This week’s guest is Norman Katz, aka Dr. Blue – a lifelong practitioner of hypnotherapy and the impresario of 3SidedWhole, nine acres of magical weirdness in the desert outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve known Dr. Blue for nearly a decade and he’s deeply enriched my life over the years with his amazing stories, empowering mind hacks, and community of soulful southwestern weirdos. In this episode, he regales us with stories of psychological research into UFOs, past lives, fractals, and flow states; the history of hypnosis, his study under hypnotherapy pioneer Milton Erickson, the psychophysiology of laughter yoga, and – more broadly – the importance, and the surprising ease, of choosing the trance you want to be in…

Dr. Blue’s Website:

3SidedWhole Website:

“We were doing LSD as the patient and the therapist simultaneously…it was quite interesting.”

“There still is no study that verifies that hypnosis is a particular brain state or neurological constellation. Hypnosis is not a brain state. It turns out to be a skill and an aptitude that’s based on combining attention, and fantasy, and a predilection for dissociation.”

“Our perception of reality is at least half constructed by what we expect, what we imagine, and what we pretend. In fact, it’s really hard to teach people new things, because most of the time they’re trying to match new things to their old models.”

“It was the only lecture I’ve ever seen where 300 psychotherapists stood up afterward an gave him a standing ovation. And his theory was, bascially, individual psychotherapy is not only ineffective, it’s wrong, and it disconnects people from their community. He said, the biggest mistake in Western Civilization was when Descartes said, ‘Cognito ergo sum,’ ‘I think, therefore I am.’ And what he should have said was, ‘Convivo ergo sum.’ ‘I celebrate in community, therefore I am.’”

“At any point in time, ask yourself this question: ‘If I had been hypnotized to be doing what I’m doing right now and having this experience, what would I have been told?’”

“Erickson used to tell his students, ‘Pretend, and pretend you’re not pretending.’”

“In the West, most people breathe too much.”

“I had a formal psychology training at Harvard. Most of that turned out to be nonsense. Learn to unlearn. Learn to forget. Learn to be innocent. Let yourself continue to reinvent yourself and discover who you are, because you are more than any of us think you are.”

Intro Music: “Undefeatable Optimism Gets Up From K.O.” by Michael Garfield

Outro Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)

Appendix: 51 blackbelt hypnosis skills, a partial list of course 

(the master skill is to perceive a coherent reality in one frame ignoring the 27 other timelines)

instant time travel, to past, present and future. multiple timeline realities possible like in string theory in quantum physics

humor, ability to tell self joke and beginning laughing, and see humor and paradox in all situations

increased creativity as needed, transcend functional fixedness, and create new uses for objects, tools, situations

ability to reframe anything

ability to create synthesis to create positive action altered states of consciousness

ability to make pain disappear

ability to increase pleasure to ecstatic levels

ability to shift mood instantly

ability to tap into higher consciousness, both neurologically and to source (the universe)

ability to become WISE without thinking (i.e. go into no trance trance in which wisdom flows)

abilities to see life as movie within movie within movies and change the stories

ability to profoundly relax and melt, both physically and mentally

to be comfortable both inside and outside shared realities

ability to balance two nervous systems, sympathetic and parasympathetic, i.e. hypno-autogenics master

ability to come out of shell and act immediately, go fast or slow

ability to tell stories within stories within stories with threaded key meanings or concepts

ability to create useful symptoms as necessary e.g. lust for reading certain materials, exercise, etc.

ability to create amnesia or hyper recall memory (memory palace)

ability to be in the now in slow motion

ability to enter mystical states of oneness or everything-ness and transition through the infinity loop

ability to create and radiate happiness, joy and energy

ability to avoid the DARK SIDE of hypnotic hexes, vengeance or negative energy and to recognize when others are doing such and intervene

ability to do hypnotic shamanic ceremonies to invoke sacred space

ability to intervene in disease or create disease

ability to discern the “truth” or “lies” of self and others trance states

hypnotic protection of self and others, use of attention filters

sensory awareness enhancement (Charlotte Selver) both internal and external

mastering use of breathing

peak performance, for self and others – golf example, 2 holes in one in a row

ability to direct and choose trances for self and others (magic number in psychology 87 plus or minus two)

ability to completely let go

ability to experience and create compassion through mirror neurons

ability to alter blood blow: for healing work, pain control, sex therapy

ability to have too much fun

ability to create and use posthypnotic suggestion for self and others

ability to create health through medical interventions for surgery,

psychoimmunology and general well being

ability to will to live and to enjoy life

ability to find meaning and purpose in any situation, circumstances, and life challenge

ability to control altered states of consciousness both from plant guides, extreme circumstances and as training and for emergency interventions

ability to tap into special energies

ability to erase self and know nothing and be the fool

ability to deal with death, dying, and transitions

ability to hallucinate and now what is not real simultaneously

ability for extreme selective attention

ability to shift identity, archetypes AND PERSONALITY CONSTELLLATIONS

ability to deal with change, both small and large

ability for discernment: what to pay attention and listen to

ability to keep evolving

ability to recognize that we not are the healing force, only the gateways

ability to have supreme confidence

ability to balance

ability to recognize synchronicity and act on it

ability to shift energy, both physically, metaphysically and also medically

ability to recognize when less is more (homeopathy) – see Andrew Weil, The Marriage of the Sun and Moon

ability to see through culture and its assumptions in different cultures

ability to contact the ancestors and invite their presence and wisdom

ability contact DNA wisdom and ancestral memories

ability to do fractal healing

ability to stay open and curious

(note this does not include classic hypnosis suggestions on the Stanford hypnosis scales, which are elementary)