Thursday, 5 February 2009

Straight From the Subject's Mouth...

Well, I’ll be the first to comment on the lack of postage in the last few weeks. Long story short, it comes down to the Christmas Period, study, work (it’s been known to happen on occasion!), and trademark laziness from the pair of us.

However! Here I am, back with a vengeance to tell you all about our latest shoot with two girls called Demi and Fran. I’d talk about the journey down, but there would be a little problem with detail (or a lack thereof). You see, being a hypnotic subject can sometimes be a whirlwind adventure for your mind. One minute you’re in trance, the next you’re not. One minute you’re talking, and the next you’re facing a different way, pouting in the position of a French Maid. You get the idea.

But it’s not all bad, especially not once you’re able to find loopholes to your ‘predicament’….

Actually, a side note here that typing the word ‘loophole’ has just jogged my memory. Lately, I’ve been a little anxious about my reaction to hypnosis (me of all people, I know). I’ve mentioned before about the period of a few months when I first entered the world of hypnosis where I doubted my reaction was genuine. Since I wasn’t adhering to the stereotypical level of depth I’d seen through the media (the instant fall-limply-into-the-hypnotists-arms reaction), I thought that either I wasn’t a good subject, or I was just faking and kidding myself. But, I persevered in my typical ‘ostrich’ fashion – to of course, ignore it and hope it resolves itself – and thanks to a certain event that I won’t mention on the blog, I finally accepted that hypnosis was working for me. But, it *did* make me re-evaluate exactly *what* was working.

We’ve all seen the cartoons and films regarding hypnosis. The majority will include some irresistible, overwhelming force that hits the unsuspecting subject. Then, he or she is completely enthralled by the more dominant of the two and usually remembers little of the encounter afterwards. Heck, it bred a generation of kinky so-and-so’s like you and me ;)

Anyway, it was this image in mind that made me doubt the credibility of my reaction to hypnosis. However, from my experience, the stereotype and the actual trance are different. Now, don’t get me wrong, hypnosis never ceases to amaze me with the results it produces from people. It’s just I didn’t achieve what I expected, and for a while because of this I doubted myself. I’ll tell you, it’ a horrible feeling to think you’re not a good enough subject.

This is why I thought I’d give mention to what I’ll call my ‘brain blogpost’ – probably the wrong term, but I’m just writing this as I go along - basically, an account of my experience of actual trance. Rather apt for a blog documenting my experiences with hypnosis, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Inside Look

Gosh, I’ve just made all this build up and now I’m sat in the library (thank goodness for proxies!), staring dumbfounded at the screen. Where on earth do I begin to write this? I’ve been hopping in and out of trance pretty much every day for the last year and a half, but the words just aren’t coming as easily as I’d hoped. So I apologise in advance for a possible lack of cohesion in this. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to write with a conscious stream of thought; simply put, I think it, and my fingers leap to the keys before I even have a chance to consider what it is they could be typing. Anyway, enough stalling. Here goes.

When I first tranced with Lex online, he used one of his famous conversational inductions. I still remember most of the text actually, beginning with lots of leading questions, slipping in suggestions under the radar. At the time, I still thought he was leading up to the trance, or possibly gauging whether I’d be a good enough subject through his questioning. I didn’t realise that it was the actual induction until about half way through, when the ‘what you’ll find happening is’s began to appear. But that’s one of the things I *love* about conversational inductions, the fact that until that point, I’d been growing more and more excited, agreeing with everything Lex said and wondering how he knew so much about me.

But then it happened.

“What you’ll find is that your legs are now too heavy, your whole body is too heavy to move. You can try to move it, but you’re just too comfy, too heavy to do anything right now. You just want to stare at the screen, keeping reading my words.”

On of my first experiences with suggestive statements that force a reaction from the subject. I’ve had people say that they actually felt as if they were weighted to the ground, that gravity was too strong for them, and even that their legs simply wouldn’t respond to the urgings from their brain. For me though, parts of the statement I could identify with strongly, and others I tended to gloss over – namely the ones I didn’t astound me with their effect upon my body.

“…You just want to stare at the screen, keep reading my words…” Well that I focused upon. After all, I’d basically come to Lex looking for a good trancing, and a trance I wanted. So I wanted to keep the connection to the hypnotist as long as I could (a year and a half, it turned out to be =P). I barely blinked, just staring at the screen.

“…Your whole body is too heavy to move…” This is where I had problems, and began to gloss. I knew in the back of my mind – whether or not it was my bratty nature saying ‘Yeah? Try me!’ – that I *could* move my legs if I wanted to. I just didn’t try to. Partly because I was scared that his command wouldn’t work, and partly because I didn’t want to upset the flow of the trance fretting too much about it. So I just didn’t try. I didn’t move a muscle, although I was sure I could if I wanted to. Instead, my eyes skipped over to “…You’re just too comfy…to do anything right now…” That was true enough, I *was* comfy in my chair, and it seemed to tie in with not trying to lift my body. After all, why would I want to stop feeling so comfy? I may not get as comfy as I was right now.

But it’s funny, reading back my reaction and mental dilemma to my first trance. I scolded myself for not having heavy legs, and tried to silence any worries I had about trance – telling myself I’d think it through after he was finished. With hindsight, I can see that the media influence had clouded my mind a bit. Yes, I didn’t *try* to move myself, but why? Hypnosis in itself is subject-orientated. The hypnotist can tell you that your arms are lifting in the air, but he’s not going to physically get up and lift them for you. *You’re* the one that has to lift them and it’s because of this voluntary action that I began to doubt myself. When I was told something like this, I expected my limbs to suddenly sprout life of their own and raise into the air. Hypnotists are good, but its more persuasion than telekinetic thought I’m afraid. So you *are* doing the actual moving, but it’s the hypnosis that is *making* you obey the suggestion.

Why else would you be (in the case of our models) raising your arms in the air, and freezing in place for a complete stranger and his girlfriend?

Once I began to understand this concept, and get my head out of the media stereotype a little, I started to just go with the flow. There have been many suggestions that have shocked me at their realistic effect, such as when I appeared to have Lex’s beard when I looked in the mirror, or when I was creeping around the house as a thief. But, not all of the suggestions and inductions will work on everyone in the same way. We’re all different, at the end of the day, and the way our minds work with regards to hypnosis is down to trial and error.

– As an example, confusion inductions have very little effect upon me. I was once told to imagine 10 objects. They could be anything, anything in the world; all I had to do was picture them, and hold them all in my mind. The idea behind it of course is that whilst the conscious mind is juggling all these objects, the hypnotist’s words are going under the radar to the subconscious. I don’t like my thoughts unorganised, and so I never found very much success with the induction. If you’d like to know my response to it though, I pictured 10 pencils, all in one pot. Flicking the metaphorical ‘V’ at the hypnotist. –

I could go on forever about my reaction to hypnosis, and that’s what this blog has spent the last year and a half documenting. But I think I’ve summed up the main points really.

a) Don’t get too bogged down with what the media has portrayed, you’re not a fictional character with set dialogue and responses to hypnosis
b) Hypnosis is subject-orientated. The hypnotist isn’t going to physically move you, you’re the one that has to make yourself respond to the suggestion!
c) Everyone is different. If a suggestion or induction doesn’t work so well for you, don’t worry about it! Focus on the things that *do* work and build upon them.
d) Experimentation is key really with hypnosis, because there are unlimited things you can do, be as creative as you like and find out which aspects you enjoy, and which you don’t.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, everyone is *different*. My account above will not apply to many people. I’m just telling you all how my personal experience of hypnosis went, from the point of view of an intuitive brat. I’ve met people who *because* of the media stereotype find certain things appealing. If you believe that pendants are the most mystical devices known to man, and that if a pendant is placed before you, you can do nothing to stop yourself obeying…then you can guess what you’ll condition yourself to believe. Basically, if you believe it strongly enough, you’ll make it true.

Good bit of Disney theology there to tie things off =)


Spectre said...

I think the second-to-last sentence sums it up very nicely. However, I think you really do "make it true" with your belief.

It is worth to remember sometimes that there still are a lot of unanswered questions about the interaction between body and mind.

Famous for this is the Placebo effect of course, where people just believe a certain drug has particular good (or bad) effects - and then make the effects happen.

Another similar effect seems to have been discovered recently during research on "lucid dreams" - dreams where you're aware you're dreaming. Apparently researchers discovered that the body is actually in a physically different state during such a dream than it is during a "normal" dream - hormons, nerve cells, etc where behaving differently. Still, the only way for you to get inside such a dream is by a believing hard that you will be able to experience such a dream. So just with an act of thought you just altered the way your brain is operating.

Hypnosis is certainly not caused by the Evil Mind Control ray from your hypnotist. Most likely, it's more based on conditioning yourself and altering your perception of the world. But *something* very real is happening there for sure.

Spectre said...

That of course was the scientist's view on the story. In any way, thanks much for the insights on how exactly trance is working for you. That did clear up some questions :)

Arel said...

Actually, I am completely with you on the doubting thing. But it gets easier. :p

And mmm, conversational inductions.

Grey said...

Conversational inductions are fun - particularly when you get to the point of "Have you noticed how deeply entranced you are right now?" and get a comment later of "the moment you said that, I suddenly realised"

One 'tee of mine particularly enjoyed the whole thing of being in trance without noticing :)

AS for the power of belief, and Disney science, just how powerful is Kaa?

Dr. SlashBlight said...

It very interesting to hear you account on this. I like being "being the watch" but have often wondered about going in trance myself....

And I'll have to look into those conversational Inductions ;-)

redmollie said...

that was really helpful, thanks. I'm someone who's had trouble with arm levitation and not being sure about much I'm consciously supposed to be 'helping' the process, so this is good to read.

and yes, another fan of conversational inductions here. and confusion inductions. Just in case anyone's taking notes.