Friday 25 Aug 2017
I was recently asked by a friend if I thought he could learn to do self-hypnosis. He had experienced a past life under hypnosis when attending my hypnotherapy practice and thought he may be able to use self-hypnosis to constructively balance some things in his life. Self -hypnosis can be used well in this way and I thought while I was writing up instructions for self-hypnosis, I would take the opportunity to explain what Hypnosis is and how the “Dissociation” at its core is very different from the “Unification” that is being worked toward in Buddhist Meditation.
“Past lives” and past traumas are often being held in a client’s stream of consciousness. The tensions that can arise from this unseen energy can bring trouble and trauma to our lives. Past negative patterns that repeat in our mind can often be released once there is an awareness of it. In my Hypnotherapy practice I have also developed a modality of Hypnosis where a client can be helped to understand the stillness or spaciousness that is always present in the mind. This still consciousness is a very powerful tool and can facilitate healing as well as provide a deep insight into our human condition.
Learning to understand and practice self-hypnosis is not so difficult, but like learning anything, it does take practice to be proficient and to gain knowledge in what we are doing beyond doubts. Ignorance of our conditioning is ubiquitous, and the way we are all conditioned has its foundations in dissociation. Subjects who have been given a direct suggestion under Hypnosis will often “confabulate” their own story on how they arrived at “their” idea of the suggestion later. They take ownership of it. It is the same for every person on the planet. We confabulate the stories and meaning in our lives because we are mostly ignorant of how the conditioning that filters our world view came to us. It is the same for our personal stories and how we think of ourselves. We condition each other to believe in this or that while at the same time deepening our attachment to ourselves and the world, without seeing the reality behind it all. We are all in effect hypnotised.
Hypnosis is the “Art and Science” of dissociation. Hypnosis is all about dissociation; the opposite of the unification aimed for in Buddhist meditation. The hypnotist uses various techniques to distract or trick the conscious mind into leaving the sub-conscious mind unguarded. This so called subconscious mind is beyond the view of our conscious mind which guards it. The subconscious mind is very naïve and childlike. It will accept suggestions without question when the conscious mind is not there to filter what is going in. There are three main techniques the hypnotist can use to this end. First is to bore the client until the conscious mind drifts off. Second they can shock the conscious mind into releasing, and third, they can confuse the conscious mind so it is not online. Because the hypnotist is making suggestions and leading the client without the conscious mind being present, the subconscious is open and vulnerable to have is tapes changed --- so to speak. This is not a state of awareness, and if the brain rhythm is measured, it will read as a so called “Theta rhythm”, which is normally associated with a dream state. Indeed the hypnotist can know his client is in this state by observing Rapid Eye Movement (REM) which is usually associated with dreaming.
Buddhist Meditation on the other hand is a practice to make our mind still and encourages us to eschew distractions until the “Right” Concentration, Energy and Mindfulness are present to allow Still Consciousness to arise. Of course the other factors of the Buddha’s eight fold path also play into this outcome. (See the side bar for the Buddha’s Noble “Eight Fold Path”.) Still Consciousness can be seen as Emptiness, Spaciousness or most eloquently for this description as Pure Consciousness. You know that it is pure consciousness because it can be experienced feeding back on itself. This visceral experience can understand the transience, as pure consciousness feeds it-self back, looping around and around, beginning and ending very fast. So fast in fact, that it is only when the mind is concentrated to one point, balanced and mindful over a period of time that the resonance can be discerned. We see that this still consciousness is knowable because this feedback gives it an identity. Practice with a deepening focus of concentration along with sustained mindfulness eventually allows us to know that all the compounded conditions that make up the world are being fed back to make our being. All the conditions, including our being are nested within the stillness. We know that it is feeding back countless times each moment. This is a state that confirms for us, that we are totally present. Truth and transcendence can be seen right there when wisdom clears things up! Even though we are present, the Buddha separated and labelled this state of mind as “Mundane”. The brain wave resulting from this “Aware State” is measured as an “Alpha Rhythm”, compared to the “Theta Rhythm” of Hypnosis. I believe this is so for all concentrated states including say --- watching a movie that you are interested in, so what you are aware of is important.
DEEP MEDITATION PRACTICE
Perseverance and deepening of our knowledge of this state will allow us to know and see beyond any doubt that this pure consciousness is also a condition. It is arising dependently from the volition of the karmic influence proceeding. We see that it is our ignorance that allows this cycle of feedback to arise. When stillness becomes such that it can penetrate past this volition, the consciousness feeding back becomes unstable and will eventually finish quite abruptly. This experience needs to be known beyond any doubt so that we can know what it is that finishes. This means that the still consciousness that feeds back the world to us has also finished and we will know that at death, we will not be reborn if this state is in place. From this observers perspective the world has collapsed and unified back into this observers mind, such is its purity. The paradox of me as separate to the world has finished, because the pure consciousness that forms everything dependently and conditionally, has penetrated into the present moment to the point where it has collapsed all the nested conditions, including it-self. The mind is unified into what the Buddha called a “Supra Mundane” state and all conditions will finish if this state of mindfulness is present at death. There is no longer an external conscious storage. The paradox of a separate external world is resolved. The unified mind will shed its conditions at death when the karma of this person’s existence is finished. This is the difference between Dissociation and Unification.
Heedfulness is the Deathless path,
Heedlessness, the path to death.
Those who are heedful do not die,
Heedless are like the dead.
Dhammapada Verse 21
To do self-hypnosis you would first need to be fully cognisant of what it is you want to do. If the purpose is to change an aspect of your behaviour physically or emotionally or to train yourself have a different default sub consciously, a suitable script will be required to be recorded for you to play back to yourself. You might set it up on a delay system to play after five or ten minutes, following a relaxation/induction period. You would then put yourself into a relaxed state of mind and let go of the body as much as you can. Reading an induction script before closing your eyes may be helpful. Feeling the body’s weight in order to let it go and then rejoicing (re-“joy”-sing) in the relaxation and lightness that follows. (See the relaxed energy dancing and frolicking above the body --- feel the tingling energy, making you feel light and relaxed.) You simply allow the subconscious mind to come forward by relaxing yourself consciously, naturally allowing the minds movement to flow as you would before going to sleep at night. Allowing the sub-conscious mind to bring on a trance --- dream like state. When the recorded suggestions start to play just let the word wash over you without trying to understand them. Stay dreamy rather than trying to comment consciously.
Self-hypnosis may also be able to bring an understanding of what drivers may remain unseen in your sub-conscious mind. Past lives or past traumas that may have been trapped and left to play out in the circumstances of your present life. To make an understanding of this work, we need to set the question or at least know very clearly what it is you wish to do and know. (Remember you do not have a hypnotist to guide you) Unlike Meditation Practice, we do not ignore what might at first appear to be distractions; we stay with the relaxation but keep a dreamy interest in anything arising out of the corner of our eye so to speak. The pre-programming that was imagined at the beginning will generally bring the images or knowledge that we require into the sub-conscious mind. It will be seen like a “sprite” through the relaxation. This is the important bit! You stay with the relaxation, do not be tempted to look directly at what has arisen. This takes time and patience. You must just keep it in the corner of your eye. If you look directly at it too quickly it will just disappear within the light of grasping consciousness. Stay dreamy and wait for it to move into view when it is ready. You stay interested at a distance, it may come and go a bit but you just continue to relax. Even go to sleep! Eventually the mind will settle into a Theta Rhythm and you will find the sub-conscious mind looking on. You may consciously know what has taken place or you may remember it after the dream state has finished. Consciously this process is akin to Lucid Dreaming. Eventually you can learn to direct the proceedings.
Let me give a word of warning with all this, based on my experience. The conscious mind serves a very useful purpose in keeping us safe. When it is removed we are vulnerable and extreme karma can be made without its oversight, especially if there are perversions still being held in check by the conscious mind. It can be dangerous ground and needs to be treated with respect.