Master Shifu, Stephen Gilligan
Master Shifu. If there was a someone who personifies this character or archetype, it would be Stephen Gilligan. He is humble, highly skilled and earnest in his desire to help people heal. He has written tons of books (this one’s my favorite) travels around the world teaching seminars and still remains… grounded in himself. We all could learn from this example of humility. His energy feels like mastery to me, but there is that feeling that he isn’t permitted to surpass his teacher and mentor, Milton Erickson. (Maybe I watched too much Kung Fu Panda?)
Erickson obviously was the first to create conversational hypnosis and build a system using language patterns. But like many first-generation creators, he had problems. His health issues were a distraction and prevented him from doing lots of things that his students are capable of; if they would give themselves permission to shine.
My connection with Stephen Gilligan was only hampered by pesky “idol worship”. I’m hoping one day to recover from this, lol. He has been my go-to living example of what hypnosis and hypnotists are supposed to be. It’s through deep trance identification that I realize it’s his combination of The Sage and The Magician archetypal energies working together. The fact he has 30 plus years of aikido under his belt doesn’t hurt either.
Once the connection was established I began to feel a great deal of competence with, of course, humility. His knowledge is vast and takes his time before disseminating it. That’s the dark or weak side of the energy, never thinking you have enough information.
I felt this trance was very trippy. This guy has lots of experience in trance and isn’t shy about going super deep, almost where you forget to breathe. It is these deeper levels, below words, where his genius is nurtured. His skills are also off the chart so it’s kind of hard to follow. This was another trance I had to do more than once to get enough information to write this article.
His combinations of hypnosis, empathy, and martial arts is an amazing combination to feel. His sensory style is different than mine so I also had to parse through it and convert it into an understandable format for myself.
I came away from this trance with my second example of I need to develop my own style rather than my own style of someone else’s style. I have it now and it doesn’t matter if it takes a lifetime to complete. It’s a journey worth making.
There were several competing thoughts going on with this trance identification. This is one of the few subjects I chose that are alive, I guess we need more live heroes. I also felt his medical condition. Gilligan has diabetes and it feels like it’s progressing, I hope I’m wrong.
The last things I noticed were that he didn’t feel as if he has had his greatest success, yet. Again that darn humility. And when the question was asked about his biggest failure, that information was private and not available to me. Sound fair to me.
Lastly, I have the impression that like Master Shifu it would be rude (for lack of a better term) for Stephen Gilligan to surpass his teacher. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. How and when do we give ourselves permission to excel, surpass or outshine our teachers, parents, etc? If we had permission to fly as high as we could, how far would we go? I’m going to find out.
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