Mr. Porcupine Was In My Boat

Today at neurofeedback we did some guided imagery to help me get more alpha waves. If you haven't done guided imagery before, basically the patient closes their eyes (or does so when instructed) while the therapist gives them instructions.

Sometimes the instructions are things to do, like hold out one arm until it feels heavy, etc., etc.; my CBT therapist in NYC did that a lot to get things started. But sometimes the instructions start with explanations about what to visualize.

Today I was supposed to visualize going deep underground (this is typical imagery to help people enter a state of hypnosis or deep meditation), then I floated down a stream to an underground cave. Once in the cave, there was a lake and a boat coming toward me. When I looked in the boat, I would see an animal. That's the instruction-- everyone visualizes things a little differently.

Well, when we got to that part of the story, I looked in my boat and saw a porcupine. I thought, "oh no, really?" and considered quickly imagining a different animal. But then I figured, oh what the heck, my subconscious came up with a porcupine, so just go with it. So I imagined him as a really nice porcupine. I called him "Mr. Porcupine". He didn't shoot his quills at me, he made them very flat so I could pet him (in one direction, at least).

Mr. Porcupine was there to by my animal spirit guide through a cave with many doors. Once I relaxed and resigned myself to being guided around by a freindly porcupine, it was fine. He kind of grew on me. The first door I went in I imagined was made of cinderblocks, but it pushed open easily like our secret door. The next door was painted red with a blue frame, and the last door we went in was stainless steel. The instructions didn't tell you what the doors looked like, the instructions were just to examine the door to see what it looks like before you enter.

After the guided part of the treatment was done, I just let my mind wander a bit. I wasn't thrilled with this particular guided imagery script, so I didn't go back. I heard some cars outside the building through the closed window (the office is near a busy road), and it sounded like waves, so I imagined that the ocean had advanced to Rio Road (but only a few inches deep) and there was a beach around the building. Then I imagined that I was enjoying the warmth from the sun, but it wasn't the regular sun, it was the sun from a farther galaxy and so it didn't cause sun damage. In fact, the heat from this other sun was good for skin, and made it regenerate with a more youthful appearance.

I figured while I was in a deep meditative state with access to my subconscious, I might was well go for a little self-healing imagery. So I planted the notion that my skin can regenerate itself more youthfully. We'll see how that works out for me, I'm not holding my breath, but people have cured their own cancer through self-hypnosis, so getting rid of a few age spots might actually not be that hard for the body to take care of on its own. Although even if my age spots go away, I won't exactly be able to determine if it was because of successful imagery, or just the Retin-A-micro at work. But I figure the imagery isn't going to hurt, right?

At any rate, this was the most successful session yet for the alpha protocol-- for the first time, towards the end, my brain was producing more alpha waves than beta waves. This is extremely encouraging. J says the goal is not really to get me to live in a state of high alpha, but to go there often enough that the connections in my brain get used to firing in alpha. She says the goal is just to beat a path through the wilderness from beta/delta (my normal state) to alpha and back. Once there is a clear pathway created, it will be easier for me to use alpha waves in the appropriate situations in the future. Like when you practice the piano, at first you have to think about how to play a new song and it's difficult, but once you play it again and again, eventually the brain remembers how the fingers should move, and it gets easier and you can just sit and play without thinking about it. So it is with brainwaves. Once I've gotten good alpha waves again and again, it will be easier to go there in the future and I won't need to be hooked up to an EEG and hearing bells and chimes and things to lead me there, my brain will just take care of it without much conscious effort on my part.

So once I can get to and from an alpha state readily, then I guess J will address the other problems. I'm not sure if the next step will be to increase theta, or to lower beta and/or delta. But I won't ask about that yet, first I'll just get good alpha. Like I've mentioned before, having high amplitude alpha waves is downright physically pleasureable for me, and so it's easy to stick with this protocol. I really look forward to these sessions, especially now that they last an hour.