Is Your Heart Locked Shut?

Dec 10, 2022

What do you think about these three “cases” from my files? These are real human beings who came in for hypnotherapy to solve major life problems. Can you identify with any of these?

The first was a man who had been a multi-millionaire; he accumulated his wealth over a period of 25 years and suddenly made a business decision that resulted in losing absolutely everything he had within a span of six months. Curios, right? This man knew enough about business and business decisions to accumulate literally millions. Yet, quite suddenly, one very poor decision, according to him, led to the loss of everything.

The second is a woman who had been a smoker her whole life. She started feeling short of breath… her physician referred her to me to quit smoking. She came in for one session of hypnosis. The week after the session she told me on the phone that she was good, no more cravings, no more smoking for her. About six months after the session, she called me back and said the following: I was at a beach with my husband and family on vacation. Everything was perfect, suddenly I started smoking again. What’s going on?

The third is a middle-aged man in his late 40’s. This man was absolutely tormented because he had two families: two women, two households, two sets of children, simultaneously. The expenses of maintaining two households and the aggravation of constant conflict in his life were “killing him”, he told me. This situation had been going on for almost 20 years, and this man could not understand why he found himself in it, and why he was unable to extricate himself from something that was so detrimental to his well-being.

There is one thing in common among these three cases, and indeed among almost all of the 12000 other people who came to the office for hypnotherapy. Can you tell what it is?

How about looking away from this text, and jotting down what you think is common among these people? On the surface these appear to be very different types of problems, but there is one huge commonality. Here it is.

Each of these people had been violated in some way early in their lives. For some reason, they harbored a deep pain within their being. I say “for some reason” because not everyone who is violated or hurt, ends up harboring a deep pain. Some people truly let it go, others, keep it inside.

The problem, however, is neither the pain, nor what caused the pain. I am often reminded of the countless hours people spend in therapy discussing the events that brought about their pain, or what they think is their pain.

Early in my career I developed a very practical notion regarding therapy: I reasoned that a person would not come in for hypnotherapy unless there was a dysfunction they wanted to correct. The dysfunction could not stem from, or be rooted in, positive events in their past. It follows that the dysfunction must be rooted in some negative occurrence. Well, if there is a dysfunction, there must be a negative, or a pain within the client. The current dysfunction they want to resolve, therefore, is a reflection in the present of a pain from the past.

I figured that discussing the pain, or the events that led to the pain, could only aggravate the pain, and never create the future, or present, the client wants. What we need instead, I figured, is to find the consequence of the pain that creates the dysfunction in the present. Change that, and the person’s life is unlocked… like magic.

I often used the example of a car. Imagine your neighbor got upset with you over the noise of your lawnmower on Sunday mornings. To retaliate against you, just imagine, your neighbor disconnected the battery cable in your car. Now you need to go to work, and your car does not start. Are you seeing the analogy? What do you need right now? Discussing the circumstances of your neighbor’s anger and the events that followed will not get your car started. The present consequence of his past anger and actions, is that the battery is disconnected, now. We need to connect the battery cable for the car to start. In therapy we need to find the lose cable and connect it; everything else is socializing, I often said. Nothing wrong with talking, but it is not therapy.

Going back to the three clients, what is the equivalent of the lose battery cable?

When we are hurt and violated, we close and cringe to protect ourselves from further damage. This is a natural response to pain… we withdraw, we close, we hide. We protect ourselves.

What closes when hurt? What are the consequences of this closure? The heart closes. Once the heart closes we change our destiny. Either we wither in some way, or we become strong from a position of revenge. Either way, we change our destiny. If we wither, we do not do what we set out to do in this lifetime. If we become strong, from a position of revenge, we do what we think will bother some other person, again, not what we came to do in this lifetime.

The span between our true destiny and the life we have been living is the garden where our pain and sorrows flourish.

Just as there is no “cold” or “dark” in physics; there is heat and light to different degrees, there is no way to pluck pain out of our lives. There is none. All we can do is begin to live our true destiny, our true lives, the life that brings joy to our heart now. The closer our lives are to our ideal lives, the narrower is that span, and the less pain there will be. The more joy there is.

How do you narrow that span and embark into your ideal life? By opening your heart.

Mystics have been talking about opening the heart for millennia; there are many exercises and rituals that can be useful. One such ritual is therapy. We use hypnosis to trace one disfunction back to a root event. We uncover the emotion “under” the event. This requires a state like the hypnotic state because the emotion of interest is unconscious. In hypnosis we can become conscious of the unconscious.

Now we “see” the consequence of that emotion: It will be some dysfunction in the present. Now it is time for the magic:

We chose again. At each instant of our lives, or in each hypnotherapy session, we can choose again. We can choose the pain, or freedom and joy.

When we choose freedom and joy, something we call forgiveness, the heart opens. The span between the life we live and our ideal lives closes somewhat, and a ton of pain goes away, replaced by a ton of joy.

And all of that without endless discussions about who did what to whom. Some people call it magic. I call it psychotherapeia… true healing of the soul.




Two Step

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