Last year I was shooting my documentary film Zaritsas: Russian Women in New York. I followed five girls around during their daily activities and interviewed them for six months! It was an unforgettable experience. Of course, there were ups and downs throughout the process, but each minute of it was a worthwhile experience.
As a Hypnotist I often practice self-hypnosis or exchange NLP sessions with my colleagues for personal self-improvement. I am constantly looking for new effective ways of trance inductions and ways to plant positive suggestions. My colleagues and I often exchange a lot of information and ideas. As Thomas Jefferson once said “If two individuals get together and exchange a dollar, they each walk away with one dollar. If the same individuals get together and exchange an idea, they both walk away with two ideas.”
This past summer I discovered a new powerful self-hypnosis technique which I would like to share with all of you. It is called Self-Hypnosis based Meditation. I discovered it while filming for three days in Sufi Camp in New Mexico, as one of the girls in my film stayed there for two months.
Sufi is a spiritual practice that originates from Islam, kind of like Yoga from Buddhism. Sufi involves various modalities like dance, movement, meditation, chanting, singing and so on. It is very artistic and creative in its base.
On the last night of my trip I was invited to participate in one of the sufi workshops with everyone else. That night we were doing a sufi meditation. I was in a hall room full of people. The Sufi instructor Adnan Sarhan inserted a tape into his old stereo. It began playing a mantra ( a short Arabic phrase) loudly into the speakers without any music. Just plain words. We were instructed to repeat it over out loud in unison with the tape recorder.
I began saying my mantra out loud, occasionally looking around trying to capture my surroundings. Everyone sat silently on the floor obediently repeating the mantra. I closed my eyes again and continued repeating these two Arabic words just like everyone else did. I was not supposed to stop.
I knew that this was one of the ways many people meditated: repeatedly focusing on a mantra. I heard about it so many times and read in books. I may even tried it a few times in the past, but never got any effect from it.
So, this time in Sufi camp sitting on a floor with my legs crossed I didn’t have much expectations, other than expecting to be very bored. Ten minutes later I was still repeating the mantra out loud and kept on thinking what was coming next and when this tape would finally end on this old man’s stereo.
About ten more minutes passed and I couldn’t believe we were still doing it. I peaked around at people. I noticed some of them were swaying slightly from side to side and gently lowering their heads down and up. I looked ahead of me and saw a young girl stretched on the floor moving her body slowly, almost in ecstasy. It was captivating to watch.
I close my eyes again. Bored, and even more: I was beginning to feel angry at myself thinking that I wouldn’t get anything out of it anyway. My lips were getting very tired. I stuck to the mantra. The more I tried to keep my lips moving, the more tired they felt. Then they felt more lazy, my face feeling relaxed. Then I felt this drowsy feeling and relaxation spreading around my mouth and into my face even more, then slowly into my body. I began to feel a pleasant sensation of trance-like state flowing into my whole body again and then into my awareness.
At that moment I became aware of a familiar state of the hypnotic trance that I had experienced before many times in sessions ( when exchanging sessions with colleagues.) Except this time I entered this deep state with this strange mantra myself and quite unexpectedly. My thoughts slowly started to melt away.
I continued seeing various images in my head, as if I was streaming through a beautiful colorful tunnel. I stopped saying the mantra for a moment. Then, forced myself to utter it again in a very low voice. I could feel an euphoric feeling traveling through every limb of my body and mind. I was just enjoying the ride of deep hypnotic trance.
The next day when I was leaving camp I was going into the airport and thinking about this beautiful experience. I kept asking myself: Do campers actually know that they go in and out of deep trance every day during their workshops? Do they know that they could use these states to direct their thoughts and give themselves suggestions for powerful changes?
From what I knew, they only used these states to relax and feel a purification and oneness with the Infinite Intelligence. It is very spiritual. Also, I know that the workshops and overall experience in the camp helps many campers improve in various areas of life and even quit bad habits. ( I have a theory why, which I will explain another time.)
As a Hypnotist I began looking at my trance experience in sufi camp from a practical point of view. These trance states that campers go in and out during the day in a sufi camp - are the kind of states we, as Hypnotists work to induce in our clients in order to plant suggestions for a positive change. For some clients it can be very easy to reach that deep state, for others it may take a while ( a few sessions) before they get there. Even though we don’t always need a very deep state of trance in order for suggestions to reach the subconscious, still, I personally always loved the deep states and found they work powerfully for me.
When I came to New York, I began practicing meditation more often. I either used a mantra or simply focused on my breathing for a long time to help me enter a deep meditative state. The more I practiced the better I became at it. Today it can take me anywhere from ten to twenty minutes before I slip into a trance.
What do you think I do then? Any guesses?
I use my inner voice to feed my mind with positive suggestions, hence the invention of my new technique Self-Hypnosis Based Meditation.
Here is how you can do it too:
- Chose one or two positive suggestions you want to “download” into your subconscious mind during your meditation. For example: “ I am a successful writer,” “ I am an excellent public speaker”, “ I am a happy person”, “ I am fearless in..( whatever)”, “ I improve my relationships”, “ I have a high self-esteem”, “ I am a non-smoker”, “Tobacco is poison”, “ I no longer bite my nails, I am healthy”, “ I am in control” and so on.
Make sure that your affirmations ( suggestions) are always stated in positives. And try not to use more that two affirmations while in trance, because your mind can only remember one or two items while you are deep in trance. I actually recommend using one good suggestion, which can also become a mantra for you during trance. Your mind will hear it, accept it, and believe it! Eventually your mind will turn in into your reality when you are in a wake state!
- After you chose your suggestion, begin by going into a trance. Be patient. Use your breathing or a mantra if you know any. Or you can simply just count from 200 and down saying the words “deeper relaxed” after each number. It may take you about 15-30 minutes before you enter a deep meditative state. It takes practice. You might have a tendency to get up and stop. Don’t do that. Continue by pushing your thoughts away. Use whatever technique you want to meditate ( there are plenty of spiritual books on that)
- Once you are in that deep meditative state, feeling physical relaxation and stillness of your mind, begin by saying your affirmation( suggestion) inside yourself silently. Don’t say it out loud or you will awake yourself. Keep on saying that suggestion and really hear your inner voice. Notice where it comes from. Do it for as long as you feel comfortable. Your new positive affirmation will begin to securely plant in your inner mind, replacing the other old limiting belief. You will know when to stop.
- Slowly open your eyes, feeling invigorated and refreshed. Your newly installed positive affirmation is your new positive belief now! You attitude and behavior will change accordingly to this new belief.
See, it is very simple. The entire self-hypnosis based meditation may take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. I usually do it for one hour a few times a month. It works wonders! Let me know if you have questions!