By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
One important aspect of creating safety in the process of opening to the inner world is the development of ways of perceiving information which can be significantly different than the ways in which we gather information in a waking state. One way of perceiving information which is known about, but minimized, in conscious-mind reality is through what is referred to as "the sixth sense." This is the sense which you use to gather information without being consciously aware. You may have had the experience of sitting with your back to the door reading or writing or involved in a project. You don't hear anything, you don't see anything, but you know someone is standing in the doorway. And you turn around, and, indeed, someone is there. Your sixth sense gave you this information. Or, you may be driving and suddenly find yourself 5 miles from the last place you noticed the road, and you are safe and sound. This is a concrete example of the way we act on information gathered through the sixth sense without consciously realizing it. We are steeped in the information we gather from the sixth sense even in conscious-mind reality and yet many of us hardly acknowledge it.
When people first begin the process of opening to their inner world through hypnosis, they may not be aware of the tremendous amount of information they are able to receive through this sense. As people continue to work on integrating and resolving different aspects of themselves, they are able to develop the ability to stabilize their minds. This allows them to more fully develop the ability to perceive the subtle energies which are actually the engines of the integration and transformation process.
I have been a student of Buddhist meditation for 15 years, I have studied different methods of energy healing with many teachers including Barbara Brennan and Carolyn Myss. I have been working with Reiki energy on a master level for many years and I am an advanced student of shamanic healing. Even though I have spent a lot of time in altered states learning to perceive different energy patterns, I feel I am just a beginner in understanding these energies which are the blueprints of phenomena which materialize in the external world. By accompanying people on their journeys into their psyche to resolve many types of imbalances, I come into contact with many types of energetic patterns. As I help them perceive the information which can be obtained through the sixth sense, I have been given the understanding of the many different ways of perceiving energy.
The information I present here is about how I work with these energies in hypnotherapy sessions and the ways in which I try to help each person understand these energies. Most of the time the process of creating this connection with the energies which lie behind physical form is implicit rather than explicit. I rarely speak about this process because it is so hard to communicate about it in just words. Also, many people's model of the world does not include the interaction of these energies with the physical world. Therefore, they have no context to understand the way this interaction works until they have begun the process of self-integration and self-transformation which Depth Hypnosis facilitates.
Some people are not interested in learning about these energetic processes, but want only to resolve their addiction or compulsion or panic - whatever presenting symptom they come to hypnotherapy for help with. People benefit from the transformational energy of which words about transformation are just tips of the iceberg whether they are aware of this energy or not. Even if a person remains completely unaware of the energy driving their journey to wholeness, the energy is active and participating, even directing, each hypnosis session. The work they do at this level is extremely important and the changes they experience in their conscious, waking life are profound whether or not they completely understand the interaction of energy and its dynamic within their psyche. When they do begin to perceive this dynamic, the results can be utterly transforming, as we shall see later in this chapter.
I find the process of channeling energy to focus the transformation process for people I work with very akin to the work I have done in translating one language to another. The process of language translation requires an extensive knowledge of not only the words of each language, but assumptions about reality the culture holds where the language is spoken. As a translator or interpreter, I do not actually add any words or assumptions about reality, I only act as a filter to make one set of words and assumptions available to a speaker of another language. The way I enhance the process is my skill in matching words and assumptions to clarify and unlock communication channels. Therefore it is imperative that I be as clear as possible in my choice of words and understanding of culturally-based assumptions about reality.
Channeling energy so it can come into contact with the transformational process of the psyche requires exactly the same skill, but the information I filter is often unfamiliar or unknown to me rather than drawn from a pool of words or cultural assumptions I know. Because energy patterns are numberless, I know I can never learn them all. But I can be confident in my ability to channel energy which will facilitate the transformational process as long as my intent is to remain in a state of compassionate service. Nevertheless, it is still true that I must keep the process as free from my own prejudices as possible; my value is still my ability to be as clear a filter as possible, even when I am encountering a certain pattern of energy for the first time. This is especially important because I never know where the person I am working with will go for understanding about his imbalance and I never know what energies will appear to assist in that understanding. I must allow myself to remain comfortable in not knowing particulars while at the same time utterly trusting the process of the way energy engages with the psyche. When I am able to focus the energy running through me toward helping the person I am working with to fuel his understanding of the origins of a particular imbalance, the person can make the changes he is seeking in a profound and permanent manner.
On a practical level, there are certain times when particular types of energy come into the room where we are having a session. Often, I will notice a particular energy signature of a person when they walk into the room. I may perceive this signature as a visual cue or, more often, I just sense a particular, personal wave pattern unique to that person. At first, I was not even aware that I was perceiving this information. My attention was brought to this fact when a client with whom I had done some work six months before came in for another session after a long break. When I saw her, I immediately became aware of a red and black pattern and got the impression of a bee. I recognized the signature immediately as being hers even though I had not been consciously aware of perceiving it when we had worked together previously. This type of revelation of information across time and through channels which are not logically or rationally related is typical of the way in which information is received through the sixth sense.
With this signature wave pattern, I may recognize another type of pattern which appears from individual to individual in a similar way and which seems to be related to the particular emotional or mental issue they are carrying. I try never to extrapolate further information from this perception, but file it in my memory to refer to as we begin the work. Even though these wave patterns may be similar from person to person, the way each person approaches and deals with the issues connected with it are very different and unique, so I can never use the information I sense in this way as a predictor of how the session will go. It does guide me in asking certain types of questions, but I can never be sure what the answers will be. For me, as for everyone who undertakes the understanding of information through the sixth sense, the task is to remain as open as possible to the way information flows through it.
Although every session provides me with a new insight into the way energy works, and almost every session exposes me to a new set of wave patterns, I have noticed that particular types of energy appear in the room at predictable times. As I have mentioned, my clients' goal in doing this work is to transform fundamental assumptions about their internal realities which manifest in external imbalances such as smoking, overeating, compulsive or panic-based behaviors.
To effect this transformation, they often have to revisit painful experiences which are stored in the body, mind or spirit. As I mentioned, I never know where in their psyche their inner knowing will take them to effect this transformation. But, I find that there is a certain set of wave patterns of energy which often appear to help facilitate their entry into these painful places by easing the pathway on a vibrational level. Again, they may not even be aware that this energy is at work, they simply experience an opening to information which had been unavailable to them before.
There is also another fairly consistently-appearing pattern to the energy which comes into the room to help "re-write" the energy pattern behind the external manifestation of imbalance as I am giving the suggestions for change (which are always drawn from what the client has told me). This pattern appears once a person has emerged from the experience which holds the key to shifting their particular imbalance to a state of equilibrium. I have noticed that the words are almost riding on these waves of energy; the words are like the crests of waves - only part of a much larger shift in the mental, emotional and spiritual realizations which emerge during the hypnotherapy session to alter the client's relationship with his inner landscape, and thus change his external behavior.
As I have mentioned, people often absorb and use these energies without even consciously realizing it. Sometimes they will be aware of stomach rumblings, muscle twitches or other physical manifestations as energy releases blocks and creates new energy patterns on a mental, physical and/or spiritual level. Again, it does not matter whether they realize the action of the energy at a conscious level or not. There is always a part of the person I am working with which knows exactly how to focus and direct the energy coming into the room. That part is the sixth sense.
I always try to connect with this part of the person when I begin the session. Indeed, I always try to have the person become more aware of this part of themselves through a guided meditation as I begin the work. They may experience and perceive this part of themselves in a myriad of ways. Again, they may not have a concrete experience of this part of themselves, because it does not always manifest in forms or shapes or words which can be perceived by the senses we are most accustomed to using. However, I try to help facilitate the opening of that sixth sense which will perceive this part of themselves. This part of his being is that part which makes the connection to higher energies. These energies will assist in creating the internal balance he is seeking which will then manifest as external balance. Knowing that we have access to these energies and knowing that they are working to assist us in the very sacred process of self-transformation creates a safety net in which that transformation can safely occur.
Sometimes this connection to the perception of energy within the person will manifest in his inner landscape as a bright light or a beautiful sound. Sometimes it will manifest as an image of himself at an earlier age. Sometimes this part of themselves will manifest as angels, or historical or mythical people or creatures or even as animals or spirits. This concretization of the energy through form, light, sensation or sound is crucial in creating confidence in developing the sixth sense. Also, this manifestation is personally meaningful and appears or is perceived in such a way as to allow the person to concretize this aspect of himself. And this is the part of the person which is most active in focusing and directing the energy for the use by the rest of the personality in the transformation and integration of whatever is needed to restore balance within the system. It is this part of the person which creates and maintains a container of safety for all the work we do together.
If a person has a weak connection with his sixth sense, I will try to help him open to it usually by simply pointing to it while he is in an altered state. Generally, I will maintain the connection to these energies until he trusts himself enough to maintain the connection for himself. If the person has a strong enough connection to this aspect of himself, I will almost always simply transfer the filtering of energy to that aspect. This can establish a clearer connection for him to manipulate and use the energy flowing into the session. When this is possible, I simply act as a ground to hold the energetic connection in place. However, many people are not able to hold this connection themselves at the beginning of the work, so I simply continue channeling energy for them until they can hold the connection themselves.
As I have said, people are often completely unaware that this aspect of the work is so active. They are often focused only on the questions I am asking them and the mental and emotional processes connected to this spiritual process. All they may be aware of is the profound change in their understanding of themselves that this energy facilitates.
Some people, however, do begin to perceive these energies on their own in the course of their work in exploring their psyche as they come into balance with their essential nature. Usually, I only begin to make this process explicit with people who have decided to continue the work of self-exploration after the initial crisis has been resolved. When they begin to perceive the dynamics of energy working behind their emotional and mental processes, they are able to explore even more profoundly their connection with the self at a soul level. Again, I never know how this exploration will unfold and I try to be alert and attentive during these types of sessions to allow whatever information needs to come to the person in the way he will best understand.
I remember working with a client who had been in a process of accelerated, dynamic growth for about a year after having resolved the initial imbalance she came into hypnotherapy to resolve. In one session before we had gone into hypnotic trance, I became aware of an almost insistent energy pattern which kept taking my attention away from what she was saying. I knew what she was saying was coming from a part of her that was trying to stop the dynamic of change that was sweeping through her consciousness. She, in fact, was lamenting the fact that she was tired of constantly having to change. She was slipping into an old pattern of self-lament, saying that she felt that nothing in her life was any better after all the work she had done. She was using this lament to try to stop the next level of growth in understanding that was appearing in the dynamic of a difficult relationship she was involved in and about which she felt a lot of fear.
I was trying to give her the space to express this fear in this way, when at last I was unable to defer the energy flow which was trying to reach her. I asked if we could continue the conversation later and just go into an hypnotic state together. She reluctantly agreed and the energy that came through me was almost like a tidal wave. I felt her resisting it at first and then I felt her calm down into it. I was not sure exactly what was happening within her during the next 30 minutes as I tried to guide her into making her own connection directly with this energy. This energy seemed to be clearly flowing from her source or self and seeking a more explicit connection to her. (Actually, this type of source energy has many consistent qualities from person to person; I think this may be the type of energy some people call "God".)
After the energy had subsided and we came out of the hypnosis session, she said that as she made the connection with this energy, she felt a tremendous shift within her. It was a connection that she recognized and realized she had lost at a certain point. She had done enough exploration of her inner landscape to be able to hold and sustain this connection through her further transformation which has been taking place at a more profound level ever since this event.
If we had been working within a context which did not allow for this type of information flow, imagine the tremendous loss of an opportunity for self-understanding and connection. She could have been blocked for quite a long time in that self-lament which her conscious mind had thrown up as a road block to further work. Because we both recognized the energy behind the external manifestation of her personality, she was able to take full advantage of this influx of energy in ways which could not occur in a setting where there is no recognition of the role of energy in self-understanding and transformation.
For this reason, it is important to keep an open mind in understanding the dynamics of energy and its role in restoring balance and resolving negative patterns within the personality. By remaining open to all the ways in which energy can create a safe and dynamic container for change, this safety becomes a given in the process of transformation and allows for more rapid integration of new relationships within our inner landscape.