A 25 year search – who I am and why I’m here

Hi I’m Jonathan. When I was 15 my mum signed me up for a class on self-hypnosis to help me with my preparation for school exams. I was curious. My only experience of hypnosis at that age was the TV entertainment kind, Paul McKenna convincing normal people that they were super heroes or dinosaurs on Saturday night prime time. I believed most of these people were acting, so didn’t hold much faith in a class teaching me how to do this to myself. But I went into it with an open mind and gave it a try.

I was the youngest person in the class by 30 years, which made me feel like my mum had misjudged the session entirely. Many of the other people in the group seemed to be there for serious reasons too – confidence, smoking and relationship issues. People who had tried everything else and were pinning their hopes on this class to make a tangible difference to their lives.

Feelings of boredom crept in and as we began the deep breathing exercises and were asked to visualise a garden, it took everything I has not to burst out laughing. This wasn’t the natural activity for a sociable, testosterone filled teenager on a Saturday afternoon.

But later in the day, once the initial feelings of cynicism had passed and I was steadily marking time until I could leave, I had the most amazing experience. During a 45 minute guided hypnosis, I lost track of who and where I was and my mind cleared, to the point that I felt like I was floating, suspended in water, looking peacefully out on the world. Everything was clear, calm and unhurried.

I was the only person to have an experience like it that day.

Keen to continue, I bought a guided recording from the instructor to use at home. But I could never replicate the results and within a few weeks became impatient and moved on.

This experience had a lasting impact on me though. As I got to my twenties I became interested in meditation, trying buddhist and TM approaches, and apps from Headspace, Calm and Sam Harris in my thirties. All had slightly different takes, all adding a different perspective.

I also developed a strong interest in self-improvement, remaining in the present moment, improving confidence, self-awareness, brain health.

And I sought out, and found, activities that put me in flow states; climbing, martial arts, yoga, running.

I cycled backward and forward through all these interests, always looking for the combination of things that would put me into a peak state. Always moving on, sometimes coming back, accumulating more knowledge and connecting best with people who had similar interests.

I recently turned 40 and was reflecting on who I am, what path I’ve taken and what makes me ‘me’, beyond my day to day labels, such as career, husband, father and so on. When I looked at where my interests have been for the last couple of decades, what I read about, what podcasts I listen to, programmes I watch, when I think about what lights me up, I think, it’s trying to get back to that experience I had when I was 15.

This blog is about my search for a clear mind.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: