by Jason Augustus Newcomb
| Many people shudder at the word “hypnosis.”
For some it conjures the image of smoky nightclubs, tuxedoed men with turbans
making ladies cluck like chickens, for others the word connotes a loss of
control on the part of the weak-willed masses, while still others envision
some sort of strange and mysterious magnetic power linked with the dark
side of the occult.
The truly strange thing is that many different kinds of practitioners today are using hypnosis and self-hypnosis and just calling it by another name. Some people are doing this without realizing it. Others are doing it because they know that hypnosis is a “scary” word and so are re-labeling hypnosis with such words as guided visualization, trance work or pathworking to maximize the profits in their workshops or private consultations.
Hypnosis is simply an inwardly directed state of concentration and relaxation that creates greater flexibility, creativity, and suggestibility of the mind. In physiological terms, it is a shift into the alpha and theta ranges of brainwaves, slowing to between 3 and 15 cycles per second. This is exactly the same physiological state which we reach during any meditation, spiritual or relaxation experience.
What makes it “hypnosis” is the guiding of this experience toward a well-designed purpose. To show what I mean, allow me to briefly describe an average hypnosis session with a trained hypnotherapist. First the client comes into the office and the hypnotherapist clearly explains exactly what hypnosis is and discusses the ways in which it may be used to help the client in the upcoming session. The client starts to feel comfortable and somewhat excited, so they sit or lie down and the hypnotherapist will help them to relax with suggestions that they will progressively loosen and release tension in their limbs. The hypnotherapist will then guide them deeply within, leading them through a series of inner experiences, mythological stories, possibility expanding personal development scenarios and sometimes direct suggestions to help the client grow and change for the positive. After a time, the hypnotherapist will bring the client back to normal consciousness and the client will feel extremely relaxed and peaceful. The client will usuall rememember between 50-100% of what happened during the session.
I have personally attended dozens of new-age workshops and personal development seminars where the instructor led the participants through these identical steps. The funny thing is that several of these instructors have specifically said they were not going to be hypnotizing us, then proceeded to use hypnosis, exactly as described above. Sometimes the instructor even told us that hypnosis was dangerous and then hypnotized us. So, it’s no wonder that hypnosis has a dubious reputation, since even the people who are practicing it often don’t even realize what they’re doing!
However, many of the more subtle tools of a well-trained hypnotherapist offer a consciousness experience that is far superior to the ones I experienced in those workshops. It is possible to go far deeper into your mind than you can in a workshop, to experience mystical connections that are only shadowed by those that I’ve experienced in workshops.
In my office I have facilitated and experienced beautiful oceanic experiences, connections with the higher self, past life explorations, experiences of inner teachers or guides, and many other unique experiences with clients. But you can get started right now by learning self-hypnosis. We all actually go into self-hypnosis many times a day. It is a natural state we all enter when we are focusing in a relaxed manner on anything. We often slip into trance when driving, exercising, reading or any other activity in which we limit our attention. Regular practice of the following exercise will help you to be more relaxed in life, reduce tension and give you an abundance of energy and tranquility.
1. Sit or lie down in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to get into a comfortable position.
3. Close your eyes and take a few more long, slow deep breaths totally settling into the position you have taken.
4. Notice the sensations in your body, and adjust your position as necessary.
5. Starting with your feet, progressively relax your entire body up to the crown of your head by imagining a soothing wave of energy moving slowly through you. Do this slowly and deliberately, releasing tension at each point of your body.
6. When you have reached the crown of your head you will be thoroughly relaxed. Feel the sensations of your body and begin to relax any parts that have become tense again.
7. Tell yourself that you are about to count down from 20 to 1, and that when you reach 1 you will be in a deep state of relaxation.
8. Slowly begin counting backwards from 20 saying “20, and deeper, and deeper, I am relaxing deeper, and 19, so much deeper, and 18 and deeper and deeper etc.” until your reach one. Allow yourself to relax more and more deeply as you count. As you count, continue to relax your body progressively, perhaps moving in the other direction: starting at the head, and relaxing toward the feet.
8. When you reach one you will be deep into the altered state.
9. You may now enjoy this state, go even deeper by counting down more times, or practice some sort of consciousness exercise such as one of the tools of the New Hermetics.
10. When you are ready to return to normal awareness simply count upwards from one to five, telling yourself that you will awaken refreshed and relaxed.
When you are in a self-hypnotic trance you may notice a number of sensations:
These are definite signs of a change in your state of consciousness.
You may also experience other sensations, from pleasurable ripples up
and down your body to out of body flying sensations. If you relax too
deeply, you may experience a short period that you do not recall, but
do not worry, you will return to full awareness as soon as you need to.
The more often you practice exercises like the above the deeper you will
be able to go and the more quickly and dramatically your consciousness
experiences will evolve. This will help you to move more easily into altered
states, and may even improve your next workshop experience!