A Time to Be Active; a Time to Be Still
Practical Uses of Hypnotherapy
Chapter 10: A Time to Be Active; A Time to Be Still
Chaplain Paul G. Durbin
Diretor of Pastoral Care. Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital. New Orleans, La.
The Bible has many interesting stories, most of which points to a truth beyond the first impression. As a Hypnotherapist and hospital Chaplain, I find the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha to be one of those stories that goes beyond appearances. The story found in Luke 10: 38-42 has nothing to do with hypnosis or does it? On the surface, this is the record of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha who with their brother, Lazarus, were close friends of Jesus.
While Jesus visits, he begins to talk with the family and other guests. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to every word that he spoke. Martha was busy preparing a meal for Jesus and the others. She comes to Jesus and ask him to tell Mary to help with the preparing of the meal. Jesus responds, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. Mary has chosen a good part which shall not be taken from her."
You may be wondering, "What does this story have to do with hypnosis?" I would like to approach this story of Mary and Martha from a different stance than its traditional interpretations. Instead of seeing Mary and Martha as two different types of people, let us see Mary and Martha as two parts of our individual personality. There are times that we need to stop, relax, open our minds to new learning opportunities and at other times we need to be active and doing. Perhaps the message of this story is that in order to be our best when doing, we need to just stop, relax, and renew. Is not that what we do during hypnosis?
In the Biblical story of Mary and Martha, Mary had her priorities in order. She had chosen properly. She wanted to hear what Jesus had to say so she sat herself at the Lord's feet to hear him speak. As she was sitting at his feet, eye fixation was established and Mary was open to the good, positive, helpful suggestions of Jesus. She was open to new learning, new understanding, and meaning for new life.
To the Martha in us, Jesus says that there are times when it would have been better for us to just stop and listen. Martha's problem was that she did not have her priorities in order. Jesus is saying that there are times when we need to stop and listen. It is as the Psalmist wrote, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
We can learn a lot from Mary for we need to be able to sort out our priorities in life and put first what really counts. Mary teaches us an important lesson about stopping, relaxing, focusing, and listening.
Having been referred to me by her physician, Cindy (a 28 year old female, married to her third husband with no children) came to me for pain management. As a result of her pain, Cindy stayed in bed most of the time, but would have periods of energy when she was very active. She talked a lot and many of her friends felt that she dominated their conversations. Cindy reminded me a lot of Mary and Martha. She was anxious and troubled about many things, but very responsive to hypnosis.
The first few sessions were used to help her develop self hypnosis and pain management. She was able to reduce her pain considerably and became much more active in her community. Her favorite pain management imagery was that of imagining Jesus by her, visualizing him physically by her and placing his hand on her back. She could feel the warmth, the healing, the easing, of discomfort. She would then allow the physical presence of Jesus in her imagery to fade into a spiritual presence whose touch remained with her after hypnosis. She also was able to use glove anesthesia and transfer the numbness from the hand to the area of pain.
Cindy has very low self esteem and self confidence. After a few sessions, we began to work on these areas. She had to have everything in her house just right. Everything has its place and had to be in place or she would get upset. She was constantly fighting a fear of failure and had a great need to be accepted by others.
You are somebody: Everyone wants to be somebody. Everyone needs to find a personal identity, a meaning for existence, a reason for living. You are learning that you are somebody. Billy Graham tells the story of a farmer's prize pig. The farmer gave the pig a bath, polished his hoofs, put some perfume on the pig and brought it into the house as a pet. Everything was ok until someone left the door open and the pig got outside. Once outside, he jumped into the first mud puddle that he could find. The farmer has cleaned the pig, but he had not changed the fact that he was still a pig.
You are a human being. Unlike the pig who could not change his nature, you can move beyond your old ways of thinking and acting to live a more abundant life. God made you and me. Therefore, love yourself for you are a being of great worth. A worthy self-image has enabled people to conquer prejudice, overcome fatigue, lift depression, break destructive habits, overcome worry, fear, and anxiety, generate enthusiasm, break boredom, overcome the compulsive need to be doing something. So love yourself and feel good about yourself. Your self-confidence and self-worth are increasing, enabling you to make decisions wisely and confidently. Your concentration keeps improving more and more each day, enabling you to set priorities for work and relaxation.
You radiate a very pleasant personality and find your talents, skills, and abilities keep increasing day by day. The subconscious level of your mind causes your creative abilities to keep emerging, enabling you to live to the best of your abilities. You enjoy greater and greater peace of mind as you take time to relax and be at peace. You are somebody and you experience a deep feeling of pride. You are a person of great worth and that feels good.
During age regression, she went back to age five. Her mother was kicking her and screaming at her, "Stupid, stupid." The little girl Cindy kept crying, "I did not do anything wrong, I am a good girl." I asked her if she needed to go back further in time to the cause of her problem and she nodded, "yes." "I feel that I am in a black hole. I am afraid. My mother does not want me. She wants me to come out, but I am afraid to. If I come out what will she do with me?" (In a previous session, Cindy had shown me some drawings. All of those drawings had a tornador of black hole in the drawing.) This went on for sometime and concluded with her birth.
Cindy's Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE) was the experience for not being wanted while she was still in her mother's womb. Her Symptom Producing Events (SPE) was the beating by her mother at age five, and the Symptom Intensifying Event (SIE) was a divorce shortly after her first marriage which verified for her that she had no worth. (ISE, SPE, and SIE will be discussed in Chapter 24 - Age Regression).
I would like to share with you some of the suggestions, imagery and healing stories used with Cindy, over a three month period. I still see Cindy from time to time at community events and she is much happier, less inhibited by pain, and feels much better about herself as a person.
As Cindy was very responsive to religious imagery, I told her the story of Mary and Martha. I asked her to close her eyes and let the Mary part be still so she could help the Martha part. Cindy just let the Mary part of you take over and just listen..The Psalmist said, "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say on the Lord." (Ps. 27:14) and the Psalmist said, "Be still and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10)
Now listen to the words of Jesus from Matthew 6:25-34. "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink: nor for our body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies for the field grow: they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, what shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or with what shall we clothe ourselves? For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek: for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
From John 14:27 hear Jesus say, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid." I counted her out of hypnosis and concluded the session.
At another occasion, I told her this story for improving health. This story was written by Audrey (Tucker) Morgan titled, "The Magic Brook."
By a lovely tree in the country, there was a gentle brook. It was so cool and fresh and clean. All the animals like to come and drink out of the brook.
Sitting in a blue robe and brown slippers was a wise old man. His hair was silver white and hung to his shoulders. He also had a white beard that fell down into his lap. He had a gentile smile that put everyone at ease. The grown ups called him, "The Wise One."
If you drank the water from the brook they would say, "You never get sick."
All the grow ups brought their children to the brook to drink the water. The Wise Old Man would smile and tell everyone, "Hello."
As the children grew up they noticed that no one got sick. They were all well, not a stomach ache, nothing.
One day a young girl approached the brook alone. The wise old man sat under the tree. He looked at the girl and smiled. The young girl said, "Excuse me, sir, but can you tell me why no one gets sick? If we just drink the water from this brook, we are forever well."
The wise old man smiled and in a very gentle voice said, "The brook has no magic to it." Then he told the girl, "The people believe the brook has the magic to keep them well. Therefore, they don't get sick." The wise old man said, "It's what you believe in your heart that works. There is no magic in the brook, only what's in your heart." Now Cindy allows the healing powers which God created in you begin to work for your healing and well being; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Toward the end of her counseling session, I had Cindy hold the child of her past, love it, and give her the love she did not experience as a baby and little girl. Give the little girl of your past the love she missed as a child. Cindy would cradle the imaginary child of her past, pet it, love it, and tell her how much she loved her.
I concluded Cindy's last session with this story. "Tadpoles and Frogs."
The Psalmist once wrote, "When I consider thy heavens, the works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordain, what is man, that thou hast take thought of him? And the son of man thou hast care for him?" (Psalm 8:3-4)
The Psalmist answers his own question about the importance of people. Remember when the Psalmist use the word "man" in this verse, he means both male and female. He means you and me. The Psalmist wrote his answer, "Yet, thou has made him a little lower than God, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou hast made him to rule over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet." (Psalm 8:5-6)
God has made you in his image. You are just a little lower than God. You are special.
Thus God speaks to you, "You are very special to me. I made you. I made you in my image. I love you. I have given you life. Use, enjoy, discover, learn, become the person I made you to be. Keep on becoming the person you can be, living fully and experience my love for you. You are special."
My sister, Sybil Waldrop, tells a story about tadpoles in her book, Getting Good at Being You (page 14) which I would like to share with you. She writes, "As a young child, the most delightful and memorable experience I had of God's handiwork was watching tadpoles change into frogs. When I was growing up, my father was pastor of four or five churches at a time. When he preached away from our hometown, we would spend the afternoon with a family who attended the local church. One of my favorite things to do was to find a glass jar and walk along the road in search of a puddle of water where I could find frog eggs-little black balls-each protected by a coat of transparent jelly. Carefully, I would place the jars mouth beneath my wonderful discovery and gather the eggs into the jar. Day by day I would watch as tiny black balls changed into wiggling tadpoles which grew bigger and bigger. A long tail developed and gradually disappeared as frogs formed. Soon tiny amphibious frogs emerged; such was the dramatic transformation. Later I learned the term 'metamorphosis' to describe this change." God and you can work together to bring about a transformation in your life. You can live a fuller life as you make changes in your life which are beneficial to you. If God can change a tadpole into a frog, just think what he can do with you, the highest of his creation.
Cindy is doing very well and enjoying life as never before. Cindy allows the Mary part of her personality to help the Martha part of her to release her anxiety and fear so that she could live a more balanced and enjoyable life.
(c)1997 Paul G. Durbin. All rights reserved.