort, wear it for this process as it will really advance the effect of delving into the darkness.
Step One: Induce Hypnosis.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my Science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio we give away on this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method
Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis
The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method
Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction
Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis
The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction
However, with this process, an induction is potentially too much activity, so I teach my clients how to adopt a hypnotic mindset and simply have a mindset that is positive and expectant. Again, to really understand the cognitive set of the hypnotic mindset, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book where it is explained in simple but comprehensive terms.
Once you have induced hypnosis, or just adopted the hypnotic mindset, move on to the next step.
Step Two: Imagine standing on the edge of a pool, or on a cloud, or on a board and right before you is a circle of darkness. A circle that is totally dark, grey and perhaps has a seemingly liquid and gaseous look to it that swirls very slightly.
Step Three: Dive into the darkness. Dive deeper and imagine just falling comfortably deeper and deeper into a soft and profound darkness whereby even if you held your arm up in front of you, you would not be able to see it. You can breathe in the darkness, but it supports the body in the way a deep body of water would, yet it feels just like being in fresh air in all other ways.
Step Four: The only thing you do now, is sink deeper and deeper into darkness. Spend some time doing this. Patiently, just descend into the velvety darkness, let it take you deeper into hypnosis, without trying to make that happen. Just spend time floating and drifting deeper into soothing, absolute deep black darkness and then move on to the next step.
Step Five: Be sleep. I know that sounds unusual, think the thought, “I am sleep.”
While in the depth of darkness, just adopt and act as if you are sleep. Not asleep – be sleep. Be a human version of sleep. Breathe as you would as if you were asleep, and let all your senses just be absolute darkness, without any stimulation, and be deep, dark sleep. Almost as if you were in a floatation tank, but an even better one.
Do not try to make anything happen, let your only thought be one of deep darkness and a notion of “be sleep” – that is all. Then just patiently, embrace the dark, continue to simply move deeper through it, and that is it.
I have found it particular effective with clients, students and for myself, I hope you find it useful and enjoyable too. You have permission to enjoy the darkness for a change.
If you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.