When I was at university, an astonishing thing happened one evening…
There was a hypnosis show on campus. All went seemingly well. However, several hours later that same night, long after the show had ended and everyone had gone home, something dramatic happened.
One girl, who had been hypnotized, was found in considerable distress in her room. Nobody knew what the matter was, but the hypnotist was called on the telephone. It seems that the girl was still in a hypnotic trance! Anyway, he said a few words to her over the phone, and all was eventually well.
The amazing thing is that the girl had seemed perfectly normal to both herself and her friends for hours after the show had ended. Nobody imagined that she was still under the influence, not even the hypnotist himself. Yet, she was.
So, how do you know if YOU are in a hypnotic trance right now? “Easy”, you retort, “I have never been hypnotized”. Oh, but you have!…
Ask yourself, what does hypnosis really do? By accessing your subconscious mind, it changes, either temporarily or permanently, some part of your world view. This can be as simple as making you forget your own name. However, it can also be as profound as causing a long-standing severe allergy to vanish while you are in trance, or cause you to paint and draw with a talent you are incapable of during normal waking consciousness.
Now, this type of thing, amazing as it may seem, is fairly common and the change so dramatic that it is easy to detect. However, you yourself may be experiencing a much more subtle trances. These were created in a similar way, but over a longer period of time, and in a less deliberate fashion. Who was the hypnotist in this instance? None other than your environment, your parents, your peers, and even your TV set. Through a process of repetition, you slowly became “conditioned”, i.e. hypnotized” into accepting a certain view of reality. It sinks deep into reality, and becomes part of “what is”, and therefore is no longer questioned.
Think about this for a moment. Where did your view about money come from? Or of the opposite sex? Or religion? Indeed, where did most of your deepest beliefs, i.e. what you consider to be irrefutable facts, actually come from? If you are honest, you will agree that most of them did not come to you through a process of rational thinking.
Most people get their ideas about Money, for example, directly from their parents, through a process of osmosis. From the time they were young, they were indicted into a hypnotic trance, where suggestions were repeated over and over about money, until they became the very beliefs of the person in question. The same is true of many other deeply held beliefs.
We are walking around in multiple trances – the victims of countless hypnotists, and we don’t even know it. We think we are fully awake, just like the girl in the earlier story, but we are actually in trance. When you are asleep and dreaming, you don’t usually know it. However, when you awaken, you can say “Oh, it was just a dream”. Yet, when you were asleep, you could not really tell. It all made perfect sense at the time, no matter how bizarre it seems on awakening. However, when you are awake, how do you know that you are not really also in some other kind of dream?
Actually you do not.
And in fact, you are! That is precisely what Buddhism and many of the other esoteric traditions teach when they describe the world as illusory, and a condition to be woken up from in order to achieve enlightenment. They are really talking about trance breaking. Indeed, the name the Buddha gave himself, “Tathagata”, means “The Awakened One”.
In more ways than we can count, we are in the grip of hypnotic trance. At present, political powers seek to condition the minds of the masses and enclose them within the hypnotic trance of fear. It seems to be working, mainly because people are not awake and aware, and do not guard the doors of their minds. Rather, they let anything come in without due examination. As each person participates in the trance, they reinforce its reality for everyone else.
Do you find yourself unable to break out of certain frustrating tendencies or habits? Do you find the same situations cropping up for you wherever you go, even though the people and places change? Do you “know” that you are incapable of certain things that other people find easy – drawing, making money, meeting people, public speaking or whatever? If so, the chances are very strong that you are hypnotized, but don’t know it.
The whole point of personal growth teachings is to help you examine yourself and see what is really there, i.e. to see the trances that have been imposed upon you by unknown hypnotists and break free of them so that you can live truly and authentically. Otherwise, you are living someone else’s idea of the way you should be. The worse thing about a hypnotic trance is that you can’t tell that you are in one, and neither can anyone else. Moreover, each person has their own set of trances to deal with, so how can such people be of much help to you? As Jesus said, if one blind man leads another, the only thing that is certain is that they will both fall into a ditch!
The way to break out of your trances is through rigorous self-examination and study of materials that can help you awaken, bit by bit. Question yourself. What are your attitudes to Money? Jews/Muslims? Relationships? Women/Men? War? Sex? And so on. Where did you get these ideas? Are they really your own, developed through a process of careful study and examination. Or did you imbibe them from the hypnotists of Society, parents, friends, culture? Are they helping you, or causing you to be much less than you could be?
If you seek, you shall find. Indeed, you shall discover that many of the beliefs you hold sacred were placed in your brain before you could even speak. Yes, the hypnosis began that early! Going back to the original story, they eventually managed to awaken that girl from her trance. Arguably, when the hypnotist brought her back to her senses, she simply returned to her more conventional everyday hypnotic trance – the one she was familiar and happy with. In a sense, she merely awoke from one hypnotic trance into another.
So, what is it going to take to wake YOU up?…