One important aspect of the hypnotic experience is the continuity between trance and the so called ‘waking state’. What do I mean by this? I mean that in hypnosis you are conscious and have an awareness of being conscious during the experience. You will both experience and at the same time consciously record and observe what you experience. This is of course different to most psychedelic states where the ingestion of a compound or a plant/mushroom allows you to pass through a threshold which appears to stand between your everyday self and your psychedelic self.
Now, that passing through a threshold is of itself a deeply meaningful element and, personally, one I think everyone should experience in their development. But to be able to experience an altered state, such as an hypnotic trance, without having to step through a threshold, means we can bring what we learn in that state directly back into our lives, we can recollect is as we experienced it, we do not need to translate it. And that means it naturally expands how we feel and how we think whilst feeling accessible and close by. And I think this is a very powerful quality to states like hypnosis and meditation, they are readily integrated into our conscious self. They do not require the ingestion of anything external to you, they can simply be entered by you through you.
This reflects on the feeling that we are left with when we come out of a trance, a form of confidence and clarity, an increase in our self-belief. Often to believe in ourselves can mean to narrow who we understand ourselves to be, strong beliefs are seldomly open and embracing beliefs. Shaking our beliefs is essential, and sometimes it feels that the only to shake our acquired or chosen beliefs is to crack the self open with a crowbar. In hypnosis we are gently yet markedly expanding that sense of self whilst experiencing a connectedness to both the self and its inner capacity to expand which gives us a strong sense of agency. It is not this thing or that thing which gives you a ticket to a higher experience, it is you who can shift your perception and experience greater depth, higher perspectives, and fuller texture.
I, the therapist, cannot hypnotise you, only you can hypnotise yourself, hypnosis is always self-hypnosis, and it is an articulate yet direct surrendering to our own innate capacity for reaching states other than the waking state. So is meditation of course, but like anything in life, it is always much easier and quicker to find a way whilst in the company of another human than it is alone. Having the support and guidance of another person without them directing and informing your experience makes accessing that experience as easy and as available as drinking water.
Once you are out of trance the feeling of what you have experienced and allowed yourself to express to yourself will pour out into your everyday life, giving you the courage to express and allow expression to develop and manifest. This comes in part from the very way in which trance arises from within and brings out our deeper feelings and thoughts, memories and sensations, but also from the very closeness we experience to our deeper self in trance. It gives us courage to be close and intimate with who we are and what we feel, think, and sense. This intimacy is the only true requirement to health and growth, once we are comfortable to be with ourselves we are comfortable to be with the world.
Image : page from a Ragamala Series: Gujari Ragini, Pali, Marwar, 1623 (National Museum Of India)