To give some idea of what process oriented hypnosis feels like, I invite you, here and now, while you are reading these words, to enter into a mild trance. Let these words help you. By simply reading these words and following along with them, doing what they suggest, you can enter into a mild trance. From the view point of process oriented hypnosis, everyone is living in some kind of trance, so in some sense you are already there. We are doing that is different from the trance of ordinary life is that we can choose our state. We can harmonize our conscious and subconscious mind into a greater functional unity and learn to shift our inner state more easily as result.
Before entering the instructions, I would like for you to simply check in and notice how you feel right now. Notice if you feel tired or alert, tense or relaxed, whether you are hunching forward or are gently erect, whether your jaw is clenched or relaxed, whether your neck is stiff or flexible, whether your shoulders are tight or loose, whether your lower back is stiff or loose, whether your feet are firmly planted on the ground or not, and whether your eyes feel bright or tired. Also notice any thoughts that you might be dwelling on or any problems that might be worrying you. Notice any emotions that might be floating around or just be part of your general mood. Notice if you feel serious or lighthearted, sad or happy, afraid or hopeful, angry or at peace, loving or nonattached, open or guarded, and joyful or dull. The check ins mentioned are not exhaustive, but are meant to help you access where you are right now. The check in does not have to be a serious intense inventory, but it is just to get a general feeling of where you are in this moment. You are free to make small adjustments if you feel that they will help, but before you adjust, just take a mental note of where you are.
I would like for you to place part of your attention on your breathing and keep part of your attention on these words. Notice how your belly is or is not involved in your breathing process. Now inhale and expand your belly. Let it expand as fully as possible without strain. If you feel yourself efforting to expand it further, then you have gone too far and can stop. Now let the exhale happen. From inhaling and expanding the belly, you have stretched the belly some. This means that in order to exhale, you do not have to do much. You can let the belly muscles relax and push out the air on the exhale. A little bit of pulling in is needed too, but it is a small effort. Let the belly feel like it is softening on the exhale. Then inhale again, making the lungs feel as full as possible without strain. The lungs should slightly press, from the inside out, against the rib cage, but not too much. You do not want to move into the feeling of strain. The movement of the rib cage is only a few millimeters, perhaps even just one millimeter. What matter is simply that the rib cage moves in response to the inhale. The amount of the movement is not important. More is not better. Then exhale again, softening the belly, and gently and slowly pulling the belly in, letting the air flow out. Then inhale again, as before, except this time notice if the rib cage is expanding both on the front and in the back. This is easier if your back is not leaning against the chair, but is free standing. Then when you exhale, make a soft whispering "hah" sound, elongating the sound across the whole exhale. Feel as if the air pushing past the teeth is making the sound. Then on the inhale, feel like you are making a soft whispering "eh" sound across the entire inhale. Next remove any slight pause between inhale and exhale and between exhale and inhale. Feel like you are breathing one smooth continuous circle of breathing. Removing the pauses makes the breathing go slightly faster. Take a pause from reading these words and do about 20 breaths. The number does not have to be exact, but err on the side of doing a little more rather than a little less than this amount. When you have completed the 20, then notice your inner state and how it feels. Compare this to how you felt before you started. Then move to the next paragraph.
Clap your hands and place your attention on the palms of your hands. Clap your hands strong enough so that you feel a tingling sensation in your palms. Keep your attention on your palms. You may notice that as long as you keep your attention on the tingling sensation in your palms that the tingling sensation will not fade away. This is how tangible the effect of attention can be. It can keep an organic biological sensation alive. If you clap, make a tingling sensation, and ignore it, then the sensation will fade away very quickly. This little exercise has deep implications for the mind and body connection. It has to do with how we are three brained beings and how the three brains interact with each other. These brains may be called the rational cortical, the emotional limbic mammalian, and the instinctive r-complex reptilian. In this exploration, we are only going to a certain depth with the neurological interconnectedness of these brains and their interconnectedness of these brains with the organs and functions of the entire body.
If you have lost the tingling sensation in the palms, then please clap again and reactivate this sensation. Keep your attention on the palms and notice your breathing at the same time, breathing in the same manner as we had done before. Notice if the sensation "pulses", getting stronger on the exhale, or not. If it does not, do not worry, but chances are you will feel some changes in sensation that reflect the cycle of inhaling and exhaling. See if you can, through, breathing, attention, and intention, spread the sensation throughout your body. Gently wish the sensation to move up the arm. If it does not seem to do so, then simply imagine that it is spreading up the arm and just keep attention on the sensation in the palms. Then focus on the soles of the feet and by intention and imagination feel as if the sensation in the palms is being generated in the soles of the feet. The sensation may not feel exactly the same, but some sensation usually appears through attention, intention, and breathing. If not, then simply imagine that a sensation is there and wish it to move up the legs. Through intention, attention, breathing, and, if necessary visualization and imagination, spread the sensation throughout your body. Again, in all these explorations you do not have to force results. If you find yourself straining, simply let go of efforting. Let the results come or not come. They will come slowly and easily. Our trying is not necessary. If it helps, then visualize the sensation as a shimmering white light spreading through your body. If you have trouble visualizing, then simply intend for the white light to spread through the body. In a sense, you are imagining that you are imagining white light. Even if you do not sense the results, they are being produced and will slowly accumulate until they are felt. Occasionally scan your body and see if any area needs to be "filled in" with sensation or white light energy. Notice if any area feels resistant to receiving this spread of sensation or light. Again, we are not trying to force results. Simply note that an area is resistant and probably tense. Let it be where it is and let it find its own way to relax, open up, and let go. Each of these resistant places can be used to deepen our state. Each of them is usualy an emotional exploration and can lead to an integration of some new information or experiences. This will make the part of our body available to our consciousness again. Its sensory and motor contribution can be part of us again.
When you have filled every place in your body with light, except of the parts not yet ready, then check in again and notice how you feel. Notice what has changed and what has not changed. Notice your general mood. You may wish to go back to the original check in paragraph to check how certain specifics are inside you.
Now visualize cutting a lemon in half and then visualize yourself sucking on the lemon, imagine the bitterness of the lemon, the tartness, and even imagine yourself biting into it. Notice if you are salivating. Most people, if they are visualizing sucking on a lemon for about one minute or less, will feel their mouth salivate at least a little. Again, this shows how our tri-brain is wired. It means that some part of our brain which controls salivation cannot tell the difference between a real lemon and a visualized lemon. We are not even believing that the lemon we are visualizing is real.
The principle that we are discovering through palm tingling and the visualized lemon is a deep one. It is interesting to feel this principle through an exploration. Think about what this could mean, when this same principle shifts us when we are watching an action movie, where our heat beat is racing during a chase scene with all kinds of buildings blowing up on the movie screen. Our bodies are feeling the scene partly as if it is in those scenes. It is pumping adrenaline into our bloodstream and mobilized for a fight or flight reaction. It is another case of a visualization causing a biochemical change, though too much of this can wear us out. In this case, the movie does a lot of the visualization work for us. When we consciously utilize our own visualization function, then we can choose our own state.
From the viewpoint of process oriented hypnosis, many of the illnesses in our bodies are the same as this principle in action. Some part of our subconscious mind is holding visualization and producing a result inside us. It may be a memory tape loop, where part of us is reliving a traumatic event over and over again, and experiencing all kinds of neurological reactions and biochemical changes. Modern medicine can sometimes overwhelm this biochemical action, but it may take repeated doses to keep neutralizing the effects of the unconscious visualization. It is possible to make the unconscious visualization conscious again and then let it go. When this happens, the body has healed itself. The subconscious mind may be trying to process the traumatic memory and may need to complete this process. Our survival oriented reptilian brain may need to "front load" a positive response to the traumatic event, to know what to do when and if the event happens again. This, too, can be done through a visualization. Sometimes, the event is complex and needs to be explored to the point where it is fully understood, and then the subconscious mind can release it. Much of what we do in dreams has to do with this kind of processing. Sometimes, however, this processing gets blocked from completion for all kinds of reasons. These missing pieces can be added within a process session so that the movement can complete itself.
Notice that in these explorations that you do not ever "lose control" other than opening up to the influences and needs of a larger sense of self within you. The conscious mind, through its attention, intention, and visualization is still a dynamic power in this process. Notice that the process guide is accessing the subconscious mind through the body and its sensations. It is partly induction and partly training that is being done.
There is an atmosphere of nonjudgment about the process. There is a check in to notice what has spontaneously changed that periodically is done. This can be done through the process guide scanning the body of the voyager or through the voyager self checking along the way. Sometimes self checking activates the "inner critic" that condemns and imposes its agenda on what is seen, rather than letting what is simply be. Sometimes the early processes have to do with learning to set aside the inner critic or learning to quiet its voice, so that fresh observations can be made. There is also nonjudgment about the inner critic. It is allowed to be, but its role needs to be decentralized some, so that other parts and other voices within can be heard and felt.
We usually have created an inner critic through internalizing the messages of our parents. The inner critic tells us what we must do to get parental approval and sometimes what to do to avoid getting punished. Although our adult self is usually clear that we do not need the approval of our parents in order to survive, our inner child and inner animal self equals parental approval with survival and feels fear when we do not get it. The inner critic is in some sense a product of a biological genetic program and our cortical development synthesizing in a new pattern. It is not so easy to release the inner critic because of this. It served its purpose, but needs to be outgrown at some point. Our inner critic can be the primary cause of all kinds of psychosomatic symptoms, including a tense feeling in the pit of our bellies when we are afraid about something happening and not happening, and "want to do the right thing". We can be run by our inner critic and it can be merciless, and we can be miserable as a result. Sometimes our inner critic gets fused with the image of god and we can live our lives in hope for heaven and in fear of hell as a result. Exploring and learning about the inner critic can be useful and can allow us to live in greater ease and grace with life.
There are also formative experiences. These were usually felt as traumas growing up. Sometimes from some events in the past we decided what reality is and are living those decisions even now. It is sometimes useful to review and update these formative experiences when we learn that reality can be different than the past. We cannot usually change those past events, but we can change what they mean to us. Through process oriented hypnosis, we can "time travel" back to those events and shift their energies. It is a delicate process, because we do not form our view of reality capriciously. There is a reason why we believe the way that we do. It takes a certain kind of wise exploration to unlearn, undo, and outgrow past survival patterns. Our subconscious mind wants to make sure that we are "trading up" to an improved version of reality, rather than a less useful version of reality. A more useful version of reality does not mean a better, nicer, and more happy picture of reality necessarily. If there are real enemies out there, our subconscious mind wants to know this and be prepared for them. Sometimes the subconscious mind will assume the worse about people in order to be prepared for those possible outcomes. Sometimes the subconscious mind is keyed to deeply scan for small subtle details that indicate that a real threat may be around. It might notice a quiver of fear in someone and suddenly become on guard. We can watch all this and notice how our subconscious mind operates. We can watch this without judgment and eventually find ourselves upgrading our internal software to function on a higher level. A process guide can help this shift to happen by working with how the subconscious mind is designed to grow.