by Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., C.C.H.
This particular paper has to do with understanding the natural and universal healing laws and how hypnosis and hypnotherapy relate to them. Its intent is to express the ways in which the mind affects our body and its health; and how hypnosis can be used to free people from imprints, or memories, that have been set in their minds from experiences, beliefs, images, and what people have said or projected — real, or perceived as real.
What causes illness?
What causes illness, no doubt, is still one of the major questions of life that, for the most part, remain unsolved. To the strictly Western medical mind, whatever hasn’t been discovered through a laboratory to be a cause, remains an insolvable medical problem, without cure. Drugs can merely help the patient tolerate their condition.
To the doctor of the Mind, however, something lies behind whatever specific physical matter or cause-effect the laboratory scientists search for.
What produces illness?
There seems to be substantial evidence that it is caused by frequent negative statements and/or experiences, especially in one’s early life; warnings given by authority figures; prolonged anxiety or stress, and fear from incidents based on strong emotions; or fed by an active and creative imagination. These participate in creating an unhealthy body.
Frequent negative messages can affect the body. In other words, an unhealthy mind can create an unhealthy body. Conversely, a positive, healthy mind can creative a healthy body. And, there is much evidence that a positive mind can actually cure an unhealthy body, as well. Generally, when that happens, especially if the condition has been serious, we call it a “miracle.”
What is a miracle, anyway?
Jesus was seen as a healer and miracle worker. The blind saw, the crippled walked, and demons were exorcised. Sometimes, before he healed them, Jesus asked a person if he/she really wanted to get well. Other times, he just went ahead and healed. Perhaps he had some perception of the readiness of a person to release their natural ability for internal healing. Or, perhaps it was an innate instinct about how dependent that person may have been upon the benefits of being ill.
It is not unreasonable to expect that some people harbor, either consciously or unconsciously, some benefit to their illness or handicap. Therefore, they may not respond to any therapy that can help them obtain wellness, whether it is traditional Western medicine, naturopathic medicine, hypnosis, or even Jesus.
Take, for example, the “man at the pool” who had been crippled, lying on his mat by the pool for years, waiting for an angel to heal him through the water. He complained that he couldn’t get anyone to take him down to the pool. Now, here is a person who had decided to be the ultimate victim. No wonder Jesus asked him if he really wanted to get well! Look at the benefits to staying on his mat. If he gets healed, there will be no one to pity him. He will have to go to work instead of depending upon alms. He will have to pick up his smelly, dirty mat and carry it with him. Perhaps people will even think he has been play-acting all those years. He has a lot to get through, if he is to be healed. However, he doesn’t seem to hesitate. He says he wants to get well, and well he gets! He believes it, and in Jesus’ ability, and it happens.
And people afterwards considered it a miracle. Was the miracle that Jesus touched this man? Or, was the miracle that he willingly gave up whatever benefits and degree of comfort he had with his illness, to step out into a new way of life, which was unknown to him?
So, what is a miracle?
I believe it is a miracle that we have satellites in the heavens, which can send images and messages to us all around the globe at the same time, making us a “global village.” It is a miracle to me that in a few short years, human beings have found a way to lift an object, weighing tons, up into the air, and have it remain there and even travel across this earth without falling! It is a miracle, even more, that such a heavy object can be lifted up beyond this earth’s gravity. After all, for a large part of my life, I had understood that we were limited in how far our communication could travel; that time factors made it impossible to talk to anyone else across the globe except in the middle of the night; and that gravity held us to this earth — that was the way it was and would always be. Yet, not only could a huge metal object go beyond that force, it could carry people to an orbiting moon thousands of miles away, and could land on that moon, and let human beings walk on it. And everyone got to participate in that experience through the strange miracle of communication waves… at the same time!
Even today I still don’t understand how voices and music can carry to my ear over a radio, let alone television, and through satellites, at that. Recently, I watched a program on the history of computers. It was unbelievable to think of a document from one computer being broken into little packets, sent through satellites, and then reconstructed on another computer across the globe by those little packets fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle to create that document once again. And yet all of this, which we once were convinced was impossible, has been made possible by discovering the laws of the universe which could make it happen.
At one time, it seemed a miracle because someone traveled around the ocean without falling off the edge. It seemed a miracle when the first four-minute mile was run, because no one had ever done it before. These were miracles only because, seemingly, it wasn’t possible before. Now it is possible to travel frequently and easily around our globe; and many athletes can run a four-minute mile. And our children are being raised as if satellites and computers had always been in existence. As soon as it becomes commonplace, it no longer seems a miracle at all.
Thus it is with our own healing processes. We don’t understand them all. But our body clearly knows how to heal us. A broken bone knits. A cut closes up. An abscess breaks and releases its fluids and heals without us doing anything. We might have our bones realigned so that they will knit together better, but the actual healing process is not done by us or by a doctor; it is done by our own body.
How do nature’s laws apply to healing?
One first might ask, how do we know that there are laws that govern the universe? If you look into a powerful telescope at night you will see thousands of stars, each of which is the center of some system. As the earth rotates, those systems may change slightly, but they will look as if they are in the same place the next time you want to find them. The law of nature holds them in place. Gravity holds us in place on the earth, unless we choose to lift off from it by rocket. Gravity is only one of the many laws of nature, consistent, except when we find mechanical means of breaking those laws.
Atoms in a drop of water look much like a universe. Every crystal is formed according to some beautiful geometric pattern. Every seed gives birth to its own kind. All creatures expect their young will be of their own species. There is no such thing as dead matter. The laws of nature uses everything over and over in creative ways to keep everything alive and dynamic. An entire human being is made up of the division over and over from one single union of two cells. The operating systems of the body perform millions of minute tasks to assure our daily life. These examples, and many others, remind us that there are laws in nature. We can actively or passively participate in them. There are consequences that come from breaking those laws or interfering with their designs, just as there are consequences that come from following them, or tapping into their power.
Jesus healed, or found ways to use the natural laws of the universe. People called them miracles, and yet he told his disciples that they could do the same. And when they had trouble with that, he told them that they were “men of little faith.”
Many of the righteously religious complained about “who” he decided to heal. They felt some were not worthy to be healed or forgiven, or that someone like Jesus didn’t have the right to determine such things.
The laws of healing are exactly that — LAWS. Laws are objective. They are for everyone. They don’t judge who is bad or good, right or wrong. They don’t apply to those who follow the rules, and not apply to those who don’t. If you push a “good” citizen and a “bad” citizen off of a 20-story building at the same time, probably they will both experience gravity, and the sidewalk, in much the same way.
People all around the world in every culture and religion create their own kind of philosophy that can try to deal with the seeming unfairness of life. We as human beings want very much to believe that we have a better advantage in life by following the rules and by being “good.” But when we get our blinders off and really look at life, we can see that it doesn’t turn out that way. Good people and bad people seem to be just as likely to experience enjoyable and horrible things in life. Both good and bad people experience early death, or living to ripe old age. Because of this, we have to create some special place, after we die, in which judgment can be made and proper justice meted out. And then, we must create places that can sort out people based upon that judgment, called, in our culture, heaven and hell.
Questions of “good and bad” and “right and wrong” are irrelevant when it comes to healing. It seems clear to me that what we are left with is: are we willing to discern and use the laws that are in place in our universe for every single human being? Healing is a matter of enabling our whole mind and being to be focused on releasing our body’s abilities. Hypnosis can help with this in a powerful way.
How does hypnosis fit in?
I find it absolutely fascinating that a religious evangelist can create a spellbinding atmosphere of belief and expectation, and thus merely bring about healing by touching a person. Yet, that same evangelist will proclaim to his congregation that “hypnosis is of the devil.” It is that congregation’s own faith and expectation that releases their very own power to heal and be healed. This is exactly what happens in using hypnosis.
Hypnosis reaches underneath that part of the mind which doesn’t understand, and may not even believe, to that part of the mind which can understand, and believe. The hypnotherapist uses altered-state methods to get at that deeper part of the mind, which can have the faith to be healed. The therapist, just like the disciple, must have faith in order to use hypnosis to help another person be healed. The therapist is not doing the healing, but is assisting that person to use more of their own inner resources to release what is already given to them.
However, if therapists aren’t convinced that hypnosis can help heal (or, more likely, worry that they might be too audacious in suggesting that a client can be healed), then they may betray their own lack of confidence and expectation, and thus affect the confidence and expectation of their clients.
What’s the mind got to do with healing?
If it is a fact, as many physicians and scientists claim, that probably more than 90 percent of the diseases and disabilities we experience stem from our minds, then it seems reasonable that our minds can also heal us from them. I do not really agree with some of my colleagues that 100% of those diseases and disabilities come from our minds, but I certainly do believe our minds are greatly involved in whether we let those diseases and disabilities take over our lives. (If it were true that 100% were caused by our minds, then I would have a difficult time understanding why small children should be afflicted, or why animals get diseases that have no human source.)
Be that as it may, there is enough evidence that we largely create our own environment, whether it be external or internal. Our belief systems make a difference in how we relate to life, and how we relate to our minds and bodies. We can create a healthy or unhealthy external environment; and, we can create a healthy or unhealthy internal environment. In other words, it is our thoughts, or ideas, that create both our external and internal environments. Another way to describe it is that an incident or accident by itself is not the problem. Rather, it is the relationship we take to an incident, and the story we tell about it makes it either a problem or not a problem to us.
The relationship and story we tell about what happens to us in life is received by the unconscious or subconscious mind. Negative programming has been accepted for one reason or another — trust in a person or situation, threat and other trauma, misunderstandings, repetitive comments or events, protection in order to get through situations, etc. Such programming could be considered to be made of “negative hypnotic spells.”
Anything the unconscious mind accepts as fact will be carried out in the body. The unconscious part of the mind doesn’t distinguish the different between what is real and unreal, what is imagined and what is fact. The stronger the impression on the subconscious/unconscious mind, the more certain it will be carried out. The stronger the emotion, the more effect it has on the body. The more frequently said, implied, or experienced, the stronger the suggestion.
As a child, how many times were we told that we would catch cold if we didn’t wear a coat or boots on our feet. As adults, the assumption by many is, that if you are around someone with a cold, you will probably “catch” it. If someone merely says the word “cancer,” a sudden rush of fear can take over our bodies.
As children, when healthy, we might do something wrong and be punished; however, if sick, we would be comforted. Being well brings discomfort; being ill brings comfort. Which would you choose? Consciously we want to be well, but unconsciously, we want to be comforted. Words and attitudes from an early age make a difference in how we perceive health and illness. Since illness is not to our benefit, then anything said that promotes it could be considered creating a negative hypnotic spell.
You mean, that what I imagine is what happens?
When you believe something, your subconscious mind accepts it whether it is real or not. Whatever the conscious mind believes in, it is accepted as fact by the subconscious mind. It doesn’t differentiate between what is being imagined or what is actually happening. The unconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between what is real or unreal, true or false. Whatever our unconscious or subconscious mind accepts as fact will be carried out in our bodies. The imagination has a powerful effect on the body.
There are written case studies and medical records, which show people who have died from the fear of being poisoned, when there has been no trace of it within their systems. When totally convinced that an onion is a delicious apple, over 50 percent of blind-folded people will eat the onion as if it was a delicious apple. In an episode of the popular series M.A.S.H., the doctors, who had run out of the supply of morphine, created placebo capsules, which they gave to their very uncomfortable patients. The only requirement was that the doctors had to present a posture of total belief in the placebo as actual morphine. Well over 50% of the patients were relieved totally of their pain, and most of the others, alleviated considerably.
There is a great story of the King of Orange whose troops were trapped behind enemy lines without any access to proper food. Scurvy abounded, so that most of the soldiers were seriously ill. Upon word of this, the King sent a special messenger to get through the enemy’s lines to his troops. The messenger carried two vials of colored liquid. The message from the King was that those vials were very costly medicine, which was to be put in buckets of water, a few drops at a time. Each soldier was to have one ladle from the bucket daily. This would heal whoever drank the water.
After all, the King, himself, had sent these very expensive vials at great risk to his messenger. Within a very few days, all signs of scurvy had totally disappeared. The vials, of course, merely held plain colored water. Using one’s imagination is crucial in any field or situation, including medical. We think, therefore, we respond. If a doctor tells a patient that they will never get well, then the combination of the authority of the doctor and/or the public’s attitude toward the disease can create powerful images in one’s mind which convince the patient of that suggestion. In other words, the suggestion, unless consciously rejected, is received and imagined to be true. And the patient will never get well, unless convinced otherwise; that is, unless their imagination is changed about that prediction.
If we believe that illness is inevitable, we will respond considerably differently than if we believe that illness and physical handicaps are NOT normal. It is a known fact that whenever a new “illness” is reported by the public media, the incidence of that illness amongst the population suddenly and dramatically rises. In other words, what we imagine is what happens. Such people have accepted a new hypnotic spell.
There are many instances in which people have been convinced simply by word or implication. A diagnosis creates a label, such as “bi-polar.” At first, this may be very freeing to a person struggling with manic and mania responses within themselves. They realize that they are “not alone” or “going crazy.” But that diagnosis can also serve to continue to convince that person that they are “locked in” to that condition for their lives. They carry the label forever, until it is removed. It is, therefore, important for the counselor or hypnotherapist to be aware of what labels a client carries with them, whether they were put there by themselves, or by others, even if those other people are part of the medical community. And then, the therapist, through hypnosis and counseling methods, helps the client “peal off” those labels and replace them with the more positive ones of health and wholeness.
There are people we tend to allow as our authorities-teachers when younger; peers when teenage; doctors when older. How much we believe in what other people say makes a big difference in how much of a hypnotic spell we allow ourselves to be caught in. In this light, it is understandable why parents are often concerned about with whom their children play; or, whom their teenage children are dating.
In the same way, a counselor or hypnotherapist ought to be concerned about whom their clients decide to let influence them. When I am working with an addictive client, for instance, I encourage them to get away from negative energy in which they are immersed, and get among those whose energy is positive. There is a high attrition rate in those who go through addiction programs, for at least two reasons: 1) the work is done primarily at the conscious-mind level; and 2) the patients go out into the same old environment they came out of. Physical and social “geography” does make a difference in how quickly we respond to positive growth and healing. Our external environment, just like our internal one, has become part of our imagination.
How can hypnosis help change the “environment”?
To overcome problems, the negative information in the mind (or old hypnotic spells) has to be reversed. It can be changed by hypnotic suggestions, by watching positive action, and by using the imagination. The unconscious responds to the strongest impression. Only if the previous impression is less in strength than the new impression, can reprogramming with new ideas take place. Hypnosis has to get rid of the previous imprint, and provide sufficient reasons and benefits to the unconscious mind for that new imprint. This is what reprogramming is about.
An example of this replacement is with a client of mine who had come for weight control. Consciously, he wanted to get rid of excess weight. However, despite proper suggestions for changing unhelpful habits, nothing occurred. In trying to discover the reason for the block to getting rid of the enormous amount of excess fat he was carrying on his body, we encountered his childhood experiences. In his younger years, he was sickly, exceedingly thin, and had trouble eating. His parents and other relatives were so worried for him they told him many times, “You’ve got to eat, or you’ll die!” It is not difficult to grasp the power of that type of suggestion, which was, no doubt, accepted literally by the unconscious/subconscious levels of my client’s mind. As he began to recover from his illnesses, he began to eat enormous amounts of food, thus adding far too much weight to his body. It took (1) regression and releasing methods concerning those early memories; (2) suggestions to the “child part” of himself that he no longer had to fear dying from not eating enough because he had become an adult and so obviously hadn’t died; and (3) suggestions to the adult self that he was alive and well and could now eat normally. It worked. The client’s “deeper” mind accepted this new fact, and it became the new imprint. He was now willing to change his poor habits; and began to shed the extra pounds.
Ideas can be positively or negatively accepted, depending upon previous “programming;” emotions surrounding the ideas, and whether those ideas are understood or mis-understood. Hypnosis is a method used to suggest positive ideas, which, if accepted by the unconscious mind, affect the body and cause a positive response. It is a powerful tool that can convince the mind to create a healthy environment — outside or inside. Hypnosis helps clients overcome problems and get rid of self-defeating images, by breaking the old “hypnotic spells.” the negative information in the mind has to be reversed. Negative programming can be changed. However, the “manager of the mind” awaits instructions before getting rid of negative programming. Until then, it goes on using the same program until told otherwise. It is like a computer which, despite all the hardware, cannot run until you enter a program. And that program cannot operate until you touch the keyboard. Entering a new program is like adding a new dimension to the imagination of the computer, or tapping into more of its potential “mind.” For the client, whatever has been believed is imprinted on the mind. Proper use of hypnosis can change those imprints into something more positive and effective.
There is also the possibility of previous incarnations providing imprints. The question becomes: with whose illness are we actually dealing? In such a case, it is necessary to treat that previous incarnation as the client who is seeking relief from that “hypnotic spell,” or imprint. Whether it is this existence, or a past one, or even some kind of incarnate attachment, that “person” is the actual client, or patient, and the one who needs the healing.
Can our minds really heal our bodies?
Some force within us is capable of repairing the body. This fact is acknowledged even by the medical community, as evidenced most strongly in the use of placebos in scientific medical studies. As mentioned before, it isn’t the doctor who mends the broken bone who heals it. The doctor places the bones in proper alignment, and puts something around that area to keep it stable. But, that doctor does not do the actual knitting of those bones. The body has an instinct to send whatever is necessary to that site to stimulate the cells, fluids and chemicals to do whatever is required for that healing to take place. You could say that this very fact of nature supports the belief that our body’s “natural” state is to be well.
The hypnotherapist, or counselor using hypnosis, will not set bones in place or wrap them for adequate support, nor do the job of the body. What it can do, is to send signals to the mind of that body to help that healing process respond more rapidly and completely; and to help the patient through it all with an easy, positive mind.
The body and the mind are made to be completely whole, completely healthy. They are meant to be continually recreated with new cells and ideas. But sometimes something occurs which blocks that continuous process of regeneration, or misdirects it. Hypnosis can be used to get to that part of the mind where some “disconnect” has occurred, and release it, so that the healing and regeneration process can continue as nature intended it.
Because hypnosis has the capacity to call forth this ability of the mind to “re-think” how it is operating the body, the hypnotist or counselor who works with hypnosis would be well advised to study the human body’s anatomy and its physiological principles. By having a clearer idea of how the organs, glands, and various other systems operate, the hypnotist can encourage the client’s practical imagination in helping the body promote its own health by thinking of that area of their body as healthy and operating perfectly.
Besides hypnosis and medical care of various kinds, there are other helpful tools for enhancing healing, such as humor, healthy sexual contact, harmonious relationships, good friends, and anything else that provides a positive atmosphere.
— The universe has been created with laws. Laws are objective. They apply to everything and everyone.
— The subconscious (or unconscious) mind controls all systems and processes of the body, including its healing processes.
— The body functions according to thoughts, ideas, and beliefs accepted by the subconscious/unconscious mind. “We are what we think.”
— Thoughts filter from the conscious mind into the subconscious mind and affect the body positively or negatively, depending upon the types of messages received.
— Ideas don’t have to be true to affect us; they need only to be accepted by our minds as true. What we imagine occurring is what occurs.
— Positive emotions are instrumental in producing good health. The body can usually withstand temporarily unpleasant emotions, but unpleasant emotions over a period of time can cause a negative effect on the body.
— Destructive emotions can have a definite effect on the health of the body, just as they do on the mind.
— Since it is basically “thoughts”, or ideas, that determine how we respond, then thoughts and ideas can be changed in order to determine different responses.
— Hypnosis is a tool that can demonstrate the effect the mind has on the body. It can show how ideas formed by a person can affect the body positively or negatively.
— Hypnosis can be used to replace negative programming with positive programming, negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
— Hypnosis can be used to release blocks to the natural healing processes, by strengthening the imagination regarding healing.
— Hypnosis can seek out inappropriate imprints on the mind and change them to ones that are more beneficial to the client.
Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., Counseling Hypnotherapist Author of the GREAT ESCAPES script books and the NEW BEGINNINGS recording series
TRANSITIONS, a Center for Counseling & Hypnosis and home of New Beginnings Publishing Located in Tacoma, Washington USA
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