The Use of Intent in Ecstatic Trance and Hypnosis
Nick Brink, PhD
In the first workshop I am offering this summer, July 25-28, at the Cuyamungue Institute the participants will use a specific sequence of ecstatic postures to attain goals of healing, personal growth or for going beyond in accessing the Universal Mind. First a divination posture is used to ask for direction for what needs to be worked on in the participant’s life. The answer may be metaphoric and not immediately understood. The next step is to go into the Underworld to find how this goal can be attained. Why the underworld? I will answer that question below. With this solution, and again it may be in the language of metaphor and not immediately understood, an initiation or death-rebirth posture is used to incorporate what is learned within one’s self. Understanding how or why this works is best explained by describing the parallels in this process with the process of analytic hypnotherapy used for attain the same goals, the mode of therapy I used for the past 30 years.
Within my practice of psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis, my approach would be called an analytic hypnotherapy. Individuals typically comes to therapy with some personal complaint, a complaint of depression, anxiety, obsessive worry, or one or more of a myriad of psychological problems, or of something that is blocking the accomplishment of some goal for personal growth. Rarely if ever was the goal to go beyond to attain what I would call the Universal Mind or in Jungian terms, the Collective Unconscious. We will later talk about attaining the Universal Mind. Typically in discussing the client’s problem, the focus is to first find the best words to describe the feelings caused by the problems. The client is then instructed to carry these feelings while being led hypnotically to go down in an elevator or down to lower floors, into the basement and sub-basements of a house, in other words of metaphorically going down into one’s subconscious mind, which can be considered equivalent to going into the underworld or the lower world. Carrying a feeling on such a hypnotic journey is referred to as an affect bridge, a bridge connecting the feeling to the experience. This going down may be repeated several times, with each time going deeper and deeper into one’s unconscious mind. Then the hypnotic language is used, “With all the Wisdom and Understanding of you conscious self, bring what you have learned from these experiences into your conscious mind.” With some discussion, goals are then set and what was learned is incorporated within the individual with such hypnotic language as “Let what you have learned become part of you.” With this very simplistic and brief description of analytic hypnotherapy, the parallels with the use of ecstatic trance begin to emerge, but with ecstatic trance and the use of the ecstatic posture there is minimal discussion and direction from the facilitator. Direction comes from the intent of the posture used whether divination, journeying into the underworld, or initiation/death-rebirth, or metamorphosis.
In using the ecstatic posture the participant may not even need to define a problem or goal, because it is defined by the experience while using a divination posture. The question of the diviner can be as simple as “What do I need to be working on?” One’s unconscious mind already knows the answer to that question, though it may not be known consciously. Then, by using an underworld posture, the answer is found, though it may be important at times to repeat the underworld posture or the series of postures because the answer may not be complete. Again the answers may be in the language of metaphor and not understood consciously, but conscious understanding is not necessary. With an initiation posture of death and rebirth or with a metamorphosis posture what is learned from these first two experiences can become part of the individual. This process has sometimes been called soul retrieval.
The effect or personal change may not be recognized for some time, thus I have made it a practice to remind the participants of their experience a number of months later and generally through email ask if they then feel the effect the experience had on their life. I have at times used a fourth posture of journeying into the sky world, which can provide a peak experience with which to end this sequence of experiences.
I have used these three postures on three successive days and I have used then with a week or several weeks in between each, and both procedures seem equally effective. When there is a week or more between postures, I make certain that I have the transcript of the person’s earlier experiences available for them to read before beginning the next ecstatic trance experience. From when I first began using the ecstatic postures in 2007 I have had the participants write their experience on a 5×7 card and have collected these cards. I now have over a 1000 ecstatic experience in computer files and it is easy for me to call up the past experiences to make them available to the participant.
Generally the initial sequence is for healing or for personal growth to attain something sought in life, but for the experienced individual, going beyond in attaining the Universal Mind may become the goal. Such experiences provide the person with information that may not have otherwise been available, information from ancestral or past lives, of distant seeing or hearing, or of reading the minds of others as is so often evident in group ecstatic trance work when two or more individuals have mutual or very similar experiences. Such Universal Mind experiences have become very common and real to me, whereas when I was using hypnosis I paid little or no attention to them as we were focusing exclusively on a person’s problems or barriers to personal growth. My book, The Power of Ecstatic Trance in Healing, Personal Growth and Attaining the Universal Mind, has been accepted for publication by Bear & Co., and hopefully will be available in the spring.