By Hakeem Alexander
(Exercising Your Mind) “Hypnosis exists in many different forms in society. Just because something doesn’t call itself hypnosis doesn’t mean that it isn’t hypnosis. As Hypnotists, it is our responsibility to recognize hypnosis regardless of what shape or form it takes in society. Once recognized we can then examine it objectively and critically to better understand its elements.”
-Introduction to Hypnotic Modalities 201-1, Hypnosis Motivation Institute, 2003.
School was not my favorite place to learn. At least not the classes. It was not the fault of my teachers, just my inability to focus. I have been very scattered in thought most of my years. I have largely been out of present-time, preoccupied with the pain of some past event, or daydreaming of a better future.
People that I love are being hurt for profit. I cry about it sometimes and I wish it to stop. I know I have to do something about it myself. People you love and care about may be suffering. How long must we be asleep and let this go on? It is time to awaken from the dark hypnotic spell of brainwashing and expose the dangerous conditions about us and transform.
When I was 15 years old, I was involuntarily held in Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center in Los Angeles for 60 days. Before that time I had a desire to be a psychiatrist. I wanted to study psychiatry because for a long while I had increasingly felt that I was “going crazy”. Since I did not trust anyone and was experiencing escalating bouts of paranoia, I thought I should “cure” myself of my insanity.
My following two involuntary 3-day, 5150 (danger to self and others) psychiatric holds in Florida hospitals as a teenager, and another in Los Angeles in 2002 were enough to solidify the reversal of that goal. The treatment of patients has always been horrifying and considerably inhumane as I saw first-hand. I also realized that if you didn’t have insurance, your treatment would generally only be those three days and no more. Those unlucky souls with good insurance and who weren’t so quiet usually got the “chemical straight-jacket” in the form of the sleep-inducing and highly addictive benzodiazepines or the antipsychotic neuroleptics.
After many years of self-medicating my own suffering with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, acid and ecstasy, I decided that med-school would be too out of reach for me and my apparently diminished capacity. But many years of deep meditation and spiritual struggle still told me that the way to atone for my many sins, clear my conscience, and pay my karmic debt would be to help others. I began the journey of discovering how I could engage only in transactions that benefit all whom it would effect. It has proven to be worth the challenge.
Not only did I lack the drive to go to college, I was also not much into working, so I did not feel I could afford it or get a scholarship. Financial ignorance also kept me out of the mental hospital, or from any conventional health-care, since I could not pay and did not care much to learn about welfare or public aid of any sort. This actually turned out for the best. It inspired me to seek ways to heal myself.
My short attention span could only hold me to a few hours a day or week of some course, so I completed brief classes like Red Cross Life-Guard training. I have continued through the years certifying in Red Cross and other First-Aid and CPR classes. Later, I certified as a National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and continued with one of the only other activities besides music that I felt free to do with a great amount of enjoyment. I lifted weights with people and burned off a lot of energy running around being athletic. It felt great to get paid for it.
The combination of my athletic enjoyment and spiritual seeking led me to Yoga, which was offered almost daily at the gym I was hired to train in. I first went because I was single, and mostly women attended the classes. However, I immediately released all of that craving as something else took over me. I began to feel much better about myself in a non egocentric and cheerfully calm way. A lot of people thought I was high on marijuana, which I did occasionally smoke at the time. But this was an altogether new high, one which along with meditation and prayer, led me into a drug-free life.
I have been studying and practicing Yoga for just over 4 years now, since June of 2004. In November of the same year, inspired by Yoga, Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale and my experiences with the Church of Scientology, I enrolled in a one-year intensive training course in Clinical Hypnotherapy at America’s First Nationally Accredited College of Hypnotherapy, The Hypnosis Motivation Institute. The serenity and blissful feelings I was earning from my Yoga practice helped to center me enough to deal with all the voices in my head. Yes, voices.
I was finally able to “be still and know”. I could read books again and comprehend. I did not feel stupid or distracted as much anymore. With my unblocked and renewed ability to study, I read “The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice, 1999 by T.K.V. Desikachar to find out why I was feeling so good. The effects were just that definitive, such that I knew it was a result of practicing Yoga. T.K.V. writes:
“In our practice we concentrate on the body, the breath, and the mind. Our senses are included as part of the mind. Although it theoretically appears possible for body, breath, and mind to work independent of one another, the purpose of yoga is to unify their actions.”
This was the beginning of a new understanding of healing for me. I began to question the rampant medicating of people for the slightest issues. It seemed like every other person I met was on a pharmaceutical. Maybe it was just paranoia working its way back in, but I sensed something discomforting about what I was finding
In a recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, nineteen people were assigned to either an hour Yoga session of postures and conscious breathing, or a 1 hour reading session. The creators of the study wanted to compare two activities that have been known to be relaxing for a reasonable comparison to be made.
The levels of a brain chemical that has a generally calming, anti-anxiety effect, known as GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) were measured before and after the sessions of reading and Yoga. The readers showed no increase in GABA levels, while the Yoga participants showed a significant 27 percent increase of this relaxant!
More important to me than any scientific research is my personal experience. I feel fantastic after my Yoga practice! It may have been circumstantial that I was not medicated for lack of money while others were drugged, but the fact remains that I have first-hand knowledge of the benefits of so-called “alternative” healing methods. I have since been turned on to Orthomolecular Psychiatry, Behavioral Optometry, Bio-Feedback and others. I have healed my body, mind and spirit, and of many others from my practices. It reminds me of something I read recently where Thich Nhat Hanh writes in “Living Buddha, Living Christ” 1995:
“We know very well that our daily practice of mindful living has brought us joy and peace, and so we have faith and confidence in our practice. We know that when we practice walking mindfully, we refresh ourselves, and we feel peace and joy with every step. No one can remove this from us because we have tasted the reality. This kind of faith gives us real strength.”
Now, I am not so dogmatic to be rigidly thinking that people don’t need a little help with something like a pharmaceutical when they have allowed a situation to become chronic or degenerative in an emergency. The Buddha
teaches to walk the middle path, and I agree. However, the issue is that mainstream medicine, media, and many doctors who are “on the take”, promote their way as superior, while denouncing alternatives as useless at best, and even dangerous. Ronald J. Diamond, M.D., in “Instant Psychopharmacology”, 2002, puts it this way:
“Withholding information about side effects or alternative treatments is paternalistic and disrespectful; moreover, it interferes with the kind of long-term relationship building that promotes effective treatment and helps the client make responsible decisions about his or her medications” He also writes “Medications do not always work as well as we might hope, and they often have more side-effects than we would like.”
Peter R. Breggin, M.D., and David Cohen, Ph.D. in “Your Drug May Be Your Problem” write:
“…we believe that the benefits of psychiatric drugs are vastly exaggerated, that their disadvantages are too often minimized, and that there is far too little information about how to stop taking them.”
Is it possible that there are incentives in place that steer many individual doctors and organizations into this type of “prescribing madness”? I have witnessed and experienced a great many situations that just don’t add up, unless you look at it from a profit over humanity perspective when it comes to the treatment of illnesses and the prescribing of medications. There is also an emerging body of evidence that seems to be shedding some light on this view-point. It comes both from the underground and the mainstream. I am the former here is the latter.
“Psychiatrists get more for three, 15 minute medication management visits than for one 45-minute psychotherapy visit.” This statement was made by Ramin Mojtabai of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Mojtabai is one of the researchers that contributed to the article titled “National Trends in Psychotherapy by Office Based Psychiatrists”. The Article appeared in the August 2008 Archives of General Psychiatry.
The article tells us that the percentage of psychiatrist visits involving psychotherapy fell from 44.4 percent during 1996-1997, to 28.9 percent during 2004-2005, while the percentage of psychiatrists using psychotherapy with all of their patients fell to a mere 11 percent during the 2004-2005 period!
This may not be a surprise to you if you took the pharma gifts paid to psychiatrists into consideration. FierceHealthCare at www.fiercehealthcare.com in a post titled “Psychiatrists getting largest pharma gifts”, cites the money trail in two states: “In Vermont, for example, pharma payments more than doubled last year, hitting $45,692 per individual, up from $20,835 in 2005. Data from Minnesota, too, suggests that psychiatrist get the highest compensation from pharma.”
Clinical Psychologist Bruce E. Levine in his Huffington Post article “Does it Make Sense to Treat Depression With Drugs?”, also points out: “Drug companies — exposed in recent congressional investigations as being corrupting forces in psychiatry — also favor medication management, the focus of which is primarily drugs. Psychiatrists themselves can make far more money with medication management than with psychotherapy.” Levine is the author of “Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic: How to find Morale, Energy and Community in a World Gone Crazy”, 2007.
I am well aware of how deeply entrenched some of the prevailing belief systems may be. I am merely offering suggestions for evaluation. My anecdotes are of course, my interpretation of subjective experiences. I am currently feeling the pain of my best friend who is at the mercy of psychiatry and I feel almost powerless at times. I love her so much and I do not again wish for her or I to bear such trials. There are better ways.
Again, T.K.V. Desikachar offers this insight from “The Heart of Yoga”:
“When we are attentive to our actions we are not prisoners to our habits; we do not need to do something today simply because we did it yesterday. Instead there is the possibility of considering our actions fresh and so avoiding thoughtless repetition.”
We must all act together to bring about the changes we want to see in the world by standing up for our health freedoms and demanding more humane and compassionate communication and healing. The profit based systems should not be allowed to torment us or our loved ones any longer. It is time to awaken from the dark hypnotic spell of brainwashing and expose the dangerous conditions about us, and transform into a more understanding, and loving world community, and family.
By Hakeem Alexander