The Adventures of Anybody

Lately I have a renewed interest in Neuro-Lingustic Programming (NLP), about which I’m sure there will be future blog posts. I read most of the core material available in the early ’80s, and paid a bit of attention in the ’90s but I didn’t pursue it much. As I looked through the books I own I was surprised at how much the language mirrored my world-view. I think NLP was even more influential in my approach to being than I recognized. I recently ordered a few of the newer books, which appear excellent, and I’m excited to dive into them.
I started with an odd little book, The Adventures of Anybody, by Richard Bandler. It’s not so much about NLP as it tries to tell the story of NLP in action. It’s about 100 pages long, and set in a script italic typeface that changes the reading style, making it both casual and difficult. In essence, this book is a fable about our internal representation of “reality,” written by a master hypnotist.
Yesterday morning, instead of my “morning papers” blog scan, I started reading. A few things happened along the way—the Verizon guy came and fixed the static on the phone line, I ran down to the post office, WBZ-TV called with an automated poll about the November elections, I ate breakfast—but by around 11 AM I had finished the first half, “How Anybody Got His Name,” and decided I could finish this off in less than an hour, so I started on the second half, “Anybody and Time.” Because of the way the light was coming into the room I decided to lie down on the couch to read. And I read about eight pages. And then, I fell asleep.
And not just any kind of sleep, but over three hours of rock solid, don’t move, wake up stiff with all limbs tingling asleep. I was zonked. And when I woke my mind was reeling in slow motion—it seemed like I had travelled the universe and was suddenly surprised to find myself back on the couch, with my cat ultimately happy and curled up at my feet, in the middle of the afternoon, shortly after I had gotten out of bed at 7 AM that morning. Hours of “real time” had gone by in a flash, yet even more infinite time had elapsed in my experience. I don’t even really remember the rest of the day, except that I did get my car listed for sale on eBay (please spread the word!).
Now, at the time, I didn’t quite connect the idea of reading a fable about representing reality written by a hypnotist to my falling into a deep sleep for several hours, but when I picked up the book this morning I found my bookmark where I had left off and—I kid you not—the last thing I read was:

Presently Anybody fell asleep, and though he could not quite remember his dreams, he saw a tremendous fountain that sprayed the most wondrous water. He felt himself lifted into the air and floating through space. He saw the sorcerer in the purple robes and heard him whisper in his ear, but he could not understand.

Can you believe that? The guy hypnotized me through a book, and despite my highly tuned ability to go meta and abstract up and read between the lines, I was a goner. I’d like to read this again, but I can’t spend today sleeping.