This is a good way to begin Meditation. Try it. It will bring you to focus.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Last year I was shooting my documentary film Zaritsas: Russian Women in New York. I followed five girls around during their daily activities and interviewed them for six months! It was an unforgettable experience. Of course, there were ups and downs throughout the process, but each minute of it was a worthwhile experience.
As a Hypnotist I often practice self-hypnosis or exchange NLP sessions with my colleagues for personal self-improvement. I am constantly looking for new effective ways of trance inductions and ways to plant positive suggestions. My colleagues and I often exchange a lot of information and ideas. As Thomas Jefferson once said “If two individuals get together and exchange a dollar, they each walk away with one dollar. If the same individuals get together and exchange an idea, they both walk away with two ideas.”
This past summer I discovered a new powerful self-hypnosis technique which I would like to share with all of you. It is called Self-Hypnosis based Meditation. I discovered it while filming for three days in Sufi Camp in New Mexico, as one of the girls in my film stayed there for two months.
Sufi is a spiritual practice that originates from Islam, kind of like Yoga from Buddhism. Sufi involves various modalities like dance, movement, meditation, chanting, singing and so on. It is very artistic and creative in its base.
On the last night of my trip I was invited to participate in one of the sufi workshops with everyone else. That night we were doing a sufi meditation. I was in a hall room full of people. The Sufi instructor Adnan Sarhan inserted a tape into his old stereo. It began playing a mantra ( a short Arabic phrase) loudly into the speakers without any music. Just plain words. We were instructed to repeat it over out loud in unison with the tape recorder.
I began saying my mantra out loud, occasionally looking around trying to capture my surroundings. Everyone sat silently on the floor obediently repeating the mantra. I closed my eyes again and continued repeating these two Arabic words just like everyone else did. I was not supposed to stop.
I knew that this was one of the ways many people meditated: repeatedly focusing on a mantra. I heard about it so many times and read in books. I may even tried it a few times in the past, but never got any effect from it.
So, this time in Sufi camp sitting on a floor with my legs crossed I didn’t have much expectations, other than expecting to be very bored. Ten minutes later I was still repeating the mantra out loud and kept on thinking what was coming next and when this tape would finally end on this old man’s stereo.
About ten more minutes passed and I couldn’t believe we were still doing it. I peaked around at people. I noticed some of them were swaying slightly from side to side and gently lowering their heads down and up. I looked ahead of me and saw a young girl stretched on the floor moving her body slowly, almost in ecstasy. It was captivating to watch.
I close my eyes again. Bored, and even more: I was beginning to feel angry at myself thinking that I wouldn’t get anything out of it anyway. My lips were getting very tired. I stuck to the mantra. The more I tried to keep my lips moving, the more tired they felt. Then they felt more lazy, my face feeling relaxed. Then I felt this drowsy feeling and relaxation spreading around my mouth and into my face even more, then slowly into my body. I began to feel a pleasant sensation of trance-like state flowing into my whole body again and then into my awareness.
At that moment I became aware of a familiar state of the hypnotic trance that I had experienced before many times in sessions ( when exchanging sessions with colleagues.) Except this time I entered this deep state with this strange mantra myself and quite unexpectedly. My thoughts slowly started to melt away.
I continued seeing various images in my head, as if I was streaming through a beautiful colorful tunnel. I stopped saying the mantra for a moment. Then, forced myself to utter it again in a very low voice. I could feel an euphoric feeling traveling through every limb of my body and mind. I was just enjoying the ride of deep hypnotic trance.
The next day when I was leaving camp I was going into the airport and thinking about this beautiful experience. I kept asking myself: Do campers actually know that they go in and out of deep trance every day during their workshops? Do they know that they could use these states to direct their thoughts and give themselves suggestions for powerful changes?
From what I knew, they only used these states to relax and feel a purification and oneness with the Infinite Intelligence. It is very spiritual. Also, I know that the workshops and overall experience in the camp helps many campers improve in various areas of life and even quit bad habits. ( I have a theory why, which I will explain another time.)
As a Hypnotist I began looking at my trance experience in sufi camp from a practical point of view. These trance states that campers go in and out during the day in a sufi camp - are the kind of states we, as Hypnotists work to induce in our clients in order to plant suggestions for a positive change. For some clients it can be very easy to reach that deep state, for others it may take a while ( a few sessions) before they get there. Even though we don’t always need a very deep state of trance in order for suggestions to reach the subconscious, still, I personally always loved the deep states and found they work powerfully for me.
When I came to New York, I began practicing meditation more often. I either used a mantra or simply focused on my breathing for a long time to help me enter a deep meditative state. The more I practiced the better I became at it. Today it can take me anywhere from ten to twenty minutes before I slip into a trance.
What do you think I do then? Any guesses?
I use my inner voice to feed my mind with positive suggestions, hence the invention of my new technique Self-Hypnosis Based Meditation.
Here is how you can do it too:
- Chose one or two positive suggestions you want to “download” into your subconscious mind during your meditation. For example: “ I am a successful writer,” “ I am an excellent public speaker”, “ I am a happy person”, “ I am fearless in..( whatever)”, “ I improve my relationships”, “ I have a high self-esteem”, “ I am a non-smoker”, “Tobacco is poison”, “ I no longer bite my nails, I am healthy”, “ I am in control” and so on.
Make sure that your affirmations ( suggestions) are always stated in positives. And try not to use more that two affirmations while in trance, because your mind can only remember one or two items while you are deep in trance. I actually recommend using one good suggestion, which can also become a mantra for you during trance. Your mind will hear it, accept it, and believe it! Eventually your mind will turn in into your reality when you are in a wake state!
- After you chose your suggestion, begin by going into a trance. Be patient. Use your breathing or a mantra if you know any. Or you can simply just count from 200 and down saying the words “deeper relaxed” after each number. It may take you about 15-30 minutes before you enter a deep meditative state. It takes practice. You might have a tendency to get up and stop. Don’t do that. Continue by pushing your thoughts away. Use whatever technique you want to meditate ( there are plenty of spiritual books on that)
- Once you are in that deep meditative state, feeling physical relaxation and stillness of your mind, begin by saying your affirmation( suggestion) inside yourself silently. Don’t say it out loud or you will awake yourself. Keep on saying that suggestion and really hear your inner voice. Notice where it comes from. Do it for as long as you feel comfortable. Your new positive affirmation will begin to securely plant in your inner mind, replacing the other old limiting belief. You will know when to stop.
- Slowly open your eyes, feeling invigorated and refreshed. Your newly installed positive affirmation is your new positive belief now! You attitude and behavior will change accordingly to this new belief.
See, it is very simple. The entire self-hypnosis based meditation may take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. I usually do it for one hour a few times a month. It works wonders! Let me know if you have questions!
Friday, August 21, 2009
The dream I had last night was very strange, I wonder if there is any logic to it at all. Even if it's that other type of alien and abstract , which I yearn to understand.
Here it starts, my dream.
I feel very good. I know I am safe. I am next to someone I love. It feels warm and I can feel his touch. I do not see his face. But I know that we both in love and I trust him. I look around, we are on the small white plane. I notice that we are both naked. We are so close to each other.
"Let's do it", he says.
"What, my darling?" I ask him lazily.
"Where?" I ask.
"To the top, very top of the airplane!"
"You are out of your mind! It's dangerous…"
" Trust me, let's go!"
He takes my hand. We both somehow ( in abstract dreamy logic) get to the very top of the airplane and spread out on it while it's flying through the air. We did it! I lay on the top of his body facing the sky. The airplane is flying so fast, the wind passes by. I can feel chills on my body. I feel so safe and secure. We are still both naked.
Suddenly, we are falling off the plane. Falling down so fast. I look at him. Oh no! We are going to die! He doesn't say anything, just hugs me closer and we hold hands. The air is so cold and it feels so liberating to fly down so uncontrollably. We know we are going to die.
We fall on the ground. I open my eyes. I move my body. I am alive. Tall dark green grass is looking right into my face. I see the empty fields to one side and the woods to the other. I try to stand up. Where is he? I look to the side. He doesn't move. I must do something to get out of this place and get to the city! I don't know if he is dead or alive.
I take his body and carry it with me. I walk through the woods. I see the road.
Cars are passing by fast. I look at myself. I am no longer Elena. I am him. And now I am holding Elena's naked body with my right arm. I hold it tight. I think she is dead, my woman is dead. What have I done! I need to get to the city. I try to flag down a car, but they all pass by me. They just don’t want to stop.
Why? In fact they all speed up as soon as they see me! What the hell is wrong with these people? Maybe they think I am a criminal and killed this naked woman? That I am murderer? What idiots! Finally a very strange bus stops. It is extremely narrow and all red on the outside. I walk in, there are few off-beat looking people in it. It is a very old looking bus. The driver keeps pressing down the horn and it rings like bells. He is very skinny and his face is all pockmarked looking. He asks me where I am going. I instantly notice that he speaks as if he never went to school, as if he is an ex prisoner or something.
I am clothed. My woman is naked, she lays peacefully to my right side. She doesn't move anymore or say anything. What have I done…
I get off the bus. I walk. Tall gloomy looking buildings. I walk into an old looking building. Elevator. Flat. I ring the bell. Somebody opens the door. Oh it's my cousin from Russia. Wait, I am Elena again. I am a woman. I walk through the long hallway. I enter a room and see a young man, it's my first boyfriend, the one whom I lost my virginity. I kiss him on the cheek. I am still holding something on my right side. Is it a body? No. Two folders. I look at them, then carefully put them on the table.
"These are two death certificates," I reply.
I woke up. Good morning, Friday.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Dear readers, I will no longer post much of hypnosis pertaining material here. At least it will not be directly related to Hypnosis as in my previous ( only a few ) posts. Reason? Ha, secret. Can’t tell you. Ok, a hint: most of my Hypnosis material shall be in a different form, which will be announced to your knowledge later.
But for now I would like to invite you to my rather peculiar world of dreaming. I dream, just like all of us. And I decided that I want to start writing my dreams and maybe try analyzing them if possible.
I must say that my dreams are like the alternate world of existence. I literally live a parallel life, which I very much look forward to sometimes.
Two nights ago I had a very vivid dream, after which I began understanding one interesting concept of a “lost soul.” You know how sometimes people say, “ Oh, he ( or she) is a poor lost soul.” You kind of get the meaning of it: that the person is lost or having some troubles or doesn’t have a direction in life or simply unlucky or whatever.
We all have some sort of perception of this expression, and it is somewhat similar I believe. But how did that expression ever come to life? It must have started somehow. Just think about it: Lost soul. Where is it lost exactly? Is it in a body at all? If not, then where is it lost? And where is it supposed to go? I frankly did not think of such questions till the time I had my dream two nights ago, which I am about to tell you.
But let me say something else. Before I had that dream, I was listening to Philosophy lectures on Death ( yes I am a bit of a nerd!) a few nights in a row from an Open Yale University by Professor Shelly Kagan. His last two or three lectures were on suicide. So, for the last couple of days before the dream I had been pondering this concept and why people would want to end their lives. In my blog I will not go much into a philosophical discussion of suicide and death. Though I will add that Shelly Kagan, as he calls himself is a physicalist ( vs. the dualist) and is also a determinist. Putting it simply, he is an atheist and believes that after we die- we just die, that there is no soul, we just vanquish. Zero. Nada. Kaput! We are all mortal, he believes. I don’t want to argue that ( just yet). But before I bore you with too much philosophy, let’s get to my dream.
I am asleep. Deep sleep. I am in Russia. I lie on the floor in my aunt’s apartment. We are all in the kitchen. Many people are around, mostly relatives. All worrying. Something terrible is happening. There was some poison in the city to which many people were exposed. Not sure exactly how. But I am a victim. I am dying. I know it. I see that my parents are not there. And my aunt is holding my hand. I feel that the death is coming. What a feeling: knowing that you are about to die. I know that in a few seconds I will go, I will be out. How could I know? I feel the nearing of death somehow consciously and physically. I will be blunt, it is very close to a feeling of knowing that you are about to climax. Some of you (or many) may know that feeling.
Anyway, I know, I am about to die and I tell my aunt, “Please tell my parents that I love them very much!” And suddenly I feel I am rising out of my body. I feel myself coming out of my heart, neck, and head - all together . It is a strong physical sensation, also very liberating! Oh, I should add that the few seconds before knowing that you are about to die - you actually look forward to dieing, because somehow in these few seconds of prelude you understand how great death will feel.
And so, I am out of my body and streaming through the rooms and passing through the walls! I just fly so fast through the balcony and out to the streets. I go up and down so fast and so high and so low. I still know that I am me! I know who I am. I know that I am separated from my body and also from everything else around me. I don’t see myself. I want to talk, but don’t hear myself. I probably don’t even have a mouth. Yeah, I don’t! Wow, what a feeling! I am flying so fast! Where should go? I just feel so happy now! I am flying fast because I want to see my parents and say hello. I fly to the left where my parents’ house is.
I see my father walking, he looks so happy and smiles. And I come close to him and want to talk and hug him. But he doesn’t see me. I am unseen! Of course I am, because I am dead!!! I am so distraught; I fly higher in the sky. I fly to the left and right. I have nowhere to go, nobody sees me. Nobody knows of my existence. I must do something about. I am a lost soul! Lost soul! What should I do? I want to come back to my body. Where is it? I want back, back to life! I want to be in my body, I have so much to say, so much to do and accomplish in my life! I want back.
And suddenly I am feeling my arms, my chest, every single nerve and muscle in my body enlivening so slowly. Cell by cell, back to life. I feel my physical body and I slowly open my eyes. I am back in my body here in my apartment in New York City. What a great feeling to be alive! I have so much, so much I have not done, and I am just appreciating being alive.
That was my experience of being a lost soul in space without the body and nowhere to go and no one to see or hear me. Perhaps, that’s the feeling one gets when ending one’s life and not having accomplished what he or she ought to in one's journey?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
And so I did, I auditioned for MTV, they liked me and brought me in again the next day and I auditioned for more people. I showed all my stage hypnosis tricks, and my knowledge of hypnosis. But still, within myself I kept on thinking, “I will do what can, I will be myself, and if they like what they see- great. And if not – great too.” With this kind of attitude I felt totally relaxed and comfortable. I was just going with the flow. Besides, I had so much fun going through the auditioning process. Everything was happening very fast in just two days: a phone call, audition, hypnosis, another audition, meeting great people, more hypnosis and feedback, I felt like a hurricane came by into my life and shook me up a little bit.
After my first audition I started thinking, “Well, yes I have background in Hypnosis and NLP, and I practice clinical hypnosis. I love Hypnosis, and realize that it is a part of my life. But where else am I to do with it? Where else am I to use my skills in this life? I certainly used some of them in my upcoming documentary Russian Women in New York ( by building rapport, organizing things, coaching and so on). But I feel there is much more to my skills. Shall I ever write an insightful book about it? Shall I ever have a film about it? Or perhaps a show? What is my position in this most exciting area of mental art, called Hypnosis?”
The MTV audition got me thinking. And I started researching, and reading, and watching videos of some great hypnotists, mentalists, illusionists. That’s right. Magic. Here we come again. Why am I always drawn to that area? I guess Hypnosis and Magic are cousins.
Nevertheless, my new and most profound discovery was English illusionist Derren Brown. I not only I watched mostly all his videos, but I also knew exactly how he did some of his tricks. I am blown away with his mindreading skills and I want to learn how he does that. I also realize that many of his tricks could not be done without a very skillful film production. Actually, I found that his producer is also a magician- that helps. It is clear that Derren Brown uses a lot of Hypnosis and NLP, yet I suspect that in some of his routines like in Mind Control program, the whole Idea of hypnosis is simply a cover up. In fact, some of the show is built around the idea as if he is skillfully using hypnosis or some kind of psychological tricks. I believe most of the scenes are set ups and are well written routines which convince us the audience as if he is using NLP or hypnosis. I am OK with that. It is a part of the show.
Now, of course in some other cases he does use some powerful linguistic tricks. My favorite show of his is The Messiah. He travels to the US to convince five leading figures that he has certain powers in their field of expertise: alien abduction, psychic powers, Christian evangelism, new age theories and contacting the dead. The concept of the show is to highlight the power of suggestion with regard to beliefs and people's abilities, and failure to question them. In that program you can clearly see what Derren’s opinion is on the whole idea of human perception and how much we humans can easily be fooled with pseudo-scientific phenomena.
I have also noticed that he has a very strong opinion about psychics. And you can place it in one phrase: Derren Brown believes that all physics are charlatans ( as if most of them use coldreading techniques). Actually, I noticed that another magician Chris Angel thinks just that. When I watched his interview I noticed his absolute repulsion towards all guru/psychic/clairvoyant type of people. I do see a similar trait from Derren Brown. Now, this is very interesting, actually. Because, Brown had mastered those powerful linguistic patterns and obviously had studied many psychics and so this way he can surely say that all of the psychic phenomena is simply a bunch of bologna. Yes, there is certainly some kind of structure to magic, and obviously coldreading being a whole set of linguistic patterns that most psychics use. Where am I going with it? I believe that it can be both: Coldreading as science and also intuition. The latter is something that is indeed connected to some source of Knowledge and Enlightment. But, I also fully agree with Derren Brown and Chris Angel that there are way many people that use the techniques to fool people. Actually, I think that not only charlatan use these techniques, but also marketers on TV, film and various add campaigns.
So, do you see now where my MTV audition had taken me? My quest for my position in the area of hypnosis, mentalism and magic. I see, I have a long way to go.
And here is my tip for today: there are two kind of attitudes toward getting what you want: First is when you are absolutely sure that you want something, and you will get it no matter what. Sounds familiar? I am sure, many of you have had that experience before. It is the time when you know that whatever you want is something that you have been waiting for and here is your chance to grab it. Now on the other hand, there are other times when you want something but you are not sure if you want it, yet you go with it and simply take a chance- maybe I will get it, if I meant to have it – almost like playing a lottery.
Which scenario has more of chances of getting the outcome? Certainly the first one. My point – you need to clarify your final outcome, mold it and refine it. It’s OK if you don’t know precisely what you want: because the process of searching for it is also gratifying. Keep on searching and never stop!