Like you, I have seen TV shows with a hypnotist putting to sleep spectators volunteering for the experience. Then, he puts in their head a trigger word, which he will use later to have fun at their expense. Let’s just say I wasn’t especially thrilled to go to a presentation on hypnosis at my good town’s library.
When I stepped into the room where the session was taking place, chairs were against the walls and in the back was a white board. No stage, no music, it was clearly not a show. Up to twenty people were already there holding pillows and blankets. The theme was about sleeping; how we can get to sleep with self-hypnosis.
My first idea of a hypnotist was a man with a dark look and dressed with a black and red cape.
Yes, I read “Mandrake the Magician” when I was a kid.
A slender young woman welcomed us, Eva Santamaria, and encouraged us to get comfortable. Eva started by explaining that we had a sort of barrier between our conscious and our subconscious. Each day information is stuck in front of the barrier for the day. Then, we decide if we would like to get rid of the barriers, or keep them. They can be positive or negative experiences; all these things hidden in ourselves that could explain our comportment toward others or ourselves.
Hypnosis allows us to relax this barrier and go look for information buried in ourselves that prevents us from being happy, or simply calm and relaxed. During a session, the hypnotist says the words that are going to succeed in opening our barrier and break up the vortex we have in our head.
At the end, Eva reassured us by explaining that she could not control our mind while she hypnotized us, and at the end of the session we would be completely awake.
Eva lowered the lights and started describing steps going down to a sunny beach. I was feeling better knowing I wasn’t going to turn into a zombie and tried to relax.
I don’t know if it was the image of the barrier between my subconscious and my conscious, the steps, the fear of zombies, or my stubborn will to stay in control that made me react that way. While the room started to fill with the calm breathing of the participants, I began to visualize myself on the top of a castle guarding the coast. No way was I going to let one word said by Eva come through – those words were in my mind were the enemy I had to repulse. I strode on the wall of my subconscious with the watchfulness of a fierce soldier.
I can reassure those who are afraid to lose the control of their actions during hypnosis: it can only work if you agreed to.
After a while of a tenacious and silent battle, I realized if I wanted to enjoy this experience, I had to lower my guard. I decided to go on the beach and started to relax. As I was going down the “steps”, I felt fullness inside me. I was totally aware of what was surrounding me, the other participants and their slow breathing, the firefighter siren in the background, and the calm in which I was. At that point, hypnosis looked like that moments of intense relaxation that offers meditation. I was completely relaxed.
On the quiet beach, I heard a faint growling behind a dune, like a deep breathing. It could not be a dragon looking at me, but I opened my eyes to be sure. One of the people close to me had fallen asleep and was snoring softly. I smiled quietly. I had the confirmation that hypnosis worked . We just had to be willing to do it and find the words and images that were going to help us open those barriers.
When I came back home, I remembered the wellness I was in when I was hypnotized. I knew I had to find my words to help me be in this state again, but before then I would have to define my own evils. My little soldier was keeping a close watch on me. Nobody could come in or out. I preferred to do my laundry.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy.