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Suggesting Mindfulness - Page 6

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There’s a popular television commercial for an automobile in which a young boy dressed as Darth Vader walks through his house with arms outstretched trying to muster The Force in order to get an exercise bike to turn on, his resting dog to stand, the washing machine to turn on, a doll to speak, and a sandwich plate to slide over to him. Naturally, he fails in each instance. Then, when his father pulls into the driveway in the new car, he rushes outside to channel The Force into starting the car. Much to his surprise, the car turns on! His mother and father are quite amused watching his amazement, because Dad used his new car’s remote to turn the car on from inside the house.

In its own way, mindfulness also posits something like The Force—a mysterious, hidden, often spiritual source of energy; a kind of otherworldly magic that can grant profound gifts to those who are successful at eliciting it from the hoary depths. In fact, we’d understand mindfulness phenomena much better if we’d study the empirically demonstrated mechanisms of clinical hypnosis—a quite this-worldly form of “remote control.”

Michael Yapko, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist, is internationally recognized for his work in clinical hypnosis, brief psychotherapy, and the strategic treatment of depression. He’s the author of 13 books, his latest being Mindfulness and Hypnosis: The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience. Others include Breaking the Patterns of Depression; Depression Is Contagious; and Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis (3rd edition). Contact:; website: Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at, or at Log in and you’ll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section.

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