Having just completed a certification in hypnotherapy, I was talking about it with a friend who listened patiently to me for some time before commenting “Isn’t it something to do with black magic?”
His innocent remark prompted me to pen my amateur thoughts on the reality of ‘hypnosis’ and how it is an integral part of our daily lives.
Let me start by asking a few simple questions:
- Do you ‘zone out’ at various times during the day, while reading, listening to someone talk, or while looking out of the window.
- Sometimes, when listening to an influential speaker (on TV, online, real-life) do you get impressed by what he is saying and accept it as the truth?
- If you are talking to someone from the opposite sex, who you find attractive, do you sometimes hang on to every word, listening and enjoying it?
- Does music take you away somewhere, your mind is blank and you are floating with the sound?
- While driving, do you sometimes flow away in thoughts and then realize that you have reached your destination?
All of the above, yes very much, are partial states of hypnosis. No black magic here!
We have a conscious mind which is thinking, arguing, criticising, using logic, generating emotions, watching, listening, reading, replying, consuming and so on. Most of us assume that this ‘brain’ helps us survive in this world.
Beyond this conscious mind, innocent like a seven year old, shy, quiet and yet immensely powerful, is the subconscious. It carries all the memories of this life and earlier lives, the coding of our ‘karmic connection’ with people that we have met or will meet later in this life. It is the source of our intuition, wisdom, and ability to use imagination to ‘make things happen’. When we talk about the power of ‘positive thinking’ and ‘imagining as though true’, we are talking about the subconscious and it’s ability to make things happen if a message is successfully embedded in it.
The subconscious does not interact with the world, but only with the conscious mind, like a child sitting next to its parent, sharing information only with its parent, who does the job of communicating with the outside world.
Any message from outside first reaches the ‘parent’ (the conscious mind), who contextualises it and then gives the ‘filtered’ stuff to the subconscious. The subconscious accepts the message without questioning.
When we zone out or go into a trance like state, the conscious mind is lulled into a kind of ‘sleep’, and the outside world gets direct access to the subconscious. Of course, our brain is smart and so this zoning out happens when we are alone and/or feeling safe, so that any ‘unwanted’ message does not go into the subconscious.
Watch the face of an ardent supporter when a politician is speaking…the eyes are wide and the face is holding an expression of awe and happiness. It’s a hypnotic state, where the conscious mind has been lulled into a trance, and the words of the politician are going straight to the subconscious… and being accepted as the gospel truth.
Notice the expressions of a young student listening to a revered, well known scholar on his subject of expertise. The student has been hypnotised by the reputation and stories that preceded the scholar…. His critical mind has been lulled into a ‘semi comatose’ and whatever the scholar says will be accepted without any questioning.
Why do film celebrities endorse various products?….. As much as we may rationalise, a part of us (which has been influenced by their glamour and screen presence) is hypnotised by their presence and accepts what they say as the truth.
So what does a hypnotherapist do? A hypnotherapist uses this normal, frequently happening phenomenon but in a structured manner to benefit us.
Just knowing that we are being hypnotised (whether by a film personality endorsing a product or an expert speaking on his/her subject and so on) is itself truly empowering.
We just need to be a bit more aware, and keep an eye on our conscious mind, which would drift away into a trance when the conditions are conducive.
Further, the process of ‘self hypnosis’ is also a powerful way for us to access our subconscious and direct relevant messages to it.
Hypnotherapy surely is a revelation that there is a world inside us which is beyond our rationale, cognitive mind and that ‘world’ is influencing us in myraid ways.
Comments are welcome!