Hypnosis, Maligned and Misunderstoodsam
Re-Creating Your Self by Christopher Stone
In our previous two columns, we’ve considered how you can relax and re-create your self, using basic meditation as a tool for personal change.
This time, you’re going to relax and re-create your self, using self-hypnosis as a very practical tool for accepting your new beliefs.
People have at least as many misconceptions about hypnosis as they do about meditation. We can thank the entertainment industry for that. Whether it’s the stage performer, Pat Collins, known as The Hip Hypnotist, or silly motion pictures such as The Hypnotic Eye, starring Jacques Bergerac, the entertainment industry is guilty of providing the public with untruths about this important relaxation technique.
As fictitiously practiced in motion pictures and on television, hypnotism is deadly hocus pocus that robs its subject of free will. In such fictions, the subject is commonly portrayed as a zombie-like victim felled by the power of a hypnotist. The not-for-real hypnotist is often a wild-eyed psychopath who commands his subject to commit heinous crimes, including murder. This false, hokey scenario has been the plot of bad films and tawdry television for decades. Even worse, it has perpetuated and enshrined as truth damaging misconceptions and myths about hypnosis.
Stage performers have added to these untruths. Many are entertainers first and hypnotists second. These unrepentant hams typically glide on stage singing On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, then “command” hypnotized audience members to do foolish things, such as stripping down to their skivvies or barking like a dog. Surprisingly, some people obey the “commands” of these silly performers, though not because they’re really under the power of a hammy hypnotist. Most often, these people enjoy their momentary spotlight and very willingly go along with the stage act.
Because hypnotism is so widely misunderstood and maligned, many people who could benefit by using this important tool for change have been scared away. Don’t be among them.
In fact, if not in fiction, hypnosis is simply a natural state of deep relaxation in which you may concentrate upon a specific area of thought and introduce suggestions concerning that area of thought.
Many people believe that a hypnotized person is asleep or unconscious, but neither is true. This misunderstanding is, in part, the result of early induction techniques that included such erroneous wording as, “You are getting sleepy,” and, “All the muscles of your body are going to sleep.” Today, most hypnotists more accurately induce hypnosis with phrases such as, “You are becoming more and more relaxed,” and, “All the muscles of your boy are becoming more deeply relaxed.”
Too a large extent, successful hypnosis depends upon the subject’s ability to focus attention on a chosen area of thought. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for a hypnotized person to be awake and conscious at all times, even during the deepest stages of hypnosis. A hypnotized person is never asleep or unconscious because a person can’t concentrate on anything in those states.
Some people are terrified that they won’t “wake up” after being hypnotized. But after it is understood that the subject isn’t asleep at all – just deeply relaxed – this terror becomes groundless. A hypnotized person can end hypnosis at will and return his attention to its usual focus.
Another false belief is that a hypnotized person is under the control of the hypnotist and must do his/her bidding, whatever the suggestion. Nothing could be further from the truth. The subject is never “under the power” of the hypnotist, nor will he follow suggestions that are against his principles, or otherwise unacceptable to him. Just ask one of the thousands of people who have failed to quit smoking after hypnosis. Intellectually these smokers may have felt that they should quit. But they didn’t want to quit. Consequently, hypnotic suggestions to quit were powerless and went unheeded. Under hypnosis, you will only act upon those suggestions that you consciously want to accept.
A Re-Creating Your Self Thought: It’s unwise to accept blindly the entertainment industry’s take on anything, including therapeutic disciplines such as hypnosis, without examining the benefits and values for your self.
Next Time: Natural Self-Hypnosis.
Please send your Re-Creating Your Self comments, observations and questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2009 by Christopher Stone