2.25. What about healing through hypnosis? Is it something like spiritual healing?
Mental power and spiritual power are two different things. Hypnosis works through ‘thoughts, suggestions and mental will’. There are several ways of working with mental power. The principle of hypnosis is essentially the principle of selective concentration.
Normally, we are unable to withdraw into our own inner mind and tap its powers because our surface consciousness is crowded by many kinds of forces and impulses which pull us in different, often contradictory directions. So long as we are helplessly caught and driven, we are unable to access and utilise the deeper and higher powers of our mind and our being. The only time we do this naturally is during sleep. The nerves stimulated by jostling throughout the day are fatigued and as the impulses slow down, our surface whirlpool becomes a little more quiescent. When this happens, our consciousness is no longer tightly trapped in its fast running machine and so it begins to slip back to its source. This temporary and natural withdrawal is the way Nature gives respite to us. It rejuvenates us, repairs the damage inflicted during the day, restores the channels of life and allows us to start afresh the next day. But this is an unconscious process ingrained in Nature to keep the form going for a longer time and not suffer an early breakdown as is often caused by sleep disturbances.
Now, a similar thing happens during coma and related phenomenon, such as fainting and unconsciousness. It is an attempt by the consciousness to heal the illness. Either due to a sudden shock, injury, accident or by a prolonged illness affecting the brain (which is the physical seat of consciousness in man), it withdraws to its own depths to allow or even facilitate the healing process in a twofold way.
First, it allows the surface consciousness to enter a restful mode that is so necessary for healing. Second, by going inside or sometimes even outside the body, it can bring in certain deeper and higher energies for healing purposes. What happens unconsciously in sleep and coma, Yoga does consciously by a willed process of reverse concentration that leads to trance. If one can avoid falling asleep, then one can remain conscious to study and understand the inner worlds, their laws and processes and of course eventually the source of all things. But even if one does not remain awake, this meditative indrawn condition is helpful and restores the nerves, body and mind by a similar, though much more rapid and concentrated process as sleep.
In hypnosis, a similar thing is attempted in a semi-conscious way so to speak. A yogi’s withdrawal is with a direction and purpose and through well-known inner doors. It is not a withdrawal for the sake of withdrawal but with a ‘will’ to arrive at the supreme object of existence. In hypnosis, the withdrawal is without any such fixed direction or through certain known centers. It is more of a general withdrawal that comes when someone is deeply absorbed in a book or in thought and by doing so becomes relatively oblivious of his surface life and all that is happening around it. In hypnosis, a very similar kind of general withdrawal is there but in a little more methodical and regulated way.
The method used is the selective focusing of the mind to any set of mechanically repetitive words or a repetitive visual stimuli. The repetitiveness induces the mind into a certain groove and the mechanical nature of the stimulus puts the rational and vital mind into the background, suspending their normal operations which keep us interested in things around us. This selective attention and a peripheral constriction gradually lead the mind into a state of semi-sleep condition. Once this happens, the consciousness has entered into the inner fields and is therefore more amenable to manipulation. The various possibilities that arise out of this semi-trance kind of a condition are:
(a) The posting of messages directly into the subconscious mind where the roots of illness and resistance to heal thrive. Waking affirmations have to go through the rational mind which normally does not allow them to pass. It scrutinises and cancels many of them. Thus, one may affirm, ‘I am cured,’ but in some dim background, the rational mind is actively watching and doubting this. It presents the barrier of doubt for healing by a power of mental suggestion. That is why guided imagery in a relaxed state works better. Hypnosis circumvents this barrier so that the message can directly reach the subconscious and work there.
(b) The individual will may itself be weak and divided. In hypnosis, this may also be temporarily suspended, like one’s reason, and subordinated to the will of the therapist. Imposition of a strong therapeutic will taking the form of thought is an added help.
(c) Hypnosis puts the surface consciousness to sleep. The nerves become quiescent and the body and organs are rested. The deeper healing powers of our subliminal being can emerge and have a chance to heal and help.
Modern psychiatrists use a quick method to induce hypnosis by injecting low doses of a short acting anaesthetic, which blocks the nerve signals physiologically and thereby allows the consciousness to sink inside and withdraw. But there are negative consequences of hypnosis as one is putting oneself under someone else’s control or influence by becoming passive to the person’s command which can be frightening from an inner point of view.
2.26 What about past-life regression therapy? Is it also some kind of a hypnosis, how does it work?
First of all, we must know that a system may work well yet the theory proposed for its working may not be true. Past-life regression also works and there are documented instances. But it would be a folly to believe that it works in all cases and that the reason for its working is due to tackling the entangled knots of a past life. The knots of our karmic energies are not so easy to break as they are not just individual knots but are linked to the whole in a very subtle play of energies. You can’t break the knot in one individual without disturbing the rest of the whole.
There are three ways of interfering with this vast and complex play:
(i) The individual himself can cancel or minimise the effects of past energies by some counterbalancing karma in the present.
(ii) Someone dwelling in the cosmic consciousness with universal compassion reaches out into the net to minimise/mitigate such karmic effects.
(iii) The Divine Grace or the incarnate Divine decrees that karma should be annulled and completely cancelled.
Past-life memories cannot be described vividly. There is always a lot of scope for a mixture from the vital imagination and subconscious elements. However, there are in each one of us certain ‘complexes’ which are also kinds of energy knots that can take the form of illness. These ‘complexes’ can disguise themselves in fanciful but often symbolic imagery and present themselves before us in dreams or visions as also during hypnotic regression. A bringing-up of these hidden ‘complexes’, which are usually ‘affect-laden’ and ‘emotionally charged’ through hypnotic regression can indeed release their energies, bring them under some kind of control by presenting them to our conscious awareness. This may help as an ‘energy-feeder’ to the illness, especially with certain psychosomatic illnesses.