I would prefer meditation to hypnosis. No one is going to control me. I am quite content doing my meditation using visualisation techniques and positive affirmations to achieve my goals. Ignorance keeps the masses hypnotised! It's these types of statements that reveal how ignorant people really are when it comes to hypnosis. In reality, a person doing positive statements or for that matter, visualising a scene or desired outcome is in fact using a form of self-hypnosis. The moment you see, hear or feel something via your senses, or with your eyes closed that is not really there, you are under hypnosis. In fact most people go into trance within around 7 seconds of sitting down to watch TV. A scary factor once you realise what you watch most of the time.
The definition of true meditation is the absence of all thought and to just be. If a person is mulling over a problem during meditation, they are in reality now contemplating the situation, but is no longer considered to be doing meditation. I know this statement will not sit well with a lot of meditation teachers. I feel qualified to make such a statement since I teach both meditation and self-hypnosis. Both classes are presented differently since the techniques are different for each.
Hypnosis on the other hand, is to have thought, and effect a desired outcome, i.e. stop smoking, weight reduction, stress management, pain management for dental care or childbirth, etc. If someone is participating in a guided meditation (where they are guided down a path and quite possibly into the woods, beach or even a meadow to look at pretty flowers), the person guiding the meditation is telling everyone to see this, hear that and incorporate as many of our senses as possible to allow everyone present to experience a pleasant and memorable time. Some people may smell the flowers, feel the breeze, even hear various sounds in this internal picture. I ask everyone quite simply -
Were you not told what to see, hear, smell and experience during that guided meditation?
Almost everyone present in a group meditation will experience something at some level, allowing themselves to be taken on a wonderful journey to far off lands, coming back relaxed, refreshed and renewed, but nobody considers themselves hypnotized.
In reality everybody experiences hypnosis on a daily basis without equating it as hypnosis. One example of hypnosis is when you are driving a vehicle and lose a stretch of the road and can't remember getting there; some people even miss their exits! Another example is if somebody is reading a book, watching TV or working on the computer, they become so engrossed in what they are doing that they start to block outside stimuli. Before they know it, someone is telling them that they were calling them for ten minutes and asked why they didn't answer. They respond by saying that they didn't hear anything. Both people become frustrated because the one calling feels that he/she was purposely being ignored and the one doing the reading can't understand why the other is so angry when he/she didn't hear them. Some will even say, "You were not calling me for ten minutes!" and they honestly believe the statement because in reality, for them it is true.
The difference between hypnosis and meditation is that hypnotists may take the person down the path but instead of having the person look at pretty flowers, they will have the person work on accomplishing predetermined goals.
Both techniques can be used for weight reduction, smoking cessation, preparing for surgery, pain management, childbirth, etc. Each individual really decides what word is more comfortable for him/her, meditation or hypnosis. If meditation is a more palatable word for you, then by all means go that route for you will definitely achieve better results. If, the mere mention of the word meditation brings up terrible memories of a very rigid discipline that sends you screaming into the night, then by all means get hypnotized.
I've had clients in my office for hypnosis who, during the session, went on their own guided meditation to a favorite vacation spot. Was the session still successful? You had better believe it!
Whether you choose meditation or hypnosis, each is an allowing process. No one can force you into hypnosis, where we obtain your bank account number or have you cluck like a chicken. Just as if you are on a guided meditation, no one can make you go down the path and smell the flowers if you don't want to. Both are excellent ways to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. A technique that is usually taught in both meditation and hypnosis classes alike that can instantly reduce stress and lower blood pressure is called 'deep breathing.' It allows the blood and oxygen to flow more efficiently through the body. Anytime during the day or evening, if you feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed in any way, it would be extremely beneficial to just stop for a moment and take five to ten deep, relaxing breaths. This technique fills up the lower part of your lungs first and the top part of your lungs last. To ascertain if you are doing deep breathing, place one hand on your chest and the other hand just below your rib cage on your diaphragm. Next, take a deep breath. If the hand on your chest moves first, then you are doing what is called 'shallow breathing.' If the lower hand moves first, then you are doing deep breathing.
If you found that the upper hand moved first, you may want to try practicing deep breathing because it takes fewer deep breaths to pump the blood and oxygen throughout your system than if you are doing shallow breathing. An example of shallow breathing and the lack of blood and oxygen it causes is shown when some people argue. Their face turns bright red, their chest is moving rapidly, they are highly agitated and can't seem to calm down. All of it is caused by the lack of blood and oxygen to the brain and other organs. In other words, their body is not happy and in turn, neither are they.
We all started out our life doing deep breathing but as we got older, some, because of certain factors in their life switch over to shallow breathing. So, if you want to look at it as relearning the type of breathing you did when first born, then do so, because as an unknowledgeable newborn baby, at the subconscious level or soul level, you came into this world knowing what was best for your survival in it. If you have difficulty in doing deep breathing, try it while lying down. Even people with Fibromyalgia need to relearn deep breathing because they are prone to having their diaphragm shut down. They may find that the area will be in discomfort after deep breathing, but that is actually a good sign since this is an indication that their diaphragm was closing down and now they are opening it up again to be used to its full potential. And that is what we all want; to live at our full potential.