Exercise 176 Learning Self Hypnosis

In 1779, Mesmer published his theories and discoveries regarding "animal magnetism." By 1825, the procedure was recognized as hypnosis, but not understood. Although still not fully understood, hypnosis has more recently graduated to medicine and dentistry. The power of hypnosis comes via suggestion. Suggestion (positive or negative) can have startling effects on the mind/body combination, but how does hypnosis differ from mere suggestion? The variable is belief. Positive suggestion during hypnosis is the trigger that initiates the process of belief for a positive outcome. Throughout your day, negative and positive statements repeated enough times create a belief system for the subconscious mind to act upon. During hypnosis, suggestions somehow bypass the normal channels of debatable consideration and are simply accepted and believed. Just how readily they are believed depends upon your already established moral and psychological personality traits.

Perhaps there is an area in your mind governing doubt that is quieted or circumvented completely through hypnosis. When you are hypnotized by another person, you often develop a susceptibility to the hypnotic directives of that person. With unstable individuals, there is also a potential danger that latent personality traits might manifest outwardly like spirit possession or paranoid neurosis. Therefore if improperly used, hypnosis via a hypnotist could potentially be dangerous. On the other hand, self-hypnosis is a natural way to achieve more control over your own life. There is no danger that you will not awaken or that you will suffer any harm whatsoever.

When idiot savants illustrate memory feats, play music, create art or calculate extraordinary sums easily, it appears to be largely due to the lack of interference from the left or language side of the brain. Since you're physically the same in or out of hypnosis, the extraordinary abilities you exhibit under hypnosis must be representative of the power within you at all times!

Self-hypnosis quiets many of the interfering factors of the left brain to allow more control over your right brain functioning to take place. It's like shifting your conscious awareness to a subconscious realm. If you've mastered lucid dreaming (review "Exercise -- Lucid Dreaming: Conscious Awareness of Your Dreams"), you already know what a different version of the same thing feels like. This shifting of your conscious awareness also allows analgesic feats like sticking a needle through your arm and experiencing no pain, infection or ill effects. Research has shown that hypnotizable subjects that were primarily left brain-oriented (mostly right handed people) switched to their right brain when they "went under." It was also noticed that those who couldn't be hypnotized were mostly right brain-oriented.

Between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind, there is an 'invisible screen.' The conscious mind can be likened to the objective reasoning area of the brain, and the subconscious mind is associated with the subjective non-reasoning area. The subconscious is amenable to suggestion and it also records all memories that happen to the individual. The 'screen' allows all information to pour into the subconscious memory, but eliciting the information back out for conscious use depends on various factors.

To begin this exercise, go to your bedroom after dark and extinguish all lights except one -- about the intensity of a nightlight or candle. Arrange the light so your eyes look upwards or slightly higher than a straight ahead look. Now lie down in bed or get comfortable in an armchair. Breathe abdominally and rhythmically for a few minutes and let your mind wander. Start to relax all the muscles of your body by progressively starting with your feet and working upwards towards your head (review "Exercise -- Relaxation For Improved Awareness"). Bring your conscious awareness to each area of the body and allow its relaxation to take place. Do this slowly and methodically.

Continue breathing deeply and steadily without strain. Now take a deep, satisfying breath and hold it for a few seconds, and you will hear your pulse throbbing in your ears. Release it slowly. Repeat the process once again. Now affirm to yourself 3 times that all your muscles are relaxed. With your conscious awareness, recheck the whole body to confirm that no muscles have been overlooked. There should be no tension anywhere.

After you do this several times, the relaxation process can be done almost instantly. Now raise your eyes so that you can see your little nightlight. There should be a slight strain on your eyes while gazing at the light. Continue looking at the light until you feel pleasantly drowsy. (In lieu of the light, you can roll your eyes toward your eyebrows and attempt to see the top of your head. Physiologically, a suggestive altered state of mind is created by simply raising your eyes upward.) Take a deep, abdominal breath. Tell yourself that your eyelids will close at the count of ten and count -- "One - Two - Three - My eyes are heavy - Four - Five - I am becoming tired - Six - Seven - Eight - I am totally relaxed and at peace - Nine - My eyes are closing tightly - Ten - My eyes are shut." To go deeper, say the word "Deeper" over and over again and count from 11 to 20. Now let your body float and relax.

By this internal auditory method, you set up a conditioned response so that in the future your auto-hypnotic states will proceed in less time. All you'll have to do is relax, close your eyes, look upward and count, and you'll be in a self-hypnotic state. This is the same anchoring process you learned in "Exercise -- Anchoring Positive States of Mind."

Make sure that you clarify the goal that you want to accomplish ahead of time though, or your mind will wander aimlessly unless you implant a purpose. Whatever you decide you want to change in your life -- habits, memory, posture, personality -can be acted upon at this point.

Design affirmations and visualizations for such changes and repeat them in succession to yourself 3 times. For instance, if you want to improve your memory, say to yourself 3 times, "My memory is improving every day in every way," and visualize how you would feel with a perfect memory. Pretend you are an actor and you're assuming a new role. The more you can crystallize your visualization, the quicker you can obtain your objective. So practice putting yourself into a self-hypnotic state. Then stress the virtues you wish to acquire, but remember that you have to truly want to change, otherwise the mental conflict of saying something and not doing it will continue. To bring yourself back out of self-hypnosis, suggest to yourself to progressively wake up as you count backwards from 10 to 1, and affirm to yourself 3 times, "I am fully awake, feeling fine and better than before."

Aptitudes and Attitudes

Aptitudes and Attitudes

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