Hypnotists constantly hear a subject contend that he or she "was not under hypnosis because..."
To eliminate some of these rather irritating "becauses", let us discuss some questions in order to clarify the experience.
Will I Lose Consciousness?
No matter how deep you go under hypnosis you will never lose consciousness. People who have ever awakened during the night to go to the bathroom and claimed the next morning that they did not remember doing it have (a) passed from sleep to hypnosis and (b) had themselves a slight case of amnesia without ever taking notice of it.
Hypnosis is actually a facsimile of a natural sleep, but somewhat different because under hypnosis, you may actually witness your own "sleep". Subjects have been known to remark that "I heard myself snoring."
So do not expect to lose consciousness, to go out of this world, or to experience some extraordinary bit of sensorial or emotion-al, bizarre condition.
The common perception of losing consciousness is largely perpetu-ated by Stage Hypnosis programs (nowadays a rage on television). But consider this: When the stage hypnotist suggests to his subject that "He is out in the Tropics, where it is 100 degrees and ...", the subject, who everyone believes to be "asleep", begins to perspire and proceeds to take off his coat. He must have "heard" the suggestion and, therefore was not asleep. He was hypnotized, but not asleep.
I repeat: Hypnosis is a state of consciousness in which the conscious mind is somehow bypassed and which elicits a facsimile of natural sleep, but the conscious mind still remains as a witness to the whole affair. So, do not expect to be asleep, when and as you go under hypnosis. Expect to be in a state of total relaxation, reproducing most of the outer aspects of natural sleep; but you will not be asleep.
Why did my mind keep wandering?
In hypnosis, your mind most likely will be wandering because it is natural for the mind to wander, such wandering being merely the sub-vocal association of ideas, which is commonly called Thinking. So, if you find that your mind does wander during your exercises, just let it wander.
Maybe I was trying too hard?
The answer to that question has already been given a couple of thousand years ago: "Who amongst you, can increase his stature one inch by his will?"
No amount of willing, of trying, of striving, of helping yourself toward obtaining the goal of each exercise will ever help you one iota. In fact, the more you try, the less you will succeed. The only "trying" that is expected of you is to try and keep your exercises regular.
If you want to demonstrate to yourself the futility of trying to will an effect, if you want to settle the question for yourself once and for all, the following "pencil experiment" will do it for you.
Hold a pencil between your right thumb and index finger. Hold the pencil tight, and now repeat to yourself, mentally: "I want to drop this pencil."
You could repeat that affirmation till doomsday and still be unable to drop that pencil. In order to drop it, you must first change your thought to "I am dropping this pencil."