Talking About Hypnosis Is Like Singing a Symphony A Capella

Hypnosis is a very personal experience, and my clients all describe it differently. Hypnotists all explain it differently, too—I’ve listened to at least 200 descriptions, and I have described it publicly and in writing at least as many times. Here’s the thing: We could all be wrong.

Hypnosis can be explained and described, but our words have little to do with what actually happens in a trance. A trance experience has nothing to do with words. It’s deeper and much more complicated than what anyone can say about it.

Language is very slow and clunky compared with thinking, hypnotic trance, dreams and dreaming, creativity, and finding patterns and associations. First we think and feel, and then we translate all of that into words so that we can relate those experiences to the people around us. The mind is way quicker and more agile than translating any of that into language.

Here’s another example: As you are reading this, you are not consciously aware that you are looking at squiggly shapes. You are instantly translating the shapes into letters, then words and sentences, and the meaning becomes clear to you. Depending on the skill of the writer and your skill as a reader, you interpret meaning instantly, and you don’t wonder at all at the amazing process that is occurring right now in your brain and consciousness. What you are doing right now is an essential part of the early stages of hypnosis. You are taking in information, processing it in a particular way, and opening your mind to additional ideas based on interpretation.

Hypnosis can’t be described with total accuracy because each person’s description depends on how they interpret it, their physiology, and of course their life experiences and orientation. Add to this the fact that we tend to learn in terms of what we already know, and that limits what we learn and how much.

I know how to hypnotize and I spend a lot of time doing it, practicing, teaching and learning, reading, going to conferences, discussing—and I am aware that I could be entirely wrong about some of it or all of it. I have helped many clients, for sure, and I will continue to pursue it every day, and I could be wrong about the basis of what I do and why it works.

There are a great many things that we know about the universe that we can’t explain. Some are great, some are microscopic. We know about them, we learn their characteristics and what to expect under certain conditions, and we try to put all of those experiences into words. Words limit our descriptions because they lack the kind of depth that limitless capacity can express. Using words to describe hypnosis is like trying to represent the Grand Canyon using a box of crayons. Even the most talented artist would agree that the rendering is merely a very thin interpretation of natural grandeur.

I respect your intelligence and your ability to communicate. I respect your life experiences and your knowledge and your wisdom. I also respect the limitless nature of thinking and the power of hypnosis—which has not been fully explored in terms of what is commonly known. Hypnotism is an Art, a Science, and a Philosophy that contains more than can be described in words. Yet, we do what we can to learn and teach it to each other, and bring this mystical power to all of those who wish to use it for the greater good.

See you at the next conference? I hope so!

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