You keep your finger on the universal pulse - You're a tuned in and receptive gay man - You get the whole Law of Attraction idea - yes you've seen 'What the Bleep' and 'The secret'. You even find yourself chatting nonchalantly about the basics of quantum physics and its relationship to the whole law of attraction thing.
Ok so maybe that bit about the nucleus popping in and out of existence may have thrown you a tad, but you've decided that you're pretty much on the same page.
Well, you're not alone in this breathing, popping in and out (yet unified) gay universe of ours!
Maybe we're finally 'getting' what sages and avatars having been saying in different forms for millennia - that we actually sculpt out the tangible day to day reality of our lives - and the precision tools we use are our thoughts and emotions.
Of course as a community we're all too often the victims of our own negative kind of 'mass gay hypnosis' - one minute we're the victims of homophobia from the straight world, then we come out and immediately enter a culture which I believe hypnotises us into perceptions of ourselves which are equally - if not more - damaging.
How can real liberation and self acceptance be dependent on your current level of muscle definition or just being plain 'out of it'?
Our community is now more than ever suffering the dire consequences of what boils down to good old internalised homophobia.
"In order to be acceptable I must present a Hyper - Perfected image of myself in whatever way I can".
The nature of the presenting issues in my practice has changed radically in the 15 years I've worked as a gay Life Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Body Dysmorphia, Narcissistic Disorder, Exercise Addiction, Bulimia, Perfectionism, Control Issues, Fear of Intimacy, Performance Anxiety, Depression, Social Anxiety, Substance Abuse, Gambling, Debt, Sex Addiction, Relationship Avoidance are at epidemic proportions.
This list is now just the norm - it's the tip of the iceberg - and these ones are definitely NOT melting. No gay climate change going on here unfortunately!
More than ever our community needs to face these challenges head on - both at the cultural and individual level.
The Obvious question - But How?
The positive psychology pioneer Martin Seligman in his recent Australian lecture tour talked about being either 'Yes' or a No'. He implied that it all sort of comes down to this simple binary decision.
Are we saying yes or no at any point to the good feelings of Self acceptance, happiness, joy, wealth, abundance, freedom, success, self esteem and love?
In the Secret they describe thoughts and emotions being essentially either 'good or bad'. On or Off track as it were. I think this idea is effectively the same thing Seligman is alluding to.
Which leads to the BIG question - "How can we as gay men learn to say yes to good feelings and self perceptions and no to the bad?"
The rise in consciousness brought about by these inspirational movies have really changed the way clients approach the change process. Previously there was quite simply no general understanding of the kind of truths explored in these movies. Nowadays clients have a very different dilemma.
"I understand that I have limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns and I accept that these are shaping my future, but how do a really apply these principles on a daily basis? How do I persist or stay conscious long enough to allow change to manifest?
This is where the sticking point lies. A lot of people 'get it' on an academic level and even play around with talking more positively to themselves (when they remember) - but when did you last put aside the time to really 'make yourself still' and focus your attention on what you want. And did you really get that strong feeling of 'having already achieved your goal' even when you did?
I think we're taught in our culture to almost pathologically avoid any moments of real 'stillness' - we're too busy chasing something to ever allow a pause to occur.
But let's assume we actually do get the stillness thing together - then there's the fact that we need to stick at this long enough for the seeds of change to germinate and push through all that resistance and get to the surface. Most people have given up in the meantime putting the whole thing down to being merely the latest new age fad.
My experience shows me that this is where the real power of 'Gay hypnosis' comes into its own.
There's a scene in the movie 'The Secret' where a guy is imagining driving his dream car - he's on his couch but in his mind he's totally absorbed in his internal reality. He can smell the leather upholstery and feel the wind in his hair and the torque as he takes the next bend in his convertible.
Hypnosis as you probably already know is something we all experience every day as our brains are also constantly shifting gear. Hypnosis on a practical level opens up a direct pathway to the subconscious part of the brain / mind. This is the part of the brain that produces dreams during sleep. On a more basic level it's also a kind of store house of memories, and experiences together with all the associated emotions, beliefs and behaviours.
The subconscious is also where our childhood fears and self hatred are maintained. It's where the imprint of homophobia got stamped.
This can often be at odds with our conscious selves - where we may believe that we are now very comfortable and at ease with our sexuality - genuinely 'Out and Proud'.
The crux of the matter is that this can indeed be the case at a conscious level - but the subconscious is often still operating on the beliefs and self perceptions of a very young child - who will have had a very different take on the whole thing. I think we often forget just how afraid, isolated and ashamed 'gay kids' feel.
Gay Hypnosis offers a real chance to change these feelings of unworthiness - even self hatred at a deep unconscious level.
The conscious mind makes analytical judgements - it tells us that the world of dreams we have at night is not 'real' whereas the chair we're currently sitting on 'is real'. The key thing here is that the subconscious mind is totally different. It does NOT distinguish between the two. An imagined chair is as real as the tangible one you're sitting on now. Quantum physics is telling us the same thing.
Self Hypnosis is I believe the most significant tool any gay man can use to create lasting and effective change. In particular the use of Self Hypnoiss Audios / CDs seems to work very powerfully because they offer a structure to easily see and feel what's required to manifest the shift.
Self Hypnosis Audios are best used on a semi regular basis initially - as the positive hypnotic suggestion embedded in the audios start to compound themselves and plant the seeds of change. Of course the other significant aspect here is the use of guided imagery where the subconscious is fully engaged in creating a very different possibility - for example actually seeing yourself as Confident, or Fit and Healthy, as non Smoker, Relaxed and at peace, Wealthy and Successful.
This really is the key - and it answers that questions 'How do I actually put this Law of Attraction stuff into practice for myself as a gay man?"
Self Hypnosis is the perfect structure for creating the stillness and focusing the attention on what you want. It automatically creates the new feelings of 'already having confidence, happiness, abundance, self acceptance and so on As we are now realising - it is this process of seeing and feeling what we desire in our internal reality - that automatically magnetises the same reality towards us on the outside.
Gay men have, I believe, always been talented in terms of compassion, empathy, responding to injustice in all its forms. I think it's now essential that we use these skills (born out of our own past suffering of course) to very practical use. We need to attend to our own selves - creating our own healing and freedom before we can offer it effectively to others. Forget the abs and spray on tan - that resentful gay victim thing really is the look to avoid!
Matt Kaliowski is a Global Gay Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner. He runs a thriving Phone Coaching Service with gay clients literally anywhere in the world. The Clinical Practice for Gay men and couples is based in Sydney Australia. He is also known for his effective range of cutting edge Self Hypnosis Audio products / Downloads.