So...I attended a workshop on hypnosis today, not because I want to learn hypnosis, (hypnosis is actually the opposite of the experience I'm interested in sharing with people...) but rather because I wanted to see how hypnosis is taught, sold, and practiced (at least in this one context).
The hypnosis material was as expected, a valuable trick, but without much ethical or intentional direction beyond...well...hypnosis itself.
But we did talk about intention, empathy, and emotional states in communication...all very interesting stuff.
It seems as if often hypnosis is a kind of selling, or persuasion to feel a certain way, using a cultural or individual symbol from a memory as the carrier of the emotional state. i.e:
'...as you read this text now, I'd like to invite you to remember a time when you felt light and easy...maybe on holiday, at the beach, or riding a bicycle when you're a child...and as you feel that now, you can let that feeling become stronger...'
What struck me is how often we are bombarded with the symbolic triggers of good feelings (or negative ones...) in advertising, media, and in communication in general. So much so, that from a very young age, there is a risk that we attribute the emotional state to external factors...
Now what I want to suggest is perhaps radical, and also not really a new thing, but this is a good way to talk about it.
What I've learn't in life is that we can reclaim our emotional landscape from the external symbols or external hypnotic influence, and as a practitioner, learn to cultivate the emotional states that we desire or are drawn to.
In other words; we can practice feeling, and shifting how we feel as a meditation.
Now, this is easier said than done, as obviously trying to be happy can backfire. But what we can do is practice peace, by relaxing, and use peace as a foundation for our value judgments about what we let influence us.
By allowing ourselves to work with discomfort first, we will gain far more than can be sold to us. Once the nervous system or consciousness has an experience of peace in and of itself its far less susceptible to manipulation. But first we have to have the right context to feel whats happening and then value it enough to give it time.
Its very important here to note that the felt sense of the body is the housing of emotions, and so by moving the body, and the attention within the body, we are also moving our emotions.
Another way to say this is that we are consciously changing our emotional relationship to our felt sense experience from one of dis-ease, to one of peaceful acceptance.
By accessing peace in ourselves, we are less vulnerable to external hypnotic influences.