A while back I took part in a hypnotherapy training course with a well respected teacher. I’m probably not going to be be a hypnotherapist, but I did want to explore the fundamentals of the technique. In doing so, it made me question what ‘hypnosis’ really is.
You could call hypnosis a temporary state of consciousness that allows a skilled person by bypass the regular protection mechanisms of the mind to achieve a certain goal. That might be to change a behavior or to de-sensitize a traumatic event, to remember a certain fact or navigate past-lives (if that’s your thing).
Somewhere along the line though, it occurred to me that we’re already hypnotized. We already live in a state of consciousness that is somewhat dream-like. What we believe is how we perceive the world. What we see happening might not be happening the way that we assume it to be, at all. No two people will ever know the same world. This can pave the way for a lot of suffering and mis-understading. What I also recognized is that what we call hypnosis is a technique that really allow for de-hypnosis. It’s de-hypnosis from the things that we take for granted, or so easily assume to be true that have often caused so much pain.
More often that not, it is the hypnotism of identification with conditioned thought process (cultural, familial, personal) personal stories and associations of physical form limitations (including death), that causes much pain in our human experience. De-hypnosis, then, is the means by which we undo much past learning, release addictions and unhelpful beliefs so that we can come to know a deeper and more natural, and peaceful, state of existence. In short, de-hypnosis and healing are very much synonymous. There are lots of ways to practice de-hypnosis. Meditation, inquiry or contemplation are a few. Formal hypnosis is another.
How far can de-hypnosis go? And isn’t that kind of like brain washing? I think it can go as far as it needs to, without getting into inappropriate kinds of denial. Brainwashing is when you do things against your better judgement to adhere to a concept or for approval from an external authority. Actually, there’s a lot of that in the world already. Inappropriate denial is something like, if you have a huge gash in your arm, you should be on your way to a hospital rather than philosophizing about how belief in the body is just a limitation. So, yeah, inappropriate denial and brainwashing go hand-in-hand. My advice is, hold all concepts very loosely. Even medicine can be poison when too much of it is used, or used inappropriately.
It’s the nature of mind, of thought to want to seek for stability, a place to land, to know and to be certain. So then, what does the mind want when it asks for a way to stability? A technique. Something it can learn. Something that it can know grasp and understand, which necessarily means something that is limited. But of course, mind (which is to say thought) itself is limited so it can only know anything within the parameters of its own limitations.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing facts or with learning. We’re also made for that. Learning and the fact that we can learn is one of the most miraculous capacities of the human mind. There’s immense value in it. But its not what is most valuable. What is most valuable comes prior to mind, prior to identification. What is most valuable, mind can never know because that has no finite qualities. Your own simple being, existence, itself. The one thing-less thing that can never be hypnotized.
Only when thought bows down to that which is greater than itself (in a manner of speaking), can there be a knowing of the peace that already lies within. Just like the sky in which all experiences, thoughts, sensations, activities, emotions are arising and fading away – the vast and limitless sky remains unchanging beyond it all.
Apparently, I’m not a life-coach, I’m a de-hypnosis advocate.