Hypnotism and Faith Healing
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
So, I've been playing with self-hypnosis lately (fairly unsuccessfully). I wanted to try to program myself to be motivated at a deeper level than I could do by just conscious self-talk. What that looks like is I made a recording of myself counting down and saying "you are getting sleepy." And then I added things like, "God loves you the way you are, he always has, but he aims to make you more. When you sense yourself shutting down, you are resolute to replace those thoughts with positivity and optimism." You know, stuff I need just a little more help with. So far I'm not sure it's working super well.
There are these tests online where you can sort of test how "open to suggestion" you are. Like this guy says "close your eyes" and he does this induction (the countdown/you-are-getting-sleepy part that is supposed to get you into a suggestable state) and then he says "hold out your hands." He says imagine one of them has a balloon pulling it up, making it "lighter, lighter, lighter" and the other has a very heavy weight pulling it down "heavier, heavier, heavier." And when he snaps you're supposed to wake up and see if your heavy hand is lower than your other hand. If there's a significant difference, then you're pretty open to the power of suggestion.
Turns out I'm pretty not. Maybe this goes hand-in-hand with me being kind of a skeptic. My faith has come hard. I gotta discover things for myself. I don't trust others' conclusions super readily.
Well, the hypnosis stuff reminded me of this time when I was younger at a conference where the faith healer Benny Hinn pointed me out from a group that had come to the front because we wanted God to move in us. And he called me up to the stage and tried to 'slay me in the spirit' I guess. Being slain in the spirit is like this phenomenon of when a preacher says "Be healed!" Or "be filled!" Or "More! More! More!" and you like fall over. It's pretty crazy watching everyone standing in the audience fall over like a bunch of dominoes. Well, it didn't really work on me. The poor healer dude like said, "More!" and tapped me on my forehead. (There were people behind me to catch me if I fell). I stepped backwards to stay upright. He did it a couple more times "Be filled! Be filled! Be filled!" and I kept stepping back to keep my balance until the last time. The lights were hot, and everyone else was falling, and eventually I let myself be sort of pushed over, or be 'filled'(?) and fall over. I'm not totally sure if there was anything supernatural going on in me. I mean I really wanted to have God move in me and overcome all my skepticism. "God I want you. But I'm just pretty skeptical."
I mean I think a lot of it truly is legit. It really is pretty amazing when you see even the people who are supposed be catching the people fall over as well when the faith healer just swings his coat at them. "Be filled!" Here are some videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdUIqKJyD0Q
I've been reading in Mark 9 lately about belief and Jesus doing miracles. And he says things like "You of little faith" and "How long must I put up with your unbelief." So, in verse 17 there's this desperate father who brings his kid to be healed from what he says is a demon that throws his kid into seizures since he was young. Poor guy loves his kid to the world and back and he shows up for help. And before Jesus gets there these dudes called "Scribes" who are the really skeptical religious leaders are challenging the disciples and arguing with them about healing and stuff. I just imagine this father say with desperate eyes, "Guys, I just really need Jesus to heal my kid." It's about then when Jesus comes back and hears the debate going on and says, "What's up?"
The father of the kid explains to him, "I came to ask for healing, if you can heal my boy, please take pity on us!"
Jesus says "IF I can heal? All things are possible for those who believe."
The father let's out what the amplified translation says to be a "desperate, piercing cry" saying "I believe! Help my unbelief!"
I just imagine those really skeptical voices of those scribes echoing in his head, and in fact probably still whispering right behind him. And he's just like got his kid there, who it says just started seizing on the ground right in front of them, and he wants with all his heart to believe so his freakin kid can stop shaking in the dirt, "I BELIEVE! HELP ME WITH MY UNBELIEF. PLEASE!"
It's kind of interesting this relation I'm sort of seeing between just believing you can be healed, and this making you able to be healed. A chapter or so before, Jesus couldn't heal anyone in a town because none of them believed! I think Jesus could probably do anything but, it seems like the thing that kept them from being healed wasn't the lack of Jesus's power, but their belief that they could be healed! There's some relationship between between believing you can be healed and being healed.
It's like my resistance to being suggestible, and needing to test everything and know it for myself. I'm pretty sure I have the voices of those scribes in my own head. And you know, the other voices in this world that say, "It's all fake superstition. It can all be explained away by science. That kid just had seizures and they explained it by evil spirits." (btw, I think it might be both, demons and scientifically explainable seizures, and they might be synonymous in some existential way.)
But Lord, I think I need help being suggestible. I want to believe. Help my unbelief.
Raw Spoon, 9-12-19