In Session (21) - Choose Desire
The Lay Psychiatrist manhandles a thin man
I could see the problem in his carriage, not that he arrived in one, it was how he held himself, cramped up inside his body like he was being spirited out of town in a trunk. He was pulsing with nervous tension. “Calm the fuck down,” I said, reaching out and giving him three little taps on the cheek with my fingers.
“Did you hit me?” He was incredulous, which is related to confusion.
“The fact that you don’t know whether or not I hit you argues for its being a hypnotic induction. Stand in front of the yellow chair and when I count to three, drop into it and go deeply asleep.”
He drew back and grimaced, holding up both hands as if pushing me away. “No,” he said.
I didn’t take it personally. Some people aren’t hypnotizable, usually engineers, who have no intention of exploring backward into pre-math. He was in the chair now, feeling defensive but not sure why, twisting in the wind. I waited for the defense to come forward, which it did.
He said, “Do you ever think about what that feels like to a thin man like me when somebody your size says, ‘Just go to sleep?’ No problem, because you’re a professional? That’s what Louie thought when he went to the dentist and woke up being asked to rinse.”
“You breezed right past the turnoff, there, junior,” I said, “because I’m not a professional. You go to a professional you know what to expect, but when you come here you can expect the unexpected.”
“How is that even possible? I just want to quit smoking.”
“I know that,” I said. “You called me. You said you wanted to do hypnosis, I invited you to play your part, and you declined. When you’re ready to stop smoking, go into a deep trance, but if you’re not ready, keep talking.”
“One. Two. Three.”
He went deep enough for the suggestion to penetrate. “I can’t just take something away without giving it a new job that it likes better than the old one. When you want a cigarette, that is desire. Choose the desire instead of the cigarette. Desire is money in the bank. It earns interest and special benefits, because desire is what makes things happen. What do you want to use that desire for?”
It took awhile. He was deep. I could watch the stirring of thought like wind on still water. The part that can make words was the part that had gone to sleep, and was momentarily disasianed. “Do I have to use it for something?”
“No, but if you don’t use it, it builds up and gives you the rocket ship experience, if you know what I mean.”
“I know what you mean,” he said. “I want a cigarette.” He was in a blissful state. “It’s never felt this good before.”
“It keeps getting better,” I said.