THE ROOM OF SUCCESS
A Guided Meditation for Invoking One’s Future
here are times in life, essential times, when we can start to doubt everything we think we’ve learned. In such times we might question many things we think we’ve decided about ourselves, the world and our place in it.
Buddhists speak of “beginner’s mind” and say it’s essential for all progress. A similar theme echoes in the old Taoist chestnut, “The Tao that can be told is not the Tao.” Specialized neuroendocrine circuits in the brain seem to be there for the express purpose of quieting what we like to think of as the “higher” brain centers, the ones we use to think and speak.
Quieting those brain centers seems to be an essential prerequisite for vital activities: anything creative, deep listening, meditation, sleep. Apparently we can’t be fully human if we think too hard or, at least, can’t take regular breaks from thinking too hard. Even non-human creatures seem to seek out “mind-altering” substances from time to time.
Brilliance is as easily blinding as illuminating. Everything depends on whether we lock our attention into shining on the things we already think we know … or whether we’re secure enough in our worldview to set it aside, shine our light off into the distance, away from the familiar, daring to think fresh ideas, venturing with a beginner’s mind into the unknown.
If life’s beat us up thoroughly enough about the head and heart, that can be tricky. We might cling to our cozy, habitual mindsets like drowning sailors to a piece of wreckage. We indulge our judgment and tell ourselves we’ve learned from experience when what we’re really doing is refusing to learn new tricks.
All that gets in the way of growth. Judgment blocks information. If we want to heal root causes instead of papering over our issues with symptom-suppressing patch jobs, we need to set all that aside.
That’s where a good guided meditation or hypnotherapist can come in handy.
I went through such a period in my mid-twenties. Everything I thought was sacred, everything I’d held to be self-evident, came into question. I was drifting aimlessly in life, having had my carefully-laid plans destroyed. I had no clue how to proceed.
It would be decades still before I’d meet the kind of people who could teach me that the essential prerequisite to any kind of lasting success is almost always a unbroken string of spectacular failures. Hardly anyone gets anything right the first time. Or the second. Or the third.
In my twenties … this was an insight I’d yet to learn.
Discovering My Own Success Room
It was during that dark time that I came upon a hypnotherapist who taught me the Room of Success meditation.
At the time I hadn’t heard of acupuncture. I’d had an old astrologer tell me I’d do well with a subtler form of medicine, like Bach flowers … but I barely knew what they were. I did know I wanted to be a healer of some sort.
Still, I gave it a go. Let the hypnotherapist have at me, let her help me get over a bit of my Catholic damage and actually imagined myself in the kind of room I’d imagine would represent my inevitable future success.
Became an acupuncturist. Started and closed a clinic and school. Helped run a theater for awhile. Did a lot of housecalls.
Finally after twenty years in the business … I began hearing there were jobs for people who did what I did.
Circulated some CVs. Got a few calls and went on a couple of interviews. One of them was at a place called Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. When I got home and told a few friends, one of them gasped. Apparently I was being hired at one of Southern California’s most prominent orthopaedic clinics. USC professors. Team docs to a number of top-drawer professional sports teams, most of Hollywood, and from the looks of things a decent part of the Middle East.
The first day, I walked through the doors, and onto my station. I had to stop to catch my breath.
It was the scene I’d seen in my mind’s eye, all those decades before, long before I was an acupuncturist, long before the building in which I was standing was even built.