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No. 89 (March/April 2006)


In Comparison to Hypnosis


by Win Wenger, Ph.D.

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Green mandala photo by Elan Sun Star
Mandala image courtesy of Elan Sun Star

From time to time, some have expressed concern over whether our Project Renaissance work was somehow "hypnosis," or whether it was in some regards "de-hypnotizing" by bringing us closer to our actual perceptions instead of blocking them. By helping us to notice more rather than shutting it out, it frees us from undesired, unnoticed "trances" which were preventing us from desired experiences, achievements and outcomes.

Obviously, to the extent that some forms of hypnosis involve blocking and shutting out of perceptions and awarenesses, and/or setting up trances which limit our scope of choices and options for available experiences and actions, most of our Project Renaissance work is "de-hypnotizing." In all honesty, though, the question should be looked at more broadly.

Hypnosis has, of course, been defined as sustaining any kind of special state of feeling, awareness, or through mental effort a physical state and in that regard much, perhaps even most, of our work in Project Renaissance may be defined as hypnosis.

However, because our work centers on opening up awareness and getting at more and more perception rather than less, we have to distance ourselves from some forms of hypnosis usually associated with the stage variety, where perception is put in some sort of tunnel (you will hear only my voice) or blocked (you won't remember any of this).

Either way, of course, you can get at special effects not conventionally obtainable directly from that common form of hypnosis which we call everyday consciousness.

The beginnings for both ways are visible in the bio-evolutionarily favored response which I call "the hushing mechanism" — that stealthy sound in the bush, what was that? — everything in us hushes "to improve our signal-to-noise ratio" so we can better make out that sound and what was making it. That is why any effort to reach for some further perception tends us toward a special physiological and mental state. It's very strong in us because none of our earlier ancestors who didn't have it had much chance to become an ancestor.

One of the things I like about our own approach to such matters is that by our not shutting out perceptions, we aren't using up some of our energies suppressing ourselves. We look for a natural ongoing mechanism — like the phenomenon upon which ImageStreaming is built, or working with what we've identified as "the Calm-Breathing Patterns," and simply hitching a ride on that instead of fighting ourselves down. Either this way or through hypnosis, though, one can get at huge ranges of effect not conventionally attainable, where most of such effects appear to be quite desirable and practical.

The same may be said regarding the commonly recommended strategy of "concentrating better" in order to better perform and complete some demanding task or execute some skill. (The act of "concentrating" may, in fact, fairly be regarded as an amateurish form of self-hypnosis.) We've found that when you relax enough, by letting all your perceptions be, you let yourself be aware of everything at once and within that awareness deal comfortably with the one thing you want to give most of your attention to.

There may be some practical limits to this — I would not want to try to do my taxes while in the middle of a three-ring circus (heck, I'd rather not do my taxes anyway!) — but I find it refreshing and productive to sit down with a notebook in a strange restaurant or even a party and start creatively writing. Nor am I unusual in that regard, to judge, for example, by all the poems which have been written by poets on all kinds of restaurant napkins, or like the Gettysburg Address, which was written on the back of an old envelope while Lincoln was riding a train.

Don't ignore or shut things out, relish them instead — and let your creative juices flow.

O

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Win Wenger


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