To the average man, ‘Hypnosis’ is a technique used only for mysterious purposes, by people with strange skills and special powers. Much of our perception and understanding of this science is a result of either wrong information, or absolutely no information. Today, the most common source for knowledge of this subject are stage hypnosis programs on television. One of the most highly rated television programs, their primary purpose is to entertain and thereby make money, and therefore they don’t seem to care about the importance of presenting the true nature of this science. Personally, I am not against this medium, but the sad part is that a lot of people refrain from trying out hypnosis because of the fear generated by these programs.
Hypnosis is a highly scientific process to program the subconscious mind to achieve unlimited success in life. Under Hypnosis, the mind and body are deeply relaxed, and the barrier between the conscious and subconscious minds is removed, thereby felicitating a high degree of communication between the two. In such a state, the subconscious mind becomes highly receptive to positive constructive suggestions, thus assisting us in achieving greater success, happiness and satisfaction.
Hypnosis employs the immense powers of the subconscious mind to bring about the desired changes in our lives. The subconscious mind does just what it is told to do, and in the process shapes our character and influences our behavior.
Children are highly susceptible to external suggestions, because their brain functions primarily in the frequency range where the subconscious mind is exposed and unprotected.
As a result, children who are praised, properly taught and encouraged to succeed, develop a much better quality of life and self esteem.
On the other hand, children who are constantly put down, told they are stupid or ugly, and criticized for everything they do, develop a poor, unhealthy self esteem.
A subject which has often been misunderstood because of the shroud of mystery surrounding it, hypnosis is a science which can be of immense value to us, in the area of Human potential development. Acknowledged and approved as a legitimate therapeutic tool by the British Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and even the Vatican, hypnosis is widely used in the US, Europe, the former Soviet bloc countries and other developed nations. Practiced by Doctors, Psychiatrists, Dentists, Gynecologists, Social Workers and Business persons in their professional lives, the powers of hypnosis can also be employed by the general public for a number of purposes, from improving their health, to attaining their goals, to overcoming undesirable habits or phobias.
What is the Sub-Conscious Mind?
The human mind (and that of most other animals) is basically divided into two components: the Conscious mind and the Sub-Conscious mind. The conscious mind controls most of our deliber-ate actions. Those organs of the body which we can control by the exercise of will are under the jurisdiction of the conscious mind.
The subconscious mind, on the other hand, controls actions that is beyond our physical control. For example, any action or move-ment that we perform while asleep are caused by the sub-conscious mind. Dreams are also stirred by the subconscious mind. (That is why dreams are sometimes called the "inner eyes", and are said to be the route to one's inner mind.)
At any moment, "you" represent the sum total of your experiences from the time of your birth until now. If you believe in re-incarnation, that would also include all of the experiences of your past lives.
Irrespective of your belief system, it is these past experiences that represent your present life and all its characteristics. These past experiences are stored in the sub-conscious mind as programming. It is your subconscious mind that has made you what you are today. Your talents and abilities, problems and afflic-tions are the result of the intuitive guidance of the subcon-scious. It has been directing you and it will continue to direct you, and often in opposition to your conscious desires.
This is because the subconscious has little or no reasoning power. It simply takes in what is told to it, and uses its im-mense power to fulfill it.
Is hypnosis natural?
This is perhaps the most important question one encounters when exploring the possibility of using a tool like hypnosis, primari-ly because of all the mysterious associations we hold about it. It is a scarcely known fact that we have experienced the hypnotic state literally thousands of times in our lives. Consider this situation: You are driving to your office from home. You use the same route as you normally use while driving to work. During the journey, you lose consciousness of your surroundings and are busy in your own thoughts. Suddenly, you realise that you have reached your destination! You were consciously thinking of a host of other things: the people you have to meet today, the calls you have to make, the payments you have to receive or make, and so on. Inspite of your mind being preoccupied, you reached office safely. You stopped when the light turned red, you applied the brakes when a pedestrian crossed the road in front of you, and you even took time to look at the hoardings that lined the road.
If your conscious mind was busy with your thoughts, who was driving your car? Through decades of research, psychologists have concluded that this "auto pilot" is nothing but a part of our mind, called the subconscious mind. Let's now consider, how this is possible.
It is believed that all the experiences we have in our lives (and even in our previous lives!) are registered in our subconscious mind. Driving to office everyday is also one of these experi-ences. All the knowledge required to drive an automobile is thus already in the mind. As you begin your journey to the office, you soon move into a continuous flow of traffic and are able to maintain a consistent speed. At this point your conscious mind becomes more or less free, as is has no major role to play. It then drifts on to other thoughts. This is the moment when the subconscious takes over. It provides all the information you require to drive the car.
Driving is, however, not the only automatic activity. Other instances of automatic activities may be found while taking a shower, while dining alone, while jogging and so on. In psycho-logical terms, while functioning in the automatic mode, one has drifted into an altered state of consciousness.
Levels of consciousness:
The levels of consciousness ran ge from being fully alert to being deeply asleep. They are mainly distinguished from each other by their brain wave frequency. It is also important to note that there are no rigid boundaries separating them. Instead, the levels blend into each other, as is described below:
|Beta||Full Consciousness (13-25 Cycles per second)|
|Alpha||Twilight period between being asleep & being awake Hypnosis|
|& Meditation (8-12 Cycles per second)|
|Theta||Deep hypnosis & Meditation (4–7 Cycles per second)|
|Delta||Full Sleep (0.5–3 Cycles per second)|
Beta is the state of total consciousness-the normal state. Alpha and Theta fall into the category of altered states of consciousness.
These are the states when behavior modifications are most likely to take place. Suggestions given in these states go directly into the subconscious mind without any interference from the analyti-cal conscious mind. The subconscious has no power of reasoning and will accept the suggestions as they are, and will act upon them.
So, where does Hypnosis fit in all this?
Hypnosis is one of the most effective tools to induce an altered state of consciousness. Suggestions can also be effective under normal consciousness (Beta level) but research has shown that they are over a hundred times more helpful under an altered state.
What are the other benefits of Hypnosis?
Almost 80% of physical and psychological problems are stress related. And, since relaxation forms the core of all hypnotic procedures, it enables us to exclude anxiety and tension from our normal thought cycles.
How does hypnosis compare with meditation & yoga?
All these processes involve physical relaxation and a narrowing of consciousness. In the case of Hypnosis, it is task or goal oriented, as we are mentally working on something (our desired goal). In meditation and yoga, on the other hand, consciousness is free-floating and it may lead to a greater sense of expanded awareness. Many mediators use hypnosis and one can slip from one state to another quite easily.