Recently I was listening to a radio programme in which a Canadian author described how often the weather surprises him in Northern Saskatchewan. There is a natural phenomenon, he said, that occurs when moisture in the air freezes, but doesn't precipitate. During the night these crystals attach themselves to objects they bump into so that you awaken to the dazzling spectacle of bejewelled trees sparkling diamond-like in the morning air.
As I've certainly been pleasantly surprised by the beautiful end of our summer, this all made me think about the concept of surprise in general. Surprise isn't really an emotion as such although children are taught it is. Rather, it's a survival tactic which allows us to instantly move from one state of mind to the next.
Just think about what would happen to the grazing deer that lacked the capacity for surprise when a pack of wolves appeared on the horizon. Well, like many of us, it would ignore the danger and just keep grazing.
As a hypnotist, this is very interesting to me. Many people today still hold the 19th century notion that hypnosis is something mystical, other-worldly, new age-y, or mysterious.
They are always somewhat surprised when I explain that 90% of my work is de-hypnotizing clients from the self-limiting beliefs that we've managed to talk ourselves into. De-hypnosis is much harder than hypnosis and one of the techniques that we've developed over the years in order to help clients open up a new world of possibilities is indeed one based on a sudden jolt out of your ordinary consciousness.
This so-called "shock induction" is used by stage hypnotists because it's fast and dramatic but you can get a similar but much gentler effect in your own life. If surprise helps other animals become more alive and aware, then let's start cultivating it.
Take a salsa class, sleep on the other side of the bed, or rearrange your furniture. Call an old friend or make a new one. Try new dishes. In as many ways as possible, explore new experiences. You too may awaken to a world of marvels in the morning air.
Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at email@example.com or at https://www.facebook.com/ Belfast Hypnosis/?ref=hl/?ref=hl