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  • Mark Brafield

A game of two halves, Krishna


A few weeks ago, a lifelong Manchester United supporter, I went to watch United play Crystal Palace at Palace's ground, Selhurst Park.

It was a thrilling match. United were, as quite often, terrible in the first half, but sensational once they actually started playing in the second half. (Of course, sometimes United are just awful all the way through, as when they were recently knocked out of the Champion's League by Sevilla, but that is another matter).

By contrast, Palace were rampant in the first half but collapsed in the second.

Palace scored 2 goals in the first 20 minutes, and were 2 - 0 up at half time, but United roared back to win 3 - 2 with the last goal being scored by Nemanja Matic in injury time.

So what has all of this got to do with hypnotherapy ?

Well, the answer is that although we are United supporters, we were sitting in the Palace end, with the result that we had to completely contain our despair when Palace scored their 2 goals in the first half, and equally contain our joy when United scored goal, after goal, after goal in the second.

It was an odd, slightly detached feeling, but then I realised that this was the essence of many of the strategies I use with my clients who suffer from anxiety.

Much anxiety is caused by attachment to thoughts, and allowing thoughts - which are, after all, just thoughts - to engage with and activate feelings that you don't actually need.

A visualisation that I use with many of my clients is that of a game of chess; the black and white pieces play out their eternal game, first one side winning and then the other, but you are neither black nor white, you are simply the chessboard across which these forces move, observing the outcome but without any direct engagement yourself.

Krishna puts it well in the Bhagavad Gita when he tells Arjuna that salvation belongs to the man 'Who, unperturbed by changing conditions, sits apart and watches and says 'the wheels of nature go round', and remains firm and shakes not'. (Bhagavad Gita 14.24).

But it was still a terrific match.


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