Common steps and sub-activities

Milton Erickson obligation reduction

In a highly organised and complex society, obligations can be the biggest block to spiritual experience, because you are always, always worrying about them.  And you cannot get rid of them because they are usually a permanent fixture of our lives.  We may be able to simplify, but we cannot remove on a permanent basis.

But we can remove them on a temporary basis and this is what Milton Erickson did, by suggestion again.  He both sought temporary removal of obligations that could not be removed on a permanent basis, but also tried to help people come to terms with the obligations they had and resent them less – acceptance as opposed to futile resistance.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

as you feel that deepening comfort you recognise you don't have to move talk or let anyone bother you

you don't have to talk or move or make any sort of effort

you don't even have to have your eyes open

it all belongs to you
and it can be shared in any way you decide

The use of permissions to break free - He used words like 'reasonable', and 'of interest to you' [as opposed to what others have demanded of you], 'letting you', 'helping you' [so the reverse of what is expected of people in general].  He also added a touch of excitement to the process in the sense that it was possible to break the boundaries in the world of trance [the spiritual world] so he used words like 'dare' to.

He gave people whose lives were filled with restrictions 'permissions'.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

And one of the nicest things is that
you can dare to look at
and think
and see
and feel
things
that you wouldn't dare in the ordinary waking state.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

You can know that you
have all the protection of the unconscious
which has been protecting you
in your dreams
permitting you to dream what you wish
when you wish
and keep that dream
as long as you thought necessary.

Appealing to the naughty child – Erickson  often used provocative suggestions or statement  that implied a sort of 'naughtiness'. This of course was appealing to the child in the  person – the idea that they could be naughty and also helped to place in their minds the idea that there are no rules in the spiritual world, as such it also helped with breaking down the concept of the obligation. He added words like 'secret' and 'forbidden' where the forbidden is shown to be not forbidden.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

Now the first step is to untangle your legs
pause
and
untangle your hands.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

Secrets, feelings, behaviour you would rather not talk about
pause
can be examined  in your own trance

Empowering – another strategy was to imply that the person had power over their lives again.  And once you feel you have the power to do things, you do them – make the needed change, do the things that will make you happier.  Much pain derives from a feeling of loss of control – which means people fear and agonise and are frightened.  They also tend to be stunned into a form of submission, paralysed by the fear.  But Erickson gave people the feeling that they did have power over what happened to them, they only had to let the composer in and things might happen that gave the person control of their life.

Erickson never called the composer, 'the composer' for the very obvious reason that this is my name for the higher spirit or daemon or atman.  He simply referred to this other world as 'the unconscious', but every sentence he uttered about this unconscious betrays his fairly obvious belief in the fact the composer was a separate entity with far more power than the conscious will.  Furthermore the higher spirit acted always in our best interests if we let it.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

It probably will happen just as soon as you are ready.  We will allow the unconscious to take as much time as it needs to let that happen.

Removing time constraints – One of Erickson's biggest preoccupations and work involved the person trying to get away from the obligation of time. Here he used words like 'slow', 'drifting', 'sooner or later', and as you can see above, the idea of reinforcing the concept of a pressure free process 'to take as much time as it needs'. Our western society is obsessed by time, deadlines, calendars, schedules, plans and so on. As such this particular almost obsessive set of obligations is difficult to get the person to remove and he spent some time on gradually whittling  it away..........

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

And it can take time... its own time ........ letting you go into a trance

sooner or later your eyes are going to close

we will allow the unconscious to take as much time as it needs to let 'x' happen

you can experience
progressively
any kind of sensation you wish.

As one who has tried this, this aspect is extraordinarily liberating in its own right, you feel as if a great weight has been taken from your shoulders.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

And when you spend time
time can be of varying intensity
it can be condensed
it can be expanded
so you can review a lifetime history in a few seconds time
pause
those few seconds can be expanded
into
years
also a few days can be condensed
into a moment
pause
you want to learn
how to expand time
expand awareness
and you need to know there is such as thing as
a contraction of time, feeling, pain, emotion.

Removing himself as a source of obligation - He even included himself in the obligation free world he created for a person, you don't have to listen to me, you can do what you want [for a change] you need not even fear 'failure'  at this task – going into a trance – because there is no obligation to go into a trance either.  If you want you can sit and look out the window all day …. and drift …...... drift …......... drift …..........

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

You don't even have to listen to my voice

your unconscious can try anything it wishes

there is nothing really important
except the activity of your unconscious mind
and that can be
whatever your unconscious mind desires.

Erickson talked to the composer in us all.