Here’s a very good article by a friend of mine on the subject of hypnosis. Highly recommended reading…
Waving Watches In Front Of Your Face
For many, mention of the word ‘hypnosis’ initiates mental pictures of a staunch man with a black beard waving a pocket watch within inches of your face inviting you to “look into his eyes”.
Or maybe you picture a stage show where volunteers are at the mercy of a hypnotist who apparently possesses the power to make his subjects believe that their shoes are telephones.
What many people don’t realize is that hypnosis is actually a common state of mind that most people experience on a daily basis.
How Hypnosis Feels
Not sure what it feels like to be hypnotized? The modern description of hypnosis is a wakeful state of focused awareness in which an individual is very susceptible to suggestion. Despite popular belief, a person under hypnosis is not unconscious and a person can only be hypnotized if they want to be; hypnosis is not a form of mind control. Furthermore, hypnosis can be self-induced.
If you’ve ever been so engrossed in a movie or a book, or so focused on a single task that you were completely oblivious to all else around you, you have experienced hypnosis. If you’ve ever walked or driven somewhere and then were suddenly startled that you couldn’t recall the actual trip, you’ve been hypnotized. In fact, highway hypnosis when driving is a very common (and dangerous).
The Biological Function Of Hypnosis: A Survival Mechanism
You may be wondering how or why we even have the ability to enter such a mental state in the first place. What purpose does it serve in nature? There is evidence to suggest that the ability to enter the hypnotic state evolved, in some organisms, as a survival mechanism. Birds such as chickens and pigeons have been known to enter a hypnotic state to evade a carnivore whose predatory response is provoked by movement – kind of like “playing dead”. Anyone who has had a rabbit for a pet has probably tried to exploit this instinct. I have ‘tranced’ my pet rabbit to trim his nails, so he doesn’t squirm.
Humans can experience daze-like, hypnotic symptoms when having an acute stress reaction (shock) after a traumatic experience. In some cases, hypnosis can help an individual relax. Hypnosis is also widely used in therapeutic practice (usually in conjunction with medicinal or psychological treatments) to help relieve a variety of conditions.
Hypnosis has been used to help people overcome phobias, addictions, obesity, shyness, stress, injury, and severe pain. And of course, it is used as a form of entertainment in stage hypnosis shows. If you’re thinking about seeing a stage show, you should realize that this is only a very small aspect of hypnosis.
Stage Hypnosis Volunteers Are Always Willing – Not Like Most People
And although the power of suggestion can be quite strong, you should keep in mind that the ‘volunteers’ in a stage show are usually carefully chosen. They are people that, for whatever reason, want to be hypnotized. Finally, if my experience with hypnosis is any indication of the power of suggestion, be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before. Being tired may make you extra susceptible to suggestion.
I once went to a stage show after getting only a couple of hours of sleep. Although I wasn’t one of the subjects being hypnotized, when the hypnotist suggested that their arms were “light as feathers”, my arms involuntarily moved up over my head while sitting in the audience. It wasn’t until my friend, sitting next to me, grabbed my arm and pulled it down to the armrest that I “snapped out of it”!