It isn’t what you think. It’s HOW you think it.
Let me explain. Studying English Literature at Oxford university, I read a lot of books. Many made a big impression, but it was one I read later that really turned my universe upside down.
…No. Make that two books that changed my life. The first one prepared me for the second.
First came the anthropologist Margaret Mead’s Male and Female. Stories of growing up in several different societies in South East Asia. Those lives were so different from each other. Worse. They were even more different from mine.
I realised with a horrid shock that all I had been brought up to believe was just the way things were in daily life, part of the immutable truth of the universe, in fact represented only one of many equally valid ways of going about living.
What was the big one, my second life-altering, earth shattering book?
I no longer have it, but Google tracked it down: Science and the Supernatural by John Taylor. Amazon stock it. Not that they appear to value it quite as highly as I do. 50 copies are available, used and new from one cent.
One cent. That’s right. Go and get it if you like. It isn’t often you get prices so well adapted to the world financial situation.
Anyway, John Taylor, if this paltry tome is really the one I remember, subjects a variety of beliefs in the paranormal to the scrutiny of science. All but one fail to win his approval. That one is hypnosis.
As a result of reading this book, I rushed out and enrolled in the nearest course in hypnosis.
Before you run and hide behind the nearest sofa, let me assure you that I am not the least bit interested in getting you to believe you are a hamster, or dash back and forth obeying my every command.
I was simply bowled over at that time by the realisation that thinking was not the abstract affair I had always believed it to be. Processes in my head that I had fondly thought of as taking place in a vacuum were not by any means so spectral.
‘Thinking something through’ can often be better described as imagining it through.
Recognising this internal imagery is what gives hypnosis its undoubted power. Visual thinking became my passion. On the odd occasion when abstract thinking really did seem to be carried out in thin air, I resorted to charts, diagrams and other helpful visual aids.
Of course, I did come across a few uncooperative souls who seemed only to be able to see the point of an argument with their ears. But then, I still had a lot to learn…