I never quite got the mantra thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was right there with all the suburban housewives in my yoga pants doing the downward dog, all of us trying to squeeze the dissatisfaction from our lives with a pretzel pose. It may have worked for some of them, but after class I’d always get that taste of dissatisfaction lingering in my mouth.
In some classes we’d chant. This was the worst for me. It was like going back to my Jewish synagogue when I was a kid, trying desperately to divine something out of words someone handed me on a sheet of paper. In fact as a kid this sort of thing just made me feel more detached.
I often think of the episode in Seinfeld where George’s Dad went on a kick, trying to reduce his anger. He was told if he just said ‘serenity now’ his problems would go away. So, in true Seinfeldian fashion, George’s dad, misinterpreting the purpose of his assignment exploded in anger passionately shouting “Serenity Now!!!”
That was me in yoga class some days.
Yoga was nice. It made me limber, I learned how to breathe, but I often found myself like George’s dad, arms to the air, on the verge of a heart attack, frustrated that I still wasn’t fixed.
So, as of late I’ve tried something new. I’ve been doing hypnosis, and oddly enough—it works. Hypnosis works under the principle that all those conversations we have with our thinking mind—the busy, crazy, fretful entity that it is—are unproductive. We tell ourselves “Stop eating all that crap” and we do it anyway because our subconscious desires are out of whack with the great, steadfast logic our conscious mind.
The head knows that eating a whole box of Little Debbie snack cakes is not a good idea, however if the subconscious mind, let’s say, is heart broken over a recent break up, it may think that eating all those oatmeal pies is a good idea.
My teacher Sue David
In the case of the Little Debbies our subconscious and conscious minds are in disagreement and according to Sue, the subconscious wins.
In hypnosis, you talk to your subconscious mind and you go straight to the source of your problem. The theory is that because you’re communicating with the highly suggestible subconscious, in a state of peace, you embody the solution deep within you, and bypasses the noisy, neurotic conscious mind.
I know it sounds like a gimmick to some of you (Tim Baker!), but I tell you it has affected me profoundly.
For me, hypnosis is powerful because it bypasses my anxiety ridden head games (for which I am a gold medalist!) and instead goes straight to my heart. It in essence shuts me up and says “cut the crap and just be.”
Several months ago Sue David my hypnotherapist (who does Skype calls if you’re interested!) told me that while I was under I would hear a message. She said to listen for key words that I could use to bring me to that mellow state. Essentially she was telling me to find my mantra. This made me nervous. What if I chose the wrong one? Would it be good enough? How am I to know? (THAT’S the conscious mind talking!)
One day while I was relaxed and under self-hypnosis, I heard this: “I am Beauty, Love and Light”
Of course this wasn’t magic. It was just me—but a very relaxed, chilled me, that didn’t have the regular BS running through her head.
Here’s the cool part, with these words I felt an emanating force of love surrounding me, streaming from my pores. It was divinity, but not scary divinity like I was taught as a kid.
This was just the sheer understanding that it all makes sense. All of it.
All the stuff I worried about, all my maddening seeking for perfection–it was all quiet. It was just me, these three words, and this beautiful, calm place I had created for myself.
And so, apparently I now have a mantra. When I go into my state of relaxation, ride the river of my subconscious mind I say those words to myself. It is in these moments that I am reminded of who I truly am…and the coolest part–when I come out of hypnosis and my kids are whining or I didn’t get enough sleep I still feel the power of the mantra. There’s no magic, just quiet time with my heart and an understanding from my depths that I have the power to make change. I no longer need to be afraid.
I am beauty, love and light…. and so are you.