Hack your mind to heal and become your highest self

According to the Mayo Clinic, hypnosis “is a trance-like state which allows for heightened focus and concentration.” [1] Today hypnotherapy, the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes, is fast becoming a complementary health care treatment. As the medical and psychological community begin to understand its benefits, it is being used more and more frequently to treat physical conditions and illnesses, and as an alternative to talk therapy. It’s unfortunate, however, that throughout its early history, it was considered not only as a medical treatment, but as a form of entertainment, creating fear and skepticism of the technique.

The first person in the modern age to embrace hypnosis was Anton Mesmer. Mesmer was a healer who was highly influential by the time he died in the early 19th century. However, he tainted the medical use of hypnosis by performing “stage hypnosis,” which became widely popular. Mesmer and other hypnotists would bring people up on stage and “command them” to do outrageous or funny acts. You may remember the famous hypnotic suggestion, “cluck like a chicken” which stemmed from the antics of stage hypnosis. Sadly, hypnosis as entertainment led to the notion that the hypnotist was doing some form of mind control and this created lasting fears that include:

  • doing things against your will

  • being unable to wake up from trance without the help of the hypnotist

  • remaining stuck in a trance-like state indefinitely

  • being hypnotizable means that you are mentally weak

These fears became so prevalent at one point that a diagnosis, hypnophobia (the fear of being hypnotized), was created. While this has led some to believe hypnosis is mysterious and scary, it’s actually something we have all experienced. If you have ever driven your car to a destination and realized you didn’t remember how you got there, if you have daydreamed, or if 20 minutes seemed like 2 as you browsed Facebook, you have actually been in a light trance.  It helps to understand that hypnosis is really nothing more than a common state of altered awareness.

Hypnotherapy survived as a medical and psychological treatment because early scientists and physicians such as James Braid, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Martin Charcot and Milton Erickson recognized that accessing the subconscious was a valuable tool for both psychological and physical healing. While they all established credible success it was Erickson’s work, in particular, that left an indelible legacy. He made a number of important contributions to the field, including decades of case notes with patients chronicling remarkable results. Erickson died in 1980, but his theories and techniques remain widely used. Because his work deliberately blurred the lines between hypnosis and other forms of talk therapy, it opened the door to many therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists using it in conjunction with other modalities today. [2]

The genius of hypnosis is its ability to bypass the conscious mind, working directly on the subconscious. It’s the subconscious that holds the keys to our behavior because it is where all of our memories, thoughts and experiences are stored. If our brain is like a computer, then the conscious mind is the data and the subconscious is the hard disk. In order to help us function in our daily lives, our conscious mind has built-in defense mechanisms that act like a gate-keeper to negative events and experiences, helping us  to feel more safe and secure. Yet that stored data tends to leak out in ways that create problems in our lives - bad habits, phobias, blocks, pain, illness, and self-sabotage are all signs that there are aspects of ourselves that need to be healed. Tapping directly into the unconscious means they are readily available and amenable to change.

While in trance, your subconscious can play back events in a safe, nurturing environment to achieve an understanding of how they have shaped you. Healing takes place when the hypnotherapist makes suggestions that change, or reframe, our perception of that event, shifting it into something much more positive that actually works to help, not hinder, you in your life.

Therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists ultimately do the same thing, but as a rule, it takes much longer because they must work through those built-in defense mechanisms of the conscious. Hypnotherapy can by-pass them within a single session while talk therapy could take years, and may still not be as effective at moving past deeply-held beliefs. Whether you want to break a bad habit, cure a phobia, bust through a particular block, or better understand a troubling behavior, hypnosis can often do so much more quickly than traditional therapy because it allows the therapist to speak directly to the area where the problem is stored. As a side benefit, the subconscious memory can stretch all the way back to early childhood, birth, in-utero, and into past lives.

When you undergo hypnosis, you will work with trained hypnotherapists who guide you into trance using techniques that put you into deep relaxation. Unlike sleep, your conscious mind remains awake and aware -  it’s just no longer in charge.

In the trance state, you control all of your actions, you can hear everything around you, and you cannot be forced to do something against your will. The only difference between hypnosis and these everyday trance states is that, in hypnosis, someone induces the trance state to achieve something: healing, discovery, or stress relief, for example.  
— Diane Zimberoff - The Wellness Institute [3]

Hypnotherapy can also be useful in treating diseases and other medical conditions. The emerging field of mind/body medicine works within the theory that thoughts and beliefs can create changes in the body at the cellular level. Hypnotherapy can help a person illuminate how past events are linked to our current physical state, process and emotionally discharge related emotions, and develop new thought patterns. The result is a deep “letting go” that can lead to wholeness and wellness. It can be particularly potent when treating pain, a condition so common that 20% of U.S. adults suffer from it. [4]  Dr. Morris Netherton in his book “Past Lives Therapy” wrote…

physical pain can be tied to past experiences and detaching a person from this past trauma can ease that pain or eliminate it altogether. [5]

Many hypnotherapists also believe that past lives can have a significant impact on a person’s current behavior. Because our subconscious acts like a tape recorder that records the stories of every event in every incarnation, the invisible memories of past lives may create visible scars in our current one. Hypnotherapists trained in past life regression can access these memories, replay the stories, and create meaningful healing in the here and now. If you have troubling behaviors or illnesses that don’t seem to make sense given your life experience or that don’t get better with traditional therapies, it may be a clue that a past life issue is at work.

Many people who have heard of hypnotherapy in general came to know of it by reading Dr. Brian Weiss’s famous book “Many Lives, Many Masters” [6].  Dr. Weiss is a Florida psychiatrist with a decidedly scientific bent and his books are so compelling precisely because he was forced to explore the scientific merits of both hypnosis and past lives when one of his patients, out of the blue, provided details to memories that seemed to stem from a long-ago time and place. His many books detail his remarkable successes using past life regression in a way that highlights his scientific training as an M.D.

Today, hypnosis is a legitimate treatment in medicine, psychology and dentistry and many highly acclaimed research and educational institutions offer training, seminars and courses. According to Richard Bandler, a long-time practitioner, “there are very few conditions in which hypnotherapy cannot be beneficial, even if it is only as a complementary approach.” [7] Hypnotherapists aren’t miracle workers, and there are certain disorders that aren’t amenable to hypnosis, but the effects can be astonishing. When a client and hypnotherapist work together to explore, reprocess and reframe while the client is awake, remembering and participating a powerful, personalized healing plan can emerge.

 Written by Julie Trager


1.     Mayo Clinic Staff. “Hypnosis Overview” mayoclinic.org. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hypnosis/about/pac-20394405)

2.     What is the history of hypnosis? hypnosis.com

3.     Diane Zimberoff. “What is the Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy? How Does Hypnotherapy Work?” Wellness Institute Blog. 22 March, 2018,

4.     “Defining the Prevalence of Chronic Pain in the United States.” nccih.nih.gov. 13 September, 2018, https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/Prevalence-of-Chronic-Pain)

5.     Morris Netherton, PhD, Dr. Thomas Paul. Past Lives Therapy. Past Life Therapy Center, 2014.

6.     Brian L. Weiss, M.D. Many Lives Many Masters. Fireside, 1988.

7.     Richard Bandler. Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting Change. Health Communications, Inc., 2008.

Did you spell Jym wrong?

Mea Animea is a soul jym. Why is it spelled with a j instead of a g? To distinguish it from a physical fitness gym, which focuses mainly on the body. A soul jym focuses on the fitness of the soul.

The idea for the soul jym is based on a big-box fitness gym. When you enter these gyms, you direct your own fitness. Do you choose cardio, weights, classes, or one-on-one training? The option to choose how you improve or maintain your physical fitness can be based on activities you enjoy or addressing a physical need or desire.

The ability to self-direct what feels good can also occur in a soul jym. You can choose activities to get your soul into shape or to maintain the shape you are in. Just like a physical fitness gym, a soul jym provides different activities that focus on different aspects of your soul fitness or spiritual healing.

The idea of soul shape or spiritual fitness is not necessarily a new idea, but it has evolved as we have evolved in our understanding of consciousness. Many spiritual teachers and philosophers have become mainstream, and they’ve been advocating different aspects of spiritual fitness for decades. One may teach forgiveness, another advises to follow your bliss, and another explains about releasing fear or finding balance. These are all elements of your being in soul shape. Like a fitness gym—where you may work on cardio, legs, arms, stomach—at a soul jym, you can work on elements of love, worthiness, forgiveness, balance, intuition, and more.

The best part is that now you can work on all those aspects in one place. That is the vision: a daily jym for soul work. But what I think is super cool is that we have taken the science of consciousness energy, combined it with the latest in technology, and added it to the foundation of centuries of spiritual teachings. No matter what your level of belief or your religious upbringing (or lack of), there will be experiences to help explain, validate, train, and understand your soul fitness.

Now you know why the j instead of the g. Would the story have been more interesting if I said the j stood for jadoo, an old 19th-century word for magic or conjuring derived from jadu, the Hindi word for enchantment? I believe you will experience what feels like magic in this jym, so maybe I will change the story and say the j stands for jadoo. I am conjuring the jym to be open soon.

What Sparked the Creation of Soul Jym?

Hello, my name is Leslie Bennett, and I am the creator of Mea Animea, a soul jym. No, that wasn’t a typo you just read. We are surrounded by gyms—places where we work on our physical fitness—but where can we go to work on our spirits, our consciousness, our souls? At a soul jym.

I was called to become a spiritual entrepreneur because I had a personal yearning for such a place when I was in pain. It all began when I lost my husband just over five years ago. It was unexpected: one minute we were making dinner plans for his birthday, instead his birthday was spent making the life-support decision. Life tells you that it can change in a moment, yet we are unprepared for when it happens. We tell ourselves, “this happens to other people.” When he took his last breath, my heart was like Humpty Dumpty: it broke into a million pieces. Could my heart be put back together again?

In my grief, I went to therapy. I supplemented my sessions with different mediums, spiritual workshops, consciousness research, retreats, and getaways. I was looking for experiences to make me not feel sad. I would always tell people that I was trying to outrun sadness or that I was looking for a vacation from sorrow. Did you notice that I viewed it as “not wanting to feel sad” rather than wanting to feel joy and happiness? Since addiction afflicted my family, I was cognizant that drugs and alcohol only delayed the work (and in fact complicated the recovery), so numbing was not really an option for me. I had to do the inner work to heal, so I chased for answers to my pain.

My husband’s passing resulted in both my destruction and the beginning of my reconstruction. I searched for answers to make sense of his death, what happens after death, for reasons for me to stay on the planet and on forgiveness. I prayed that these teachers, workshops, and retreats could do what all the king’s horsemen couldn’t do for Humpty Dumpty.

As I started to heal, the workshops, retreats, and teachers became my addiction. I would attend a conference and come home feeling great. That honeymoon feeling would fade or I would be triggered and then the craving for the next workshop, teacher, or spiritual healer would start again. With each experience came more insight, better clarity, a desire to learn more, and less and less sadness. With these cravings came an inspiration: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place you could go when you need to feel good—like a gym, but for the soul?

A seed was planted. The timing of my inspiration came as I was losing my job in the pharmaceutical industry. Yes, more loss, but that is for another blog post. After taking some time, I began creating this concept, and I spoke to friends and colleagues who expressed interest in the idea. Now we are at the beginning: my soul jym, named Mea Animea.

In future posts we will talk about the name and what makes a soul jym, including its design elements. Lots to share and lots to learn. I hope you will come along on this journey with me. All the pieces of my heart are just about back together. Interestingly, it is bigger now than when it shattered. I am in love with this business, and I am in love with all who are open to experiencing it with me.

Introducing Soul Jym

Feeling Lost and Disconnected

You’ve been feeling it too, right? That feeling of being disconnected from our inner selves but stuck in the routine of our daily lives.  Yet there is a calling to search for more, but more of what?  Happiness? Peace? Love? Joy? Balance? Worthiness? Abundance? Health?  The list could go on.  You question yourself and ask why.  Why can’t I feel more of these things or experience more of these things?  You conclude that there must be something wrong with you.  When the answer is you are awakening to who you are at a soul level.

We are part of a group of people seeking answers. We are spending more on global wellness tourism, fitness memberships and spa treatments, now a trillion-dollar industry. More of us believe and use complementary and alternative medicine, with Americans spending $30.2 billion out-of-pocket on complementary health approaches. We are evolving our language to include wellness and integrative medicine lexicons. We are demanding programs that focus less on the body and more on the mind and spirit connection. We are gaining an understanding that healing the self is accomplished first through internal emotional transformation, not by more reps on a weight machine. We are spending more, evolving our thoughts and making emotional transformations because we want that connection to who we are.

When We Feel Good We Radiate

We have often heard the phrase if we look good we feel good.  Many of us have been shamed by our looks compounding our lack of feeling good.  We have spent hard earned to dollars to chase looking good in order to get that “feel good” feeling.  There are moments where we achieve both, but it can be fleeting or requires a lot of time and work.  What if the phrase is backwards?  We need to feel good to look good.  Most of us have had the experience where we felt good and someone commented that you look good when you didn’t think you looked all that great.  What if there was a place that focuses on how to feel good?

Souljym focuses on feeling good by getting into soul shape.  We want to rewrite the look good feel good phrase to when we feel good we radiate.  We want to see you shine. 

Radiate and Shine

We are creating a business that makes people feel good with themselves, so they can radiate to the world. This concept is based on the big box gym but for focused on the inward journey without having to escape to a wellness retreat. The jym is designed to house five (5) main activity areas:  meditation, movement, healing (alternative and complimentary practitioners), nurture (classwork) and nourish (cooking school).  In addition, we will include scientific information to aid in expanding thought and depth of experience.

You will be hearing more about these centers as we prepare to open our first facility.  We are a start-up with a target to have the first jym open in late 2019 in San Diego, CA. If you would like to watch our progress, stay tuned here or sign up for notifications and events. Also, we hope you’ll join us on our Facebook community page as well.