This article about deepening self-hypnosis embedded itself within my unconscious mind on a train journey between my home and London today.
It was a crisp, clear late Autumn day and I went into an altered state as I gazed at the clear blue sky and admired the myriad autumnal colours in countryside that stretched as far as the eye could see.
You use hypnosis not as a cure but as a means of establishinga favourable climate in which to learn
At the same time soothing meditative music came through my earphones from my MP3 player.
It is quite impossible in circumstances like this not to go into an altered state and then move from one altered state to another, which is really what hypnosis is.
I know that the more I experience situations like this, the more easily it is to go into an altered or hypnotic state, and the deeper I will go.
Like all things worth doing, it gets better with practise, practise, practise.
I was a little tired, things hadn’t been going quite the way I had planned recently (tell me something new, I hear you say), so it was good to let my mind drift and for my thoughts to wander.
When I came out of it, I was completely refreshed and started to write.
Pausing to think for a moment – music no longer singing in my ears – I again looked out of the window and noticed that the sky was beginning to darken and the variety of countryside colours had taken on a deeper hue.
I went inside myself again, my unconscious took over and in due course prompted me to write again.
You may be thinking to yourself now, “Well, I do that sort of thing all the time.” Indeed, you do.
It is useful, however, to know that you do it and to be able to control the experience so that you gain maximum benefit from it.
It may be that you wish to use self-hypnosis for relaxation and contemplation, or to consider challenges that you face in your life, but you will want to be able to do so when you choose.
Equally, you may wish to deepen self-hypnosis because you want to be able to perform at a high level.
If that is the case, you will need – in the language of sportsmen – to put yourself “in the zone”, and you will do that by deep concentration and changing your state.
So how do you, firstly, self-hypnotise and then deepen that self-hypnosis?
The very simple and unvarnished answer to that question is you use your imagination and all your senses.
When I earlier described the beautiful countryside and the colour of the sky, you couldn’t help but imagine that scene for yourself.
Of course, it wasn’t precisely the scene that I witnessed because I was using my eyes and you were creating the scene in your own mind.
You went inside yourself, used your own imagination and by doing so, even if it was only for moments, you went into an altered state.
I always suggest that to start off you might choose to go to a quiet place where you will not be interrupted, but that is only the starting point.
In due course you will get used to using external sounds to assist you.
I have just explained how I self-hypnotise on a crowded railway train almost, but not entirely, oblivious to everyone else.
I use those sounds to assist me to drift deeper and deeper still.
Wherever you are, before you practise self-hypnosis allow yourself, firstly, to relax.
Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths and breathe all the way out.
With your eyes closed you will be able to hear certain sounds, distant voices or traffic, a bird song, gentle breeze or lapping water. Whatever it is, let it slip off into the distance.
Even behind your eyelids you can see certain things and feel yourself sitting or lying wherever you are.
Remember that you are doing this for a reason and as you concentrate on the gentle rise and fall of your breathing, you may be aware of different sensations and notice certain changes taking place.
As you begin to drift deeper and deeper still, think of a beautiful experience that is, for you, absolutely sublime.
It is your own personal experience. It can be absolutely anything because it is entirely within your own mind and no-one else can intrude.
It may be a beautiful view, a holiday destination, a fond family, an intimate romantic encounter or a complete figment of your imagination.
It is nobody else’s business but yours, and it is nobody else’s mind but yours.
It matters not what it is as long as it is amazing and thrilling for you, and as you concentrate upon that experience or imagined event, look at that picture through your own eyes growing larger, rich and colourful.
Recall the sounds you heard (or would imagine), and any smells associated with it.
If there is a perfume or after-shave associated with your image, breathe it in and recreate that smell in your mind.
If there is another person in that memory or image, imagine touching them with your fingertips, and envelop yourself in the complete experience. Make it as real as you can.
Now allow yourself to bathe in those beautiful feelings for a while, allow the whole experience to wash over you and let your unconscious take over.
Only when you are ready to bring yourself back into the room and emerge from your altered state will you realise that for some time you have been in some other place.
The more you practise this, the better you will get at it and the deeper you will go.
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