This, in my humble opinion, is the greatest application of self-hypnosis.
All too frequently, self-hypnosis is only used as a simple tool for robotic personal development. Fixing 'bad habits' can definitely be beneficial, but it does not really change you at a deep level.
Starting the process of facing and overcoming your deepest fears, though, is a transformation that will stay with you for the rest of your life!
One of the best know psychiatrists of the 20th century, Carl Jung, frequently spoke of the value of facing and accepting the shadow.
One of my first teachers, Glenn Morris (author of Path Notes of an American Ninja Master , a book on meditation), spoke of the personality as a series of masks. Beneath the masks are attitudes and emotions that we are afraid of. But beneath those lies the hidden brilliance of the True Self.
One of the best known Neuro Linguistic Programming ( NLP ) trainers out of the UK, Jamie Smart, likes to describe humans as diamonds covered in crap, then covered in fingernail polish. If you chip away the surface personality, you will get to see all the crap. But if you chip away all the crap, the radiance of the diamond begins to shine.
All of these points toward the same thing. We all have emotions we do not like to accept are a part of us. Anger, greed, laziness, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony are not just a list of sins … they are also integral parts of the human personality. Most people can easily see this in some of their friends, or in people they do not like. The real question is, can you see it in yourself?
Assuming you are honest enough to answer 'yes' to that question, the next question tends to be:
“What can I do about it?”
The answer is learn to properly apply self-hypnosis, to face and accept the lesser you (or the hidden you) that is essentially a vice machine. The really neat thing about this, is when you begin to accept these hidden aspects of yourself, they start to melt away from your personality. It's as if they only act up when they are being denied.
“That which you resist, persists!” -Carl Jung
Before I cover the process of self-hypnosis, I will spell out what tends to be the greatest of human fears.
Most people secretly fear that they are exactly what they most hate in other people!
And they are. We all are. It is part of the human condition. All the filthiest traits of humanity are a part of you and me at a very primal level. The only real way to manage and reduce this is to recognize and accept it. It is only after you do this that the beauty beneath the vice begins to be expressed.
Even more simply, this is likely just another variation on the fear of death. To accept that you have the same qualities as those which you villainize is equivalent to death for your ego.
Now for our exercise. Before you start, you will want to establish the fear or negative emotion you want to deal with, and what you might consider its opposite … the condition or state you would experience if the negative emotion were eliminated … for example, fear & love, sadness & joy, anger & peace, etc. If the process is too challenging or overwhelming at any point, it is alright to stop and continue at a later time. It is also advisable to ask for help from whatever higher power is appropriate for you (The Universe, The Tao, Buddha-Nature, God, Higher Intelligence, etc.) at any point in the process where you feel you need it.
Disclaimer: Do not attempt this exercise if you are seeing a medical or psychological professional about your fear (or other negative emotions) without consulting with them first!
How to face and overcome your deepest fears with Self-Hypnosis:
- Find a closed upright position, or a comfortably reclined position.
- Begin to breathe comfortably, deeply, and slowly, until you become deeply relaxed.
- Focus internally, and let go of any resistance within. Imagine you are relaxing your mind, emotions, and spirit.
- Bring up the negative emotion, and do your best to maintain the relaxation.
- Imagine the emotion as a wayward child returning home. Even as painful as it may be, do your best to accept it, and redirect it. Remember that negative emotions evolved in an attempt to be helpful.
- Notice that the more you accept it, the more you can see and experience the positive counterpart that lies underneath. As the negative emotion transforms, you see and feel the Beauty hidden within.
- As the positive emotion shines through, you can return it back to the world (you've taken in fear, faced it, and returned love.
Once you have finished the process, give yourself some time to relax, reflect, and feel good about the fact you have done something that around 95% of the population will never do.
With some of the deeply impressed emotions, you might have to practice a few time to really get it to come up. You will know when you have really fully faced the negative emotion. It will always seem different afterwards. You may still experience the negative emotion from time to time … but you will always maintain a certain awareness about the Beauty behind it, so it will never again affect you as it did before.
Godspeed on your journey!