by: Farzana Jaffer-Jeraj of Clearmind Hypnosis
Just to stir the pot a bit…
What’s more logical?
The belief that we can transmit our thoughts via prayer to an invisible all powerful, omniscient God?
A practice that does not exclude the existence of a God and the ability for that God to hear one’s prayers and wishes, but that also scientifically and methodologically allows a person to use the biologically natural power of their mind in such a fashion that they are able to help themselves achieve their dreams?
Many people shy away from conversations about hypnosis because they were raised to believe hypnosis goes against religion and God. Some of my closest friends felt precisely this way. They found this information useful and upon their urging you’re getting it.
Let’s start at the beginning.Once upon a time, hypnosis was seen as a practice of mysticism. It was thought of as a power of mind control or mesmerism. In some cultures, people used hypnosis in their religious practices to enhance visions while other religions and cultures viewed hypnotism as a black art, one of witchcraft and shamanism. Over the years hypnosis has had many faces and still does today. The main question people wonder is if hypnosis (aka. the trance state) goes against God or religion?
As with any tool, the use of hypnosis varies based on the intention of the person who wields it. We all have different belief systems and Hypnotists and Hypnotherapists are no different. Really, I mean it, we are not all eccentric, new-age, crystal/indigo children! Okay, some of us are and the truth is that hypnosis can have spiritual and metaphysical applications; however, constant among all practices of hypnosis is science, specifically the science around normal healthy brain functioning.
What is a normal and healthy brain? There are many answers to this question, but the answer most related to the hypnosis question being discussed, is a brain with healthy circadian rythms. Each day a normal healthy brain will transition through various brainwave frequencies. There are four frequencies. Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. The only frequency that doesn’t involve hypnotic trance is the Beta frequency. All other frequencies take people into trance. Alpha being the lightest level of trance and Delta being the deepest. You may have heard of deep delta sleep being very important for a persons’ overall health physically, mentally, emotionally and arguably spiritually. A person with a healthy brain will experience all of the various depths of hypnosis daily as they move through their natural waking and sleeping cycles.
This is a scientific and naturally occurring process that if interrupted can cause significant distress in a person’s life beginning with insomnia, anxiety and depression and the list goes on.
What many people do not realize is that each time an individual does any of the following things their brainwaves register them as being in a trance state or in a state of hypnosis. People enter into trance anytime they:
• attend a prayer service and participate in scripted dialogues
• pray with deep emotional intensity and/or intention
• pray or meditate with mantras or chants or use incantations (i.e. pray the rosary)
• engage in repetitive physical activity (i.e. cycling, running, tribal dancing, spinning in place like Whirling Dervishes)
• use relaxation techniques with visualization in sports training to play in ‘the zone’
• listen to music where they zone out (i.e. any favourite tune, tribal drumming, trance/dance, Gregorian chant…)
• drive a car or bus to work without realizing how they got there
• zone out in meetings, presentations or when people are having long conversations with them
• pass into hypnosis for a few moments during the process of falling asleep
Did you know that all children spend their childhood in a light state of trance that begins to lessen around 6 to 8 years of age and diminishes around the age of 14. Children’s sponge-like ability to learn is often attributed to this trance state. As you can see, the trance state of hypnosis occurs naturally as part of our biological development as well as during many activities including religious practices. Hypnosis is nothing more than simple brainwave frequencies that people experience everyday. It is biologically natural and thus occurs naturally all the time, especially during prayer and worship.
I digress but with purpose. Let us now return to what many fear about religion, hypnosis and hypnotherapy. The most common fear is that it is sinful and goes against God’s will.
It is hard to believe that something that naturally occurs when people are praying could be viewed as a practice that is against God or that is ‘satanic’ in origin. In fact, when people are asking for things such as faith and patience in their prayers, they are biologically shifting into a light state of trance (that is scientifically measurable) and are self-hypnotizing themselves (even if they didn’t know it) with the very things they would like to have more of. Simply put, thoughts given attention to in the trance state take hold and can bring about change. Such is the nature of hypnosis as is the nature of prayer and meditation. However, in prayer also taken into account is the belief that prayers, thoughts, and intentions are being sent to God or Whomever or Whatever one prays to.
Almost all religions and spiritual practices promote meditation. Meditation actually occurs at the same brainwave-frequency as Hypnosis!
However, if we believe that God designed us from top to bottom, then perhaps we should be asking why we were designed to experience hypnosis on a daily basis. Should we not consider that perhaps these naturally occurring processes were in fact intended for our daily functioning, our spiritual and emotional health and betterment? If its naturally occurring within us, isn’t it probably there for a reason?
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