This practice though actually simple to perform from a practical point of view is neglected by most hypnotists and therapists. Some call it meditation, sale or something else and people often are a little confused about this. Even amongst hypnotists self-hypnosis is thought to generally include the commanding of one’s own mind by having a clear intention prior to going into trance so as to begin to self-implant it into one’s own unconscious.
In this respect then Self-Hypnosis could be thought of as a practical means to learn or achieve certain specific goals. It works and is relatively effective if the hypnotist has enough self-mastery to do it correctly. For myself though Self-Hypnosis is something a little more meaningful than merely the implanting of suggestions into my own unconscious.
The man from whom I first learnt hypnosis is in my honest opinion perhaps the best teacher of hypnosis alive today. In terms of teaching someone how to perform hypnosis he has mastered this to the point that I honestly think he could teach a brain damaged monkey to hypnotise people. He provides an excellent basis on which to build. And of course it is still only a base from which to launch your own investigations. His name is Topher Morrison. Topher is quite adamant at least in his seminars that if you self-hypnotise the most important part of it is your intention. He is indeed correct as long as we’re talking of the first type of Self-Hypnosis.
I however have been experimenting with a different type of Self-Hypnosis. I began to do it on my own cognisance shortly after receiving my training by Topher. I then began to read obsessively on anything related to hypnosis. In a book by Grinder I even came across the concept that such deep levels of self-hypnosis performed alone could be dangerous. I was at this time experimenting with self-induced trances that would last up to 3 or 4 hours at a time where I experienced partial amnesia, ed severe time distortion and negative auditory hallucinations. Scary though this may sound to untrained persons, order every one of these phenomena is recognised as normal phenomena of hypnosis. Generally though one is being hypnotised by someone else when these phenomena become apparent. Partly also probably because though definitely not in a sleep state, when partial amnesia and severe time distortion occur together it can become difficult to even know what, or if anything did in fact happen if you are alone.
Though I took note of Grinder’s warnings in his book Turtles All The Way Down I instinctively felt that whatever dangers putting myself into such deep trances might pose, they were acceptable to me. Peculiarly I also went into these trances without any specific intention at all other than to go as deep as I could. My experiences were extremely interesting and the first thing that became apparent was a sense of fear. A mild dread that could even become a type of panic if allowed to spread, and it would knock me out of trance. If gently persisted with however, the fear would slowly subside and you could go deeper. And each time you could get deeper though sometimes the initial barrier of fear remained and it would take some time to go lower.
Despite this, the whole process was paradoxically extremely pleasant. On returning from trance a deep sense of centeredness, self-confidence, general goodness really could not only be felt in the moment but would resonate in my every-day life in all aspects. It was becoming quite addictive as well as extremely therapeutic. It was when I began to read up on many of Erickson’s writings that I came across a brief article he wrote that essentially described this very process. I was astonished to discover that Erickson himself also regularly put himself into trances with no specific intention of any kind. He too described this fear that appeared and he considered it normal and natural. I began to wonder about it’s nature. Over the next few months, whilst continuing with the practice of self-hypnosis, which I do regularly even now, I continued to read up on and digest as many and as varied sources of hypnotic data and experiments as I could. I read some fascinating things. I also combined more intensive training in a Russian Martial art that has non-verbal elements of body conditioning that are unlike any martial art I have ever encountered before. And I read for weeks and weeks books, articles, journals, anything and everything related to hypnosis, reality, quantum physics, the structure and nature of language, philosophy of thought and mind and on the nature of existence.
I even read up on experimentation that had been done with LSD before it was banned and discovered and dug up scraps of information from a scientific underground that continues to experiment in medical and controlled conditions to this day. I discovered some fascinating things and as a result began to form a theory of human minds and in broad terms where any and all of our problems stem from. Erickson of course put it best and most succinctly. He simply said: “Your patients will be your patients because they will be out of rapport with their own unconscious mind”
He was of course perfectly correct, but what exactly does that mean in more detail?
In order to answer this question I had to delve into a very unexpected area for me. Altered states induced by drugs. Please keep in mind I have never taken any kind of drug other than those prescribed by a doctor. I have smoked about three normal cigarettes in my life when I was about 13 and maybe a couple of cigars. Until 2007 I had never snorted any cocaine or anything else, popped any kind of pill that wasn’t an antibiotic or the occasional aspirin and until about a week before the time of this writing, (Easter Monday 2007) I had never ever before, —not a single solitary time— even dragged on a spliff or joint.
On Easter 2007 – which incidentally is symbolic and significant in and of itself (rebirth), I dragged on a spliff for the first time in my life. Twice.
Unlike Clinton, I did inhale. Also in 2007 I snorted for the first and only time in my life, about two thirds of a gram of cocaine.
It had nothing to do with experimentation of drugs. Merely an act I wanted to do for reasons that have nothing to do with drugs and everything to do with breaking down certain internal barriers I needed to break in order to mentally mark a watershed in a way that was symbolic enough and meaningful enough that my unconscious could not ignore it. Over 30 years of having absolutely no need or wish or reason to ever experiment with any drug, and a certain pride in that fact too by the way, had suddenly to be readjusted and shifted into an instant, surprise event and have a meaning linked to it. It was an important meaning I wanted to associate with such a loaded and powerful set of values. I am happy to report it has worked well. In fact I’d have to say that if anything, the idea of doing drugs is even more firmly relegated to a corner of the world that has no place in my reality. Mostly due to how pathetic I found the effect of these drugs on my system. Quite simply, the cost-benefit analysis is utterly negative even in the short term.
I recount this little interlude merely to illustrate that from a personal point of view, the use of drugs is completely anathema to me. And yet, the place where I found evidence of my own theory for what I think is essentially the base issue from which all human problems stem, was to be found in the experiments performed under laboratory conditions some thirty years ago using Lysurgic Acid Diethalymide. More commonly known as LSD.
It was here that the concept of imprinting and the changing of this imprinting (a term I was using anyway in the formulation of my own theory) had already been discussed, tested and experimented with. I knew that my idea was so fundamental I could not have been the only or the first person to have considered it or come across it. Finding such stark evidence for it here in such an unexpected avenue was surprising, exciting, strange and perhaps even a little frightening, but in a good way. I discuss more on this topic in the section entitled How The Human Mind Works in the same section of Hypnotic Articles and you can begin that section with The Overview (Part I) and then move on to The Individual (Part II), Couples (Part III) and Children (Part IV). Here I will limit myself to say that what I had been busy doing with my deep trances of self-induced hypnotic states —unknowingly at a conscious level, yet so compellingly and so directly— was to begin to approach the very practice of changing my imprinting. Conscious realisation of this was a joyous event. Finally it seemed I had a reason that made logical sense instead of only a sense of compelling rightness that went beyond a mere feeling that going into deep states of trance held a positive purpose, despite the ever-present fear which gradually intensified as you went lower and deeper down; though paradoxically it was also so much more comfortable and pleasant the deeper I went.
In a sense, self-hypnosis is the first step on a fantastic journey. It is both the easiest step and also the most difficult, yet from it and with perseverance, it leads to a veritable Shangri-La of the mind. Words can never begin to define the myriad and blissful ways in which this simple practice changes your life. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone.
Training in Self-Hypnosis is something I can also provide if you are interested in this, in which case, contact me giving an indication of the amount of time you would be willing to dedicate to learning this process, as that will essentially be the defining characteristic of how I will approach your instruction. Obviously, as with anything, the more time you can devote to it, the better your results will be. As a guideline, at least a few hours of trance have to be experienced before you will be able to comfortably induce yourself.