A LIGHTNESS OF BEINGLaurie Weinberg, BFA, JD, CT.H November 1, 2010
Exploring the Benefits of Throwing Open the Windows of the Subconscious
We all want to lead productive lives filled with good friends, meaningful work, great health and abundance. Why is it that so many of us fail to reach our goals? I see the full range of human suffering in my private practice as a spiritual psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. I see people suffering through various degrees and types of misery. One person is lonely, while another has a serious physical illness. One person has trouble finding meaning, while another suffers with a low opinion of themselves.
Is it really possible to be happy? It is my deep conviction, personal knowledge and experience that real happiness is possible; it is born out of a deep and continuous commitment to one’s own personal growth and spiritual path.
Let’s make this more concrete. We are all like houses. In this analogy, the house represents the totality of our being – body, conscious mind, subconscious mind and soul. What happens if we don’t clean house on a continual basis? Dust, dirt and clutter ensue. What is the answer to the dilemma of a messy home?
First of all, by simply becoming aware that our house is messy (our life is out of balance or there is something we are feeling a pull to start paying attention to), we have made an enormous first step towards transformation of the house.
My own journey began with paying attention to diet. At age 17, I was fortunate to move away from a diet of refined sugar and processed foods towards a more whole foods way of eating. Also at this age, I began a practice of hatha yoga. Immediately, the house felt lighter and I could appreciate the beauty around me more. I truly had a great shift in consciousness just from making changes in diet and incorporating yoga. However, I still had a strong feeling of heaviness in the house. This is because I was ignoring the basement and many of the cabinets and closets.
I was suffering from a deep spiritual melancholy (a sign that the house needs deeper attention) throughout my 20s, and landed in psychotherapy. I soon realized that the sugary cookie I had ingested was not entirely to blame for my saddened mood. After many years of deep exploration and experiencing the benefits of inner house cleaning first hand, I decided to become a psychotherapist /hypnotherapist. In this analogy, I wanted to be part of someone else’s inner cleaning team.
Why are healing modalities such as hypnotherapy and psychotherapy so powerful in cleaning the house? When we embark on a course of psychotherapy and/or hypnotherapy, it is akin to saying: “OK, enough, time to get to work.” We begin to pay attention and sort through accumulated layers of lifetimes of emotional and spiritual baggage. This is the stuff that we shoved into the basement, cupboards, closets, refrigerator, etc. Sounds like a big job? It is. And the job cannot be delegated. We must do the work.
IT’S OKAY TO GET HELP
However, we don’t have to be alone on this journey. In fact, there are times when we really need a team. The composition of our team will change during the various stages of our major house transformation. At one point, it could be composed of a nutritionist and a yoga teacher. At another point, our team might consist of a homeopath, psychotherapist and massage therapist. We can move through our house renovation in stages. Perhaps paying attention to the basement for a while and later renovating the kitchen. There is no magic formula for coming out of density. Yet, what is wonderful is that whatever we do that is different than what we did before (simply ignoring the house and shoving things into closets where we forget them) will make a change. Sometimes these changes are subtle and sometimes they are quite dramatic. Those of us who are serious about inner house cleaning will see the benefit of seeking help of one kind or another along our journey.
At some point in our journey, psychotherapy combined with hypnotherapy can be quite powerful. For example, many of those who have tried to lose a great deal of weight and been successful can report that they still have all the same feelings inside – those feelings didn’t go away with the weight. I was much like this at age 17. I had incorporated many wonderful changes in diet and exercise, but didn’t have the awareness yet that I really needed to go deeply into the basement as well as all over the house and do a thorough cleaning. Like the person who loses weight and is still unhappy, I had a partial shift but not a deeper shift in the overall flow and feeling inside the house.
How do we clean house with hypnotherapy and psychotherapy? By turning our awareness and attention inward. For most of us, our attention is primarily focused on the outer world of people, places and objects. We have not been taught in childhood to value or understand the importance of keeping some of our awareness inside ourselves. If you have ever taken a yoga class and experienced the “savasana” posture (where one lies down at the end of a yoga class and totally relaxes the mind and body), or meditation, you can appreciate the value of spending time during the day consciously relaxing mind and body.
When a part of our consciousness becomes the “watcher” of our thoughts and emotions, we turn a part of the mind inward. Now there is the possibility of change and transformation. We realize that our basement is quite disorganized, and we haven’t checked the fridge inventory in twenty years. There is some mouldy cheese that needs to be discarded. If we are always looking “out there” for happiness or for a shift in our life, we will never get it. The shift happens in our inner world first and then moves outwardly.
Ways to turn awareness and attention inward and develop the inner “witness” are endless – yoga, meditation or simply just sitting in our own back yard quietly listening to the sounds of a bird while noticing our own thoughts. With practice we begin to shine the flashlight of conscious awareness into the recesses of our being.
As a psychotherapist with a specialty in hypnotherapy, I assist people to “turn the mind inward.” When a client is ready and if hypnotherapy work is called for in their process of healing, I guide them into a relaxed state using guided visualization. Some-times, I have them imagine they are going on an “inner vacation” somewhere that is just perfect for them. Already, their consciousness is turning inward in a pleasant and relaxing way. A busy mind that was preoccupied with worries and concerns is guided to be in the present moment (the only place healing occurs) and now we can move towards taking a look at what needs to be sorted. Awareness is now being placed inside the house. For some individuals this is easy – sometimes so easy that it is my job to “put on the breaks” so they don’t uncover too much dust and junk too quickly and become overwhelmed. For others, it takes longer to open those inner tracks because they have become so accustomed to being run by the busy-ness of the mind and the almost total focus on outer forms.
Some individuals are afraid to open the door to the basement, afraid of what they will find, afraid of change – this is normal! However, as a client progresses, they begin to realize the great value of opening the basement door and taking a look – they also realize that it is not really so scary after all! In fact, sometimes it is filled with wonder!
Clients start to learn how to keep what is working in their lives and let the rest go. They process and release old energy and increase and expand what was already there and already fantastic that they didn’t know about. Along with bags of garbage to be disposed of, they also discover treasures in the house.
CREATING A NEW LIFE FOR OURSELVES
Pretty soon, with commitment and perseverance, we begin to create a different life for ourselves. The subconscious mind, having previously run the show without any awareness, starts to become conscious. We can make healthier choices and see more clearly. We have opened the windows and let light and fresh air into the house. Light begins to stream into all the rooms that were shut and dark. We begin to realize that happiness is our birthright and we gain tools to access that innate happiness. We begin to realize that the happiness we seek is not dependent on what happens “out there.” Rather we are embodiments of happiness for no reason. Our house has become a unified whole and all the rooms including the basement are inviting.
To keep the house clean is a daily practice. Hypnotherapy and psychotherapy help to clean up the house and do a great deal to clean up the basement. Having a regular practice of meditation and/or yoga also keeps the house clean. Throughout our lives, as a form of regular inner maintenance, it is great if we can become more “meditative” and make meditation or yoga a daily practice. Peppered with times where we will dive into hypnotherapy or psychotherapy or some combination of the two, we can really start to feel a lightness coming into our being.
People ask “how long will this take?” It depends on how committed you are, how much junk you have accumulated in the house and what your goals are. With a well trained practitioner who is experienced in working with a wide variety of issues, positive house cleaning results will occur much faster. What we are talking about here is the capacity to return to a state of enlightened consciousness where not only do we no longer feel lonely, separated and disconnected from everything around us – we begin to feel that we are a part of everything and everything is a part of us.
By committing to oneself, to “cleaning the house” and becoming more conscious – we do a great service to ourselves and all of humanity. By choosing a life of happiness for no reason and refusing to accept that life is all about suffering, we help to uplift others and create a pathway for others to awaken too!
Find your path of healing and transformation and create the life of your dreams. You can do it.
Laurie Weinberg is a spiritual psychotherapist with a private practice in Toronto. She has over a decade of experience working with individuals presenting a vast array of issues and inner house cleaning needs. She specializes in hypnotherapy, couples therapy, group psychotherapy and childhood behaviour modification. She also runs monthly healing music concerts and individual sound healing sessions as part of SacredSound Waves, a piano and viola duo. Contact her at: (416) 465-0739, Laurie@innershift.net or www.innershift.net