Tropical Island


Spoken to the Subject

Fairly standard and very effective. The cloud metaphor is very useful for anxiety sufferers. In a moment I’m going to ask you to imagine certain things… but it doesn’t matter if you find you can’t imagine all the things I’m asking you to. You might even find your mind wandering quite a bit, so that my voice just fades into the background, but that doesn’t matter either. the sound of my voice is going to continue to relax you and it really doesn’t matter if you don’t hear a word I say, because very soon now, you are going to be more relaxed than you have ever known… imagine yourself standing on the very top of a green hill on a tropical island… you can feel the warmth of the sun on your head and shoulders and can see the long grasses around you moving slightly in the gentlest of breezes… when you look down the hill you can see a narrow, winding path that disappears into a small forest.. and beyond the forest you can see the ocean… with sunlight from the clearest of blue skies glancing off the tops of the waves in the bay… so that the whole ocean seems to shimmer and sparkle… you begin to move lazily and easily down the path, with the ferns and grasses brushing gently against your legs as you pass… and you just catch the faint smell of salt borne in on the breeze…and become aware of the distant sound of the ocean on the shore… maybe hear seabirds calling faintly, from a long way off… you marvel at the deep sense of calmness and tranquillity that sweeps over you, as you move on down and down towards the forest… moving so easily, so effortlessly, you feel almost as though you’re floating on air… and in no time at all you find yourself drifting through the trees, their leaves closing overhead to form a canopy… their branches making an irregular pattern against the clear blue of the sky… It’s pleasantly cool in the forest and the gentle sound of birds singing, echoing faintly, and the scent of the trees and undergrowth relaxes you still further… as you move easily into the inviting depths, becoming lazier and lazier with each step you take…

You can hear a stream somewhere, its gurgling sound gradually mingling with the sound of the ocean… as you follow the winding path down and down towards the beach that you know is in front of you, weaving through the trees and brushing aside the occasional piece of foliage… until, quite suddenly… you feel the warmth of the sun on your head and shoulders again and you find yourself on a beautiful deserted beach… a beautiful golden shore line sweeping away in a gentle curve in front of you, to a distant point where the trees seem to come right down to the shoreline, so that their branches actually seem to overhang the ocean itself… you can feel the sand warm between your toes as you stroll lazily across the broad beach to the water’s edge… the sand becomes a darker golden colour when you get there, and you enjoy the change to a moist, firm coolness beneath your feet as you wander along the shore, leaving a lazy trail of footprints in the sand behind you… every so often a larger than usual wave sends rivulets of water foaming around your feet…

And as they recede, you notice how the sand is washed away from tiny coloured pebbles, glinting like jewels in the sun… the smell of the ocean, the sunlight on the waves, the sound of the water hissing over the sand… all these things seem to create a sense of timelessness for some unknown reason… and you find yourself a comfortable position, a grassy hollow maybe, to just sit and gaze out across the rolling depths to the horizon… trickling warm, golden sand idly through your fingers… there’s a faint haze which makes it difficult for you to see exactly where the sky stops and the ocean starts… and as you try to fathom it out, you see a small white cloud appear from somewhere near the horizon… it comes towards the island quite quickly, growing larger as it approaches, until it’s immediately overhead… the largest, fluffiest, whitest cloud you can ever remember…

And you somehow know, just by instinct, that you can let all your worries, all your cares, all your fears, just drift up towards this large white cloud… you can actually see them drifting away from you in a long slow spiral… maybe like smoke from a bonfire… just spiralling away from you towards this large white cloud… the cloud absorbs all your worries into itself, swallowing up all your fears and anxieties and becoming steadily darker all the time, until, just as it reaches its darkest, just as the last part of that spiral of your worries and cares disappears inside it… the sun bursts through!… dispelling every one of your worries, every one of your fears and anxieties, to the edges of the universe… leaving you totally relaxed and perfectly at ease with yourself, without a single care in the World… and now, all your troubles and cares having floated away from you, you settle yourself down into a comfortable position and just drift off into a deep and relaxing sleep… and while you sleep, you have a dream…

You dream you’re walking down a long corridor, stretching away in front of you in a long gentle curve… so long that you can’t actually see the end of it… but you know that this corridor is in the very depths of your subconscious mind… in the part of your mind that knows just what to do and just how to do it… and as you begin to move along this beautiful corridor, becoming even more relaxed, even more lazy, you realise that time and space are beginning to lose their meaning… and slowly the walls of the corridor seem to dissolve, leaving you in a large room… the room is full of a gentle golden light that relaxes you still further and you suddenly realise, with a surge of inspiration and pleasure… that what you once saw as limits are merely stepping stones to greater success… it suddenly dawns on you, with a surge of joy and anticipation, that what once seemed to you to be the limits of your personality, of your skills and abilities, are nothing more than stepping stones to even greater success… one wall of this room is like a huge television screen with words and images flashing across it too fast for you to see… and you realise that this is information being transmitted to different parts of your mind and body… and you use your mind to will it to stop and as you do so, the screen clears and the word ‘READY’ appears in large flashing letters… And now your mind is prepared and receptive to everything I am going to say to you… and everything I say will be accepted and acted upon by your subconscious… it will have a steadily increasing effect upon the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you behave over the coming days, and weeks, and months…

© 2000 Terence Watts
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