Imagination, Beliefs & Healing The mind

When I first began to explore the world of shamanism I had been deeply depressed for a very long time and came to a point where I was willing to do anything to relieve my suffering.  I had tried conventional methods of healing and these methods just led me into a deeper state of depression. I found the idea of being dependent on daily and nightly medications to be extremely disempowering and I struggled with this and many other things in my mind that were all related in one way or another to this basic concept of dependency versus personal power.  This period in my life was an important one as it was the beginning of a deeper struggle, one that I had experienced for many years in many different forms, coming to light. This situation, in and of itself, provided me with an opportunity for growth and like many such opportunities, it was not apparent to me at the time but crystal clear in retrospect.

At the time, I didn’t realize the nature of this deeper struggle but was keenly aware of the struggling itself which became so intense that it motivated me to open up to all possibilities of relieving it. This open state that I ultimately arrived at was the key to my own healing. Once I arrived at this open state, I began to find alternatives that I simply wasn’t aware of before because I was not open to them. The first was energy healing, which led me to shamanism as energy healing has its roots in shamanism. Since I had begun to experience the beginnings of change with energy healing, I wanted to know more about it, its roots and the possibilities of deeper healing that shamanism had to offer. At the outset, I just knew that the kinds of concepts I would be introduced to would challenge my existing beliefs but again, my open state helped me to overcome these challenges as healing was more important to me than hanging onto my beliefs. Even then, I began to consider the fact that if my beliefs were healthy ones, they would not have led me into such a troubled state.

The idea of spirits and the use of my imagination were both challenges to me and it surprised me how quickly I overcame these challenges. Pain is quite a motivator. I think originally, I regarded the idea of spirits to be as illusive as the idea of God so I just accepted what was being said about them as a possibility outside of my experience at the time and focused more on my own experience. The challenge then was to become acquainted with my own imagination as a vehicle for healing. This required me to think less, which was such a blessing and a beginning of the healing itself but no small task. Thankfully, I was truly desperate to get well and miraculously open which was a gift that paved the way toward achieving my goal.

As it turns out, the world of the imagination was not as foreign to me as I thought it was but it certainly seemed that way to me at the time. We all use our imagination on a daily basis and often in ways that are not serving us. This too was a new concept to me – the idea of self-service. This was a concept that I found far more appealing and it has been a prevalent theme throughout my shamanic experiences. My daily use of my imagination often happened in ways that were harmful. When presented with any number of possibilities the images and ideas that would come to mind were usually, overwhelmingly negative. I was often putting up these barriers to all kinds of possibilities, which resulted in my feeling isolated and discouraged. Even when presented with some positive possibilities, my imagination would create all kinds of barriers – seemingly logical and realistic ones – that stymied my attempts at imagining a better life for myself. We think of this as logic or reasoning but really, it was my mind responding to ideas (fuelled by influences past and present) and rationalizing in a negative direction with the use of my own imagination. I imagined all kinds of ‘reasons’ why good things couldn’t or weren’t going to happen to me. They had a life of their own in my mind and I supported this life – this very animated life of seemingly ‘reasonable’ barriers.

In the shamanic world, I was asked to move beyond reason and into a creative state that soon, after I practiced and continued to open up, became a two way street. Eventually, it was not just me ‘creating’ although this was powerful enough in and of itself, it also took on a life of its own and became a state of being that offered insights that were presented to me in creative, imaginative ways.  A world of possibilities opened up in this creative, imaginative state in my mind where previously, there was a hostile and very closed environment. It was a beginning of me recognizing this state and beginning to work inside this space in my mind to change the environment using my imagination in a different way than the debilitating way I had engaged it previously without knowing it.

Initially, I believed that this creative, imaginative space in my mind was a new place that I was exploring and because it was so different than the one I was accustomed to, it was indeed very new to me but it had been an atmosphere I lived in for a long time. It is a space that I began to know more deeply through further shamanic adventures of my own and through experiences with plant medicines.  Both during plant medicine ceremonies and through shamanic journeying and spontaneous spiritual experiences after Ayahuasca, I began to understand that imagery in my mind was a powerful vehicle for healing and for change. I had experiences that seemed so strange to me initially, some involving imaginative objects being removed from my body and healing energies entering my body taking different shapes and often removing bits and pieces within me that I knew represented or were in fact energies that were causing problems. When this occurs within ceremony, under the influence of powerful plant medicines, many of us have a sense of the healing nature of these kinds of experiences and we experience a ‘knowing’ that we are being changed for the better. When we begin to do these things in our normal state of mind, we can experience doubt.

I had some extraordinary healing experiences that were very animated even in my so-called ‘normal’ state of mind and still, I had doubts. I had these doubts at times even after feeling the benefits of these experiences which often came a while afterwards. This led to more doubt but because of the fact that this healing work was becoming a regular part of my life, I allowed the doubt to pass and didn’t invest so deeply in it anymore. I had learned to do this through my shamanic and spiritual practice. This was one of the many gifts that shamanism has taught me – that we have the power to order our thoughts and to choose not to invest in ones that don’t serve us.

I became more and more focused on empowering methods that involved the mind and taking a more active and positive position with respect to my thinking. Everyone had always told me that I was ‘too much in my head’ and this had been partly true for much of my life. The part that was true was that thinking and the mind was a focus for me and the way I was in my mind was becoming more and more harmful. However, now, coming to peace with my relationship with the mind and the power of the mind, I was only looking to use this focus in a positive way. Plant medicines and shamanism helped with this a great deal and the experiences I was having were continuing to improve my life in every way. It was such a unique and personal journey and as Ayahuasca had encouraged me to do, I have been sharing these experiences with others. The one thing I felt compelled to do was to help others in some way and yet, I hadn’t yet come across a way that worked within this unique space in the mind in a way that resonated with me until I discovered hypnosis.

I say that I ‘discovered’ hypnosis because my preconceptions of it were mostly negative, which is not surprising given how it has been represented for years in many ways and often in the media. It has been presented as a tool that offers power to the person using it on or over another. This of course would never have appealed to me in any way because of my deeply held aversion to dependency or control of one over another. So it was very surprising to me when I discovered that this tool is not only very empowering, it also provides access to that space within that I had become so familiar with through shamanism and plant medicines. I began to discover that there are powerful opportunities to use hypnosis as a protocol to intentionally experience some of the same healings and insights that I had previously experienced spontaneously through shamanism and plant medicines.

This was quite a revelation as I had been looking for a protocol to help others to experience this self-discovery and self-healing in intentional ways and here it was. There are hypnotic sessions I went through formally in my training that I had experienced spontaneously through this ongoing relationship with Ayahuasca and shamanism. It is a vehicle to not only explore within but to make changes there for our highest good. We have seen the effects of powerful influences outside of ourselves. Some of these effects are the wounds we are now working to heal. These influences could not have been so impactful unless somewhere inside of us, we allowed this to happen. This is where deep change is possible. We may now agree to become the powerful influence that is the guiding force in our lives. I invite you to go within and discover your own, wise, guiding voice and engage all of your capacities to heal, grow and thrive.

If you would like to learn more about working with me to discover your inner resources through hypnosis, please contact me at rebecca.hayden@gmail.com

Please note, I work remotely via Zoom which will require a computer with a camera and a built-in microphone (which most computers have).