Elements of Mastery
Recently I was working on a difficult jigsaw puzzle, and was reminded that I can be kind of brilliant when I get out of my own way – well, when it comes to puzzles, anyway. When I TRY to find a piece, it takes a long time and I often don’t find it at all. However, if I relax, simply look at where a piece goes, then let my gaze wander through the pieces on the board without attachment, it happens as if by accident. I almost always find my piece, although sometimes it is not the exact peace I was looking for.
Preparing For Clients
When I first began working with clients, I would try very hard, preparing for each client for hours sometimes. I felt I had to know exactly what I was going to do during the session, in order to provide a valuable service. I would ‘decide’, based on information from them, what specific processes I would use and what I would do, even going so far as to loosely script what I would say during hypnosis. My client would arrive, and somewhere within the first 10 minutes, I would ‘forget myself’. I would find myself absorbed in the interaction, enthralled with the words, concepts, and information, and truly enjoying the connection with the person I was working with. The session would come to an end, and shortly after my client left, I would realize I had not used my prepared ‘tools’ at all, and sometimes had no idea why I had done what I had done, or where it had come from. I had gotten into a zone, forgotten to try, and simply found access to everything I had learned in a much more fluid and effective way.
It took me about a year to realize my most important lesson to date: With clients, I cannot, and SHOULD not, decide what to do before they even arrive. How can I possibly tailor an effective session without knowing the individual with whom I am working? When I relax and just ‘do’, I am much better at my job. Not only am I working with the individual who actually walked through the door, but my insight is usually flawless, I’m able to help them, it’s fun and I’m good at it. It is with this in mind that I have recently been exploring the concept of mastery. It seems to me that mastery is a result of four simple elements: Learning, Practice, Relaxation, and Trust.
This seems fairly straightforward – in order to master the piano, I must first learn how to play. I may need to learn the notes on the keyboard, how to play chords, scales, etc. I may need to learn how to read music, and even the specific combination of notes that creates a pleasing tune. If I want to play Mozart, I need to learn Mozart. Within the context of hypnosis, there is always more to learn. There are many teachers, many different perspectives, many methods and tools. A Master Hypnotist is always learning. To become true masters of our trade, we must continue learning by exposing ourselves to ever expanding sources of information, processes, teachers, research, and experimentation.
A master pianist may not spend hours a day practicing a particular song or piece of music in its entirety. They may, however, spend hours practicing one element of playing that piece of music – perhaps there is a particularly difficult chord, and what they practice is just that ONE chord, until it becomes so natural, they no longer have to try. Perhaps they have a bit of weakness in one finger, and they spend time every day just doing strengthening exercises for that finger. This allows for the practice to be detached from any outcome other than the perfection of that one element. A martial arts master once told a friend of mine that “Practice does not make perfect, unless one practices perfectly”. I think this is particularly profound – after all, if a baseball player has his stance wrong, and practices that stance for hours every day, all he will have is a perfectly wrong stance.
The purpose of practice is to reach a point of unconscious competence. That means we can move through that particular action without thought, like when you’ve been driving for years and you no longer have to think about turning on your turn signal or which pedal makes the car stop. In martial arts, the masters spend hours practicing, repeating movement and flow over and over again – just so that they do not have to think when an occasion arises where those moves are required. Most of these arts teach one that if you have to think when attacked, you will be too slow, and fail. Luckily, this is not true in the art of hypnosis (speed is not necessarily called for), but the lesson is valuable none-the-less.
Relax and Trust
What is the use of all of this learning and practice? Well – the doing, obviously. By allowing ourselves to zone out, relax, and trust the unconscious mind, we give ourselves access to our storehouse of information whenever we need it. We learn and practice as often and diligently as possible. Then when the time comes to do our thing, relax into an open state of mind, and trust that everything we need is within us. This is a formula for the mastery of any pursuit, frankly, and one we can put to use not only for ourselves, but for our clients that are seeking help to gain mastery themselves. After all, mastery of music, art, sports, public speaking, etc., can all be enhanced by the same principles. Learn, practice, relax and trust.
Enjoy The Surprise
So what do I do to prepare for a client now? I spend hours researching, learning, and practicing. Then, when the time comes for an actual session, I spend a few moments breathing and relaxing, having done no specific preparation whatsoever. Once they walk through my door, I simply open my mind and enjoy the surprise of having no idea what I’m doing. This article was written by my good friend Rowan Peacock.