Don’t wish it were easier.
Let it make you stronger.

Lincoln Stoller, PhD, 2019. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Compliance in medicine means a client’s willingness to comply with the treatment program. For mind-body healing “the program” is the connection between mind and body, and compliance refers to a person’s willingness to build that connection. The word sounds authoritarian, like “law-abiding,” but it means little more than a willingness to work toward progress in spite of difficulty. In hypnotherapy everything rests on force of mind, and here compliance is essential.

There are three programs: my program, your program, and the program—if one exists—that the mind-body needs. We’d like there to be a fourth program: the program that heals, but that is an abstraction that often cannot be “program-atized,” and so remains a higher goal. We could imagine many more programs, but these are the big three. Great things can happen when these three are in alliance.

There is a certain skill of intuiting this alliance before any treatment begins, and I would say success depends on whether these three programs are aligned from the start. Let’s talk about them.

My Program

Hypnotherapy falls into two broad categories: the “tell them what to think” approach and the “enable them to think for themselves” approach. Let’s call these the prescriptive approach and the proactive approach. For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would want to be told what to think but, in most walks of life, that is exactly what people want: they want a prescribed solution. The way I understand this is to say that people try their best, and when that feels like it’s not enough they seek direction and advice.

Why do so many people feel that they have done their best and their best is not enough? Why do people so often give up before they start? When this is bred into us we are disabled; and it is bred into us, and it is the primary aspect of our disabilities. It is the lack of faith in ourselves—nature, god, or something that should be available to us—that is our most common obstacle.

Now, I’m sounding religious, and that takes me outside of most people’s program, yet this is essential: we are not independent entities and our health is not something that resides alone in our separate selves. The faith that’s lacking is a faith in one’s ability to see beyond and to grow beyond appearances. It is the faith to exceed what we’ve been taught. This lack of faith turns the dynamos of modern civilization keeping people within institutions and dependent on them. It underlies our inability to maintain balance and heal ourselves from imbalance.

My program has two parts, and it is prescriptive at the start. You are at the start. I am telling you where I’m coming from, and that I work to open your power. If that resonates with you, then our programs may succeed. I aim to establish this compliance before we begin.

Once we agree that enhancing your power is our object, I become proactive. I play the role of ears and eyes in the territory where your power has been misplaced, and this is a vast landscape. Two minds are better than one, but they are hardly enough. This is a psychosomatic world of history, ancestry, culture, memory, intuition, intellect, and emotion. Your power is anywhere and everywhere.

Our intellects travel in straight lines: from A to B, from cause to effect, from past to future. I’m perfectly happy using logic in physics and mathematics, but the psycho-somatic world is not connected in this way. To find your power you must get beyond your intellect. You can do this using expansive hypnotherapy or some version of it, and all mind-expanding tools are some kind of hypnosis.

I speak further about my non-logical role in the piece “Free Hypnosis,” which is here.

Your Program

Do you have a program? I can ask you flat out, and you’ll answer by going off on some tangent or so it might appear. In the realm of mind-body nothing is just as it appears. To use a detective analogy, everything is a clue, and your “program” may not look like what you or I think a program should look like.

It would be nice if your program had simple steps that could be followed, but more likely your program is what you’re already doing, full of twists and turns, certitudes and uncertainties, health and illness, jackpots and bad investments. It’s best if you are honest but you don’t have to be as long as you are authentic. As I said, the psycho-somatic world is not linearly connected.

You could have a clear and focused program. We’re taught to like clear programs because they “make sense” and, when they do, we can better assess the risks and rewards. This is why we have a plethora of practitioners selling programs which, like the commodities that they are, come with an assortment of features at a variety of prices.

When you tell me about the steps in your program, I listen but I don’t entirely believe. There are levels to who we are, and our different levels have different programs. You might say our levels are our programs, though we prefer to hold ourselves separate from them.

The reason I don’t don’t entirely believe what you may claim is your program is because your full program is the whole landscape of your power and disability, which you can’t describe because it’s not describable. Yet, I’ve asked you for a description so, right there, we’re positioned to take off into the realm of what can’t be said.

Think of your intellectual understanding of yourself not as a map of the territory, but as the door out of the first container of it. I listen to your program not to help you follow it, but to help you get beyond it. This is perfectly fine and normal; it’s a good way to approach all intellectual boxes. Don’t take yourself too seriously because no matter how big you think you are, it’s not big enough.

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The Mind-Body’s Program

Your mind-body’s program is your fate, destiny, work, and potential. It’s hard to tame or draw a line around it but it underlies everything. We work to restore, enhance, realize, and expand these things. This is our plan, our best laid plan, but you never know what surprises lay in store. Humility is needed in all stages of any program.

There is the expression, “The universe will provide.” I understand this to mean that when you’re on the right track things fit together. For example, when you’re on the right track with a cross-word puzzle everything gets easier. It’s not that you don’t have to do anything, it’s rather that the more clues you decipher, the more is revealed. That is not to say the universe will deliver that to which you are entitled. It won’t. What it says is that only when you’re in synchrony can you hear the full melody of what’s happening inside and around you. This makes sense and sounds logical, but it is not simple.

Are you in synchrony with your mind-body’s program? We can’t be sure, but since progress requires compliance between our programs this question is essential. A good deal of our work aims to find an answer because, at root, your mind-body’s program is the master program. It is the only program that can prevail, all others must be in compliance with it.

It can be a sad truth that your mind-body’s program is bigger than either of us. The expression, “The Lord works in strange ways,” is the admission that we may never understand what you’re here to do, which is what your mind-body program defines. This can also be a great truth, and I prefer to think of it that way: it’s the path to uncovering one’s potential.

You come to me, or to any healthcare practitioner, with an ailment I don’t entirely believe. You shouldn’t entirely believe it either. And from this “clue” we try to figure out how to become the best you can become. This is not really a medical task, and it may not be a healing or curing task either.

Your path through life is not straight. You don’t need to be certain where this path started or where it ends because neither your heritage or your legacy are fully known. Your mind illuminates a part of it, like a flashlight through a dark wood. If you look with other senses beyond your eyes you will be able to see farther. That’s what my work is all about: seeing farther because I’m just as curious as you are. In this project we are partners.

Getting Specific

This has all been very general and I’d like to get specific. However, you are anonymous and each person’s path is different. More than that, where ailments are concerned there is disempowerment and fear and it’s unethical to lead you into this territory and leave you there. So I cannot get specific in that way. Instead, I’ll try another way.

It is often the case that when we get outside the box of our intellect we find ourselves in no box at all. This can be disconcerting, taxing our patience and making us feel powerless and vulnerable. This is why we don’t want to leave this box, this box of certainties surrounding the core of what we perceive to be our disability. Yet when we get outside the box, when we leave our preconceptions behind, it is a breakthrough. Breakthrough to what? Well, you don’t know, and I can’t tell you, but I can take you there.

“Leaving The World” is a free audio induction that aims to take you into a space that is outside what you know. It’s a simple task, really. It involves dropping all what is familiar in what you see and think while still remaining alert and aware. You might compare it to an emptiness meditation, except in this journey you are not looking inward but outward.

Listen to the free audio MP3 file “LEAVING THE WORLD” to encounter a higher consciousness in yourself.
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