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. So I did some explaining and upon their understanding and encouragement, I am sharing it with you.
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 ask 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. That’s one constant about hypnosis. The other 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 closely related to our hypnosis question is a healthy brain is a brain with healthy circadian rhythms. 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 the state of trance, with Alpha being the lightest level of trance and Delta the deepest. You may have heard how important deep Delta sleep is for a person’s 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. The list goes on.
What many people do not realize is that each time an individual does any of the following things, his brainwaves register him 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 (i.e. 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 ride a bus to work without realizing how they got there
- Zone out in meetings, presentations or when having long conversations with someone
- Pass into hypnosis for a few moments while 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 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 pray could be viewed as a practice that is against God or 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 without even knowing with the very things of which they would like more. Simply put, thoughts given some attention 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, also taken into account in prayer is the belief that prayers, thoughts, and intentions are being sent to God or Whomever or Whatever one prays.
Almost all religions and spiritual practices promote meditation. Meditation actually occurs at the same brainwave-frequencies as Hypnosis!
However, if we believe that God designed us from top to bottom, then perhaps we should be asking why it is our design incorporates hypnosis on a daily basis. Should we not consider that perhaps, these naturally occurring processes were, in fact intended for our daily functioning, spiritual and emotional health and betterment? If it naturally occurs in us, isn’t there probably a reason for it?