In the guise of lecturing at you, I have been training you in the skill of doing hypnosis. You know what to do now: Relax, let go, and allow yourself to wholeheartedly think, feel, and imagine along as if you were actually experiencing those things being suggested. You know- that you can't do this by brute force or effort, only by following the rules every child knows for make-believe play.
You start the process off self-consciously by pretending it's already happening, thinking yourself into feeling as if for example—you were actually holding a balloon you can see. Before long, however, you seem to be on the outside, watching the experience unfold itself. It's no longer as if you are doing it—it takes on all the qualities of an objective reality. When that happens, you know you are doing hypnosis right.
We are all different, however. Each of us will find his or her own best way of working hypnotically. You will experience your hypnosis in your own way—so don't worry about it.
Although some (those into neurolinguistic programming, for example) believe that these differences reflect something essential about how we process information, I have found that imagining involves a set of skills that improve with practice. Start with what you can do now. and you'll soon be imagining in more and more senses.
Okay, but what if your imaginary experiences seem too vague? How can you make them seem more real? T. X. Barber taught me one way to do this: Act it out; give yourself some tangible cues. Feel free, for example, to use your hands when you are "feeling" something in your mind. If you're imagining holding an orange to peel it. make the motions you would make if you were actually peeling an orange. Cup one hand as if there really were an orange in it and make peeling motions with the other. When you are imagining your entire body relaxing, slump a bit. Smile or even laugh if you are visualizing yourself being very happy.
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Hypnosis has been defined as a state of heightened suggestibility in which the subject is able to uncritically accept ideas for self-improvement and act on them appropriately. When a hypnotist hypnotizes his subject, it is known as hetero-hypnosis. When an individual puts himself into a state of hypnosis, it is known as self-hypnosis.