To experience for yourself a conventional hypnosis session.
Imagining along with your recorded voice, exactly as in previous experiments.
For this and all other exercises using hypnosis or visualization. it is essential to follow four rules:
1. Practice in a comfortable place free from intrusions, loud or sudden noises, or other distractions. Dim the lights, turn off the TV or stereo, close the door, ask to be left alone for a while except for real emergencies, turn off the telephone if you can. etc.
2. Make yourself physically comfortable. It is best to rest in a recliner or soft chair that supports your neck, head, and back. You might prefer to prop yourself up on a bed or sofa (but avoid lying flat). Find a position in which you can be comfortable for a half hour or more, one in which you can relax completely. Loosen or remove tight clothing, take off eyeglasses, remove any gum from your mouth, and—very important! -take out contact lenses.
3. Unless, of course, you want to go to sleep afterward, do not practice when you are very tired or you might well become so relaxed that you fall asleep after your session. If you find that this is a problem for you, you might set an alarm to go off a few minutes after your tape will end. You can even record an alarm going off on the tape itself—for example, one minute after you end the session, play the alarm and say to yourself "Wide, wide awake .. . feeling wonderful."
4. Most important of all, cooperate with yourself to the very best of your ability. Act like a good subject. Let things flow. Expect to have an enjoyable and beneficial time and you will do so. Hypnosis is u form of play— keep that in mind and you can't go wrong!
"To begin. I am going to look up with my eyes and find a spot on the ceiling somewhere above the center of my hairline. I am going to focus my attention on that spot with all my might and keep staring at the spot for as long as I can.
"As I stare at my spot, I will take a deep breath and hold it for as long as I can and then breathe out slowly, as slowly as I can, and as 1 breathe out I let my body go limp and loose and relaxed ... I breathe in starting now, even as 1 keep on staring at that spot on the ceiling . . . And I'll keep on staring at that spot while I breathe out, letting nothing distract me . . . and I'll keep staring at that spot as I begin breathing in and breathing out naturally, automatically . . . more and more slowly as I begin to relax. . . .
"I'll keep staring at that spot as 1 breathe in and breathe out and I can feel my body starting to let go and feel limp and loose and relaxed . . . my knees feel heavy now . . . heavier and heavier ... as I stare at my spot on the ceiling I can feel this heaviness spreading down through my knees . . . from my knees down through my feet to my toes ... and my toes relax and feel heavier and staring at that spot becomes harder and harder for me as my eyes begin to water and they want to blink more and more . . . my legs feel heavier and heavier with every downward blink of my eyelids ... I feel more and more relaxed .. . drowsier . . . dreamier . . . with every breath I breathe in and breathe out... my eyes feel dreamier and driftier and drowsier and more and more relaxed. . . .
"Eyes want to close now . . . but I won't let them close for as long as 1 can keep them from closing . . . the pleasantly heavy numbness is spreading up through my body now ... so nice ... so dreamy and peaceful and drowsy and warm ... so nice ... so hard to keep staring . . . the harder I try the more I relax . . . the spot . . . relaxes me . . . too hard to keep staring much longer . . . eyes just want to relax . . . my lids feel so heavy now . . . every breath I breathe in and every breath I breathe out ... I feel more and more dreamy, sleepy, slow, and relaxed . . . breathing more and more slowly now . . . slow and regular . . . deep and slow . . . drowsy and sleepy . . . drifting and drifting . . . more and more. . . .
"Sleepier and dreamier every breath I breathe out . . . the strain in my eyes is growing heavier and heavier and it's just a matter of time before I hey close by themselves . . . eyes are so tired ... so tired . . . drowsier and drowsier with every breath I breathe in ... the dangers of hypnosis are a myth . . . this is fun . . . it's like being a child again and having fun . . . make-believe fun . . . my eyes may be closing now or they may be already closed . . . now ... I feel so drowsy and happy as 1 listen to my voice and drift with my voice now ... making believe I'm deep asleep and just dreaming everything I hear myself say . . . soon I will really feel deep asleep . . . but I'll still hear and respond to everything I say on this tape or in any session of hypnosis and I can always bring myself back to full, wide-awake consciousness by just taking a deep breath and counting up to ten ... I know I can do that and I'll always remember that I can do it whenever 1 need to . . . breathing in deeper and deeper . . . and I'll always notice anything that happens around me that really needs my attention ... so I can relax ... 1 can trust myself . . . but now I want to go deeper ... as I breathe out ... if my eyes are not quite closed I'll close them now and let them relax. .. .
"Relaxing more and more now ... I can let myself relax and really feel what hypnosis can be like for me . . . I arn ready now . . . ready to go all the way into hypnosis . . . drifting now . . . more and more .. . drowsy and relaxed . . . dreamy and sleepy . . . very, very sleepy now ... I can feel something happening . . . very, very pleasant . . . very, very safe ... it feels so good . . . here I go . . . all the way down . . . into real deep hypnosis . . . deep into myself ... I will count down from ten to one very slowly and by the time I'm all the way down to one I'll be more deeply relaxed and dreamy than I have ever been before . . . and after one I'll go down to zero . . . and when I say zero I'll let myself feel as if 1 wrere deep asleep and dreaming ... dreaming I respond to every suggestion 1 can hear my voice say . . . easily and automatically . . . because 1 want to . . . here I go. all the way down . . . ten [10-second pause] . . . nine, deeper [9-second pause] . . . eight, drifting more and more now (H-second pause) . . . seven, all the way down (7-second pause] . . . six (6-second pause] . . . five, sleepier and sleepier [5-second pause] . . . four (4-second pause! • • • three, feeling deep now [3-second pause) . . . two. deep asleep (2-second pause] . . . one, one, one [10-second pause] . . . zero . . . zero . . . zero . . . zeeerowwww . . . deeper and deeper with every breath I breathe in for the rest of this session . . . dreamier and sleepier with every breath I breathe out for the rest of this experiment . . ." (Leave 3 minutes of silence here.)
"Now I am fixing in my mind exactly how I am feeling . . . when I wake myself up after this experiment, I will very clearly remember exactly how I feel at this moment . . . right after the induction. . . .
"Now as I relax more and more completely, I can feel like a small child on a wonderful holiday outing . . . and 1 will remember a helium balloon . . . perhaps one I may have had as a very small child ... I can imagine my balloon now . . . it's a magical color ... a magic balloon . . . I clutch the string to my balloon in my little hand now ... 1 make believe my balloon is in my hand now and I can really feel it... more and more. . ..
"I peek at the hand in rny mind's eye ... it's so small and tiny . . . delicate . . . childlike . . . and I watch the balloon this hand of mine is holding . . . my very own balloon ... so pretty ... it makes me think of birthday parties and circuses and parades and wonderful good times . . . and see, the number zero is printed on rny balloon . . . like the outline of an egg ... I can see it so clearly . . . what color is that zero? . . . I'm going to hold onto my balloon for a little while longer and for as long as I hold onto my balloon I'm gonna watch the zero and make sure it doesn't change colors or go away . . . it's my balloon.. ..
"This is so much fun . . . it's so easy and natural for me to work with hypnosis . . . every time I do hypnosis or self-hypnosis it comes easier for me, and as I concentrate on my zero I feel more and more as if this were all a wonderful happy dream ... a dream of my very own . . . and I know now 1 can make hypnosis work for me ... I feel it. . . and I keep on watching my balloon and feel it tugging ever so gently on my hand
"With every breath I breathe in I seem to be blowing up my magical balloon with more and more magical floating balloon gas ... and my balloon seems bigger and rounder and lighter and lighter and I float deeper and deeper and soon I'm going to count out loud backward from three down to one. and when I hear myself say 'one' I'm going to just let the balloon gently, gently tug my hand and arm up. up a few inches into the air . . . and my arm will want to float there all by itself... 1 will not raise my arm too rapidly . . . I'll just let it happen . . . I'll be like an innocent bystander and just watch what happens . . . but I'll start whispering 'zero' to myself and keep on saying 'zero' in my mind as I watch my wonderful magical balloon . . . and every time I think 'zero' it will become lighter and floatier and before I realize it my arm will float a few more inches up high into the air . . . because I am blowing my balloon up so light and floaty . . . the more I relax and watch and think 'zero' the balloon becomes more and more lighter still and my hand keeps drifting up and up and up into the air ... I can actually feel my magical balloon pulling it up ever so slowly . . . until it floats straight up all the way into the air as high as my hand can go .. . here I go:
"Three [3-second pause| . . . two [2-second pause] ... one, one, one ... my arm is gently floating . . . lifting . . . up . . . and up and up . . . drifting into the air and it hangs there for a while becoming still lighter and it wants to drift higher into the air and I drift deeper and float more and more into dreamy, peaceful hypnosis as my breathing becomes slower and deeper and more regular and my arm wants to lift higher and higher into the air ... so I say zero . . . zero . . . zero . . ." (On your tape, keep on saying "zero" for 60 seconds, pausing slightly longer between each "zero," and then say "zero" for another 15 to 30 seconds at a normal talking speed.)
"In a few moments I am going to open my eyes and when I do I will be able to see and feel exactly what my hands and arms have been doing with themselves . . . first. I am fixing into my mind how I am feeling right now, at this moment, so I can remember exactly how I
felt after this experiment is over ... I will remember everything I experienced during this session ... I will remember everything I felt and thought in this session forty-five seconds after I count up to ten ... but not until those forty-five seconds have gone by . . . this first time I open my eyes I can do so and remain deeply relaxed . . . I open my eyes right now.
"As I watch with my eyes open, 1 will say 'zero' one more time and when I say 'zero' 1 will open my hand and let go of my balloon and watch it tloat away out of sight into the sky and my hand and arm will feel normal and comfortable once again and 1 will once again feel like a grown-up. . . . Here goes: zero! . . . good-bye balloon . . . I'm closing my eyes and going deeper now . . . and I tell myself that when 1 open my eyes again in a few moments I am going to feel great . . . relaxed . . . refreshed . . . rejuvenated . . . really alive . . . feeling really sure of myself and my ability to master self-hypnosis and accomplish my goals . . . nothing can stop me now . . . but for exactly 45 seconds after 1 next open my eyes. I may feel as if I cannot remember a thing that has happened to me from the time I counted down to the number five . . . this may puzzle me . . . then, when the forty-five seconds have passed, I will clearly remember everything in vivid detail . . . okay ... I am ready to begin to really live . . . starting now . . . one. two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, wide awake now, nine, really feeling great, ten . . . I open my eyes . . . Ipause 50 seconds] . . . really feel great now . . . positively wonderful . . . wide, wide awake!" End of script.
Make notes in your journal regarding (a) What happened. what did you experience? (b) Were you really asleep? (c) Was it really hypnosis? (d) How would you describe what was going on? Save your tape for use in Exercise Five at the end of this chapter.
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HYPNOTISM is by no means a new art. True, it has been developed into a science in comparatively recent years. But the principles of thought control have been used for thousands of years in India, ancient Egypt, among the Persians, Chinese and in many other ancient lands. Miracles of healing by the spoken word and laying on of hands are recorded in many early writings.