Way back in,,, 1986? I had turned in a short story for class that so disturbed the teacher that my parents were called and it was decided I had to see a shrink. This was the era before monthly school shootings so I really wish I could remember what this story was. I doubt it was about shooting people, I’ve never been that kind of person – not even in fantasy. But I have been known to use gore (I’d call it light-hearted gore and leave it to you to figure out) and extremes in my stories. I also did it in my “art” work in junior high.
Anybody, my psychologist (I know, no psychiatrist, no drugs) put me under self-hypnosis. Basically it was a training session so I could do it on my own. I think this was to be a replacement for using drugs as at that time it was revealed that I liked to suck on the ends of giant plastic tubes filled with smoke.
It was one of the best experiences I ever had. The self-hypnosis, not the bong tokin’. It takes a rather long time, about 45 minutes. But if you think about it, a lot of people spend far more than that drinking or even just getting high.
Having quit smoking back in early November, and no longer being a drinker, I have been tormented by Adam Ant:
Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do? Must be something inside
Ah, in my world the man was profoundly on point, what a philosopher. Drinking is nothing, I stopped that like nothing. Smoking. You gotta understand there are some of us out there that are born out of the neck smokers. We really love it. We’ll do it with one lung left, chain it through lung cancer and smoke out of the neck, with half a face, no teeth, five heart-attacks – whatever – just give us one more drag of that delicious, lung burning tar, let us feel the hit smack our lungs first thing in the morning and the brain starts a churning.
Anyway I decided to quit. Because as much as I am that guy, you have to be realistic. The shit kills – full stop – the shit kills. If you can smoke a cigarette a day or 2, you can probably just do it to the end. I’m not that guy, I smoked, and when I was finished with one, I was merely marking time until the next. When I was drinking it was simply a chain, a glorious never-ending chain.
Not smoking has caused me though to move stress to another area. I have been muscle clenching and in particular tightly clenching the right side of my jaw during sleep. I have always been a grinder in my sleep but it is like a vice grip now. This was probably always to some level how I handled stress and now it is all I got, muscle clenching.
So thanks to the iPhone/iTunes era, it took only moments to find a self-hypnosis series that wasn’t simply a background of ocean waves and some idiot telling me to relax.
I got two series. One I am going to use for regular hypnosis. The second one I got is called Astral Projection. I used to be into this stuff before I got into Objectivism years and years ago. I never actually did it (not sure it is possible). But let’s put it this way, even if it is not possible, to achieve that level of relaxation to where you think or feel that your spirit has left your body and is floating around in another dimension, has to be at the least healthy. I know self-hypnosis works (not to cluck like a chicken or anything) for stress and relaxation among other things; that I know from experience.
One need not look far to see the ill health effects of stress on the body.
I don’t think I am naturally stressful as a person. Who knows? It can be subtle if you are not the type to fantasize about killing people or start attacking people in the street or just blowing your top at random. At least I don’t hold or bottle it up. However, given the philosophy I was into for so many years, my body is attuned to be in a stressful mode all the time. If anyone has ever read Atlas Shrugged one finds practically the prescription, as well as the glorified depiction, of stress. Chain-smoking stress no less.
I have since left that philosophy and that whole outlook behind. There are a few good nuggets in that pile, but they belong to a better philosophy.
So, my friends, I’ll be seeing you on the Astral Plane!