I had not seen Carlos for nearly a month and I was eager to know how he was managing with his pain levels. Eight years before, an accident at work had ruptured the disc between his last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum. An operation failed to correct the problem and he was left with bone rubbing against bone. His three pain medications, all addictive, had never been able to adequately keep the pain in check. He came to me in desperation.
I was not optimistic when he first came. What a lesson. Never let a personal attitude interfere. Just work. In the first two sessions very little seemed to get accomplished. Then in session 3, with it being so clear that the pain levels prevented much else from happening, I suggested that we needed to address those levels specifically and directly. And so I used standard hypnotic techniques to sever the connection between the nerve impulse of pain and its perception in the brain. As he emerged from the session, he began shifting his body around with the most incredulous expression on his face. Then he stood up. “I think I could dance,” he said. “Well, don’t just yet,” I recommended.
So when he came back today, 6 weeks after that session, I was very curious to know what was happening. Well, there was still some pain but it was tolerable. And he was beginning to reduce his meds. The morphine he had stopped completely, his Fentanyl (opioid) patch he was changing every 4 days instead of every 2 days, and the methadone was reduced to half the previous dosage. My turn to be incredulous.
“I feel stuck. I have no reason to move forward. Sometimes I spend all day in bed. There is sadness. There is loneliness. Why this difficult life. Why me?”
I was still just beginning the hypnotic induction when there burst in upon my mind a striking incident Carlos had told me about many weeks before. He was on a long drive with a female companion. It was in Mexico many years ago. His companion had fallen asleep when suddenly he felt his face begin to change, to go through some kind of transformation – cheek bones protruded, the forehead sloped back at a sharp angle. His face was turning into a different face. The classic aboriginal profile we have all seen in pictures. But it was happening from the inside out; very physical. Totally dissimilar to his current Spanish face.
For a couple of minutes I tried to dismiss this intrusion – I had not even finished the induction for heavens sake! I sensed a certain insistence and impatience at my reluctance and at my evident stupidity. True, I saw no reason to go to this incident. But then what on earth do I know. So, relenting, I said immediately, without continuing the induction any farther, that I wanted him to go back to this incident he had told me about many weeks before. And then I asked, “What is taking place now?”
“There is a pair of green eyes looking at me. They are very close to my face, right in front of my face. Very, very close. Just looking at me. Not aggressively. Not judging. Just looking. Looking to see me. There is no face. Just the eyes. Looking. The eyes are a deep green and the area all around them is a lighter green. Maybe the eyes are asking, ‘Who is this?’ ”
“Yes, that is my question, ‘Who am I?’” Carlos added almost as an afterthought.
“Is anything else happening? I ask.
“Well, there is a flat layer of moving jade masks beside me – a flat, horizontal layer.”
After a certain amount of time, just a couple of minutes, not long, the eyes and the masks are no longer there and there is only color. But different colors now. Purple, green. The colors are moving in waves, starting above the head and moving down the length of the body. The colors are somewhat dark but there are lines of light stretching through them.
“I am no longer in my body but I am just above it. And I am larger. As if I extend well beyond the edge of this sofa on both sides. I am floating. I cannot feel my body at all.”
The colors then turn more to green for a time. Then to yellow. Finally to pure white.
“What are the colors doing to you?” I ask.
“It’s like a purification. As if something is being cleaned out of me.”
So I spend some time reinforcing that process, suggesting that it will be thorough and complete – removing what needs to be removed, any impediment or toxin just washed away. “Drink lots of water afterwards,” I recommend.
When the white light was at its most intense, I asked if there was any sense of a message or information that was available to him. “Yes, there is something there. Just there, off to the left side. But it was very fleeting. It was just a flash. And I don’t know what it is or what it means or what it might be trying to say.” I offer the suggestion that perhaps the substance of it is already conveyed and that only later he will come to understand what has been transmitted.
As the white light began to fade, I suggest a feeling of gratitude at what has “come through.” And then we end the session.
Afterwards I ask, “How do you feel?”
“The sadness I had before we started has gone. I feel lighter.”
“But something is very strange: I know those eyes. They are familiar to me. I have seen them before.”