[ Stories from Dr. Yukari ]

Guided by the hope of St. Nichiren, we continue to work towards a peaceful society. Honolulu Myohoji Mission collaborates with Psychologist Dr. Yukari Kunisue, a trained and experienced therapeutic life coach, to offer a safe online space: Stories from Dr. Yukari

Fumihiko Iida is a professor of business management and administration at a national university in Japan. His original research focused on how business people could motivate themselves to become an effective manager. He was particularly interested in finding out how people feel ikigai in their work. 

Through his research, he discovered a type of hypnotherapy which helps people see “beyond time and place” seeming to be very effective in finding the ikigai. In other words, when people are convinced during hypnosis that there could be an afterlife, they are then able to motivate themselves to live and work better. 

The hypnotherapy is a form of psychological therapy that helps access the subconscious while the individual is in a relaxed state. Once the mind is separated from the conscious level, the brain changes its wavelength in order to access older memories, visions, and inner messages. This process is also known to remove mental blocks that also assists in helping those with anxiety, phobias, and unwanted addictive habits connected to substance abuse or behavioral addiction. Growing number of professionals in mental health also notice the effectiveness of this method but not many in the business administration field besides Professor Iida take notice of this method.

In the beginning, Professor Iida himself did not believe in past life regression hypnotherapy, let alone hypnotherapy itself. But he pondered, “what if it is worth exploring? Peoples beliefs in their past lives do help develop ikigai”.

He figured that it does not matter whether or not modern sciences proves reincarnation to be real. He still believed that there were benefits to exploring this concept. After testing this method out, he discovered that people who did not hold a deeper meaning in life came out of it with a sense of purpose. It is common for people to be inspired during the hypnotherapy process. As a result, they often come out of this experience feeling renewed with a better understanding of life resulting in a stronger sense of ikigai along with becoming a better communicator. 

He gave an example of a CEO of a large corporation in Japan whose company expanded its operation during the bubble period in the 90’s. Soon after the economic bubble burst, the company lost a tremendous number of profits for ten consecutive years. The CEO struggled to maintain the company and borrowed money, reduced the number of employees, and soon he could hardly afford to pay the employee’s salary bringing him on the verge of bankruptcy. He worked to redirect his negative way of thinking by turning his negative thoughts of “I am an incompetent manager”, to “I am blessed with great employees and things should become better soon”.

Similar to this CEO, we often try to think positively in difficult situations in order to overcome the obstacles we face. At the same time, this positive way of thinking does not work well by simply believing that “the cup is still half full”. As a life coach, I know that positive thinking is not an almighty cure-it-all. We still know in the back of our minds, that the cup is still half empty.

Professor Iida also tried to come up with ways on how to keep maintaining positive thoughts without having to fall back on the negative way of thinking. He found a new way of thinking and called it Breakthrough Thinking: A Method of Breaking Through in Order to Drastically Change One’s Life. We may also ask ourselves where exactly is the “breakthrough” way of thinking coming from?

The concept comes from the mindset where one will reframe the specific challenge that they are facing in business or in life. It is important to look at the situation without thinking that it is misfortune, mistakes, or bad luck. In other words, the mindset changes once a person thinks that their hardship is something that was “prearranged” in order to allow one to grow spiritually. Through these hardships, that person is able to learn what they were destined to learn. 

By referring back to the CEO as an example, he can think in the following way. This is a challenge that I planned to have all along. It is not misfortunate, but rather, it is the chance to grow and become a better manager. This is a valuable opportunity for me that finally came about. My life is now about learning to become a better manager by facing these challenges in front of me.

The method teaches us that there are no challenges in life that we cannot handle. If the challenge seems overwhelming, it means that you have matured enough to the point where you are able to handle the task. This is a life gift that will allow yourself to grow. 

A complicated math problem for an elementary student may be a piece of cake for a high school student. A tough life problem for a high school student may be something a 30-year-old can handle with confidence. We have dealt with difficulties in life by taking it step-by-step. Over time, we have become more mature and confident by handling these age appropriate battles. I feel that Professor Iida’s method of “breakthrough thinking” aligns with this concept. The challenges we face at that given moment in time are problems that your spiritual age is prepared to handle.